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Do you adore Yorkshire Terriers? If you’ve ever wondered what makes these furry friends so special, you’re in for a treat. Today, we’re taking a closer look at Yorkshire Terrier breed standards. 

These standards are like a set of rules that explain what makes a Yorkie unique. From their size to their coat colors, every little detail matters in defining these lovable companions. 

Join us as we uncover the secrets behind Yorkshire Terrier breed standards and learn more about these adorable pups.

But before we jump into the details, take a moment to watch this helpful YouTube video. It complements our discussion on Yorkshire Terrier breed standards and gives you a visual understanding of what we’ll be talking about.

Overview of Yorkshire Terrier Breed Standards

Yorkshire Terrier breed standards serve as guidelines established by kennel clubs to define the ideal characteristics of the breed. 

These standards encompass various aspects, including physical appearance, temperament, and overall breed traits.

Size and Weight Standards

According to the AKC standards, Yorkshire Terriers should ideally weigh between 4 and 7 pounds. This weight range ensures that they remain small and portable, a characteristic often associated with the breed. 

However, it’s important to note that deviations from this range can occur naturally without affecting the dog’s health or breed purity.

Coat Color and Texture

The coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is one of its defining features. Acceptable coat colors specified in the breed standards include blue and tan, with variations such as steel blue and golden tan being recognized as well. 

The texture of the coat is silky and straight, with a high sheen that adds to the dog’s appeal.

Facial Features and Body Proportions

A Yorkie’s facial features should exhibit a keen expression, with bright, sparkling eyes that convey intelligence and curiosity. The ears are small and V-shaped, standing erect to contribute to the breed’s alert appearance. 

The body proportions are balanced, with a level topline and a well-developed chest that signifies strength and agility despite their small size.

Gait and Movement

The breed standard also outlines the desired gait and movement of Yorkshire Terriers. They should move with a confident and purposeful stride, covering ground efficiently while maintaining an elegant posture. 

This fluid movement showcases the dog’s grace and athleticism.

Overall Conformation

When evaluating a Yorkshire Terrier’s conformation, judges and breeders consider the harmony of all these elements. A well-bred Yorkie should embody the breed standards in its entirety, presenting a picture of health, vigor, and breed type. 

Conformation shows assess how closely an individual dog matches the ideal outlined in the standards.

Physical Characteristics and Conformation Standards

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their distinct physical characteristics, as outlined in the breed standards set by kennel clubs like the AKC and UKC. These standards detail specific traits that define the breed’s appearance and conformation, ensuring that each Yorkshire Terrier embodies the essence of the breed.

Size and Proportions

Yorkies are small dogs with a compact and well-proportioned body. According to breed standards, they typically stand around 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 4 to 7 pounds. 

Their body length, measured from the base of the neck to the base of the tail, should be slightly longer than their height. This compact size makes them portable and adaptable to various living environments, from apartments to larger homes.

Coat Color and Texture

One of the most recognizable features of Yorkshire Terriers is their luxurious coat. The breed standards specify that their coat should be glossy, silky, and straight, with a fine texture. 

Acceptable colors include blue and tan, with variations like steel blue and golden tan also being recognized. The coat should be well-maintained to showcase its beauty and texture, requiring regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

Head and Facial Features

A Yorkie’s head should be small and flat on top, with a moderately short muzzle. Their eyes are medium-sized, dark, and expressive, set well apart and slightly prominent, conveying intelligence and alertness. 

The breed standard also describes a distinct “part” in the hair on the head, where the hair parts naturally from the top of the skull to the base of the neck, creating a characteristic appearance.

Ears and Tail

Yorkshire Terriers have small, V-shaped ears that stand erect on top of their head. These ears contribute to their alert and attentive expression, enhancing their overall charm. 

The tail of a Yorkie is customarily docked to a medium length and carried slightly higher than the back, adding to their overall balance and elegance. The tail should be carried without curling over the back.

Movement and Gait

When in motion, Yorkshire Terriers exhibit a confident and purposeful gait. Their movement is described as smooth, free, and effortless, with good reach and drive. 

The front legs should move in line with the shoulders, and the rear legs should provide strong propulsion. 

Judges and breeders assess how well a Yorkie’s movement aligns with the breed standard during conformation shows, evaluating the dog’s overall structure and coordination.

Temperament and Behavioral Standards

Yorkshire Terriers are renowned for their affectionate and loyal nature, forming strong bonds with their owners. 

Their alertness and intelligence make them excellent watchdogs, while their playful energy adds charm to their personality. Yorkies adapt well to various environments and benefit from positive training and socialization to showcase their best traits. 

