The Yorkshire terrier, also known as a Yorkie, is a small terrier dog breed. Originally bred in the 19th century in Yorkshire , England to catch rats in clothing mills. The Kennel Club states that these dogs should weigh less than 7lbs and have a blue and tan coat. Although highly skilled and valued in their original role, Yorkshire Terriers are now a popular companion dog.
As is common with many terriers, Yorkies appear oblivious to their small size. They are energetic, bold and stubborn and whilst they are devoted to their owners they will also get up to plenty of mischief! Although often viewed as a lap dog, the Yorkshire terrier is a high-spirited breed which can be very loyal and protective of those around them.
A Yorkie puppy bought from a reputable breeder will cost around £500 to £800 in the UK and around $800 to $1000 in the US . As they are very small dogs their food costs are minimal and will cost a UK household around £150 to £200 a year and a US household around $100 to $300 a year.
Health and Lifespan
The Yorkshire terrier breed can be susceptible to knee, eye and liver problems. You will need to take your Yorkie to the vet for regular check-ups to keep an eye on them in case these illnesses develop. Having said that, as with many small breeds, the Yorkshire terrier is robust and has an average life expectancy of 14-16 years.
Although the Yorkie is a small dog, it is still an active breed requiring at a minimum a daily 20 minute walk. A Yorkshire terrier can adapt very well to apartment living if walked more often, otherwise it is better if you have a safe enclosed area such as a yard or garden for them to work off excess energy in. A Yorkie will soon let you know if he feels he isn’t getting enough exercise by tearing around the house!
The Yorkshire terrier is an intelligent breed that learns quickly. They can easily be taught basic obedience. A lot of Yorkie owners struggle with dogs that have never been fully house-broken so make sure this training begins early and is consistent.
If you are showing your Yorkshire terrier then you will need to keep the coat long but trimmed to floor length to keep your dog looking neat and able to move easily. If your Yorkie is purely a pet, it is easier to keep it trimmed short. Then it will only require a quick daily brush and a monthly bath.
Children and Other Animals
Yorkshire terriers can get along with children but it tends to be best if they have grown up together. Yorkies will be tolerant of children so long as the child has been taught to play with them properly – otherwise you risk them snapping at the child.
Yorkshire terriers can be belligerent with other dogs but, if well socialised from the start, they can get along well. They are generally not compatible with cats and should not be kept around rodents – they were originally bred to catch rats and this natural instinct cannot be trained out of them.
Watch Dog, Guard Dog or Just Plain Soppy?
Yorkshire terriers are an alert breed and can be territorial. This means that they are excellent as watch dogs who will bark at the slightest disturbance, however for obvious reasons they do not make good guard dogs! They have a surprisingly loud bark for such a small dog and without the correct training they can bark excessively which can cause problems.
Fun Fact about Yorkshire Terriers
The smallest recorded Yorkshire terrier was named Sylvia and was owned by Arthur Maples of Blackburn, England. She stood 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder, measured 3.5 inches from nose tip to tail and weighed just 4 ounces.
Please Consider a Rescue Dog
Before buying a Yorkshire terrier puppy, please always consider whether adopting a rescue Yorkie would suit your household. There are many great Yorkshire terriers in rescue centres and shelters that would love the chance of living with a caring family. However, also consider your situation carefully first as some rescue Yorkies can come with issues that will need to be worked through and will need extra care and attention.