Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
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The Yorkinese is a hybrid dog, a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Pekingese. The resulting dog is small in stature but big on hair, with an appealing teddy bear-like face. But don’t let their size deceive you, because this little dog has a mind of their own and can be wilful at times. Again, although a loving and loyal fellow, the Yorkinese will make their displeasure clear if handled roughly or disturbed when they want to be peaceful. Hence, they do not make a good family dog and prefer to be apart from small children.

So, who would a Yorkinese pick as their ideal owner? They do best with an owner who can devote plenty of time to them, as they like to be the main focus of attention. The Yorkinese would like someone to take them for regular twice daily walks, whilst not over exerting themselves. Most of all, they want a set routine and prefer to avoid the chaos that often comes hand-in-hand with children.

About & History

As a hybrid breed, the Yorkinese itself dates back just a couple of decades. However the parent breeds both have long and interesting histories.

The Pekingese

The Pekingese is thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. They date back some 2,000 years to ancient China where they were greatly revered as the companions of royalty and aristocrats. Such was their standing that common people were expected to acknowledge a Pekingese dog by bowing to them.

The Pekingese dog was closely guarded within China, and it wasn’t until the 1860s that Westerners first encountered them outside of China. Originally five dogs came into British hands as the spoils of war, and were given to Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington (amongst others).

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier has rather more earthy roots as a working dog in Yorkshire. They were bred as small, bold dogs prepared to face up to rats and rid the cotton mills of vermin. But alongside their bravado came a softer side, which made them popular with their owners who allowed them into the home to lie beside a warm hearth, and so their ongoing role as companion came into being.


The Yorkinese can sometimes look bigger than they really are, thanks to that plentiful fur coat. Their charming faces usually have a medium length snout. The latter is the gift of the Yorkshire Terrier, whose genetic influence helps counterbalance the flat face of the Pekingese.

The Yorkinese has drop ears that frame the face, and whose size is exaggerated by their long hair. With a black button nose and bright, alert eyes, the only thing that could make them cuter would be eyebrows! Luckily, there is such a thing as a Black & Tan Yorkinese do indeed have tan accents on their eyebrows, cheeks, and ruff. Other coat colours vary, depending on which parent they take after with the options including Fawn, Fawn & Black, Black, or Black & Tan.

Character & Temperament

Expect a Yorkinese to be intelligent, stubborn, and noisy! They are small dog with a big attitude, and aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. This could make for conflict when living with children if the dog feels put upon, and so this combination is best avoided.

The Yorkinese can also be protective and territorial. Match this with their loud bark and you have a great little guard dog… or a nuisance to the neighbours, depending on how you look at it. Also, be aware that the Yorkinese is a prime candidate for ‘small dog syndrome’. This is associated with the dog getting ideas about their station and bossing the household. However, by recognising the risk and being consistently fair but firm, the prospective Yorkinese owner can reduce the risk of this syndrome developing.


The Yorkinese is an intelligence that many large working dog breeds would be proud of. Therefore it is important to harness this intelligence with regular obedience training sessions. Make them fun and use reward-based methods, and this teaches the dog to listen to their owner for instruction.

Also of crucial importance is early socialisation of the pups. It is vital that they are well-adjusted and confident about meeting new people and can adapt in strange situations. If deprived of a range of experiences in their vital formative early weeks, the Yorkinese may became overly anxious as an adult, resulting in defensive barking or even aggression.


As a hybrid dog there are no official statistics pertaining to their health problems. However, it is reasonable to assume they may be predisposed to some of the parent breeds issues.

Portosystemic Shunt

Portosystemic Shunt, or PSS, is a condition occurs when a blood vessel present in the foetus, fails to shut down after birth. This results in blood bypassing or ‘shunting’ past the liver, which unfortunately means some naturally occurring toxins cannot be removed by the liver.

These toxins cause neurological signs, such as excessive drooling after a meal, staring vacantly into space, or even seizures. Corrective surgery is the treatment of choice, but it is extremely challenging and requires a specialist surgeon. Medical treatment can alleviate the symptoms, but if left untreated this will be a life-shortening condition.

Tracheal Collapse

In some dogs, the trachea (or windpipe) is not as resilient as it should be, and can be sucked in on itself when the dog breathes in. This ‘collapse’ impairs the dog’s ability to breath and cause a honking noise.

Once diagnosed, tracheal collapse can be alleviated with placement of a special stent. But once again, this is a specialist procedure with an associated high cost.

Legge-Perthe’s Disease

This developmental problem affects the hips of young growing puppies. It occurs when the blood supply to the femoral head shuts down prematurely. Not only does the hip joint not grow to the correct size, but the bone is fragile and crumbly. The end result is a painful hip that causes a young dog to carry the affected leg.

The treatment of choice is either hip replacement surgery or an operation called an excision arthroplasty. This is where the head of the femur is removed, leaving the hip to form a muscular joint.

Mitral Valve Disease

The mitral valves are located in the left hand-side chambers of the heart. Certain small dog breeds, including the Yorkie and Pekingese are prone to these valves becoming stiff with age. This then means the valves don’t close fully, which allows blood to leak in the wrong direction through the heart, which is heard as a murmur.

If the leak is small, the dog will cope fine. However, this is often a progressive problem that worsens over time and can eventually lead to heart failure.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Whilst a Yorkinese doesn’t require excessive amounts of exercise, they do need daily walks. As well as exercising the body, this provides vital mental stimulation to prevent them becoming bored and creating their own entertainment, which often involves barking!. They will enjoy playing games, especially ones centred on them, such as fetch.


You can be confident a Yorkinese is high maintenance when it comes to grooming and coat care. Not only do they have an abundance of hair, but it can also grow long. This means that not only will it tangle, if not brushed daily, but it also requires regular grooming parlour visits to keep it trimmed and tidy.

The wise owner gets their Yorkinese puppy used to a comb and brush from day one. This helps them grow into a dog that accepts grooming as part of their regular routine. You will need a comb to separate the hair and remove tangles, and a brush to smooth the coat and condition it. However, don’t be overly vigorous with the brushing or this will damage the hair and invoke the doggy equivalent of split ends.

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