Yorkshire Terrier Breed Information

Yorkshire Terriers are a member of the ‘Toy’ breed group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs, commonly referred to as ‘lap dogs’. Most toy breeds love attention and can be very friendly and affectionate. They don’t require a large amount of exercise.

Yorkshire Terriers, or ‘Yorkies’ as they’re more affectionately known, are known to be small but mighty! They have big attitudes, and aren’t worried about putting bigger dogs in their place if they feel they need to. They can be quite stubborn, making training more of a challenge. For this reason, training will require patience, but can be achieved using reward-based techniques. For more information on training your dog, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

They’ll need daily grooming to keep their coats in tip-top condition.

Yorkshire Terriers should be fine if brought up with children from a young age. They are better suited to families with older children as they have very fragile bones so could be easily injured by younger children.

Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Yorkshire Terriers are prone to include:

  • Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
  • Bladder stones – a collection of minerals that form in the bladder.
  • Tracheal collapse – loss of rigidity of the windpipe, causing weakness and collapse.
  • Dental problems
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – gradual deterioration of the retina of the eye. Symptoms can start with night blindness and progress to total blindness.
  • Lens luxation – dislocation of the lens of the eye.
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
  • Diabetes Mellitus - a complex disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism caused by the body’s inability to produce or to utilise adequate amounts of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the body cells from the bloodstream, providing the essential energy needed for life.
  • Distichiasis – a condition in which small eyelashes grow on the inner surface or the very edge of the eye, which can then rub on the surface of the eye, causing irritation.
  • Legg-Perthes disease (Legg-Calvé-Perthes) – blood supply to the femoral head is depleted, causing destruction of the femoral head.
  • Bladder stones – a collection of minerals that form in the bladder.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or ‘Dry eye' – decreased tear production, leading to dry eye and damage to the cornea (surface of the eye).
  • Hydrocephalus – increased accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain.
  • Portosystemic shunt – abnormal blood circulation, with the blood effectively bypassing the liver and entering general circulation.
  • Chiari malformation Syringomyelia (CM/SM) – a painful neurological condition in which fluid-filled cavities develop within the spinal cord near the brain. There is a BVA/ Kennel Club CM/SM health scheme which can test for this – for more information, visit the BVA website.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Yorkies need around 30 or 40 minutes exercise per day. Don’t be fooled by their small size – they enjoy running, fetching and playing games just as much as the next dog!

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for a Yorkshire Terrier are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Yorkshire Terrier with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Yorkshire Terrier's that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  1. Dog and cat insurance policies from 8 weeks of age.
  2. 24/7 veterinary advice online or over the phone with Petcall.
  3. Manage your policy online with the PDSA Insure Hub.
  4. Monthly payment at no extra cost.

By insuring your Yorkshire Terrier with PDSA Pet Insurance you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section.

Rehoming from a reputable source:

Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.

Energy levels
Easy to train
Exercise needed
Barking/likely to be vocal
Size Small
Average height 20 cm
Average weight 3.2 kg
Average lifespan Over 12 years
Minimum exercise (per day) 30 minutes
Coat length Long
Minimum cost (per month) £70

Not sure if the Yorkshire Terrier is the right pet for you?