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Yorkie Eyes

Yorkshire Terrier Eyes

Taking proper care of the Yorkshire Terrier's eyes is rather easy but does need to be done on a regular basis. As you groom and care for your dog's eyes, you will want to look for any signs of infection or issues.
  • We will discuss the Yorkie eye colors and how this relates to the dog's coat.
  • We will discuss the most common dog eye problems, particularly those that affect the small dog breeds, such as the Yorkie.
  • We will also discuss proper cleaning and grooming.
 Yorkie Eye Colors & the Correlation to the Coat

The Yorkie, and all dog breeds and humans, have a reflective coating along the back of the retina called the tapetum. This layer provides the ability for light to reflect. Sometimes this tapetum is colored and sometimes it is not. When a human has red blood vessels showing in the whites of their eyes, this is because that tapetum is not colored.
  • A Yorkie that has red vessels showing on the eye has a colorless tapetum.
  • A Yorkie with blue or green eyes, has a colored tapetum.
Yorkshire Terriers should have dark eyes per AKC breed standard which means very dark brown or black, however there are some that have light brown and even hazel. Rare, but possible, are those that have green, dark blue or hazel eyes.  The color of the Yorkie’s eyes is directly related to its coat. Those that have clear colored tapetum (and get “red eye” when having photos taken) have a bronze casting on the coat. Those with green or blue eyes will hardly ever be able to show that “red eye” effect in photos, and the coat of the dog will have a blue casting. The few Yorkies that have dark blue or green eyes have a more silky coat. Most Yorkies with standard dark eye colors will have a thicker, softer hair than their counterparts with light colored eyes.
Common Eye Issues With the Yorkie


This is a condition of a Yorkie's eyes, stemming from a range of health issues, causing the eye to become extremely irritated to the point of needing medical treatment. This can occur when a strange element comes into contact with or enters the Yorkie dog's eye or can be a symptom of an underlying canine ailment.


* Intense blinking/ Squinting
* Great amounts of water discharge
* Sensitivity to intense lights
* A loss of bright color in the iris or a bluish hue casing the dog's eye
* Redness
* Inflammation


The veterinarian will examine at the Yorkie dog's eye with an instrument that allows him to see the core of the eyeball.
Yorkshire Terrier eyes looking up
Baby, 18 months old
Photo courtesy of Dinorah
If the source of the irritation is not apparent, blood testing may be done. Quite frequently, medicine is given to the dog. For inflammation, anti-inflammatory medication will be given. For infection, antibiotics will be given. For pain, eye drops may be given.  If an underlying disease is discovered such as Brucellosis or Lyme disease, those will be treated as well. 
Yorkie with dark eyes
Sadie Mae, 1 year, 2 months old
Photo courtesy of Michaela Smith
Dry Eye

Dry eye does not sound like a severe aliment; nevertheless this condition can cause immense soreness for a Yorkie dog. There is a natural film that shelters a Yorkie dog's eyes. Without it, the dog's eye is not sheltered. The eye becomes very dehydrated, leading to numerous health problems. This can occur because of many reasons including: an wound to the eye, a dog not receiving appropriate nutrition, a mis-firing thyroid, infection or side effect from medicine.


* This is also at times called "Brown eye", as the eye may build up a brown tinted film
* Scar tissue may emerge on the dog's eye
*A cutting pain that is usually steady, as the eye loses all lubrication
* Blood vessels may grow quickly throughout the dog's eye

The Yorkie will be given eye drops to lubricate the eye, inflammation and infection will be reduced with medication and he or she will be given eye drops to help his body create normal tears. Surgery may need to be executed by the veterinarian if a tear duct is extremely damaged.
Corneal Dystrophy

The cornea is the outside layer of a Yorkie dog's eye. This condition describes the clouding of the cornea. This is an inherited canine eye disease and will affect both eyes equally.

The Symptoms

Gray or white crystal-like matter will start to grow on the Yorkie dog's eyes. In nearly every case, both eyes are affected in the same amount of severity.


Currently, there is not a treatment. Luckily, this issue is not painful. While it can have an effect on how clearly a Yorkie can see, it hardly ever fully blocks the dog's eyesight.

Eye Care & Grooming

The best thing that you can do for a Yorkie is to keep the eyes clean and the hair out of them...therefore grooming is very important. It is amazing how easily a stray hair can scratch the eye of this breed.

The eye area should be wiped down at least once a day (though once after each meal is best). You will want to use a quality canine eye wipe that is the right texture to pick up tiny debris and also works to combat tear stains. If you do not opt for this and instead only use a damp wash cloth, do please then also dry the area; if not the hairs will remain moist and red yeast can grow.  Red yeast is what causes most tear staining issues.  Cleaning your Yorkie's eyes on a regular basis will keep them free from dirt, debris, eye "gook", dust, foreign objects and to keep these elements from building up and then entering the eye itself.

Excess hair should either be trimmed short so that no strands come close to the eye or be pulled back into a topknot. 

If a Yorkie displays any of the above symptoms of an eye issue, he/she should be brought to an experienced and trusted veterinarian right away. Treatments work best when the health issue is determined early. 
Having All of the Needed Knowledge

Only so much can be placed on a webpage. To obtain very detailed, easy to read, complete need to have a different format. Therefore, we have created the YorkieInfoCenter Book, both in print & eBook.
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