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The Yorkie Temperament

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Yorkies are small in size, but boy, are they big in personality! The Yorkshire Terrier is the most popular toy dog breed in the United States, with many falling in love with their feisty but loving demeanor.

yorkie with blue flowers in background

Yorkshire Terriers are generally known as intelligent dogs, with plenty of quirks and fun personalities.

Like any purebred dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has a breed-specific temperament that they’re well known for, making research on this particular breed’s temperament easy to come by.

You can read more about what makes this breed the way they are and Yorkie history here.

It’s important to invest the time into understanding your Yorkie, so you can provide a comfortable lifestyle for them and build fun memories.

The more you understand your Yorkie’s temperament and how to best communicate with them, the stronger your bond will become!

General Temperament of a Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire terrier is an intelligent, feisty, and domineering little dog but is also extremely affectionate. With the Yorkie’s intelligence being higher than average, they tend to be easy to train and great at communicating; however, they can be stubborn with house training.

A Yorkshire Terrier is as energetic, independent, and courageous as you would expect a large dog to be, giving them a very desirable temperament, so it’s important to not let the Yorkie’s tiny size fool you!

Yorkies are also sensitive to the cold and prone to chills due to their small bodies and human-like hair, so it’s important that they are protected appropriately in cooler weather.

The Yorkie

Shaping Your Yorkie’s Behavior

Just because a dog breed is known for exhibiting certain behaviors, it doesn’t mean that all Yorkies grow up to be exactly the same. In fact, if raising a Yorkie from a small puppy, it’s most desirable to start molding your pup’s behavior from the first day they come home.

Your Yorkie will quickly learn how and how not to behave, which will play a huge part in developing their character and behavioral traits. The first three months of any puppy’s life are crucial for shaping their temperament.

So, how do you shape your Yorkie’s behavior? Is there anything that can be done to help mold your dog’s behavior if you’ve adopted them at a later stage in life?

Let’s take a look at our tips on how to influence your Yorkie’s behavior, no matter what their age.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is incredibly important in letting your Yorkie know what is and what is not acceptable in those first few months.

Unfortunately, if you have adopted your dog at a later stage, it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to correct behavioral problems that were formed in a dog’s early upbringing.

If addressed early, your Yorkie can avoid more serious behavioral issues later on, such as biting, accidents, and super finicky eating.

Focus on Socialization

Early socialization is arguably the most important aspect of raising a well-balanced dog of any breed. While it will be more difficult to socialize a dog that was not socialized properly at an early age, it is still possible with careful training and persistence and will be worth the results.

Socialization is the best way to ensure that your dog has a friendly, outgoing personality and loves both other animals and people.

The best way to start to socialize your Yorkie is getting them used to new surroundings, as well as new noises.

It’s important to teach your pup from an early age that the outside world is nothing to be afraid of, to save them from developing phobias of strangers, loud noises, and new places.

Another way to get your pup used to human touch is, of course, showering them with love and affection from an early age.

Pet and hold your Yorkie puppy often and give them regular groomings. If your dog is older, it’s important to take this in stages and respect their wishes if they’re not yet comfortable with being held and touched for extended periods of time.

Don’t Keep Your Yorkie in a Cage

While we understand that not all puppies can be trusted to be given free rein of the house when you’re not there, there are better alternatives to a cage or a kennel for your Yorkie.

A playpen is generally a much better idea for this type of dog, as it will give them enough room to explore without feeling like they’re being enclosed.

Some dogs love their crates and if your Yorkie is already used to a crate and is comfortable with it, that’s great. Keep using it when you aren’t home, or when your dog needs a break.

Some Yorkie’s respond badly to crates, developing a fear that could lead to aggression. Allowing your Yorkie to feel comfortable in their surroundings will allow them to grow into a confident, loving, and friendly pet.

Yorkies Thrive on Routine

It’s important to remember that any dog truly thrives on routine. Routine allows your pet to feel safe and comfortable in their new environment, giving them an understanding of what’s coming next in their day.

Due to their temperament, Yorkies, in particular, thrive on a predictable schedule that clearly outlines your expectations for them.

A daily routine should generally involve bathroom time, feeding, walking, exercise, grooming (it’s important to keep that long hair brushed and mat-free!), playtime, and even quiet time to help your pup rest and prevent them from being over sensitized to sounds.

You may be interested to know that feeding your Yorkie on a schedule is actually even more important to the terrier breed than many other breeds due to the Yorkie’s specific dietary needs.

Feeding your Yorkie at set meal times throughout the day with snacks in between helps them maintain their diet and reduce possible digestive problems, including vomiting.

How to Take Care of Yorkshire Terriers

The Yorkie Temperament

At the end of the day, it’s important to ensure that your Yorkie knows who’s boss at home. This should never come in the form of harsh treatments or punishments for your pet, but in the form of praises and positive reinforcement when they do exhibit positive behavior.

It’s incredibly important to establish early on as a Yorkie owner what is acceptable behavior and to never praise or give attention to unwanted behaviors such as biting, unnecessary barking, and begging at the table.

While Yorkies can be wonderful, intelligent, loving, and obedient dogs, an undisciplined Yorkshire Terrier who thinks that they’re in charge can be a bit of a nightmare for both you and your guests!

If you’re feeling lost in how to train and discipline your Yorkie, enrolling them in obedience classes is a great way to better understand how to bring out the best in your Yorkie’s temperament.


Yorkie with flowers in background
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