Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are cute, friendly and energetic toy size dogs with lots of personality and zest for life. Terriers at heart, they know what they want and will assert themselves to get it.
Recommended forSingles and families with older children
Breed ClassificationToy
Other namesYorkie
Lifespan12-15 years
TemperamentAffectionate, loyal, courageous
Tendency to barkHigh
Maintenance LevelLow to medium
Health RiskHigh probability of health issues during its lifetime, hence it is one of the more expensive breeds to insure.

Insuring a Yorkshire Terrier?

Get award-winning cover with more benefits and up to 80% of eligible vet bills reimbursed. Find out about your cover options.

Get a quick quote

Insuring a Yorkshire Terrier?

Get award-winning cover with more benefits and up to 80% of eligible vet bills reimbursed. Find out about your cover options.

Get a quick quote
White Yorkshire Terrier-Maltese smiling near flowers

Breed history of Yorkshire Terriers

The Yorkshire Terrier, named after Yorkshire, northern England, was developed in Scotland from the cross-breeding of many small terriers, possibly including the Clysedale Waterside, Paisley, Skye, Dandie Dinmont and Black and Tan English Terriers. The Clyesdale Waterside Terrier, which was small with long greyish blue hair, played an important part in the creation of the Yorkshire Terrier, especially in terms of its appearance.

Then called Scotch Terriers, they were brought south to Yorkshire by Scottish weavers around the 1850’s. There the breed was developed into the Yorkie we know and love today. At first very much a working class dog, by late Victorian times the diminutive yet elegant Yorkie had found favour with English ladies as a beribboned lapdog.

The known first Yorkshire Terrier in Australia was “Punch,” who was exported to Brisbane from England in 1872 by Mr J Spink. Punch was a close relative of the first registered Yorkshire Terrier in the United Kingdom, Huddersfield Ben, who is regarded as the father of the breed.

yorkshire terrier

Physical description of Yorkshire Terriers

Among the smallest of the Terriers and in fact all dog breeds, the Yorkshire terrier is a tiny, toy-sized dog known for its long, silky, straight coat that keeps growing and can reach the floor.

With their tiny size, household accidents are one of the biggest risks to Yorkshire Terriers. Because they love to follow their owners around and can often sneak up quietly behind you, their small frame can be prone to broken bones or worse.

The Yorkie’s coat is its most outstanding feature, distinguishing it from all other small breeds. The Yorkie comes in a colour combinations of steel blue (on the body and tail) and tan, blue & gold, black & tan, and black & gold.

Weight range2 to 4 kg
Height range15 to 18 cm
ColoursBlue & gold, blue & tan, black & tan, black & gold
Coat lengthLong

Protect your loved ones

Sign up to get your first 2 months free and start saving on eligible vet bills!
Get a quick quote
Read more reviews
close up portrait of pretty sweet small little dog Yorkshire terrier in pullover outdoor dress, jacket on the spring sunny summer background

Yorkshire Terrier personality and temperament

Tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy, the Yorkie exhibits all the traits of a true terrier. Packed with personality, the Yorkie is entertaining, loving and a close companion.

Despite their tiny size, it is important to raise and treat Yorkies as real dogs; if they don’t get clear rules, they will show everybody that they are in charge. Yorkies are prone to Small Dog Syndrome, which occurs when owners allow their dog to get away with things they would not allow a larger dog to, which can lead the dog to believe they are the pack leader.

Some believe the Yorkie to be a “yappy” breed, but many owners find that when its needs are satisfied, it is a quiet and happy dog. On the plus side, their tendency to bark makes them great watchdogs.

Close-up of British Longhair Kitten, 5 weeks old, and Yorkshire terrier against white background

Yorkshire Terriers with kids and other pets

Yorkshire Terriers are not recommended to households with young children, as they can often treat the dog as a toy and play too roughly or drop or step on them. It is essential that young children are watched carefully around the Yorkie to ensure they treat it appropriately. Another reason why raising Yorkshire Terriers with small children is not ideal, is that the breed will not tolerate any unfairness.

Yorkies generally get along well with other dogs and cats in the family. However, Yorkies don’t understand how small they actually are, and they are filled with over-confidence and bravery. When they feel like it, they will bark at other dogs or enter into a stand off with a bigger dog without fear, and may sometimes need rescuing!

Pretty couple with little yorkshire terrier walking in the forest

Yorkshire Terrier training and exercise

Yorkshire Terriers may be small, but they are energetic little dogs who require moderate daily exercise such as walks and playtime to stimulate them both physically and mentally. If your Yorkie often runs around the house for no reason, this could be a sign that they need more exercise. Occasional short bursts of activity, such as chasing after a ball or frisbee in the backyard, may do the trick.

Yorkies love their owners, and those who are patient and consistent with rules and are patient with their dog will have no trouble with training. Yorkies respond better to praise and rewards than they do to harsh corrections. Housebreaking can occasionally be a challenge.

Energy levelMedium to high
Exercise requirementsMedium

Get 2 months free for your puppy!

