Yorkie Russell: Fun And Love In A Small, Excitable Package

Yorkie Russell

“Yorkie Jack Russell Mix”

The Yorkie Russell — also occasionally referred to as a Jorkie or Jack Russell Mix — is a small, fun-loving, and boisterous dog. It was bred from two types of Terriers. Its size and personality make it an ideal family pet. Although it is quite energetic, its small size enables it to comfortably spend much of its time in enclosed spaces such as apartments and homes.

Parentage: Tracing the Yorkie Russell’s roots

Yorkie Russells are descended from the Jack Russell and Yorkshire breeds, both types of Terriers, a dog that traces its roots to the United Kingdom. As in the case of many mixed-breed dogs, Yorkie Russells are not necessarily 50% Jack Russell and 50% Yorkshire, as most breeders would have already used dogs that had been cross-bred across several generations.

The Terrier was initially bred to hunt pests and other nuisance animals. The Yorkshire Terrier is thought to have been produced from several different types of Terriers brought by Scottish immigrants to England during the industrial revolution. A key milestone in the history of this breed was the emergence of a show dog named Huddersfield Ben — because of his popularity, many people began to desire dogs of this breed. He is, thus, known as “father of the breed”.

The Jack Russell Terrier, on the other hand, owes the rise of its popularity to a dog known as “Trump”, which was owned by a breeder. It originated from a Fox Terrier, which, while taller than today’s Yorkshire Terrier, was still shorter than many other canines at that time. This breed was prized by hunters for their skill in tracking and hunting prey that lay close to the ground; they were especially good at forcing foxes and rabbits out of their hiding spots.

After the end of World War II, as households became more prosperous and resources were no longer stretched so thin, demand for hunting dogs dropped dramatically and people instead preferred dogs that could easily be domesticated and kept as family pets. Thus, breeders specifically designed the Yorkie Russell to fit this requirement.

Appearance: What does a Yorkie Russell look like

The Yorkie Russell is a compact dog: it is short and light, at an average of 6-12 pounds in weight and 8-12 inches in height. Most of the time, they are longer than they are tall and their tails are medium-length and upright. Their legs and chests usually have well-developed muscles.

Their coats come in several colors, including black, white, brown, tan, and occasionally silver or blue-grey; or a combination of these colors. Their coats are usually long, smooth, and straight, but their hair, when long, tends to point out in different directions; some people find that this makes the dogs look unkempt, others find it to be part of their unique charm. Their snouts are short to medium-sized and they have black noses and mustaches. Reflecting their personalities, the Yorkie Russell often seems to have a lively and playful expression.

Life expectancy: a fairly sturdy dog

The Yorkie Russell has an average life expectancy of 12-16 years, which fits into the normal range for dogs. However, like with humans and other animals, each dog’s life span is also heavily influenced by many other factors, such as its specific sturdiness; diet; and the quality and frequency of health care, exercise, and stimulation it receives. Many Yorkie Russells, thus, live beyond 16 years old, and others do not hit 12 years old. The key is to care for and love the dog as much as possible for as long as its human owners are able.

yorkie russell dog

Behavior: full of energy and affection

Yorkie Russells are energetic, playful, affectionate, and moderately intelligent dogs, making them ideal pets. They are also usually friendly even around strangers, but may need supervision around very small children and larger dogs. School-aged children, however, should be able to enjoy the active play Yorkie Russells crave. And it really is no joke to say that these dogs crave attention! When they feel ignored, they tend to bark or whine.

Playing and going for long walks are a must for these dogs, otherwise, they may start exhibiting destructive behavior – such pawing at chewing on items in their living space – if they are under-stimulated. Occasionally, they can be territorial over their owners and space. A few owners have even reported their pets becoming whiny and possessive when the owners show affection to other humans! Actually, they may bark and whine regardless. Needless to say, owners Yorkie Russells must prepare themselves for quite a journey — one filled with play and affection — with such a boisterous and energetic addition to their households.

Ideal environment

Yorkie Russell are adaptable and can easily adjust to living in apartments and enclosed areas, in no small part because of their tiny stature. They can handle both cold and warm climates, although some intolerance of significantly cold or hot temperatures has been noted by some owners.

