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Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Scott Allen

The Distinctive Physical Characteristics of a Yorkshire Terrier

The Distinctive Physical Characteristics of a Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, affectionately known as the Yorkie, is a breed renowned for its size, personality, and luxurious coat.

These diminutive dogs pack a lot of personality into a small package, and their physical characteristics are just as distinctive as their bold temperaments.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique physical traits that set Yorkies apart from other dog breeds.

Size and Stature

Yorkshire Terriers are members of the toy group, and their size is one of their most defining characteristics. An adult Yorkie typically weighs around 4 to 7 pounds and stands at 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder. Despite their small stature, they are well-proportioned and surprisingly sturdy for their size.

Coat and Color

Luxurious Coat

The Yorkie’s coat is perhaps its most striking physical feature. It’s long, fine, and silky, resembling human hair more than typical dog fur. The breed standard calls for a coat that is glossy, fine, straight, and silky. Proper grooming is essential to maintain the coat’s texture and sheen.

Distinctive Color Patterns

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their distinctive blue and tan coat. The breed standard specifies that the body and tail are blue, and the rest of the dog is tan. Puppies are born black and tan and gradually attain their adult coloration as they mature.

Hypoallergenic Qualities

Although no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Yorkies are often a good choice for allergy sufferers due to their human-like hair and minimal shedding.

Head and Face

Compact Face

Yorkies have a small head with a short muzzle, giving them a “baby-doll” face that many find irresistible. Their compact size contributes to their toy-like appearance.

Expressive Eyes

Their medium-sized, dark, sparkling eyes are full of expression and intelligence, framed by a pair of short, V-shaped ears that stand erect.

Button Nose

A black button nose completes the Yorkie’s face, providing a stark contrast to their tan facial fur.

Body Structure

Well-Proportioned Frame

Despite their small size, Yorkies have a well-proportioned and compact body. They possess a level back and a well-held tail, which is usually docked to a medium length.

Fine-Boned Limbs

Their legs are straight and fine-boned, but strong enough to support their active antics. The breed standard calls for neat, round feet with black toenails.

Muscular Build

Underneath their luxurious coats, Yorkies have a surprisingly muscular build, which is a testament to their terrier heritage.

Distinctive Traits Table

Here’s a table summarizing the distinctive physical traits of a Yorkshire Terrier:

Physical Trait Description
Size Weighs 4-7 pounds, stands 7-8 inches tall
Coat Texture Long, fine, and silky
Coat Color Blue and tan, with puppies born black and tan
Head Shape Small with a short muzzle
Eyes Medium-sized, dark, and expressive
Body Compact and muscular with a level back
Limbs Straight, fine-boned legs; round feet

Grooming Requirements

Yorkies require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance. Here’s what their grooming regimen typically includes:

  1. Daily Brushing: To prevent tangles and mats.
  2. Regular Baths: To keep the coat clean and glossy.
  3. Hair Trimming: Especially around the feet and ears to maintain a tidy appearance.

Health Considerations

While Yorkies are generally healthy, their physical characteristics can predispose them to certain health issues:

  • Dental Problems: Due to their small mouths, they are prone to dental overcrowding and related issues.
  • Sensitive Digestion: Their fine-boned structure can be accompanied by a delicate digestive system.
  • Bone Fractures: Their small size and fine bones can make them more susceptible to injuries.

Breed Standards Table

The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards for Yorkshire Terriers include specific requirements for their physical characteristics:

AKC Standard Requirement
Coat Long, fine, and silky; color is blue and tan
Head Small and flat with a short muzzle
Body Compact with a level back and medium-length tail
Legs & Feet Straight legs; round feet with black toenails
Weight Must not exceed 7 pounds


The Yorkshire Terrier is a breed that captivates with its distinctive physical characteristics. From their luxurious coat to their expressive eyes and compact, muscular build, Yorkies are as unique in appearance as they are in spirit. Understanding and appreciating these traits can help owners provide the best care for their Yorkie, ensuring these small dogs live a full and healthy life.


    1. American Kennel Club (AKC). (2021). Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed Information.
    2. The Kennel Club UK. (2021). Breed Information Centre Yorkshire Terrier.