Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Though Yorwich may sound like a quaint English town you’ve never heard of, it is in fact a mixture of two English Terriers, both of whom are well-loved for different reasons. Combining the fun personality of the Yorkshire Terrier with the boldness of the Norwich Terrier delivers a quite delightful package indeed. Small and compact, this hybrid dog will happily live in a small home within an urban setting, though owners should be wary of the potential for yapping at outdoor noises.

Most often retaining the characteristic black and tan fur colour of the Yorkshire Terrier, many Yorwiches will look like stockier Yorkies. Possibly their most notable feature is their large, triangular ears that stand erect on their head and ensure that they always look alert and ready for any eventuality.

About & History

The Yorwich is thought to have been initially bred within the UK but there is no real evidence for this and it’s difficult to know when the first mating would have happened. Though the designer dog movement kicked off in the 1970s, most experts agree that the Yorwich was likely established several decades after this. While the Yorwich has little history to speak off, each of their parent breeds has an interesting story to tell.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier takes its name from its place of origin – a historic county in the North of England. Those that are familiar with the personality of the Yorkie won’t be at all surprised to discover that they were traditionally bred to be rat hunters; prized for their lack of fear and quick change of foot.

Breeds such as the Skye Terrier and the now extinct Paisley Terrier were bred with several other small dogs to create this lively little breed. With the advent of extermination companies there became little need to keep dogs as rat hunters but the Yorkie remained a popular pet thanks to its sweet and loving nature, remarkably small size and cute looks.

The Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier was also named for its place of origin, after the city of Norwich in Norfolk, which is in the East of England. Indeed, the Norfolk Terrier is quite similar to the Norwich Terrier but can be distinguished by its pendulous ears. As with the Yorkie, this working dog was utilised to keep vermin levels low.

Slightly larger Terriers were used in its breeding, including the Border Terrier and the Cairn Terrier. Interestingly, the students in Cambridge University took a real shine to the Norwich Terrier as it was a lovable dog that would willingly protect their lodgings from unwanted, squeaking intruders. They thus made it a student mascot, cementing its status in history forever.


A neat and compact dog, the Yorwich displays traits from both parents and inevitably some will take more after one parent breed than others will, allowing for a more diverse range of appearances within this hybrid breed than is seen in pedigrees who have smaller gene pools. Their skulls are rounded and they have a slender muzzle, which is of a good length. Their brown eyes are round and not overly big. Their ears are hard to miss and sit widely spaced apart on top of their skull, like two large triangles. Their robust bodies are supported by short limbs that stand on neat and nimble paws.

Though not quite as miniature as the Yorkshire Terrier, the Yorwich is a very small breed, weighing in at between 3kg and 5kg and measuring from 22cm to 25cm. The coat of the Yorwich varies greatly from one individual to another, which is no surprise when you compare the long and silky coat of the Yorkie to the short, wiry fur of the Norwich Terrier. Which coat will be inherited is really the luck of the draw and dogs can develop coats that lie anywhere between these two extremes. Though Black & Tan would appear to be the prevailing coat colour, dogs can also be Red, Wheaten and Black.

Character & Temperament

Ideal little companions, Yorwiches love to be around people and are not shy to show affection to those in their immediate circle. They are energetic and cheerful, always up for participating in any game on offer. For some owners, they may be a little too lively as they are typical Terriers with an abundance of energy.

While Yorwiches can be taught to live in harmony alongside other dogs, they do not adapt well to life with smaller pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils. This is because they have maintained a high prey drive. This instinct also makes walking off lead a challenge in certain areas as they may find it impossible to resist the chase when they detect a passing squirrel or bird.

A good playmate for children, most Yorwiches know to be gentle with little ones and will play sweetly with them. Snappiness can be an issue for some, especially if guarding their resources, a behaviour which should be addressed as soon as it begins to develop to avoid it from worsening.


Not lacking in confidence, the clever little Yorwich is usually more than willing to try out new training sessions and will be a willing participant. Owners can sweeten the deal and improve results by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as by rewarding desired behaviours with treats and lots of praise. Doing so prevents any inclination towards being stubborn and allows for a happier student.


Living to an average of 12 to 15, most dogs enjoy good quality lives with minimal health issues. There are, however, a number of conditions which can pose a problem for some.

Patellar Luxation

Terriers are notorious for developing knee caps that pop in and out of place or ‘luxate’. This can interfere with the way they walk and run and can also lead to arthritis and joint pain over time. For most, the gold standard treatment will be surgical correction.

Periodontal Disease

Small jaws make for overcrowded teeth. Another issue in small terriers is that they can be fussy with their food, with many owners giving in and offering them a diet that is composed of mostly soft and wet meaty foods.

Their genetic tendency to develop periodontal disease coupled with the fact that they are often eating a diet that is bad for their teeth, makes dental disease a real issue in middle-aged and later life. Owners can help prevent this with diet modification and tooth brushing.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral Valve Disease is a progressive, degenerative heart condition that typically affects those in their senior years. The first sign of an issue may be a low-grade heart murmur, which is detected during a routine physical exam by a vet.

X-rays and heart scans can help to determine if mitral valve disease is occurring. Medications are used to both prevent the condition from worsening and to treat any associated symptoms.

Collapsing Trachea

A trachea that does not function as it should can cause chronic coughing and breathing issues in dogs. As the symptoms are non-specific and can occur in a range of other conditions, it is important that the dog is diagnosed with imaging studies, such as fluoroscopy.

For those that are moderately affected, lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and medications, like cough suppressants, can be enough to keep the condition under control. In worse cases, surgical intervention may be offered.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While the Yorwich is far from lazy, their small size means that a couple of 20 or 30-minute walks each day should be more than enough to meet their exercise needs. As well as this, owners should encourage all forms of play and ensure these dogs are kept mentally stimulated. It is not unheard of for a bored dog to start to entertain themselves with repetitive behaviours, such as constant barking or tail chasing.


The grooming requirements of the Yorwich will largely depend on which type of fur they develop. Those with shorter coats will be much lower maintenance, requiring brushing a couple of times a week to remove dead fur and debris.

However, longer-furred individuals will need more regular brushing to avoid tangles and matts from developing. As the ears of the Yorwich stand erect, they have a good airflow and do not require extensive care, with monthly ear cleans normal sufficing.

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