Congrats on your new bundle of joy

To ensure your precious fur baby is covered from the start, we'd like to offer you 2 months free pet insurance in your first year2.
Get a quick quote
petite Yorkshire terrier puppy 7 weeks plays in the garden

Yorkshire Terrier feeding and nutrition

The Yorkie has a fairly small appetite and a large tablespoon of food once or twice per day should be sufficient for adults the breed (with up to four meals per day for puppies and adolescents). A high-quality, balanced and wholesome dog food that is appropriate for its age (puppy, adult, or senior), size and activity level is recommended.

Yorkies can become overweight so it’s important to monitor their weight and calorie consumption. Avoid feeding table scraps or overindulging them with treats. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

Female Hand holding toothbrush with toothpaste and yorkshire dog in background.

Yorkshire Terrier care and grooming

The Yorkshire Terrier’s hair is similar to human hair and can grow particularly long, especially around the face, which may require trimming in order to prevent it dipping into the food or water bowl. The hypoallerginic Yorkie does not have an undercoat and doesn’t shed much.

The lustrous Yorkie coat can and will look its best only with constant grooming and attention from the owner. Particularly if the coat is kept long, it needs to be brushed daily and shampooed weekly to maintain its shine, and the hair on the Yorkie’s head often needs to be tied up in a topknot to keep it from obstructing their vision. Alternatively, the coat can be clipped in an extremely cute, fluffy style which is easier for time-poor owners to manage.

Health issues for Yorkshire Terriers


  • Patellar luxation is a common issue among small dog breeds, and occurs when the patella is not lined up properly, causing the knee cap to fall in and out of place. This can lead to lameness or an abnormal gait in the dog, but for dogs affected with only mild cases, no treatment is required and they can lead normal lives. For more serious cases, surgery can be performed in order to correct the patella.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a family of eye conditions which lead to the gradual deterioration of the retina, causing first night blindness, then full blindness. There is no cure, but many dogs adapt easily to the loss of sight and can lead relatively normal lives, as long as their environment does not change too drastically.
  • Cataracts refer to a cloudy membrane forming over the eye causing vision impairment.  Causes include genetics, age, trauma and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. They can be removed surgically.Cropped image of handsome male doctor veterinarian at clinic is holding little dog Yorkshire Terrier on hands and smiling.
  • Portosystemic shunt is a condition which affects the flow of blood between the liver and the rest of the body. Because the liver controls detoxing and metabolism, this can be a serious issue. Signs of the condition include abnormal behaviour, loss of appetite, low blood sugar, gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract issues, intolerance to medication and stunted growth. Corrective surgery is an option, and a special diet may be prescribed to help combat the issue.
  • Collapsed Trachea occurs when the trachea, which carries air to the lungs, collapses, causing a dry, hacking cough often sounding like a goose honk. Surgery can be performed to fix the trachea and medication may also be prescribed.
  • Reverse sneezing can occasionally be confused with a collapsed trachea, but is much less serious. It occurs when the dog becomes over-excited, drinks/eats too quickly, or if there is an increased amount of irritants in the air. Though it can be scary to witness, it will stop as soon as the Yorkie relaxes. Stroking the dog’s throat may help the dog calm down.
  • Other Issues: Yorkshire Terriers can also experience eye infections, anaesthetic intolerance, bronchitis, tooth decay and gum disease.

Not all conditions are covered by Pet Insurance. For details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement.

Pet Talk

Jam packed with news, tips and advice on how to provide the best possible care for your Bow Wow or Meow!

Yorkshire Terrier facts!

  • uppy yorkshire terrierSmoky, a famous Yorkshire Terrier who served in World War II, is credited with a surge in popularity of the breed.  Smoky survived 150 air raids and was awarded 8 battle stars.
  • Audrey Hepburn, Joan Rivers, Eva Gabor, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Miranda Kerr, Simon Cowell, and Gisele Bundchen have all been Yorkie owners.
  • Yorkshire Terriers were known as “broken-haired Scotch Terriers” until 1870.
  • The smallest dog in recorded history, Sylvia, was a Yorkshire Terrier who stood at only 6.3cm tall and weighed only 115 grams.
  • During the first couple of weeks of their lives, Yorkies sleep 90% of the time.
  • In 1991, a 5.5 kg Yorkie named Oliver saved his 79-year-old neighbour from an attack by a 36 kg Akita. The Akita was taken into custody and the Yorkie survived the fight, needing nine stitches.

Get a quote


10% discount for multiple pets

Free engraved pet ID tag on sign up3

Customer Satisfaction

21 day cooling off
Life-long cover4
GapOnly® & easy claims


Yorkshire Terrier Club of NSW: http://www.yorkshireterrierclubnsw.com

Yorkie Queensland: http://www.yorkieqld.com/about_us

We're here to help you be a better pet parent

Download our free Rescue Dog guide

Choosing to rescue a dog means giving an animal a second chance in life. This comprehensive guide, developed by professional trainers, aims to help make the transition to life in your home as successful as possible for your dog and your family.
Download guide