Diet: there is such a thing as too much food!

Like most dogs, Yorkie Russells will do well on good-quality, high-calorie dry dog food (kibble). Belying their size though, these dogs have voracious appetites and may eat considerably more than they need, if they are allowed. However, this may lead to health- issues, particularly obesity, because they are, by nature, meant to have small frames, and their bodies may not be able to support the extra weight.

Thus, it is important to get them used to only a certain amount of kibble at a time; the food manufacturer and veterinarian should be able to provide guidance on the correct amount, depending on the exact weight of the dog, its activity level, and the calorie content of the kibble. This would usually be around a cup of kibble every day. The dogs can have this in two meals so that they can pace themselves and not get an upset tummy from scarfing down their food; this also strikes a good balance between teaching them to wait for their next meal and not making them wait for too long!

Exercise and training: let them burn that energy off!

While these dogs are affectionate and moderately intelligent, they need some training in order to settle into the living situation their owners would like. In particular, owners need to be aware of the Yorkie Russell’s propensity for attention-seeking behavior. Owners will need to help their dogs establish routines, respect set boundaries, and become comfortable with the level of attention and affection the human is able to provide. For example, they still have the hunting instinct their Terrier and Jack Russell ancestors were bred for; hence, owners will need to find a way to temper that and channel it into play that is suitable for their circumstances.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that moderate levels of exercise and human contact every day are non-negotiable for these dogs because they need help in burning off their energy. This makes Yorkie Russell particularly suited to people who enjoy physical activities.

jack russell yorkie mix

Grooming: Only moderate shedding!

The dog sheds only minimally, so owners do not have to worry much about dog hair littering their home! Like its parent breeds, the Yorkie Russell is hypoallergenic and, is thus, an excellent choice for people with allergies. The downside though is that the dogs’ long and straight hair tends to tangle and pick up dust and dirt fairly easily; hence, owners have to do some amount of hair brushing every day, especially if they want their Jorkies to look neat and well-groomed, with silky hair. Either that, or they can just keep the dog’s hair short. Baths are only necessary if the dog really needs it already.

The dog will also need his or her teeth brushed three times a week, and his or her nails clipped regularly. Given how fine this dog’s hair is, professional grooming once in a while might be a good idea.

Health concerns

The Yorkie Russell is not at high risk of disease or poor health and, in fact, they are often quite healthy. Nevertheless, owners are advised to look out for several problems that Yorkie Russells have been noted to struggle with, in particular: eye problems, hypoglycemia, collapsed trachea, leg-calve-perthes, patellar luxation, photo-systemic stunt and deafness.

Where to look

Yorkie Russells are not considered a rare breed, although it would be unlikely to find them at rescue shelters. Many breeders carry them, and it would cost several hundreds of dollars (anywhere between $200 and $600 dollars) to purchase these dogs. If you are buying your Yorkie Russell from a breeder, do make sure to buy from a reputable one so you can get clearances on the health of the dog and its parents, as well as some assurance that the dogs are kept in good conditions prior to being sold.  Additionally, one must budget several hundred dollars per year in medical costs and other expenses, such as those for food, training and accessories.


In a nutshell, Yorkie Russells make excellent pets — they are adaptable, fairly easy to train, and loving and friendly. They are also small and do not shed excessively, so clean up is manageable. Many sources recommend them as good first pets because of the ease with which they bond with their owners and their extremely low propensity to become violent.

Nonetheless, they are balls of energy and need regular exercise and human interaction to thrive. Hence, these are great dogs if you are willing to invest the time and effort in walking and playing with them. Also, taking dogs on entails being responsible for a living thing whose needs will not change even if your circumstances do!

For example, the dog will always need food, health care, and a few other necessities. They will always need time and your attention. These factors will not chance even if you suddenly have less disposable income or have to take on a more stressful job with increased hours. At the end of the day, potential owners need to gauge the level and consistency of the commitment they are willing to give and able to make, especially for dogs as attention-seeking and in need of stimulation as a Yorkie Russell. But the love they give back? The feeling of seeing them so excited when you go home? Well, many people say that is truly priceless.

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