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Yorkie dog breed profile

Everything you need to know before adopting a friendly, attention-seeking Yorkshire Terrier.

Whether your pup is a purebred Yorkshire Terrier or a Yorkshire Terrier mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you’re interested in adopting a Yorkshire Terrier, but you wanted to do some research first.

Yorkshire Terriers, commonly referred to as Yorkies, can make excellent family pets since they love human interaction. 

“Yorkies are energetic and affectionate dogs,” Dr. Amber Koch, DVM, a veterinarian at MedVet Norwalk, says. “They love attention and will happily follow you to the ends of the earth.”

How big are Yorkies?

Yorkies are petite pups typically weighing only 7 pounds and standing 7 to 8 inches tall. These pups are often confused with their larger cousin, the silky terrier. Although they are similar in appearance, the silky terrier is about 2 inches taller and generally around 3 pounds heavier.

What are Yorkies’ personalities like?

They may be small in size, but Yorkies are big in personality, as they’re generally very brave and don’t hesitate to let their families know how they’re feeling. Yorkies are usually loving dogs that form very close bonds with their people

Yorkies are known to be intelligent, trainable and energetic dogs. If not properly trained, they can be quite loud barkers and may not be suitable pets for small children.

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What are Yorkies' coats like?

These small pups are known for their luscious floor-length hair rather than fur — Dr. Koch says this unique coat makes Yorkies non-shedding. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Yorkies’ minimal shedding may make them a good pet for those with allergies.

“People who have allergies to dogs may be reacting to multiple aspects of a dog: hair, saliva, urine, general dander,” Dr. Koch says. “So, while Yorkies may cause a less severe reaction than other breeds, it is still possible to be allergic to them.”

Yorkies can come in several color combinations: black and tan, blue and tan, blue and gold or black and gold. Keeping that silky coat neat and shiny takes a lot of work. To maintain a floor-length coat, they’ll need to get used to daily grooming.

Otherwise, a puppy cut or teddy bear cut is a cute option that’s far easier to maintain. Regardless of the cut you choose, it’s important to make sure your Yorkie’s eyes aren’t irritated by hair — this is why you often see this small pup flaunting the popular topknot!

What are common health issues for Yorkies?

Like many other little dogs, Yorkies may suffer from luxating patellas or dislocated kneecaps. To avoid this, Dr. Koch advises providing your pet with ample alternatives to jumping on and off high surfaces, like couches. Try purchasing a few steps for your pup and placing them near their favorite spots to discourage jumping and make things a little easier on the knees. 

“Small dogs are also prone to collapsing trachea. The trachea is held in a circle by cartilage rings, and these rings can degenerate over time, causing the trachea to narrow and even collapse on itself, limiting your pet’s ability to breathe,” Dr. Koch says. “This can be managed with medication, but there’s no cure. Using a harness instead of a collar will help relieve pressure on their neck and may reduce the severity of clinical signs.”

Yorkshire Terriers may also develop eye and ear issues. They can have developmental issues with their retinas, the part of the eye that processes vision, and may have visual impairments or be completely blind.

“But don’t despair, blind dogs can get along perfectly fine once they’re familiar with the layout of your house,” Dr. Koch says. “If you move furniture, they may bump into it, but they’ll figure it out in no time. In fact, a lot of people don’t even realize their pet is blind until their family vet tells them at their annual exam.”

Adopting a Yorkie 

Are you interested in adopting a Yorkie, Yorkie mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Matt Walsh and Kaylin Pacheco n Unsplash

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