How to tell if a Yorkie is the right weight

Updated November 21, 2016

Yorkies, also known as Yorkshire terriers, are a small, delightful breed that seldom exceeds more than 3.18 kg (7 lb) as full grown adults. As a toy breed, Yorkies are often bred for their small stature and many healthy adult Yorkies weigh between 1.36 and 2.27 kg (3 and 5 lb). However, because of their tiny proportions, Yorkies often live as lapdogs and receive lots of treats from doting owners while not getting enough exercise. As a result, these playful dogs can become seriously overweight. Overweight Yorkies can experience serious heart and joint problems, but underweight toy breeds can simply collapse from the pressures of daily dog existence. It is vitally important to the health of your Yorkie that you help him maintain the right weight at all times.

Lift the dog onto the table. Because Yorkies are so short, it is best to examine them while they are standing on a table in order to get the most objective look and feel of the dog. If you are bending down or sitting on the floor your dog is more likely to frolic around and make examining her difficult.

Smooth your hands down your Yorkie's sides. Place your hands just below your Yorkie's neck and smooth them gently down his sides. If he has thick or long hair, you need to run your fingers through it rather than over it to determine whether or not you can feel his ribs. Because Yorkies are so hairy, it can be very difficult to see your dog's ribs -- or lack thereof. However, if you cannot feel any bones because there is so much fat or you can feel every rib individually protruding, there is a problem.

Press gently but firmly against the dog's midsection. You should be able to feel where the rib cage ends. If you cannot, then your dog is likely too roly-poly.

Feel for a small indention that gives the dog a "waist." Yorkies do not have a clearly defined "waist" as some other breeds do. However, you should be able to feel a slight indention just past the rib cage that indicates a change in the bone structure underneath the skin. If this indention is clearly evident by looking, your Yorkie is likely too thin. However, if you cannot feel it at all, then your dog may be too heavy for his frame.

Check with your vet if you are concerned. Dramatic weight gain or weight loss can indicate other health problems. If your vet tells you there is nothing wrong with your dog, then you will need to work with your vet to put your dog on a "diet" that will help her reach the proper weight.


Do not rely on a home scale to weigh your Yorkie. Yorkies often weigh too little to register accurately and most home scales require the person being weighed to hold still while the scale works.

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