Is the Yorkshire terrier becoming less popular in the UK?

Is the Yorkshire terrier becoming less popular in the UK?

Breed Facts

The Yorkshire terrier is a small dog breed from the toy group, and it is also one of the most popular small dog breeds in the UK – as well as the 13th most popular overall. However, the little Yorkie has slipped down a place in the popularity rankings in the last year on Pets4Homes, from their previous 12th placed position in 2017.

This reflects a much longer-term trend of the breed’s popularity falling slightly year on year over the last decade, which is also indicated in historical figures for the number of dogs of the breed registered with The Kennel Club in the last few decades.

In this article, we will look at the Yorkshire terrier dog breed in more detail, examine the reasons behind its enduring popularity, and ask whether or not they are falling out of fashion to a certain extent within the UK. Read on to learn more.

The Yorkshire terrier’s popularity over the last few decades

Over the last year, the Yorkshire terrier has fallen one place in the rankings here on Pets4Homes in terms of their popularity compared to other breeds – based on the number of dogs of the breed advertised for sale, and user searches. The breed has always been hugely popular in the UK, and they still are – but the breed has also seen a marked decline in popularity over the last few decades compared to the number of dogs of other breed registered with The Kennel Club each year.

Up until 1990, the Yorkshire terrier was the number one dog breed in terms of the amount of new puppies of the breed registered with The Kennel Club each year – but they were superseded in 1990 by the Labrador retriever, who has kept the top spot ever since – even though they are in turn projected to lose it to the French bulldog by the end of 2018!

Today, the Yorkshire terrier doesn’t fall within The Kennel Club’s top five dog breeds at all – nor even within the top five breeds within the toy dog grouping alone in terms of new registrations each year.

Are Yorkshire terriers becoming less common?

Looking at the facts and figures for the Yorkshire terrier in terms of how their registration numbers each year compare to other breeds doesn’t give you a complete picture of whether or not the breed is on the wane.

However, between 2008 and 2017, the number of new puppies of the breed registered each year has declined year on year from a total of 3,951 puppies in 2008 through to just 876 in 2017, which indicates that fewer and fewer dogs of the breed are being produced each year.

Additionally, more and more litters are being bred each year from a number of other toy dog breeds to meet demand for pups, and so the sheer number of dogs of other breeds and their annual increases also help to inflate the figures for other breeds, and make the Yorkshire terrier’s falling numbers appear more acute.

Ultimately, two things are going on – fewer Yorkies are being bred year-on-year at present, and various other breeds are growing in popularity at a rate faster than the Yorkie is declining, reflecting the fact that a larger percentage of the UK’s population own dogs than has been the case historically and again, this is growing year on year.

Why is the Yorkshire terrier falling in popularity?

As recently as a few decades ago, the actual number of unique individual dog breeds that were widely available to buy in the UK was much lower than it is today, representing less choice for dog lovers looking for a new pet. Now that there are a lot more options available and dogs of breeds that were previously uncommon in the UK like the French bulldog have become widely spread, the popularity of many long-established breeds will fall accordingly, reflecting this additional choice.

Certain dogs from the toy group and other small breeds in particular have seen a lot of sharp increases in popularity, which naturally has a direct impact on that of longer established and historically popular breeds that were previously one of just a few options.

Yorkshire terriers are toy dogs, but they are also terriers – which makes them lively, quick, intelligent and tenacious. They like to have a lot of entertainment and attention, and they can also be quite fizzy, as well as being prone to being fairly vocal. They are also fairly intolerant of being left alone for very long.

Yorkies are also highly affectionate and very loyal little dogs, but they’re not babies – they require appropriate training and management, and enough exercise and entertainment to keep them fit and active, and to channel their energies in positive directions.

Whilst these are things that all dogs need, some of the other toy and small dog breeds that are popular today are somewhat less onerous in terms of their need for company, exercise and mental stimulation – and are often more tolerant of children too.

Yorkshire terriers also need lots of brushing and grooming to keep their coats in good condition, another trait that doesn’t suit all types of owners and that is absent within many competing breeds.

However, the Yorkie still remains a very popular breed albeit one that is currently undergoing a slow and gentle decline – and may Yorkshire terrier owners would never consider owning a dog of another breed. They make for very rewarding companions for the right type of owners, and are certainly very worthy of consideration if you are considering buying a small dog to join your family home.



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