As Yorkies can vary in size quite a bit, you may be wondering just how big (or how small) these little dogs should be? For a number of reasons, it’s good to know if your Yorkie is the proper height and weight. So…
How big are Yorkshire terriers? According to the AKC, Yorkshire Terriers should measure between 7 and 8 inches (17.8 – 20.3 cm) to the withers (the ridge at the base of the neck, between the shoulder blades) and should weigh 7 pounds (3.18 kg) or less. However, not all Yorkies fall within these limits.
This detailed guide should contain everything you need to know about the size of your Yorkshire terrier, including what size you can expect a Yorkie puppy to grow to based on their current weight and how a Yorkie’s size can affect their health. See how your Yorkie measures up and what that could mean.
What is the Average Size of a Yorkie?
Fully grown Yorkshire Terriers are typically 7 to 8 inches (17.8 – 20.3 cm) tall when measuring the distance between the ground and the ridge between their shoulder blades.
The length of a Yorkie (measured from the base of the neck to the base of their tail) should be of equal proportion to their height approximately.
Yorkie sizes can and do vary though. It is not uncommon, even for siblings to differ greatly in size. Size differences can be determined by birth weight, nutrition, or genetic deposition.
Yorkies will be quite small regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, but if your Yorkie is much shorter than 7 inches (17.8 cm), you might want to ask your vet to screen them for any health problems. Yorkies that are too small are often at risk of a variety of health issues.
Larger purebred Yorkies do exist, but if your Yorkie is taller than 8 inches, there is a chance that your dog is not purebred.
What is the Average Weight of a Yorkie?
Yorkies usually weigh between 4 and 7 pounds (1.81 and 3.18kg), but purebred Yorkies weighing anywhere up to 10 pounds are not that uncommon.
There have also been cases, although quite unusual, of purebred Yorkies weighing in excess of 15 pounds ! However, usually for Yorkies that are so large, it’s down to a larger dog breed having been introduced somewhere in their ancestry.
As long as your Yorkie is in good shape and has a reasonable diet along with good exercise you shouldn’t worry too much.
Yorkies’ weight may fluctuate depending on their nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. Nevertheless, if your fully grown Yorkie weighs less than 4 pounds (1.81kg) they are considered to be underweight.
Yorkies that weigh less than 4 pounds are known as “teacup Yorkies”. These dogs are at risk of various health problems. More on this later.
How to Tell if Your Yorkie is the Right Weight?
If you have trouble weighing your dog on a scale or you are unsure about whether they are a healthy weight for their stature, you can always check by doing a visual or physical assessment of their body.
How to inspect a Yorkies body mass:
- Look down at your dog from behind to do a visual assessment. Your dog’s waist should subtly curve inward as your eyes move from their ribcage down to their waist. If your dog is underweight, the curve inward will be sharp and noticeably smaller.
- You can also check by looking at your dog’s side profile and observing their abdomen. If your dog is a healthy weight, their abdomen will slope slightly upward from the ribcage. A skinny dog will have no noticeable body fat, and their stomach will appear sharply tucked upward from the ribs.
- You can also check their weight by placing your hands on the sides of their body, on the ribcage. You should be able to feel each rib, but you shouldn’t be able to see them. If you can see the ribs of your dog, then they are underweight. If you can’t feel their ribs, then they may be overfed or need more exercise.
If your Yorkie’s hair makes a visual assessment difficult, you can also use your hand to feel for any drastic physical signs your dog may have that will tell you whether they are over or underweight. You do this assessment by running your fingers down your dog’s spine and then feel for their pelvic bone.
Prominent vertebrae and a jutting pelvic bone will indicate your dog is underweight. If your dog is an ideal weight, you should feel a thin layer of fat between the bones and skin of your dog. If your dog is overweight, it will be challenging to feel the bones through their fat.
A Yorkie that is too small or too big falls into dangerous territory due to size-related health complications like non-regular blood sugar level, inability to exercise, higher possibility of getting injured, and hip dysplasia.
Your vet should be able to advise you on how to care for your Yorkie and address any weight issues they might have. They may suggest changes in exercise, routines, or the way you feed your dog.
Is a Large Yorkie Still Healthy?
Even large Yorkies are still small when compared to other types of dogs. If your Yorkie weighs over 9 pounds, but they don’t look overweight, and your vet isn’t concerned, then you don’t need to worry too much.
The weight of a Yorkie depends on their bone structure as much as their diet. Dogs that are taller and longer will weigh more as well. Their stature and muscle mass will play a role in how much they weigh.
Any dog is capable of carrying excess weight. Yorkshire Terriers over 10 lbs should be examined to see if there is a need for weight loss or any health issues from excess fat.
What If My Yorkie Is Overweight?
Yorkshire Terriers can quickly become overweight if they aren’t exercising regularly or eating the right food. Once a dog begins gaining a few extra pounds, it becomes harder for them to lose weight and usually leads to even more weight gain.
There are health concerns when dealing with an overweight Yorkie. Obesity in your dog puts more strain on their heart and can even cause depression.
Obesity is linked to canine diabetes, early onset of arthritis, a shorter lifespan, kidney disease, skin disorders, respiratory disorders, high blood pressure, and increased risk of some cancers.
Steps to Help a Yorkie Lose Weight
If your vet has confirmed that your Yorkie needs to lose a few pounds, then there are a lot of ways you can begin giving them a healthier lifestyle. Changing your dog’s routine will be a slow and challenging process at first, but with consistency, you should see progress.
- You can start your dog’s weight loss journey by changing their calorie intake. Your vet may suggest switching to a lower calorie dog food. The kibble will need to be a decent quality that is also 100% natural. When changing dog foods, give your Yorkie a bowl containing half of their new food and half of their old food for a week or so before making the change.
