How Much Exercise Does a Yorkshire Terrier Need?

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular breeds in the world. They are known to be spunky, energetic and intelligent dogs that make great companions.

Originally a ratting dog, they are courageous and think nothing of putting bigger dogs in their place. These small dogs have big personalities and love to play with their owners!

But a question often asked by owners is: how much exercise does a Yorkshire Terrier need? These dogs require moderate exercise of around 40 minutes per day, more than some other dogs their size.

Daily walks to keep them healthy and happy, plus plenty of training games and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored and developing unwanted behaviours like excessive barking, digging and chewing.

In today’s post, we’ll look at the exercise needs of an average Yorkie, how to exercise a Yorkshire Terrier puppy and see what activities you can add to their daily exercise routine to provide mental enrichment.

Let’s get started!

Why is Exercise Vital For Your Yorkshire Terrier?

Every dog breed needs a daily exercise routine to stay happy and healthy throughout their life. This is especially important for energetic dogs and dogs prone to experiencing boredom and unwanted behaviours.

Toy breeds, like Yorkies, can have a lot of pent up energy and must receive regular physical and mental stimulation to avoid any excessive barking or other destructive behaviors.

As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog, so ensuring that your Yorkie enjoys regular walks and a dedicated exercise routine will help keep him happy and healthy for life.

The amount of exercise that your Yorkie will need will depend on your dog’s age. Puppies shouldn’t be exercised until their growth plates have closed, and older dogs should avoid high impact exercises at the risk of damage to their joints.

How Much Exercise Does a Yorkshire Terrier Need?

Despite their small size, Yorkshire Terriers need daily exercise to manage their weight and promote a healthy immune system to protect them from any health issues. The Kennel Club suggests that an adult Yorkie receives around 30-40 minutes of exercise per day to remain fit and healthy.

This exercise should come from a combination of walking and dedicated physical activity, including running, cardio exercise and free play.

A daily walk at a steady pace should take up around 15-20 minutes of your Yorkie exercise routine, with the remaining 15-20 minutes taken up by regular exercise and mentally stimulating play.

Best Types of Exercise for Yorkshire Terriers

A Yorkshire Terrier is an active little dog that can excel in dog sports such as Terrier racing, so they may need more exercise than a couple of short daily walks. Why not try some stair sprints for cardiovascular health, invest in a flirt pole or take Fido swimming.

Here are some of our favourite games to play with your Yorkie to get rid of some of that pent up energy, as well as toys that will keep them occupied when they’re home alone.


The energetic nature of this toy breed means a high-intensity exercise (such as agility training) is ideally suited as a form of physical and mental stimulation. Your Yorkie will love his own agility course to tackle, and thanks to his small size, it won’t take too much room to set up!

A set of slalom poles to weave between and a short obstacle course will provide your dog with a mental challenge as well as offer a physical workout. The command-based nature of these cardio exercises will also strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Build a Dog Digging Box

Yorkies were initially bred as ratting dogs, so they rely heavily on their sense of smell to derive enrichment from the world around them. These dogs tend to love digging and sniffing the environment, which can sometimes cause a problem in a well-kept garden!

Building a simple digging box will allow your Yorkie to exercise this area of his mind and provide him with the satisfaction that his natural instincts crave. Offering your dog the opportunity to engage in this kind of mental stimulation is great at limiting any destructive behavior in other aspects of his life.

Find a great guide on building your own digging box for your pup

Playing Fetch or Frisbee Toss

A game of fetch or frisbee with your Yorkie is one of the simplest ways to ensure he gets the physical activity he needs into his daily routine. Planning your daily walk around a trip to the local dog park will allow your Yorkie to enjoy some time off lead and some much needed cardio exercise.

Fetch can also be one of the best impulse control exercises. By rewarding your dog for holding off on chasing his fetch toy, you can teach him to follow your wait command in other aspects of his life.

This can be useful in training him to be safe around roads and stop unwanted behaviors like destructive chewing at home.

Devise a Treasure Hunt

An excellent form of mental stimulation for your energetic Yorkie is a treasure trail game with his favourite toy. Allow your dog to play with his dog toys to build his interest in the game before hiding one behind your back. Use a cue phrase such as “find your toy” and reward him with a treat when he successfully completes the task.

