Even though you will see a dainty dog with a floor-length glossy coat when you come across a Yorkshire Terrier, the heart of this breed still beats with the feistiness of its ancestors. Yorkies once earned their keep by taking care of the rats that were in the mills and mines of England before they found their way into the laps of Victorian ladies. This compact, toy-sized pup weighs no more than seven pounds as an adult, featuring a coat that is steel blue and facial tones that are a golden tan.
Their size can make some people think that these dogs are pushovers, but anyone with some experience working with Yorkies will tell you otherwise. They are a brave breed, often bossy, and the Yorkshire Terrier exhibits a big attitude that stays wrapped up in a slightly egotistical small package. It is one of the best options to consider as a pet if you live in the city because they adapt well to homes of any size.
Another reason to consider the Yorkshire Terrier is the fact that they are more hypoallergenic than other breeds. Their human-like hair allows the coat to manage their dander more effectively, which means there are fewer contact issues to worry about with Yorkies.
Here are some additional Yorkshire Terrier pros and cons to review as well if you are thinking about bring a pup home to add to your family.
List of the Pros of a Yorkshire Terrier
1. Their size is an advantage for many households.
The Yorkshire Terrier provides a small size that is closer to the toy breed, but there is no daintiness that you’ll find when you bring this dog home. They might be less than seven pounds, but there is a sturdiness to them that makes them feel like a fierce protector. Their size makes them easy to carry around when you are running errands. You can walk them on a leash without difficulty. They also like to snuggle in the lap when you have some down time.
Because they are small and energetic, anyone in the family can safely walk them without difficulty. If you have younger children in your family, then this breed could be the perfect addition to consider.
2. Yorkies are excellent companion animals.
As with most other toy breeds, a Yorkshire Terrier is an excellent companion dog for people who worry about the size or strength of larger dogs. Yorkies are an excellent choice for seniors, individuals with disabilities, or people who have medical problems that limit their mobility. Because this breed can adapt to almost any size of living space, including studio apartments, there is almost nowhere that isn’t suitable for them if you are looking for some companionship.
3. It is easier to travel with Yorkies than other breeds.
The Yorkshire Terrier usually fits within the weight restrictions that are placed on pets when you travel. That means you can stay in more hotels with them, fly with them without having them in the belly of the plane, or spend less on boarding fees because of their size. You’ll need to pack less food for them as well, which means your expenses while traveling or less as well. Since these pups love human companionship, this advantage makes it easier to take your dog along on your next trip instead of leaving them at home to fend for themselves.
4. You don’t need to give them lots of exercise to be healthy.
If you have a large dog breed, then you might be walking 1-2 miles per day to ensure that your pup gets the right amount of exercise. With a Yorkshire Terrier, you can get away with a walk around the block and some play time in the house or out in the backyard. Yorkies don’t need a lot of exercise because of their overall frame and general excitability. They will tear around your home throughout the day whether you go for a walk or not.
They also move with a certain grace that you don’t see with other breeds. Yorkshire Terriers are inquisitive, curious, and lively. If you love to explore, then a Yorkie is the perfect companion to consider.
5. Yorkies can be a friendly breed.
If you can get your Yorkshire Terrier some social time with other humans, then they will turn into a happy pup that will be quick to embrace someone you know. Terriers are standoffish by nature, so they will read the vibes that you have for other people. If someone comes over and you don’t want them there, then the Yorkie will bark until that result occurs. You can teach this breed that it is okay to accept strangers without liking them, and then vocalize threats of danger when they occur.
6. There is minimal shedding with Yorkshire Terriers.
Because the coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is closer to human hair than standard dog fur, the amount of shedding that occurs is minimal. That means there is little dander produced that leaks into the environment, so sneezing and cleaning are less of a problem with this breed than others. You can sheer the coat close to avoid frequent brushing to create a further advantage in this area. The only real issue to look for if you prefer the longer coat is to clip around the groin so that leftover mess doesn’t happen after the dog does its business outside.
7. Yorkies are a long-lived breed.
Most toy breeds have a longer lifespan than larger dogs, although there are always a handful of exceptions to that rule. The typical expectation with this advantage for the Yorkshire Terrier is 12-15 years. Because injuries are the leading cause of premature death with this breed, you can help them to live a long and fulfilling life by taking some simple precautions. Avoid using flea powders, medication, or similar items unless there is a specific dosage for the breed. You will also want to train your Yorkie to not climb onto chairs or high places if at all possible because jumping down could fracture a leg.
8. The Yorkshire Terrier can come in other colors.
Although the breed standard for the Yorkshire Terrier is steel and tan, there are some other colors that are possible which go against the standard. Some of them are almost all gold or tan. There are dogs that have a brown, almost chocolate color instead of that bluish-gray hue. Some have white patches as well.
Yorkie puppies have black fur that eventually turns into the blue steel, but some of them never experience this changeover. This outcome occurs because some of the dogs in the terrier ancestry that were working in the mines were colored in black and tan.
