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Yorkshire Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie as it is commonly called, is a breed that originated in England during the 19th century. They were initially developed to catch rats in clothing mills and mines, thus serving an essential function in the working-class communities of northern England. Their ancestry traces back to a variety of terrier breeds, but primarily the Waterside and Clydesdale Terriers, both now extinct. These small dogs were later crossbred with other terrier breeds, which resulted in the Yorkshire Terrier breed known today.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Yorkie, Broken-haired Scotch Terrier, Broken-haired Yorkshire Terrier
Life Expectancy
11-15 years
Average Male Height
7-8 inches
Average Female Height
7-8 inches
Average Male Weight
7 pounds
Average Female Weight
7 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black & Tan, Blue & Gold, Blue & Tan, Black & Gold
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Yorkshire Terriers may suffer from patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, tracheal collapse, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD), and portacaval shunt. Genetic testing for conditions such as craniomandibular osteopathy, degenerative myelopathy, primary lens luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, progressive rod-cone degeneration, hyperuricosuria, and L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their confident, courageous, and lively nature. Despite their small size, they have a big personality and aren't afraid to take on much larger dogs. Yorkies are also known for their affectionate nature and loyalty to their owners. They are smart, easy to train, and make excellent companions for both individuals and families. However, due to their terrier heritage, they can be a bit stubborn and assertive at times.

Fun Facts

The smallest dog in recorded history was a Yorkie. The dog, named Sylvia, weighed just 4 ounces and stood only 2.5 inches tall.

Yorkshire Terriers' coats are similar to human hair, which is why they are considered hypoallergenic. People who are allergic to dogs often tolerate Yorkies well.

The breed's name comes from the English county of Yorkshire, where they were first bred.

There has bene an ongoing debate about whether Tota was actually a Yorkshire Terrier in L. Frank Baum's book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. W.W. Denslow illustrated the book. He had a Yorkie, and many say that his dog inspired his illustrations of Toto. Even though Toto was played by a Cairn Terrier in the 1939 movie adaptation, the debate about Yorkshire versus Cairn Terrier in the original Oz goes on!