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All About Yorkies

Updated on March 12, 2015


Yorkshire terriers are one of the most popular toy dog breeds. According to the American Kennel Club website, the breed was originally developed in Yorkshire, England, where they were used as working dogs that kept textile mills free of rats. Yorkies eventually caught the attention of the upper classes because of the beauty of their long, flowing steel and tan coats and their spunky natures, and they quickly caught on as favored high-society pets. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1885.

Breed Standards

Yorkies stand approximately six to seven inches at the shoulder and range between four and seven pounds in weight. Teacup yorkies are not a separate breed. These are Yorkshire terriers that have been selectively bred below the standard weight limit. Yorkshire terriers have steel-blue bodies, but the rest of the dog is a warm tan color. They have an abundance of hair on the tops of their heads that must be either trimmed short or held up in a topknot. Their eyes are dark and they have black noses.


Yorkshire terriers have characteristics that are both endearing and annoying. The Dog Breed Info website indicates that they are loyal to their families, energetic and always eager for a new adventure. However, they are notorious barkers and are one of the most difficult dog breeds to housebreak.

Health Concerns

Yorkies are generally healthy dogs that have an estimated lifespan of between 12 and 15 years, but like any breed, they are subject to a number of genetic disorders. Patellar luxation is an inherited condition in Yorkies where is the dog's kneecap slips out of its natural groove. This makes it difficult for the animal to bend its leg or walk comfortably. Most instances of patellar luxation resolve themselves, but a veterinarian can push the kneecap back onto place if necessary. Another condition that affects Yorkies is tracheal collapse. As the dog ages, its trachea loses its natural shape and collapses. Dogs with tracheal collapse have a rasping, hacking cough that is more noticeable when they are excited or overheated.

Teacup Yorkies have more extensive health concerns than their larger counterparts. Because they are so small, they can rapidly go into sugar-shock (hypoglycemia) and die if they get too hungry or become stressed out. They are also prone to a wide range of stomach problems and do not tolerate anesthesia well. According to the Dog DNA website, teacup Yorkies have shorter life spans than the toy variety.

Yorkies need a daily walk to stay healthy. The Dog Breed Info website says that these dog will also have fewer behavior problems if they are walked regularly.

Shedding and Grooming

Yorkies shed very little hair. Dogs with full-length coats must be brushed every day, but a short-trimmed coat can be brushed once a week.


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