Updated: November 10, 2021

The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as a “Yorkie”, falls firmly into the ‘toy’ category at Kennel Club shows, and longer-haired versions of the dog are often groomed elaborately. 

This breed is characteristically bold, bright and fearless. Their loyal and spirited nature make them the perfect house pet for people of all ages. They are mischievous characters though, so training from infancy and an owner with a stern attitude are essential to keep this dog in line. They are also known for their boldness, despite their small size, and will often confront larger dogs. 

These dogs are active indoors, and while they still require regular walking, you may find that your dog isn’t partial to cold or wet weather.
The size of this breed, combined with its loyalty, has led to its use as a fashion accessory for many women, who carry them in handbags or under their arms. While these dogs are very affectionate toward their owners, they do not display typical “lap dog” characteristics as they age.


Pet profile

Best suited to quieter households with smaller living spaces.

  • Small (20cm to 23cm)
  • Typically weighing between 1.5kg and 3kg
  • 12 to 15 years life expectancy

Exercise and nutrition

Yorkshire Terriers don’t require a lot of exercise, so up to half an hour of walking per day should be enough to keep them happy and healthy. They have a strong desire to hunt and love playing games outdoors. This is a great way to bond with your Yorkie as they love the praise they receive from mastering tricks. 

You should feed your Yorkie high quality dog food, twice daily, to keep them happy and healthy. If you are unsure about how much to feed your dog, then consult your veterinarian for advice.


Common health problems and illnesses 

Yorkshire Terriers do have their share of health issues, which is why it’s a good idea to take out insurance for your Yorkie while they’re still a puppy.

Cushing’s disease is an issue that commonly affects Yorkshire Terriers. The condition affects how the body regulates itself, and causes an overproduction of cortisol. The common signs of this condition include patchy hair loss, excessive thirst and a change in toilet habits. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms and they will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.

Diabetes can also affect Yorkshire Terriers. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, confusion and unsteadiness, increased urination habits, an increase in appetite and weight loss. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, then take them to your veterinarian for a check-up as soon as possible. Treatment is available to help manage the condition over the course of your pet’s lifetime.

Pancreatitis is a condition that causes severe stomach upset in Yorkshire Terriers. Watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. If these symptoms appear in your pet, then take them to your veterinarian for advice on how to best treat the condition. 

Lens luxation is a condition that causes your dog to dislocate the lens in their eye. This can cause a block within the drainage channels within the eye. The build-up of pressure in the eye can be painful, and if it is not treated, then there is a chance that your dog could go blind. Take your dog to your veterinarian if you notice any changes in their eyes, and they will be able to diagnose any potential problems and prescribe the best course of treatment. 


Fun facts 

  1. During the mid-1800s Yorkshire terriers were used to hunt rats, badgers and foxes underground.
  2. When a Yorkie is a new-born, they can weigh as little as 70g!
  3. Yorkshire Terriers love to sit on people’s laps, making them great therapy dogs or companions for children.
  4. It’s not a good idea to let your Yorkshire Terrier off the leash; their bold character means they love to chase after things!
  5. Yorkshire Terriers can develop Separation Anxiety, which can make them scared or stressed.

Yorkshire Terrier