Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: What’s it like Owning One?

5326389 m Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: What's it like Owning One?

Owning a Yorkshire Terrier is a lot of fun, but it can be hard to know what your in for when you don’t know what their temperaments are like. I own an adorable Yorkie and my husband has a Yorkie (which his grandma takes care of), so I know all of the ins and outs of Yorkie temperaments and can’t wait to share them with you.

What is it like owning a Yorkshire Terrier and what are their temperaments like? Yorkies are super great dogs and are easy to train. Like any dog, Yorkshire Terriers have their good qualities along with some bad qualities, which means that living with them is fun but you also have to deal with some barking. Yorkies are smart and playful but also can be protective and possessive.

I love my little Yorkie. His name is Raffa and he is pretty much the cutest thing in the entire world. Living with his is fun because he loves to play and is also a huge cuddler, but it can be hard sometimes when he barks at the neighbor’s dogs and licks you all the time.

So read on to hear all about Yorkshire Terriers and what they are like.

The Yorkshire Terrier Temperament

Yorkshire Terriers, Yorkie for short, are known for having little dog syndrome. They act like a big dog trapped inside a little dogs body and their temperaments are based a lot on this.


First things first, they are very protective. Yorkies are known for being lap dogs that walk around with bows in their hair, but they are actually rather protective dogs and will do anything to protect their owners.

Because of this, it is important to socialize your dog early in its life with other dogs, other people, and especially with children. Because little kids are smaller Yorkies can see them as a bigger threat, so making sure that your Yorkie gets some kid love while its young is important.

A lot of people love the protective nature of their Yorkies and rely on it. My husband’s grandmother only feels safe when she’s home alone because Gabby, her and my husband’s Yorkshire Terrier, is home with her. Luckily Gabby is great with kids because she was raised around them, but she is still very protective of her owner.


The second major temperament trait that comes with owning a Yorkshire Terrier is their intelligence. Yorkies are extremely intelligent dogs and as such, they require a lot of intellectual attention. That is why they make great supportive dogs and need jobs.

When my family first got our Yorkie Raffa we learned very quickly that he was smarter than he was adorable and that was almost impossible to believe. But really, he needed intellectual stimulation.

So, my mom immediately began training him, taking him on scheduled walks, and playing games with him. He quickly grew into his smarts and was showing signs of wanting more.

My mother has a heart condition and so Raffa quickly grew to be her support dog and whenever she would be on the brink of having an episode he would first alert her and then my dad. He really is a smart dog. But Raffa isn’t unique.

Yorkshire Terriers are very intelligent dogs.

It is wise to begin training them immediately and to give them some sort of job. Whether that job is taking a walk with a weighted vest on or completing intellectual games as long as they feel like they have a purpose they will feel happy and successful.

Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to catch rats mice in the factories in Yorkshire England which help them develop into intelligent and fierce little dogs. So they need to be used and to have their intellect put to the test is a very hereditary quality that Yorkies posses.

Trainable and Stubborn

The third quality that Yorkies posses are that they are trainable and yet stubborn. It seems redundant to put these two qualities together but really they go hand in hand.

Because Yorkies are so smart and are hereditarily used to being trained for a job they have the temperament to be easily trained, but they can also be very stubborn dogs.

Experts say that the most important time in a Yorkshire Terriers life is the first 6 months because either they are trained and their stubbornness is subverted or they aren’t trained and their stubbornness takes over.

I’ve seen this clearly in my life. Our Yorkie Raffa was trained early on in his life and although it was a nightmare trying to potty train him because he was so stubborn once he gave in it was relatively easy. Now he is very well trained and has a very fun and calm personality.

If you feel like you don’t know how to train a dog, don’t worry. Yorkshire Terriers make great first dogs because they are so easy to train.

My husband’s Yorkie on the other hand, wasn’t ever really trained because he got while he was busy in high school and his grandma was just too old to really train her. Now Gabby is almost impossible to train because she is so stubborn. So trust me, with Yorkies training early matters.

Plus they do very well with just a few dog training classes, so if you feel overwhelmed by training you can sign them up for a few classes and have some help with their training.

Very Active

The last temperament trait that you need to know about Yorkshire Terriers is that they are super active. Those little guys have all the energy in the world. Our Yorkie in his youth would go for an hour walk come home and drink some water and then be ready to right back out again.

This is an important part of their temperaments because you can tell that your Yorkie isn’t feeling well if they are sluggish or lazy all day. They should have happy and active personalities.

With dogs that have a lot of energy comes a lot of responsibility. Yorkies need to be walked daily and then played with. Whether that is fetch or some fun dog parks that have obstacle courses, they need an outlet for that energy or it can turn into aggression which is bad.

But don’t be freaked out once a Yorkie that has been trained grows out of the puppy phase, they will calm down even though they will stay incredibly active. So don’t worry, you’ll get your cuddle time in.

Now, these are the four main components of Yorkshire Terriers temperaments, but each puppy and adult will have its own unique temperament. Protective, intellectual, trainable/stubborn, and active are just the main temperament that will show itself in pretty much every Yorkie.

What’s it like Owning a Yorkshire Terrier?

34729596 m Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: What's it like Owning One?

Lots of people buy Yorkshire Terriers because they are cute and little, but even when you know their temperament it can be hard to understand what it is like living with a Yorkie.

Are they the kind of dog that needs a lot of attention, or do they like to be alone? Are they the kind of dog that has serious genetically passed health problems that you will have to worry about or not?

To describe what it is like owning and living with Yorkies I have decided to break it up into three different sections size, health, and personality. That way we can hit all of the points of living with a Yorkshire Terrier.

