Yorkshire Terrier Breed Profile


KC Group Toy

Size Small

Weight Up to 3.2kg (7lb)

Height 20 – 23cm (8 – 9in)

Average lifespan Up to 15 years

Good with children? Yes

Good guard dogs? Would bark

Moulting level Low

Grooming Heavy

Exercise requirement Little

Jogging partner Short runs

Temperament Friendly, affectionate, mischievous

Editors Pick Yes

Yorkshire Terrier Breed Profile

One of the most recognisable of dog breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier rose from humble, working beginnings to become an icon of glamour and indulgence, says Julie Hill.


So is this a laid-back lapdog, or a spirited hiking companion? The reality is both! It’s said the breed has its origins in Scotland, when labourers left their homeland and travelled to work in the mines and cotton mills of Yorkshire, and took their black and tan terriers with them, to work as ratters. 

Maltese, Skye, and Scottish terriers provided the basis for the breed, producing the distinctive coat colours of steel blue and tan.

A well-known dog born in 1865, Huddersfield Ben, is seen as the foundation sire of the breed. 

The Yorkshire Terrier

The story goes that labourers in Yorkshire would stand their dogs on boxes in the pub to keep the sawdust out of their coats — and Yorkshire Terriers still stand on a box in the show ring today, and are the only breed to do so.

In the modern home, these are very affectionate dogs who can live quite happily as a one-dog family, with several other Yorkies, or with different breeds both large and small. But they still retain their terrier features; some will tackle rodents with enthusiasm, and they have even been known to catch birds.

Show Yorkshire Terriers are famous for their glamorous coats.

They’re good with children and many dote on new babies in a family, but as with any other breed, children should not be allowed to tease them. 

They can be very determined little dogs, but training is relatively easy. They love exercise, play, and can run at high speeds. They love walks, and although a small dog, can walk for miles if that is what the owner does. 

Yorkshire Terriers love to be with their owners and will follow them throughout the house, even to the loo and the bath!


Owner: Elissa Wiltshire, Rugby, Warwickshire.

Jo Pollard’s Alfie is cheeky and excitable.

Tell us about your dog. 

“Wookie is four years old. We chose her at three weeks, and were able to visit every week until it was time to take her home. That meant she was already familiar with us, and leaving her mum and siblings wasn’t such a big change.” 

Why did you pick this breed?

“Having only had big dogs before, we wanted a small dog, but one that would be active and capable of long walks.”

Where did your dog come from?

“No sooner had we decided that a Yorkie might be a good fit for us, than I found out that a girl I knew had a litter of puppies. We went to see the pups, and within five minutes, our fate was sealed.” 

What have been your biggest challenges with your dog? 

“Dealing with other people’s perception of Yorkies. So many people think of them as scared, yappy, snappy little handbag dogs, but they are true terriers, bred to hunt rats, and if given the chance can be true to their heritage. Wookie swims, will walk for miles whatever the weather, loves to fetch a ball, and hunt.” 

What have been your happiest times together? 

“Every day with Wookie is an absolute joy, but there is nothing better than a long walk, preferably in woodland. Woods are definitely her favourite place to be.” 

Has your dog turned out as you expected?

“Wookie has totally blown all our expectations out of the water. We’d hoped she would be loving, energetic, and fun to have around, but she is so much more than that. She is intelligent, enthusiastic, willing to have a go at anything, and always has a wagging tail.” 

Any ongoing issues?

“No issues of any kind.” 

Any advice to other potential owners of this breed?

“Yorkies are small, more fragile than big dogs, but within their size limitations, they are tough, intelligent, energetic little dogs. They may well surprise you in what they are capable of. They are perfection in one small package; happy to walk all day, then snuggle down on your lap at night.”

Sum up your dog in one sentence.

“Loving, loyal, energetic, courageous, funny, intelligent, and the best thing that has ever happened to us.”

How easy is she to care for?

“Wookie is easy to care for. We keep her coat short, as it’s more comfortable for her, and to ensure it’s clean and mat-free. I clip her myself, not because I don’t want to pay for a groomer, but because she trusts me and is happy for me to do it. She has  a proper bath once a month, and loves being brushed.” 

Would you have another dog of this breed? 

“After Wookie, we could never have any other breed.” 

How have you found training your dog? 

“People assume we’ve spent hours training her and it makes us feel like frauds, because we haven’t. She was the easiest dog I have ever house-trained. We got her at eight weeks old and by the end of the first week she knew to go outside for the toilet.” 

What activities do you and your dog most like to share?

“Walking, especially long rambles of five miles plus, where she can examine hedgerows for furry things, chase rabbits and squirrels, and use her nose.”

INFO: For more information about Yorkshire Terriers, visit The Yorkshire Terrier Club’s website:
www.the-yorkshire-terrier-club.co.uk or check out the Kennel Club website: www.thekennelclub.org.uk