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Yorkie Size


There are lots of questions regarding Yorkie size. Many owners are concerned that their dog is either too small or too large in comparison to others…And this leads them to be concerned about possible health issues… Or even if breeding was done properly.

At the heart of this issue is the expression “toy” or “mini”. This is due partly because there are breeders who purposefully bred down this dog to create Yorkshire Terriers that are smaller than the standard.

The other element is a standard Yorkie that falls under or over the expected weight and/or size range.

Expected Size

Breed standards have changed. The AKC used to list a minimum weight of 4 pounds (1.81 kg). Now, there is only a maximum weight of 7 pounds (3.17 kg) for a full grown, adult Yorkie. Even with this change on paper, most Yorkshire Terriers fit into the 3 to 7 lb. (1.36 kg to 3.17 kg) range.  A dog smaller than this, fully grown, would be considered too small and may have size related health issues. There are however, many Yorkies that are a tad larger than the 7 lbs, weighing 8 to 10 lbs. (3.62 to 4.53 kg). If not overweight, this would be due to larger bone structure, which most likely is due to a pairing of dam and sire that was not quite correct to produce standard sized dogs.

There is not a height standard set. What an owner can expect is for an adult to reach a height of between 6 and 9 inches (15.24 to 22.86 cm) and one must remember that this measurement is from the floor to the withers (shoulder tops).
3 pound Yorkshire Terrier
Harper Grace, 2 years old & 3 lbs.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Fairchild 
With this being said, this breed can vary in both weight and height. Let’s first take a look at how the Yorkie compares to other toy breeds. 
Yorkshire Terrier size comparison
As you can see, even though the Chihuahua is the smallest of all purebred toy breeds, the Yorkie very close. In fact, the smallest dog ever on record was a Yorkshire Terrier.

Teacup Yorkies

The issue of Miniatures is one of great controversy. The AKC and any other reputable kennel does not recognize the Teacup or any other term that implies tiny size as an acknowledged variation of the breed or as a separate variety. One of the reasons why the term even exists is because at some point, someone thought that if small was good, smaller was better. In time, just about very toy and small sized type of dog was bred down, despite it interfering with health.
Yorkie size
Monique, 1 and 1/2 years old
Photo courtesy of Timo Hughes
Marketing and sales pitches will have some believing that these are “special” dogs. However, taking a 4 to 7 pound dog and purposely making it even tinier is putting the dog’s health in jeopardy. Some are as little as 2 pounds and only 4 to 5 inches at the shoulder.

The process is done by obtaining a male and a female that are both undersized and when paired together, will have a likelihood of producing tiny puppies. One should understand that 4-7 pounds is very tiny….To be any smaller creates many issues including:
  • Fragile bones
  • Weakened immune system
  • Greater chances of neck, hip and knee injury
  • Shorter life span
For those who have a Yorkie adult that is under 3 pounds, it is advisable to keep a close eye on potential problems. Your veterinarian should be checking for issues such as luxating patella (slipped kneecap), hip dysplasia (slipped hip joint and socket) and collapsed trachea. One must stay aware of temperature changes…The Yorkie will easily overheat in hot weather and will most likely need protection in cold weather (booties, sweater, etc.)

You may remember 'Tiny Pinocchio', an unusually small Yorkie, that appeared on many TV shows including Oprah and the Today Show. He was only 1 lb and just 4.5 inches tall. It's sad how his tiny size was celebrated...he died at the age of 2 years old.
Bigger Than Normal Yorkies

On the other end of the spectrum are owners who are concerned that their dog may be too large. There are a couple of different elements to this as well. 

First, one may have assumed that their dog was going to fall on the lighter end of the scale and be closer to 4 pounds. However one must remember that up to 7 pounds is normal and expected. With this said, the 7 pounds is the standard for AKC conformation, and this means that there are lots of Yorkshire Terriers that are 8 and 9 pounds…And are perfectly healthy purebreds. In every litter there will be a variety and range of body structures. While one can look to the dam and sire for expected appearance, genes often go back 5 generations and can go back much farther than that.

Those that are over 9 pounds should be evaluated for excess weight….Do keep in mind that weight will be relevant to height and even a 10 pound dog may not be overweight if his or her height is perhaps in the 10 to 11 inch range. For those that are carrying a few extra pounds, an owner should understand that progress toward losing should be slow. A change in diet and a gradual increase in exercise will allow the dog to lose excess fat and the goal will be healthier dog.

Home cooking can help quite a bit, since an owner will have complete control over the ingredients in meals that their dog is ingesting. Coloring, preservatives and fillers will be eliminated. Fillers and preservatives can cause water retention and often a ½ pound to a pound is lost by just ridding the diet of those elements. 
If a Yorkie does need to lose a pound or two, exercise should be increased by 10 minute intervals. For example, if the daily routine is a 20 minute walk, one would want to increase that to 30 minutes, taking care to go at a brisk pace.


Puppies grow so much during the first year. With some, growth will be spread out over the course of the first year.

With others, there will be growth spurts….with slower changes some months and incredibly noticeable growth in others.

Pups should not be put on a diet and not over-exercised. It is completely normal to have “puppy fat”, this makes the appearance to be rather round and this is expected.

At about the 1 year mark, weight gain will slow but the dog will continue to grow in height and length…And this causes a leaner appearance. Muscles are just about fully developed and the dog has a sleeker form. 
6 pound Yorkshire Terrier
Jack, 4 months old & 6 lbs.
Photo courtesy of Laurie Hoffman (Grandma of Jack)
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