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Yorkshire Terrier

Petite but proud, the Yorkshire terrier is a popular toy breed with a silky, low-shedding coat.

Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club

Quick Facts



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Yorkshire Terriers at a glance

Yorkshire Terriers (also known as Yorkies) are one of the smallest dog breeds, and also one of the most popular. Are you considering adopting a Yorkshire Terrier? Or do you already have one in the family? We have all the information you need to make decisions about their care, including details about this breed’s exercise needs, grooming tips, nutrition, and more. At the bottom of this guide, you will find a comprehensive list of all the health risks we test for here at Embark.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), this breed of dog is affectionate, tenacious, and spritely. Suffice it to say, bringing one of these adorable pups into your family will surely lead to years of amusement, joy, and true companionship. Like other toy breeds, Yorkies are prone to hypoglycemia and to traumatic injuries, so avoid abrupt changes in feeding and rough play.

About Yorkshire Terriers

Originally called “Scotch terriers”, they were developed from small terriers in Scotland in the mid-19th century. They were prized for their long, silky coats and for their courage and affection. After more selective breeding in England, they were renamed Yorkshire Terriers in 1870. The Yorkie was later recognized by the AKC in 1885. Although in the toy group, Yorkies are pure terriers, descended from consummate ratters.

Physical characteristics

embark yorkie puppy pink bow

Yorkshire Terriers are most recognizable by their size and their wonderfully silky coats. According to The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, the standard Yorkie coat is a clear shade of tan with a dark, steel-blue hue and is usually glossy and straight. As puppies, their coat is a striking black and tan that fades to blue and gold in adulthood.  These dogs are small in stature with a compact body and an alert expression.


Your pup’s diet should be appropriate for their age. The AKC advises keeping treats to a minimum so your Yorkie is able to maintain a healthy weight as they age. Check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


embark yorkshire terrier grey

Yorkshire Terriers can be a very spirited breed and will likely begin playing with very little encouragement from anyone. While some breeds are happy to spend long afternoons in a fenced-in yard, Yorkies are mainly an indoor breed, according to PetMD. However, these pups should be taken for regular, leash-led walks outdoors so they can enjoy consistent exercise and a change of environment.


As you can probably guess, it’s very important to take care of your Yorkshire Terrier’s silky coat! This includes regular trips to the groomer. As their coat grows between grooming appointments, be sure to keep any strands out of their eyes. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America has several other grooming recommendations for your information!

Health & aging
embark yorkie smiling

Yorkies are generally a very healthy breed, and the average lifespan of a Yorkshire Terrier is 11-15 years, according to the AKC. Some Yorkies are prone to luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), dental disease and certain eye diseases. Normal aging may also bring changes to sleep, exercise needs, and weight. Regular appointments with your Yorkie’s veterinarian can help you create a plan for healthy aging.

Getting your pup tested with Embark will arm you with as much information as possible to ensure your dog is healthy while potentially avoiding preventable diseases.

An Embark Dog DNA Test looks at the following health conditions in Yorkshire Terriers:

Do you own a Yorkshire Terrier or do you think your dog might be part Yorkshire Terrier? Learn more about your dog with Embark’s Dog DNA Tests, the most accurate on the market.

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