Understanding and nurturing these temperament and behavioral standards enhance the bond between owners and their beloved Yorkies, creating harmonious companionship.

Health and Wellness Standards

Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. Understanding the health and wellness standards for Yorkies is crucial for responsible ownership and breeding practices. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the key health considerations for Yorkshire Terriers.

Common Health Issues

Yorkshire Terriers may be susceptible to specific health conditions due to their genetics and size. Some of the common health issues seen in this breed include:

  • Patellar Luxation: This condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap, leading to limping or lameness.
  • Tracheal Collapse: Yorkies are prone to tracheal collapse, a condition where the windpipe weakens and narrows, causing respiratory difficulties.
  • Dental Problems: Small breeds like Yorkies are prone to dental issues such as periodontal disease and tooth decay due to overcrowding of teeth.

Health Screening and Preventive Care

Responsible breeders follow health screening protocols to identify potential genetic issues in Yorkies. These screenings may include:

  • Orthopedic Evaluation: Checking for signs of patellar luxation and hip dysplasia.
  • Cardiac Testing: Assessing the heart health of Yorkies to detect any abnormalities.
  • Ophthalmologic Examination: Evaluating the eyes for conditions like cataracts or retinal issues.

In addition to screenings, preventive care is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of Yorkshire Terriers. This includes:

  • Regular Vaccinations: Following a vaccination schedule recommended by veterinarians to protect against infectious diseases.
  • Dental Care: Implementing dental hygiene practices such as brushing teeth and providing dental chews to prevent dental problems.
  • Nutrition: Feeding a balanced diet appropriate for the Yorkie’s age, size, and activity level to support overall health.

Ethical Breeding Practices

Ethical breeders prioritize the health and genetics of Yorkies when planning litters. They conduct genetic testing to screen for hereditary conditions and select breeding pairs carefully to minimize the risk of passing on genetic disorders. By adhering to health and wellness standards, breeders contribute to producing healthy and resilient Yorkies.

Maintaining the health and wellness of Yorkshire Terriers requires a proactive approach that includes regular health screenings, preventive care, and ethical breeding practices. 

By understanding and adhering to health standards, owners and breeders can ensure that Yorkies lead happy, healthy lives and contribute to the preservation of the breed’s well-being for future generations.

Breeding Guidelines and Considerations

Breeding Yorkshire Terriers requires careful consideration and adherence to ethical guidelines to promote the health and well-being of the breed. Here are essential guidelines and considerations for responsible Yorkie breeding.

Genetic Testing

Before breeding Yorkshire Terriers, it’s crucial to conduct genetic testing to identify potential hereditary issues. Tests may include screening for genetic disorders like luxating patella, portosystemic shunt, and progressive retinal atrophy. 

Ethical breeders prioritize genetic health and only breed dogs with clear test results to minimize the risk of passing on genetic diseases to offspring.

Health Screening

Both male and female Yorkies involved in breeding should undergo thorough health screenings. This includes evaluations for orthopedic conditions, cardiac health, and ophthalmologic examinations. Ensuring that breeding dogs are in optimal health reduces the likelihood of passing on health issues to their puppies.

Responsible Pairing

Pairing Yorkies for breeding should involve careful consideration of their genetic backgrounds, temperament, and conformation. Ethical breeders select mating pairs based on complementary traits, aiming to improve breed quality while maintaining breed standards. 

Breeding dogs with sound temperaments and desirable characteristics helps produce well-rounded puppies.

Age and Frequency of Breeding

Yorkshire Terriers should reach maturity before being used for breeding. Female Yorkies typically come into heat around six to nine months of age but should not be bred until they are at least a year old to ensure physical and emotional readiness. 

Breeding females should also have appropriate recovery time between litters to maintain their health and vitality.

Nutritional and Veterinary Care

Pregnant and nursing Yorkies require specialized nutritional and veterinary care. Providing a balanced diet, regular prenatal check-ups, and adequate prenatal care are essential for the health of both the mother and her puppies. Ethical breeders prioritize the well-being of their breeding dogs throughout the breeding process.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical breeders prioritize the welfare of the breed above financial gain. They do not engage in practices that compromise the health or well-being of their dogs, such as overbreeding or improper care. Breeding Yorkies responsibly involves a commitment to breed improvement, health maintenance, and responsible pet ownership.


As we wrap up our discussion on Yorkshire Terrier breed standards, we’ve learned a lot about what makes these dogs tick. From their ideal size and coat colors to keeping them healthy and breeding them responsibly, we’ve covered all the basics. 

By following these standards, we not only show respect for the breed but also ensure that Yorkies stay happy and healthy for years to come. 

Ready to dive deeper into the world of Yorkshire Terriers? Check out our detailed guide above for more insights.