You can use dog toys, balls, or even a cat toy for this game and begin to hide his prize farther and farther away as he gets better at finding his prize. Most dogs love this kind of mental stimulation, especially dogs bred with a hunting instinct like Yorkies.

Chewing Toys

All dog owners know that their furry friends love to chew and bite as a form of stimulation; sometimes, this can be an issue, but providing your dog with a healthy outlet for this drive is both mentally and physically rewarding.

Chew toys help your dog look after his dental hygiene and strengthen his jaw muscles as a form of physical exercise. Combining this activity with the use of puzzle toys is a great way to provide both mentally and physically rewarding exercises for your dog.

Can a Yorkshire Terrier Have Too Much Exercise?

It’s always possible to over-exercise any breed of dog, so it’s vital that you stick to a defined schedule to benefit your dog’s health. Small breeds like the Yorkie are incredibly energetic, but they are generally recommended to enjoy no more than 30-40 minutes of dedicated exercise per day.

A daily walk is a must for your Yorkie, but be aware of the health problems your dog is prone to developing. Yorkies are more likely to suffer from a collapsed trachea than big dogs are, so it’s important that you use a dog harness (rather than a collared lead) to minimise the risk of collapsed trachea or damage to your dog’s neck.

If your Yorkie tends to walk at a fairly brisk pace or finds it hard to walk nicely, you may want to invest some time into no pull training. Your dog’s harness should be supported around his chest and never weigh down on his neck.

How Much Exercise Does a Senior Yorkshire Terrier Need?

As your dog grows into his senior years, you should begin to wind down his exercise routine and limit any high impact or high-intensity exercise. Toy breed dogs like the Yorkie are generally considered seniors at around the age of 10, so at this age, you should begin to shorten his walks and alter his exercise routine.

At the same time, you should still provide the mental stimulation your dog needs; playing with puzzle toys and the nose games Yorkies adore will benefit your dog’s health. Supervise your senior Yorkie around self-playing dog toys and limit the amount of running and jumping that he is exposed to.

It’s always recommended to attend regular checkups with your dog’s vet, especially as he ages, to keep an eye on his health and ensure that he’s getting the nutrition he needs.

How Much Exercise Does a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Need?

How much exercise does a Yorkie puppy need? Not much! Between the ages of 0-6 months old, your Yorkie puppy will gain all of the exercise he needs by simply exploring his new home.

Once he’s received all of his puppy vaccinations, your pup can begin socialising with other dogs and puppies and you can start to think about introducing moderate exercise to his routine.

Start by allowing him to take short walks around the block, but don’t allow your puppy to walk for long on a cold winter day as the cold weather can prove damaging to his paws. At around 12 months old, your puppy will be fully grown, so you can begin to exercise Yorkies in the same way as you would an adult dog. You can view the exercise needs of puppies on our main page where we cover a lot of breeds from puppy to adulthood. 

Final Thoughts

Walking all dog breeds is one of the main ways to keep your pooch healthy and happy and an adult Yorkshire Terrier should have two walks a day of around 20 minutes

If you take your Yorkie out in the morning, it will release pent-up energy and they might stay calm alone for a more extended period and if you take them out in the evening, they might get a better night’s sleep.

The Yorkshire Terrier is an energetic breed that loves running around and playing. It’s essential to keep them occupied by playing games with them.

There are many games available for you to play with your Yorkie, such as flirt pole games, Frisbee toss, fetch, tug of war, backyard agility courses. There are also a bunch of toys that you can buy for your dog that will keep it occupied. You can get puzzle toys to heighten intelligence or chew toys to provide mental exercise and prevent behaviours like nuisance barking.

Playing games like these will make sure he gets enough exercise while having fun at the same time! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun! Your Yorkie is waiting!

John Devlin

Blogger and owner of George and Henry. Two gorgeous goldens that couldn’t be more different. One is a dream loving and caring, and his sibling is as naughty as can be. When I am not blogging about dogs, I love watching sport and travelling with the family.
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