Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Yorkillon
Nora / Flickr.com

The Yorkillon is a hybrid dog, which is a cross between the Yorkshire Terrier and a Papillon. Both parents are small dogs, as are the resulting pups. This charming breed definitely maxes out on the ‘cute’ factor, with those gorgeous Papillon ears transplanted onto the sweet looks of the Yorkie.

Despite being a relatively new combination of breeds, the Yorkillon has quickly earned the moniker of “dwarf spaniel” for their combination of a fondness for pleasing people, intelligence, and loyalty. In a family with responsible children (these dogs are small and can’t take rough handling), the Yorkillon makes for a great canine companion.

About & History

It is only in recent years, with the rise and rise in popularity of the Labradoodle and Cockapoo that breeders have taken to trialling all sorts of canine crosses, which previously would only happened by accident. The Yorkillon is the result of some of these experimental matings. In terms of the history of the breed, the Yorkillon is a mere youngster; however, both parent breeds have long and venerable histories.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is named after the English county in which it originated. The Yorkie’s history is woven into the fabric of the 19th century and the industrial revolution. The breed has its origins in a number of other terriers, largely originating from Scotland. These dogs accompanied their masters as they moved south in search of work.

The fledgling Yorkie accompanied their owner to work in the Yorkshire cotton mills or coal mines. Indeed, these four-leggers had an important job of work in keeping down the vermin population in the mills and mines. The Yorkshire terrier was officially recognised as a breed in their own right in 1874, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The Papillon

The origins of the Papillon go back even further to 16th century France. Their ancestors were toy spaniels, and a popular companion amongst the aristocracy. In the court of Louis XIV, a litter of pups were born, of which some had upright ears crowned with flowing feathering. It was these pups that became the foundation of the Papillon breed – named for the resemblance of their ears to butterflies.


Yorkillon Large Photo
Nora / Flickr.com

As with any hybrid dog, the puppies’ appearance can lean towards either parent. Thus, in the same litter, some of the dogs may have features distinctive to either the Yorkie or the Papillon. However, the laws of genetic inheritance means the majority of the litter will inherit a variety of features from both sides of the family tree.

Thus, the typical Yorkillon is a small dog with flowing fur. Their head is similar to the shape of a Yorkie’s but the ears are larger and bear the flowing locks that give the Papillon their name. Their coat is soft and silky, varying from medium length too long. There can be a great variation in coat colour, from the black and tan so typical of the Yorkshire terrier, to white and tan more often associated with the Papillon.

Their body is well-proportioned, being neither wiry nor stocky. And, last but not least, the finishing flourish is a flagpole tail with feathering, which may have a slightly curl towards the tip.

Character & Temperament

Both the Yorkshire terrier and Papillon can be opinionated dogs that are prepared to stick up for themselves. If it comes down to a battle of wills, then the Yorkillon can be snappy in order to get their own way. However, this can be avoided by good early socialisation of the pup, so they don’t grow up anxious or fearful. Indeed, anxiety is a trait common to both parent breeds, so the wise owner is aware of this and concentrates on socialisation and building their dog’s confidence.

Also, the small size of the Yorkillon can make them at risk of developing “small dog syndrome.” This is where the dog is overly cosseted and, as a result, becomes overly protective or demanding of their owner. On the plus side, a well-brought-up Yorkillon will be devoted to their owner and makes a charming companion.


Photo of Yorkillon puppy
Nora / Flickr.com

The terrier roots of the Yorkillon can lend them a certain stubbornness of character. It’s therefore important that their owner spends time every day obedience training their dog. Yorkillons respond best to reward-based training methods, especially as they are eager to please their owner.

In addition, early socialisation of the puppy is essential. Building a stock of positive experiences in early life, helps to counteract the breed’s natural tendency to protectiveness and anxiety, which can otherwise lead to snappiness.


There are no specific statistics relating to which health condition is common in the Yorkillon. However, certain conditions prevail in both parent breeds. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume a tendency towards the following diseases in the Yorkillon.

Luxating Patellas

Luxating patellas – or ‘wobbly kneecaps’ – are extremely common in small dog breeds. Instead of being firmly anchored, the kneecap can wobble to one side, which alters the mechanical pull of the thigh muscles on the lower leg.

The result is that dog skips a step on the affected leg. Mild cases can be managed with the occasional use of pain relief. However, severe cases require reconstructive surgery to keep them mobile and pain-free.

Legge Perthe’s Disease

This condition affects the growth of the hip joint in puppies. If the blood supply to the femoral head shuts down too early, this causes growth to stop and existing bone to crumble away. This painful condition causes lameness in dogs under the age of one year. Surgery is necessary to remove the femoral head to make a pain-free muscular hip joint.

Porto-Systemic Shunt (PSS)

This condition occurs when a temporary blood vessel, present in the foetus, fails to shut down when the puppy is born. This results in blood bypassing the liver and so it is not detoxed. The symptoms include disorientation, heavy drooling, stupor, seizures, and coma. The signs tend to occur soon after eating. The best treatment is the surgical ligation of the offending blood vessel. However, this is a specialist surgery and not without risk.

Mitral Valve Disease

In middle to old age, a valve in the left heart becomes stiff. This prevents the valve closing fully and allows blood to leak in the wrong direction through the heart. This is heard as a heart murmur. Mild cases don’t require treatment, but regular ultrasound scans are recommended to spot early heart enlargement. At this point, medication is beneficial and can markedly extend life expectancy.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Yorkillon does well as an apartment dog, as long as they get exercise outdoors at least twice a day. They are energetic dogs that love to play, so a trip to the park for a game of ball will always go down well.

Be aware that a bored Yorkillon with excess energy is going to spend that energy getting into mischief. This leads to bad habits, such as barking, chewing, or destructiveness. So, be sure not to overlook this small dog’s need to run and play in order to have a well-behaved pet.


The Yorkillon has a long silky coat, which requires regular grooming. A daily comb through and brush is ideal to stay on top of tangle. This has the added advantage of spreading natural conditioning oils through the coat to keep it glossy and smooth. The Yorkillon also benefits from parlour visits to keep those long locks stylishly trimmed.

Take care not to over bathe a Yorkillon as their skin is sensitive and prone to over drying. Once a month is usually adequate, and always use a gentle moisturising shampoo, which is free from artificial fragrances and colours.

Where possible, get a Yorkillon used to having their teeth brushed from an early age. Both parent breeds are prone to dental disease, so keeping the teeth clean will go a long way to postponing the need for extractions further down the line.

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