10 Fun Yorkshire Terrier Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Yorkshire Terrier Facts     by Dawn Greer    |Published 06-19-2020

Yorkshire Terriers are mostly called Yorkies these days, and they are an adorable dog that tends to live for a long time. They often outlive their own teeth and become old and deaf before they pass away. This is a little dog that can be feisty when young and always by your side as he ages. They are very loving and loyal little dogs.

A litter of three Yorkie puppies and their momYorkshire Terrier Facts

Not known for being overly barky or needy, the Yorkie can be an independent little dog that will always find his way back to your lap when he wants to cuddle.

You’ll hardly notice him crawl into your lap as he weighs such a small amount, typically falling in the neighborhood of three pounds. TinDog loves Yorkies, and they love all little dogs. Here is more information on why you should love Yorkies too.

Fun Yorkshire Terrier Facts

Did you know?  Fanciers of the breed likely know all about these facts but the average dog owner may be surprised.  Check your knowledge and see how many of these tidbits of knowledge you already knew.

1. Tiny But Incredibly Bold

Two six week old Yorkshire Terrier Puppies (Black and gold)Six week old Yorkshire Terrier Puppies

They might be little, but they are not easily scared. This little dog is known for being an excellent watchdog. He’ll alert you to any trouble that might be brewing, and if something is in your yard or on the porch, the Yorkie will surely let you know!

2. Rat Catcher Extraordinaire

A young Yorkshire Terrier wearing a tiaraRat Catcher? Not anymore

They were not bred as lapdogs. In fact, this is originally a working-class little fella who has earned his way up to lapdog. The Yorkshire Terrier was originally bred to be a rat-catcher in the clothing mills of England. Old English lore jokes that the Yorkie has his elegant silken coat due to the years in which he spent working with the fine linens.

So, is that tiny dog who shares your pillow at night actually there to protect you should a menacing vermin enter your bedroom?

3. Tiny Body, Huge Personality

Yorkshire Terrier is looking at the camera.Yorkshire Terriers have a bigger than life personality

They are one of the smaller dog breeds, weighing between 3 and 7 pounds and standing 6 inches tall at their shoulders. They are certainly not small in personality, however.

4. The Very First Therapy Dog in History

The very first therapy dog, Smoky lived and worked during WWIISmoky the War Dog

A Yorkie was credited during World War II for saving the lives of soldiers that took her in when they found her in the jungle of New Guinea. She wasn’t an official armed forces animal and was not given rations. Therefore the soldier who kept her safe shared his food with her. She would bark to alert the men of sneak attacks. 

She was also taken to military hospitals where she may have been the very first therapy dog, visiting the soldiers who had been wounded in battle. Her name was Smoky, and there are many statues built in her honor to this day.  Her final resting place is in the Cleveland Metropark at Lakewood, Ohio.

5. Lovely Hair Color Changes:  No Bottle Needed

Two week old Yorkshire Terrier Puppy with his eyes open.Two Week old Yorkie Puppy

Yorkie puppies are black and tan when born and stay that way until they begin to become an adult. At that point, the black gives way to a faded, silvery blue color that is very unique. Their fur grows long and silky as well. Most people take their Yorkie to be groomed and trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks.

6. Celebrities First Choice in Pups

Yorkie shown here in full coat.

Audrey Hepburn kept Yorkies and made them quite popular during her years of stardom. Her dog often appeared in magazines and on covers with her.

7. Not Staffordshire,  Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, but Yorkshire:  Surprise!

Tan and black Yorkshire TerrierYorkies were named after the area where they were first developed, Yorkshire, England.

They were developed in Yorkshire, England, and that is where their name comes from. They were first named officially in 1870 but were not adopted into the AKC as an official breed until 1885. This makes them a very old breed in the registry, however.

They’ve been around long enough to win a few hearts and change career paths from rat chasers to lap warmers.

8. Dentures Anyone?

Dog TeethYorkies suffer from many dental issues.

The Yorkie is prone to losing their teeth as they age. It’s common, and when you see an older Yorkie with his tongue hanging sideways from his mouth, this is likely due to not having any teeth to hold his tongue in his mouth.

Keep this in mind and do your best to keep your pup’s teeth healthy, but when the time comes, watch for symptoms of painful teeth. If he is rubbing his face constantly, not eating, grumpy, or has very bad breathe, it is time to get him to the veterinarian to have his teeth inspected.

If he needs teeth pulled, this can be done under sedation, and he can go back to eating and being happy again - with soft food.

The best preventative?  Brush your Yorkie's teeth regularly.

9. Fearless Pups That Need that Extra bit of Protection

A Yorkshire Puppy in the grassEven little Yorkie puppies are fearless.

Yorkies are fearless little guys that can get themselves into a world of harm if you don’t keep an eye on them in the yard. They’ll take on big dogs, snakes, and anything they see as a threat to their territory.

They have no idea they are so small, so do be sure to supervise your Yorkie. They are small enough for an owl or bird of prey to fly off with.  They need your protection to protect them from themselves.

10. Lovely Hair Requires Effort

Yorkie is being groomedThese dogs require much grooming to keep them looking good.

Brush him regularly because his coat is very fine and silky. It tangles easily and gets knots. When their fur becomes matted it will turn into a matted mess that hurts them and has to be cut out unless a groomer can painstakingly pull the knots apart. This takes time and care. Daily brushing and keeping them clipped short is often the best strategy.

Yorkshire Terrier Facts Takeaways

Show Yorkshire Terrier in full coat

These are amazing little dogs that bring joy into your hearts.  Don't let that tiny size or big attitude deter you.  These dogs make great pets for singles, couples and even families who have older children who respect the needs of small dogs.  

As with other small dogs, Yorkies are easy to transport, eat less food, require smaller beds and toys, and adapt to small homes.  The complete Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed Profile will answer other questions you might have about this little dog.

Author Bio of Yorkshire Terrier Facts

Dawn Greer is a former vet tech and dog trainer with more than twenty-four years of experience with pets. In recent years, her focus has been on writing about pet-related topics and living off-grid with her four dogs, three cats, and a small menagerie of farm animals. She is a regular author of tindog.co

Yorkshire Terrier Facts:  Pin for Future Reference

Yorkshire Terrier PinYorkshire Terrier Facts Pin

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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