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Why are Yorkshire Terriers so Expensive?

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Once you decide that you want to get a Yorkshire terrier, as you shop for puppies you may notice that Yorkie puppies can be quite pricey. While this may be a discouraging discovery, with effort, you can find a Yorkie in your price range.

There are many factors that impact the price of puppies; you may find a puppy for free or exceeding $2,000.00. Let’s discuss why that is:

Why Are Yorkshire Terriers So Expensive?

3 very young Yorkie puppies in basket

Generally speaking, any purebred puppy purchased from a breeder is the most expensive way to obtain a puppy. This is because responsible breeders carefully plan each litter and there are many costs associated with doing so.

What Effects The Price Of Yorkie Puppies?

There are many different factors that impact the price of a Yorkie puppy, but the most common reasons are:

Was the litter carefully planned, or accidentally occurring after unaltered dogs mated?

If the litter was planned those puppies tend to cost more, as those breeders are often breeding the puppies to align with the American Kennel Club (AKC)’s breed standard for the Yorkie.

A litter bred by accident might result in free or cheap puppies. An accidental litter also will have fewer costs associated with it, as the dog’s owner may have been unaware of the pregnancy, therefore eliminating prenatal care veterinary costs that are a crucial part of a responsible breeder’s job to obtain for their dam (female dog carrying puppies).

Did the mother require a cesarean section to deliver the puppies?

Breeding is not inexpensive; there are many veterinary bills involved in prenatal care and raising healthy puppies after birth, even more so if any of the puppies had complications.

As such, if the delivery is more complicated, that adds to the bill. A veterinary cesarean section is major surgery and can cost thousands of dollars to perform, plus the additional costs of recovery.

Were the parents tested for genetic diseases common to Yorkies before being bred?

Some breeders perform genetic testing on the parents of litters in an effort to help breed healthier puppies. For example, the Yorkshire terrier Club of America prepared a formal health statement that recommends that breeders arrange for their dam and sire to undergo both a Patella Evaluation and an Ophthalmologist Evaluation in an effort to help future generations of the breed be healthier and therefore happier.

Are the parents active or retired show dogs?

Yorkshire terrier family of mother, father and 3 puppies

If the sire and the dam, (the parents of a litter), are accomplished show dogs, that may drive up the cost of the puppies born to them.

Are the parents and or the puppies registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC)?

If the parents are registered with the AKC, this may contribute to a higher cost per puppy. Some breeders also choose to register the litter as a whole, or individual puppies, with the AKC.

The average pet parent who wants a Yorkie to be their companion pet would not register their puppy with the AKC, while pet parents who plan to breed or show would want a registered puppy.

In some cases, breeders allow pet parents to choose if their puppies are registered or not, and the price may reflect this.

What are your plans for the puppy?

Most breeders charge less for a puppy who will be a family companion, known as a “pet quality” puppy.

If a puppy conforms to the AKC’s breed standard for the Yorkie, known as a “show quality” puppy, he or she will be more costly because there are fewer Yorkies in the population who are eligible to show.

If you plan to breed the puppy, you may also be charged more. Alternatively, some breeders will make one of the terms of the sale of the puppy that you will not breed the puppy, and that you must neuter or spay the puppy to uphold the agreement.

Both pet quality and show quality puppies make excellent companions and have comparable dispositions; their only differences are physical.

How Much Can I Expect To Pay For A Yorkie Puppy?

sleeping yorkie puppies on rust colored dog bed

If you find an individual looking to re-home a Yorkie puppy or adult dog to a good home, they may agree to give you their puppy free of charge.

However, most people looking to re-home a puppy will charge a “re-homing” fee in an effort to weed out people who would want the puppy for nefarious or irresponsible purposes.

If you find a Yorkie available for adoption with a dog rescue, expect to pay an adoption fee ranging from free (if a good Samaritan sponsored the adoption fee), to about $500.00. Rescues charge these fees to recoup medical expenses incurred in bringing the puppy or dog to a good level of health that would allow them to be adopted.

Generally, the younger the dog, the higher the adoption fee will be, especially if he was neutered or she was spayed by the rescue.

For a “pet quality” puppy, or a puppy who will ultimately be a companion, the price is generally lower than “show quality” puppies but may still be high depending upon the breeder and your budget. If seeking a “pet quality” Yorkie puppy, expect to pay between $500 and $2,000.

For a “show quality” puppy, or a puppy who must conform to the AKC’s breed standard for the Yorkshire terrier to be able to participate in dog shows, the price is usually the highest. Should you plan to show or breed for showing purposes, expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000. Some even go as high as $10,000 for puppies from Champion parents.

Is An Excessively High Price Or Strangely Low Price A Red Flag?

Girl holding 2 Yorkie puppies

In some cases, yes. If a Yorkie puppy is free or a strangely low price, or an excessively high price, it could be the result of a scam, or unethical breeding practices, most often found in connection with puppy mills and pet shops that sell puppies.

Sadly, when shopping for puppies, you must be very cautious about whom you deal with and how you purchase your furry friend. For example:

  • Never send money electronically for a puppy online; meet the breeder and litter in person or via live video chat to be sure the puppies exist.
  • Some individuals breed dogs purely for profit, with no regard for the health of their sire, dam, or the puppies. They are often known as “back yard breeders” or “craigslist breeders”. If you witness neglect, report it immediately to local law enforcement and or the ASPCA.
  • The ASPCA brought a puppy leasing scam into the light a few years ago; some pet stores will lease puppies to customers who are unable to afford the high price that they are charging for the puppy. The leasing arrangement may even have fine print about the puppy being “repossessed” like a car if the payments are not satisfied, or a large lump sum due at the end of the “term of the lease”!

Where Is The Best Place To Get a Yorkshire Terrier?

Two puppies of the yorkshire terrier in basket

The best way to obtain your Yorkie is from a reputable dog rescue or a responsible breeder.

The internet is full of breeders, but not all of them are ethical. A good place to find ethical breeders is the American Kennel Club’s Marketplace, through a Yorkshire terrier group on social media, or via referral from a co-worker, friend or family member.


Yorkshire terriers may be expensive because of the careful breeding practices in place to produce a healthier generation of dogs. However, there are many factors that can cause the price to be inexpensive or more expensive.

Depending upon your budget and what you are looking for in a puppy, you are likely to find the right companion at the right price if you search carefully.

How did you find your Yorkie? How much did you spend on him or her? Share your experience in the comments below.

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing