Yorkshire Terrier 101: Yorkie Breed Information, Traits & Temperament

Yorkshire Terriers are terriers and are in the Terrier group of the American Kennel Club (AKC). They were originally bred to be something called a ‘ratter.’ This means that people used Yorkshire Terriers to hunt down (chase) and kill rats that were bothering people in their homes and neighborhoods.

This dog, also known as the Yorkie, was developed from mixed breeding (like many purebred dogs) of several other kinds of terriers. Now people are happy with Yorkies the way they are. They are the perfect little companion dog.

These days Yorkshire Terriers can do many different activities. They are not only good companions but they participate in obedience, rally, agility, conformation, go-to-ground (earth dog competitions), fly-ball, canine freestyle (dog dancing), tracking, and pet therapy. Yorkies also love to perform tricks.  They also have the benefit of being somewhat hypoallergenic.

Yorkie Sizes

Yorkies are very small dogs. They grow to be six or seven inches in height, and weigh about seven pounds as an adult.

Hair and Coloring

At birth, the Yorkie’s coat is black and tan, but that changes as the pup grows up. The black part of the coat will become a steely-bluish color! Notice how different the puppy on the right looks from the dog below.

The Yorkie’s coat is very beautiful and luxurious. The hair on the back of the dog parts down the middle and covers his body very evenly. The hair, or fur, is very soft and silky. There is a lot of hair around the face, so many people tie it up into a bow to keep it out of the dog’s eyes.


Yorkies love excitement. It doesn’t take much coaxing to get them interested in doing fun things. They are smart and they have lots of energy, so giving them things to do is a very good thing and will keep your Yorkie happy and content, and out of trouble.

Exercise and Care

Yorkshire Terriers don’t need a lot of exercise, but they should not lay around the house all day long. Yorkies enjoy hide and seek, fetch, games and other activities like agility, tracking, obedience, conformation, and earthdog competitions. Some even dance in what we call Canine Freestyle!

Adventurous Yorkies love a long walk once or twice a day. It’s healthy for him to get out and move his muscles. Even if you have a yard, it’s important to go for long walks. Exercise will keep your dog’s heart strong so that he lives for a long time. Make sure he wears a leash, though, because some Yorkies like to chase things!

Spend lots of time with your new pup from an early age so he is comfortable with you. Roll him over, touch his feet, look at his teeth, and brush him gently. This will help him get used to being handled and he will be a better companion when he is older. Like any small dog, the people in a Yorkie’s life must treat him carefully and gently. Rough play with a puppy or even a full grown dog can be harmful.

Grooming Your Dog

Yorkies need lots of grooming. You will need to groom your Yorkie every day with a brush and comb, or the hair will become tangled and matted. If your family can’t groom him often, you may want to have a professional groomer do it, or even cut his hair shorter so that it’s easier to handle.


Going to a dog park, the beach, a mall, or to a friend’s house is a great way to visit other dogs, and meet new people. This is called socializing and it helps your dog become a good citizen.

Yorkshire Terriers like to be social. That means that they like to spend their time with others: people or dogs. They get very lonely when left alone too much. Dogs that are left alone a lot can become destructive and bark too much. This is called separation anxiety. Try to make sure that your Yorkie has lots of company.

Know Your Breed

Having a tiny breed of dog is a big responsibility. Because the Yorkie is so small, he can be injured very easily. Things like falling, being stepped on, or bothered by other, bigger dogs can be a serious situation for such a delicate dog. Their bones can break easily.

The owner of a Yorkie has to make a commitment to be especially watchful and protective of their dog. Because Yorkies are so small, take care that he stays warm, and out of cold breezes. Some people like to put sweaters on their dog to help them stay warm.


Yorkies are very brave and courageous, and they can be a little stubborn when they want something. They can act like a big dog in a small body. Starting obedience at an early age will help him become a good citizen, help him to have good manners, and keep him from getting into unsafe situations.

Yorkshire Terriers are lively dogs who sometimes enjoy barking. They think it’s important to watch out for strangers and things that look and sound different. Your dog may need extra training so that he doesn’t bark too much.

Your Yorkie may be a little difficult to housebreak. But if you are kind, patient, and persistent, your dog will learn.