List of the Cons of a Yorkshire Terrier
1. This breed has zero tolerance for anyone other than themselves.
If you have a Yorkshire Terrier at home, then the only other pets that you can usually keep without difficulty is another dog from this breed. Yorkies are a no-nonsense breed. They might be super cute and adore being the princess of the family or Mom’s little baby, but that pomp and polish disappears immediately if there are other animals in your home. They have little tolerance for other animals outside of their breed, including other dogs of any size. Yorkies are not afraid to take on Great Danes, a St. Bernard, or other very large breeds – and they usually win if the other dog doesn’t treat them like a squeaky toy first.
2. Yorkies don’t like rough handling.
If you have young children at home, then your Yorkshire Terrier will want them to play with gentle touches instead of rough-housing. Other pets that like to tackle and bite are not a good fit for Yorkies either. The best games to play with this breed involve chase and fetch. Anything that is rough could be problematic because it will increase the risk of an injury occurring while encouraging the feistiness to come out.
Biting and scratching can be problems if you teach your Yorkshire Terrier that rough play is acceptable in your family. This breed doesn’t have discretion between adults or children, so take care with your training approach.
3. Yorkshire Terriers have the “big dog” syndrome.
Yorkies almost always believe that they are bigger and fiercer than what they really are in real life. That leads to a territorial attitude that can be problematic, especially if you have larger animals. The Yorkshire Terrier will almost always challenge to be the pack leader at some point, oblivious to its size advantage. That includes people sometimes as well. If you want to avoid conflict in your home and you’re not the biggest fan of a dog that loves to bark, then a different breed is probably a better choice.
4. It takes longer to housetrain a Yorkshire Terrier.
Even though the myth of a Yorkie being untrainable is false, this breed does struggle with its potty training. It will take more than a few attempts to have a successful result. If you have enough patience, consistency, and positive praise when your pup does go outside, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be. There will still be accidents that happen over time with their smaller size, but there are ways to manage that issue inside. You can train your Yorkshire Terrier to use a grass mat, litter box, or some other product that won’t leave your floor a mess.
5. Yorkies don’t make for a good guard dog.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a territorial breed. If there is someone or something unfamiliar in their area, then they will let you know about it immediately. As with many other toy breeds, Yorkies like to find the highest spot possible in your home to survey their surroundings. If you have a couch that sits by a window, then that will usually become their favorite spot. Then they will bark up a storm whenever they see a stranger or hear a strange noise.
It is unintimidating to have a small, 7-pound dog come charging at you as a burglar. Adding a red bow or a cute bowtie does little to fight off a robbery attempt.
6. You will need to spend time grooming your Yorkie every day.
If you keep the coat short with your Yorkshire Terrier, then you can reduce the amount of grooming that you’ll need to do with this breed. When you allow it to grow out naturally, then the fur is closer to human hair than it is for other dogs. That means you will need to brush it daily if it isn’t trimmed so that your Yorkie doesn’t develop painful knots.
A special brush is usually necessary to complete this job as well because of the fine nature of their coat. It will take 10-15 minutes most days to do it correctly. If you have some nightly lap time, then that is the perfect opportunity to take care of this chore.
7. Yorkies like to sleep under pillows and blankets.
One of the most common sources of injury for a Yorkshire Terrier is when someone sits or steps on the dog when they don’t realize it is nearby. Yorkies love to find a warm place to sleep. That means you will need to start checking your pillows and blankets before using them. It doesn’t take much to cause harm since this breed is so fine-boned. They don’t like fast movements either, so quickly removing a blanket can be a traumatic event to the dog. If there are any concerns with this disadvantage, then you will want to go with a larger adult or a bigger breed to avoid unnecessary medical bills.
8. There are several health issues that affect the breed.
You will want to have your prospective Yorkie undergo a liver test before you finalize your purchase. About one-third of liver shunt cases in canines occur with this breed. It requires specialist care to resolve the issue, a tricky surgery, and there is no guarantee for success. The Yorkshire Terrier is like other toy breeds and can develop dental disease without frequent brushings. Some can have a defective windpipe that makes their barking sound more like a goose honking. Loose knee joints can cause pain, with almost 25% of the dogs affected by a luxating patella.
Many older Yorkies tend to eventually go blind because of cataracts.
Verdict of the Pros and Cons of Yorkshire Terriers
If you live in an apartment, have mobility challenges, or you like the idea of having a small companion that can travel with you, then a Yorkshire Terrier is the perfect breed to consider. You will have a snuggle partner for a long time in these circumstances.
When you don’t have the time to groom this breed, have young children in the home, or stay away for long periods due to work or other responsibilities, then a Yorkie might not be the best option to choose.
The pros and cons of Yorkshire Terriers are essential to consider if you are evaluating the status of your home. Limit the high spots where a Yorkie could perch, be patient with this breed, and you will find that it can be rather easy to have a positive experience.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.