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The Most Popular Toy Breed: The Yorkshire Terrier
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The Most Popular Toy Breed: The Yorkshire Terrier

Rachel, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Sep 30, 2020

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The Yorkshire terrier is a loving, devoted companion small in size and big in personality. They're also one of the most glamourous breeds, and their long hair and stylish bows and topknots attract attention wherever they go. If you want a canine companion that's small enough to carry around in a purse, this is the breed for you.

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1

There are inconsistencies in Yorkie size

small size variations anouchka / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers are known for their small size. The breed standard for height is 8 or 9 inches tall at the shoulder. Their weight should be between 4 and 6 pounds. However, their size is very inconsistent, and some Yorkies reach as much as 15 pounds. Stay clear of teacup Yorkies; they may be adorable, but they're prone to having poor health.

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2

They have the spirit of a terrier

adventurous spirit outgoing Roger Mechan / Getty Images

At the end of the day, a Yorkie is a terrier, and they have a terrier's adventurous spirit. Yorkshire terriers are perky, outgoing, and prone to getting into everything. It's easy to spoil them because they're so small and adorable, but a well-trained Yorkie is much better behaved. Work to correct bad habits instead of letting them have their way.

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3

Yorkies are generally healthy and can live for a long time

long lifespan healthy STOWEN SETO / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are prone to some health conditions, including patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, hypoglycemia, collapsed trachea, reverse sneezing, and portosystemic shunt, a condition affecting the blood flow from the liver to the body. Make sure you get your dog from a reputable breeder for the best chance of avoiding these issues.

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4

Exercise needs are minimal

run outside walks TFRangel / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers are house dogs that don't need a lot of exercise. They're so small, walking and running around the house is enough to keep them healthy. They like to go for walks with you outside but are not always able to handle long distances and may prefer being carried.

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5

Their love of attention makes them easy to train

training housetraining bathroom prohor08 / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers love to please and are receptive to training, especially if you shower them with praise and attention during the process. Some people don't bother house-training a Yorkie because their accidents are so small and easy to clean, but this is a mistake. Yorkshire terriers are more than capable of learning to go outside to use the bathroom. Some people even paper train them, so they don't have to go outside in cold weather.

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6

They are prone to weight gain

dog food weight Valeriya21 / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers don't need much food, only about 1/2 to 3/4 cup a day, divided into two meals. This breed is prone to gaining weight, and it's important to keep your Yorkie in good shape. Measure out food for every meal instead of leaving it out around the clock and watch their activity throughout the day.

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7

Their long, silky coat doesn't shed much

Yorkshire Terrier dog on the couch Valeriya21 / Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers have long, silky single coats that don't shed much. Puppies are black at birth and develop blue and tan coloring after about a year. The blue is dark, the color of steel with a blue sheen, and covers the back of the head to the tail.

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8

Yorkies are pretty high maintenance

close up Portrait of the Yorkshire Terrier dog MaximFesenko / Getty Images

Grooming a Yorkshire terrier is a bit of an investment. They need baths with shampooing and conditioning every week to keep their coat clean and shiny. Before brushing, whether the coat is wet or dry, spritz it with conditioner. They need to be brushed every day to prevent knots and matting. Never brush their coat when it's completely dry because the hair will break.

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9

Dental hygiene is very important

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Small breeds like a Yorkshire terrier are prone to dental problems. Tartar forms quickly on their small teeth, and it's not uncommon for their teeth to fall out at a young age. Owners should brush their Yorkie's teeth regularly and have them professionally cleaned once a year. Check their ears regularly, too. If they have a foul odor, discharge, or redness, pay a visit to the vet.

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10

They're not a good match for small kids

small young children Liliboas / Getty Images

Because this breed is so small, they're not a good fit for a home with young children. However, older children who understand how to handle and play with a small dog will appreciate having a playful Yorkie companion. Yorkies can get along with other pets if they're socialized properly, but be warned: they have been known to be bold enough to go after dogs that are easily 10 times their size.

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