- You can also begin gradually adding exercise and walks into your dog’s routine. It’s essential to do this slowly if your dog is used to a sedentary lifestyle. You don’t want your dog to have negative feelings about walks or playing outside.
Like humans, diet and exercise go a long way to improving the weight and health of your Yorkie.
Caring for an Underweight Yorkie
Yorkshire Terriers are notoriously small, and even when they are over 7 lbs, they are still considered tiny dogs.
Even if your Yorkie is an ideal weight for their stature, you still will need to take precautions when caring for them due to their size. Yorkies that are underweight especially need their owners to care for them to avoid injury or other issues.
Small dogs are more likely to be stepped on, accidentally tripped over, or dropped and particularly small or underweight Yorkies are also more likely to suffer from fractures and broken bones due to these accidents.
You can eliminate a lot of risk for your dog by adopting some small lifestyle changes such as using a harness, being careful around large dogs, and active children. Keep your Yorkie out of overly crowded spaces, and refrain from carrying your dog with one arm.
Yorkie Puppy Growth
Most Yorkies will reach their full height and weight by the one-year mark. When they reach 9 or 10 months, their rapid growth begins to decrease gradually. By 12 to 18 months, they lose their puppy fat and reach full size.
When born, Yorkie puppies are between 2 and 5 ounces. They gain a couple of ounces each week, depending on their birth size. By 8 weeks, they are between 11 and 30 ounces, and by the time they reach 18 months, they will be triple their birth weight.
Yorkie puppies will not need to be put on a diet or over-exercised despite looking overweight or too skinny. Puppies have healthy puppy fat that will cause them to look chubby; this is normal and a sign of a healthy puppy.
When puppies hit that 9 to 10-month change where growth begins to slow, they will still grow taller. This stage makes puppies seem much leaner or even underfed. This is normal, too, and by the time they are 12 months, their muscles will have developed, and by then, everything should even out.
How Big Will Your Yorkie Puppy Get?
Many Yorkie puppy owners are curious about how big their puppy will get once they reach adult size.
You can somewhat accurately predict how large your puppy will grow by multiplying their weight at eight weeks by 3. Example: At eight weeks old, if your Yorkie is 2 lbs, then they will most likely be 6 lbs when fully grown.
Below is a chart to assist you in calculating your Yorkie puppy’s potential end weight before adulthood.
If you don’t have your dog’s birth weight, then use another age that corresponds closely to the weight of your puppy. This chart can’t predict exactly but should give you a general estimate as to how large your Yorkie will eventually be.
How to use the Yorkie puppy growth chart:
- Find your Yorkie’s age in weeks in the farthest left chart column.
- Follow left to right to find the weight in ounces that is closest to your puppy’s weight.
- Check the bottom of the column in the row labeled 18 months to determine your Yorkie puppy’s estimated future weight.
|1 Week||5.5 oz|
|2 Weeks||7 oz|
|3 Weeks||8.5 oz|
|4 Weeks||10.5 oz|
|5 Weeks||11.5 oz|
|6 Weeks||13 oz|
|7 Weeks||14 oz.|
|8 Weeks||16 oz|
|9 Weeks||18 oz|
|10 Weeks||20 oz|
|11 Weeks||21 oz|
|12 Weeks||22 oz|
|13 Weeks||24 oz|
|14 Weeks||26 oz|
|18 Months||3 lbs|
How Genetics Affect the Size of Yorkies
Regardless of bloodline history in every litter, there will be a variety and range of body structures from pup to pup. While you can look to the mother and father to get a general idea of what to expect, inherited genes can sometimes go back many generations.
The size of a Yorkie will depend heavily on their genes. Most puppies inherit their size from their father. However, there are cases where genes skip a generation or more, much like human genes can do.
Unusual genetic traits can be passed down several generations, even through an established and certified purebred bloodline.
Most owners and breeders should be informed of the family history of each dog involved in the process to better predict the stature of puppies.
Breeding pups from a bloodline of small Yorkies on both sides can have dire consequences.
Teacup Yorkies are not a separate breed from regular Yorkies. They are actually purebred Yorkies that were bred purposely to be underweight and of dangerously small stature. Breeders will find two purebred Yorkies with a genetic history of small size and height to produce even smaller ones.
There has been quite a lot of hype around these extremely tiny Yorkies. They have been marketed in the past as a unique miniature subset of Yorkie selling for three times as much as regular purebred Yorkies. Some of them are as little as 2 pounds and only 4 to 5 inches at the shoulder.
“Teacup” Yorkies, or irresponsibly bred Yorkies are often quite ill and suffer from congenital health issues caused by being bred only for reduced size rather than adhering to standards for health.
Health risks among teacup Yorkies include:
- Weak immune systems
- Stunted livers
- Dental issues
- Brittle bones
- Prone to injury
Health risks and other related problems affect teacup Yorkies for their entire lives. It is unfortunate when breeders and dog owners choose appearance over ethics and the dog’s overall health and wellbeing.
Now you know a great deal about Yorkshire sizes and where your dog falls on the spectrum. Just like all dog breeds, you might have a dog or puppy that is an outlier in terms of size.
Whether they are on the smaller or larger end of the range, it is okay as long as they are healthy and happy. However, having a dog that is underweight or overweight can end up shortening their life span and provide them with serious health issues.
You can use different methods to determine if they are of average size for their stature and try to change your Yorkie’s lifestyle if need be.
If you have a Yorkie or plan to get one the information in this post should give you insight and knowledge into the size of your pup and how to care for them.