Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Yo-Chon
Sam Zondervan / Flickr.com

A cross between the spunky Yorkshire Terrier and the good-natured Bichon Frise, the Yo-Chon is a lively, little dog with a fun personality. They thrive when around people and are not keen to spend too long in their own company. Curious and smart, these guys are quick to learn and make wonderful training companions.

It’s hard not to fall in love at first sight when first presented with a Yo-Chon. These little guys have warm and welcoming eyes with a mouth that always seems to be smiling. Their coat is scruffy but endearing and comes in a number of colours, with the black and tan combination of the Yorkie parent being seen most commonly.

About & History

The Yo-Chon is a delicious little bundle of fur with a super personality that has been developed within the last few decades within the United States. This cross-breed is also sometimes known as the Bichon Yorkie.

More and more designer hybrids are being created these days, with the smaller and ‘cuter’ dogs tending to be used more frequently. While there may not be much to say about the history of the recently established Yo-Chon, we certainly know a lot about its parents, both of whom are popular breeds all over the world.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier was developed within the 1800’ in Yorkshire – a county in the north of England. A number of different terriers were used to create them, including the similar-looking Skye Terrier and the Black and Tan Terrier, who is now extinct.

Many are surprised to learn that the Yorkie was never bred as a lap dog but was actually used as a ‘ratter’ – a job which it could perform very successfully thanks to its tenacity and fierce, determined nature. Though the Yorkshire Terrier is no longer used for this purpose, they remain popular within England and elsewhere thanks to their petite size and plucky natures.

The Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is loved all over the world for its ‘permed’ white fur and sociable nature. Despite its name, this is not a French dog and it is actually thought that the Bichon Frise comes from the Spanish island of Tenerife. Once sailors began to export the breed to Europe, the French refined their look and they soon became popular with the French and Spanish aristocracy.

One interesting fact, is that the Bichon Frise was once used in the circus to perform tricks! This job role was so well-suited to them because of their clownish, funny attitude and their ability to obey commands and interact well with people. Nowadays, the Bichon Frise is no longer found in the circus ring and spends its time relaxing in its home and playing with the family children.


Yo-Chon Large Photo
Eric Sonstroem / Flickr.com

The Yo-Chon is a small dog with a neat, compact body and a circular skull. Their ears are triangular in shape and will generally flop forwards, though can stand erect in some individuals. Their beautiful eyes are round and dark brown, with an alert and teasing expression. Their muzzle is quite short and their black nose is relatively small and ‘button-like’.

Yo-Chons tend to have a fur type that sits somewhere in the middle of the Bichon’s curls and the Yorkie’s silky coat. Many will have a wavy coat that looks a little unkempt and comes in a range of colours, including white, black, brown and cream. While solid coat colours are possible, most dogs will be bi-coloured and a small handful will be tri-coloured.

The Yo-Chon reaches heights of between 22cm and 30cm and weights of 2.7kg to 3.6kg, making them a very small dog indeed. Thanks to the denser bones of the Bichon, they are more robust than their Yorkie parent with a more compact body.

Character & Temperament

Though independent, the Yo-Chon is happiest when surrounded by loved ones and enjoys spending time in the company of its family, even if just relaxing in the same room. While they are happy to explore on their own or play with their toys in the next room for a short time, it will not be long before they are searching for their master, wanting to know what they are missing!

Very loving and gentle, the Yo-Chon is known to be incredibly affectionate with all of its family members and does not take long to warm up to new people either. They are usually good with children, though should still be monitored purely because of their small size.

Though the Yo-Chon can be taught to get along with other pets, they have a relatively high prey drive and will typically chase smaller animals, particularly any pet rodents. Most will tolerate other dogs, though some may attempt to assert their dominance.

All Yo-Chon owners should be aware of the condition known as ‘small dog syndrome’, which is seen in small-breed dogs that are spoiled and pampered. These dogs can be hostile with new people and resistant to training. Many are snappy and will growl when approached or when their toys or food are touched. Sensible ownership should prevent this syndrome from developing.


Very smart and with a good attitude and compliant nature, the Yo-Chon makes a good pet for novice trainers. They will master basic commands in no time at all and can learn a wide range of different tasks. As well as obedience and agility, they can do well in activities, such as Flyball and Frisbee.

Anecdotally, the Yo-Chon will take a few weeks longer than the average dog to toilet-train but it is assumed that this is due to their small bladder size rather than an actual training issue.


The health of the Yo-Chon is generally quite good and most individuals will live into their early teens.

Patellar Luxation

It is mainly little dogs that are affected with luxating patellas, which are knee caps that pop in and out. It is only when a dog is badly affected and their mobility is compromised that a surgery will be required. For those whose quality of life is not affected, they can usually cope with the condition quite well. Some will need supportive care as they age due to the osteoarthritis that often accompanies this condition in older age.

Legg Calvé Perthes Disease

An orthopaedic disease that is thought to be caused by compromised blood flow to the top of the long bones in the back legs, affected dogs will walk stiffly and have obvious muscle wastage in their thigh region. Radiographs are used to diagnose the condition. The most common surgery performed is called a ‘Femoral Head and Neck Osteotomy’, whereby the damaged bone is removed and scar tissue can take its place.

Porto-Systemic Shunt

Those with a Porto-Systemic Shunt are usually stunted from birth and can exhibit symptoms including a wobbly walk, tremors and diarrhoea. For most, their symptoms worsen with time. It can be a little tricky to diagnose a shunt and animals will typically have a range of tests, including bloodwork and scans. Ideally, affected animals will have surgery to correct the defect, though medical management is needed first to stabilise the patient.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though the Yo-Chon is not lazy or slovenly, they do not have high exercise requirements either. For most, playtime inside the house and a quick run around outside should keep them satisfied. This makes them the ideal companion for those who are unable to walk for very long or live in a built-up, urban area.

Though the Yo-Chon may not need a large amount of exercise, they do require plenty of mental stimulation. Without this, dogs are prone to behavioural issues, such as constant barking or furniture destruction. Puzzles, interactive toys and a variety of games and activities should be employed, with owners aiming to keep things varied and ensure that their learning is life-long.


The medium-length coat of the Yo-Chon can be brushed two to three times a week, with owners concentrating on the areas prone to tangling, such as the face, belly and tail. Many will have ‘tear-staining’ (dark fur under the eyes) due to the shape of their head, and specific cleansers can help to reduce the appearance of this. Those with pendulous ears will need weekly ear cleaning and those with fur within the canals may benefit from ear plucking.

Yo-Chon owners should aim to brush their dog’s teeth on a daily basi, or at least every two days. This can dramatically reduce the incidence of periodontal disease and will ensure dental cleanings at the vet do not need to be performed as often.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.