Living Environment

Because Yorkshire Terriers are small, they make great dogs for condos and apartments. They like to live in the city or the country.


Feeding a Yorkie requires special care. Because he is so small, he can easily eat too much and gain weight. A dog that weighs too much will not be healthy.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on his teeth, because Yorkies can have dental problems if they don’t get a nutritious diet.

All About Yorkies

(from their kids!)

“Dogs love company. They place it first in their short list of needs.”- J.R. Ackerly, My Dog Tulip

Last updated 10/18/07

“My Yorkie is called Tiny (don’t have a clue how we got that name!).My dog really really thinks he is a rottie!” James, age 13, Leeds England

“Hi, My yorkie is 6 months old and called Bubbles. She loves going for walks. She loves it when I put on my music or the T.V. She is a big fan of the dog competitions. She is really energetic and loves water. She is a lovely dog and goes everywhere with me. She loves my mum and hates pencils. I have NO idea why she does, but that’s bubbles for you. It took us 3 months to stop her sleeping in the cats bed. I love her to BITS!!!” Gina, age 13, England

“My Yorkie is called Tiny (don’t have a clue how we got that name!). My dog really, really thinks he is a Rottie!” James, age 13, Leeds, England

“My Yorkshire Terrier’s name is Fancy. She’s bigger than most Yorkies. She’s really fun. I love spending time with her because she has so much energy and I love her so much.” Donna, age 13, Kentucky USA

“My dog, Bailey, is so cute because she likes to play ball and when we get home from a long night out like at the Sox game, she will be so excited that she won’t leave us alone for about 2 hours. Bailey is potty trained so we don’t have to take her outside a lot.” Gina, age 13, Illinois USA

“Her name is Lucy. She is very sweet and very friendly, too. Where most dogs will bite you to death, this one doesn’t. She will lick you to death. She is so sweet when she sleeps, you should see her. She loves to play with you. I think she is the best dog in the world. Really, everybody who meets this dog wants this dog. I love this dog to bits. She is very kind. You should meet her. She is so cute, you should really see her. And when someone takes her, she will always find her way home.” Sam, age 13, England

“My Yorkie’s name is Amber. She is very sweet, she is so cute. Her face is a little too round. We adopted her from a rescue center. She loves to play with a little toy fence. She likes most other dogs. She is really (I am trying not for her to hear this) but she is a really, I mean really, slow learner. It took me a whole year for me to teach her sit! I am running out of room, so bye for now friends.” Sydney, age 13, Pennsylvania USA

“I have a Yorkie called Scamp. He became 10 years old on March 23rd. I don’t know why, but he is scared of small dogs but he tries to bite bigger dogs legs off. He doesn’t like his paws nose, tail and ears touched. When you say walk he goes bonkers. Sometimes he rolls around on his back and pretends he is fighting an imaginary dog. When I’ve been out, he doesn’t stop sniffing me and when someone torments me and my sister, he will bark at them. His fave toy is a squeaky ball, but he took the squeak out of it. He is very loyal because he follows me and my sister a round all of the time. The funny thing is that if you play with his ball he barks, but if you don’t play with his ball he barks. He is a very picky eater. Wherever the sun is he will go and sit right in front of and if the fire’s on he will go and sit right front of it. He is very kind natured because my little cousins pull his tail all the time but he doesn’t bite, bark, or growl at them.
He is a really quiet dog.” Sophie, age 13, Workington Cumbria, England

“My Yorkie’s name is Grover. He is six months old and is the sweetest thing ever. He comes from a champion bloodline in dog shows. He loves being around people. I love him so much. He is the greatest pup ever.” Kia, age 14, Florida USA

“My dog’s name is Buster. He is 10 weeks old. I bought him from my teacher. He is very cute.” Hannah, age 14, QLD Australia

“I have a four year old Yorkie called Benjy. He is very sweet and protective towards me. He won’t eat his dinner unless someone feeds him it, otherwise he moans. He gets treated like a royal prince. He sleeps with me in my bedroom because he won’t sleep downstairs. I love my dog – he is the best.” Chantelle, age 13, UK