The Yorkshire Terrier’s Size

Yorkies are known for being small and usually weigh about 12 to 15 pounds and are about 8 to 9 inches tall. That means that living with these little dogs is going to be a lot different than living with bigger dogs.

Because of their size Yorkies are known for being easily injured. Whether they get hurt jumping off of furniture that is too high, they get stepped on while you are trying to cook, or one of the kids plays to ruff and hurts them the fact that they are easily hurt means that as owners you have to pay special attention to them.

Some people put bells on their Yorkie’s collars so that they can hear them coming and don’t accidentally step on them.

Our Yorkie jumped off of a stage at my dad’s work and tore his ACL, so you never know what is going to happen. As an owner of a Yorkshire Terrier you just have to be vigilant.

Also because of their size, it can seem like they don’t need to be trained because they are so cute, but Yorkies live long lives and if you don’t train them early because they are ‘cute’ and you want to ‘spoil them’ it can leave them with unfulfilling lives.

That is just a sad thought to me. Your Yorkshire Terrier deserves to have a physically healthy life and an emotionally healthy life. So, ignore their cuteness and smallness for a while and just train them so that they can be happy and healthy.

The Yorkshire Terrier’s Health

10866936 m Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: What's it like Owning One?

Surprisingly the only genetic health issues that purebred Yorkshire Terriers seem to pass down is tooth decay and eye diseases. There aren’t really any diseases that come with owning a Yorkie so there isn’t a lot of special care they need, but you do have to address their eyes and their teeth.


Starting with the eyes. Yorkies are notorious for getting eye infections and some develop cataracts disease as they get older. It is important to make sure that you keep the hair around their eyes well groomed and that you catch eye infections early.

Whenever you give your Yorkshire Terrier a bath it is wise to wash their faces very carefully because even though they hate it, it can help keep infections out of their eyes.

Also, if you will wipe under and around their eyes every morning or every night you can clean up any gunk that has collected there and wipe up the fluids that come out of your dog’s eyes.

Every time you go in for a check up on your Yorkie just make sure that they check the eyes. As long as you are keeping their faces clean and making sure that you treat infections as soon as they arise, you shouldn’t have any severe problems with their eyes.


Moving on to teeth. Yorkies are known for really bad tooth decay because of how small their mouths are. Because of that, it is highly suggested that you buy dog food that is meant for Yorkies or small dogs and that you either brush your dog’s teeth or use treats that will clean their teeth for you.

You should also be careful to make sure that you don’t play tug of war with your Yorkie because it can pull out their teeth. We children had to learn that the hard way and it was very sad.

When it comes to dog food, be careful not to overfeed your Yorkie because it can cause extra weight on their joints which means higher injuries. Also, don’t underfeed them because they can get hyperglycemia.

So when you live with a Yorkie make sure that they don’t jump off of high furniture, they aren’t stepped on, they have clean teeth and eyes, and that they don’t get over or underfed.

The Yorkshire Terrier’s Personality

Living with a Yorkie has a lot to do with their personalities. One of the biggest complaints about Yorkshire Terriers is that they can behave aggressively to strangers, other dogs, and kids.

Now all of these negative personality traits can be curved or avoided if your terrier is trained, but that means that as the owner you can’t spoil them or give and give them everything that they want.

Yorkshire Terriers LOVE to play and have fun!

You need to be firm and to make sure that they are properly trained. If you immerse them with situations where they are around kids and other dogs while they are puppies, they will be a lot sweeter and won’t have the same aggression problems that some other Yorkies may have.

Yorkies are also very social dogs which means that they don’t like to be alone. Luckily if they are trained and raised around other dogs then they love them and those other dogs can be their companions while the family is gone.

If you live a lifestyle where people aren’t home a lot and you only want one dog then a Yorkie probably isn’t the right kind of dog for you. They do need companionship which is one of the fun things about Yorkies.

Everything Good About the Yorkshire Terrier

23320098 m Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: What's it like Owning One?

So, now that we have the bad stuff covered let’s talk about the good that comes with living with a Yorkie. For one thing, Yorkies are incredibly loving. They will cuddle you and give you kisses as much as your heart desires.

Plus, they are tons of fun. They will run around and get crazy excited with you, or they will play games with you, or they will let you dress them up and help them look even cuter.

I loved living with our Yorkshire Terrier because he was a blast! When we moved into our new house that had a sliding glass door we realized that when we would leave him alone outside our Yorkie would go out in the yard and play fetch with himself.

He would pick up his toys with his mouth, throw them, and then chase them. It was so cute! Plus if you covered him in a blanket he would try to “fight” you blind and it was hilarious.

But even more than being fun it was nice to know that he loved us so much he would always protect us. One time he got stuck by porcupine needles because he was trying to protect the family from a porcupine that had found its way into our fenced yard.

So basically there are a lot of things that you have to be aware of and watch for, but mostly owning a Yorkie is just a blast! They are cute, fun, friendly, and they make great pets.

Related Questions

Do Yorkies make good pets? Yorkies make great pets because of their size, trainability, and their love for their owners. They can make great first time pets and play well with children if they are raised around them. Yorkshire Terriers are known for being good dogs for the elderly and those who have medical problems.

Do Yorkshire Terriers bark a lot? The Yorkshire Terriers main way of communication with its owner is barking. Because of that, they are known for barking at strange noises and at things that excite them, as well as, when they are being protective.

Do Yorkies like to be alone? Yorkshire Terriers are social dogs and do not enjoy being alone. So, if you plan on being gone a lot either consider getting two dogs or consider getting a dog other than a Yorkshire Terrier.