Breed Spotlight: Yorkshire Terrier

Four Minutes
Sep 28, 2022

Yorkshire Terrier Quick Stats


12 – 16 years


4 – 7 lbs


8 – 10 inches




Bold, lively, excited

Common Health Problems:

Collapsed trachea, hypothyroidism, luxating patella

Yorkshire Terrier: How Do I Look?

Yorkies are a toy breed with long, silky coats. Yorkshire terriers that are show dogs have long hair with a top knot on their head, but Yorkies with casual owners often have short hair just for convenience.  

Coat Type and Colors

Yorkshire terriers have human-like hair that’s fine, straight, and glossy. The American Kennel Club official breed standards accepts Yorkshire terriers with these coat colors:2

  • Black and tan
  • Blue and gold
  • Blue and tan
  • Black and gold

Ears and Tails

Yorkies have small ears that stand upright, and their tails are traditionally docked to a medium length.

Although docking is considered part of the breed standard for Yorkshire terriers, the American Veterinary Medical Association considers docking unnecessary for nearly all breeds.2,3

Shedding and Grooming

Yorkshire terriers are a breed that requires a lot of grooming and upkeep. They need daily brushing when their coat is kept long. It’s also recommended to bath Yorkshire terriers weekly.

Despite their high grooming needs, Yorkies are minimal shedders.

Drooling Level

Excessive drooling should not be an issue for this breed.

Yorkshire Terrier: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

I’m the perfect lovey-dovey lap dog with a spunky attitude you’re sure to love. If you let me sit on your lap for hours and teach me new tricks, I’ll be the happiest pup alive.


Yorkshire terriers are very playful and affectionate dogs that require lots of attention and affection. They bond very well with their owners and family and crave companionship.

Despite their small size, Yorkies have a courageous and confident flare. They have a strong protective instinct with watchdog tendencies.

While each Yorkie has a unique personality, you can generally expect this breed to be affectionate and spirited.

Exercise Needs

Yorkshire terriers require both mental and physical stimulation to keep their high energy levels in check. Engaging in active playtime and daily walks should meet their needs well.

Good with Other Pets?

Yorkshire terriers should be fine around other pets in the household. They can be territorial, however, so make sure they receive proper training and appropriate introductions.

Some Yorkies may be skittish or aggressive around pets they don’t know. It’s best for owners to focus on slow, calm, and safe introductions to avoid conflict.


Intelligent and eager to please, Yorkies are highly trainable. They respond well to praise and treats as rewards. Most owners will have success if their Yorkie knows successful training sessions will bring them extra attention.

Yorkies are notorious for being difficult to housetrain and some can easily become territorial. Focusing on early housetraining and frequent socialization while Yorkie puppies are still young should help deter accidents and aggression.

Good with Kids?

Yorkies are a good pet for children. Because of their small size, be sure to supervise young children who may accidentally injure your furry family member. Aside from being mindful of their size, they are a good dog breed for families among plenty of other breeds.

Barking Level

Yorkies have a barking level that matches their energy. They are often very vocal and may be described as yappy.

Yorkshire Terrier Fun Facts

  1. The Yorkshire terrier was officially accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1885.4
  2. Yorkies are the most popular toy breed among dog owners.4 
  3. Before they became a status of the elite, Yorkshire terriers were originally breed to hunt rodents in textile mills.4
  4. Believed to be the first therapy dog, a Yorkshire terrier named “Smoky” served in WWII to string communication wires among foxholes and console wounded soldiers.5

Common Yorkie Mixes

Popular Yorkshire terrier mixes include the:

  • Yorkiepoo: Yorkie and poodle mix
  • Yorkie-pom: Yorkie and Pomeranian mix
  • Snorkie: Yorkshire terrier and miniature schnauzer
  • Morkie: Maltese and Yorkie mix
  • Shorkie: Shih tzu and Yorkie mix
  • Chorkie: Yorkie and Chihuahua mix

Yorkie Health Issues

Yorkies are prone to some of the more common health issues seen in toy and small breeds. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals recommends that Yorkshire terriers receive screenings for:6

  • Eye anomalies: Yorkies can become blind from juvenile cataracts and persistent pupillary membranes.
  • Luxating patella: This is a dislocated kneecap.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: This is a degenerative disease that affects the hip’s ball-and-socket joint.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis: This is a category of thyroid conditions.
  • Otitis: This is painful inflammation in the middle or external ear.
  • Periodontal disease

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Yorkshire Terriers

A pet insurance policy could help some of the more expensive and common health problems Yorkshire terriers experience.

Luxating patella

Patellar luxation is a condition where a dog’s knee cap is dislocated from the thigh bone. Many toy and small breeds experience a luxating patella within their lifetime. This disease is most often caused by genetics and can only be treated with surgery.


Cataracts lead to a blurry eye lens and reduced vision. If left untreated, cataracts can become worse and lead to complete blindness as the dog ages. A veterinary ophthalmologist may recommend cataract surgery as treatment.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a serious gum disease caused by plaque and bacteria buildup. In extreme cases, it can severely deteriorate a dog’s jawbone and lead to heart disease. Treatment for periodontal disease depends on the severity, but it may include tooth extractions.

Luckily, a Yorkshire terrier’s lifespan is relatively long. Yorkie parents should have a loving companion for many years. Consider investing in their health with a dog insurance policy with MetLife.1 MetLife Pet Insurance has comprehensive plans with robust coverage that can help you and your pet when they need it the most.

Protect your Yorkshire Terriers with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 “Official Standard of the Yorkshire Terrier,” American Kennel Club

3 “Canine Tail Docking FAQ,” American Veterinary Medical Association

4 “Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Dog Breed Information,” American Kennel Club

5 “Smoky The Terrier: A Tiny War Hero Immortalized,” NPR

6 “Yorkshire Terrier Recommended Tests/CHIC Program Requirements,” Orthopedic Foundation for Animals