“My Yorkie’s name is Tubby. We just got him two days ago. He loves playing with me although I can’t take him out for walks yet, he is too young. But after one month I can. I just love my dog, he’s the cutest little thing!” Neha, age 9, Ontario Canada

“I have a pup called Buster. He’s about 6 months old now and he’s the cutest thing ever. He is full of energy all the time and likes playing with socks and ripping up tights and toilet paper. If you ask him for a high 5, he sits down and hits his paw in my hand. I wouldn’t give him up for the world.” Leanne, age 17, Scotland

“My yorkie, Teddy, is a great dog. He’s 3 years old now, but we got him when he was only 6 days old. A breeder just dropped Teddy and his littermates off at this pound, pedigree papers and all, and so the pound was going to euthanize all of the pups because they didn’t have the time for them. But when we were there, we saw them and fell in love. We took all of them home and now Teddy’s littermates, Junior, Lucy, and Rookie, live with family members. We had to bottle feed him constantly for a while, but it was worth it. I love my little Teddy bear!” Alex, age 16, Ohio USA

“My dog, Muffin, is the best dog in the world. She loves to play with a broken, squeaky crab. She hop like a bunny in the snow in the winter. She also loves to be petted and comfy warm. That’s my dog Muffin Girl!” Anonymous, Pennsylvania USA

“Hi. My dog, Scrappy, is very lovable and beautiful. He likes to kiss faces and always sleeps in my bed. He likes to swim in my pool. When I put my tennis shoes on, he barks and jumps because he knows I’m taking him for a walk. I love my dog.” Mariela, Age 11, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

“I love my dog, Snickers, because he’s small and I can hold him. He likes to follow my mom around, but sometimes he sleeps on my bed. He’s so cute.” Megan, Age 10, Pennsylvania USA

“My dog, Paddy, is a Yorkshire Terrier. He is probably about a foot tall and is adorable. While taking a bath, he looks like an over-grown rat. It’s pretty funny. My dog lays with me at night and follows me around during the day. I love him because he is so sweet.” Bridget, age 13, New York USA

“My dog, Precious, is very special. She is funny and likes to get into things, but then again she is only a puppy. She is almost 2 years old. I love her very much.” Kyle, Age 8, Kansas USA

“Hello! I have one dog and his name is Rags. He has one tooth which he tries to bite me with and he can’t. My family and I think he is so funny. HaHaHaHaHaHa” Ricky2, Age 15, Illinois, USA

“My dog, Jazan (Yorkshire Terrier), is so cute, he loves to play and go to the park.” Ana, Age 9, Mexico

“My dog, Lilly, is going to be one year old in March. She is black and gold. She is now bigger than her dad. She loves to play with stuffed animals and also loves to play with her mom, Julie. Julie has had two litters of puppies, five in one litter, six in the other except one died. She is grey and gold. She likes to play with her puppy (Lilly) and sleep. She is five years old.” Katlyn, Age 11, Utah USA

“I have two dogs. Trixie is my Yorkshire Terrier and Scarlett is my red-colored Miniature Poodle. They are very cute dogs. They like to bark at people and race each other. They were my Christmas presents and I love them.” Ashlyn, Age 10, Montana USA

“My dog,Yoshi Chen, can sit when I tell him to. If he listens to me, then I will give a biscuit.” Joyce, Age 10, California USA

Adopt a Yorkie

There are many Yorkies around the country without homes. Have your parents call a Yorkie rescue to adopt a warm, loving Yorkie just waiting for a home. You’ll be doing a good thing.

Check here for a rescue organization in your city. Homeless Yorkshire Terriers need forever homes.

Some Famous Yorkshire Terriers

  • Big Boss, listed as the smallest living dog in 2002 (Guinness Book)
  • Bella & Bearlie , owned by Justin Timberlake
  • Smoky, hero dog, awarded 8 battle stars serving in the Airforce
  • Mr. Famous , owned by movie star Audrey Hepburn
  • Spike, comedian Joan River’s famous sidekick in her comedy acts
  • Jazzmin, football star Brett Favre’s dog
  • Poncho, Missy Elliot’s dog who appeared in her music videos
  • Mocha, Kelly Rowland’s dog who appeared on Cribs on MTV