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Do Yorkies Bark a Lot? (Why They Bark & How to Stop It)

Yes, Yorkies bark a lot. They bark when they detect a potential threat and to protect their territory. Certain health issues make Yorkshire Terriers engage in excessive barking. Yorkies also use barking as a form of expressing their emotions.

Yorkshire Terriers were initially bred for vermin control. To keep their prey away from their territory, they had to bark to signal their presence. Yorkies sometimes followed prey into tight spaces, which was easy because of their size. If they got stuck, they had to bark for someone to save them.

This article explores the reasons for Yorkies’ barking behavior. You will learn how to identify why they bark and how to prevent it. 

Why Do Yorkies Bark So Much?

Yorkshire Terriers bark to communicate their emotions to the ones around them. They sometimes bark because they cannot contain their excitement or sadness. Several health issues also cause Yorkshires to bark excessively.

Yorkshire Terriers have different barks for different things they want to express. The acoustic structures and barking patterns differ. This offers information about the context in which they engage in barking.[1]

This table illustrates the acoustic structures of Yorkshire Terriers’ barks.

Acoustic StructureDescription
DurationOffers information about how Yorkies perceive the situation, either calm or threatening. It also reflects on their mental state.
FrequencyQuick barking indicates that Yorkshire Terriers feel threatened. Lazy barking indicates they bark as a reaction to unfamiliar noises.
Pitch Differentiates between Yorkshire Terriers’ emotional states. If the pitch is low, they experience negative emotions. If it is high, their emotions are positive.

Here are the three main reasons why Yorkshire Terriers bark:

  1. Health issues
  2. To signal changes in their environment
  3. To communicate their emotions

1. Yorkies Bark Because of Certain Health Issues

Yorkies Bark Because of Certain Health Issues

The most common health conditions that cause barking in Yorkshire Terriers are pain, cognitive disorders, and brain issues. 


A common reaction to pain in dogs is barking. 

You can identify pain as the cause behind your Yorkshire barking by excluding other potential causes such as danger, excitement, boredom, and so on.

Cognitive Disorders

Conditions such as canine senility and Alzheimer’s disease often determine Yorkshire Terriers to bark. 

This happens because they are not fully conscious of their reality and sometimes perceive threats that do not exist.

Brain Issues

Brain tumors or conditions that affect the circuits of a dog’s brain often determine Yorkies to bark compulsively. 

You can recognize this type of barking by observing the situations when it occurs. If you can eliminate all other reasons why Yorkies bark, then you can assume they have a brain issue.

2. Yorkies Bark to Signal Changes in Their Environment

Yorkies Bark to Signal Changes in Their Environment

Yorkshire Terriers use barking as a means of communicating changes in their environment. When an intruder trespasses their territory or when they hear an unfamiliar sound, they are most likely to bark. Yorkies usually bark when they detect danger.

Yorkies Bark to Signal Danger

When Yorkies detect an external threat, they bark fast, uninterrupted, and at a high pitch.

Yorkshires are bold dogs that don’t get scared easily despite their size. Still, they like to communicate if a potential threat is present in their environment.

Yorkshire Terriers are mostly triggered by unfamiliar noises[2]. They usually react to them when they are stressed. In calm situations, this type of queue does not trigger them.

Yorkies Bark to Protect Their Territory

To protect their territory, Yorkies bark uninterrupted, at a high pitch, and really fast.

Yorkshire Terriers are highly territorial and don’t like the presence of unfamiliar dogs in their personal space. They are also highly protective of their owners and make it their mission to protect their family members.

If they detect the potential trespasser, Yorkshire Terriers bark as a form of intimidation. This behavior is also common in other mammals, such as arctic foxes.[3]

The territory of Yorkshire Terriers is not made only of their home. They engage in protecting any space they perceive as their own. If you go on vacation, they will protect their accommodation territory as if it is their home.

3. Yorkies Bark to Communicate Emotions 

Yorkies Bark to Communicate Emotions

Yorkies Bark When They Are Bored

When Yorkies are bored, they engage in monotonous repetitive barking.

Despite their small size, Yorkshire Terriers are active dogs that like to engage in a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. If they are left alone for long periods, it’s best to provide many toys and games that keep their mind occupied. 

Yorkshire Terriers were initially bred to hunt rats and mice. They are genetically designed to have a job. When not engaged in any activity, Yorkies become bored and unhappy. As a result, they engage in problematic behavior which includes barking.

Yorkies Bark Because of Anxiety

When Yorkies experience anxiety, they have a continuous bark with pauses.

Yorkshire Terriers bark when they are anxious to release their stress and to communicate that something is wrong with them.

Just like humans, dogs experience anxiety. Anxiety is often confused with fear. While fear is a natural response to a real danger, anxiety is not related to real immediate threats. 

If Yorkies have been exposed to long periods of stress, they react to certain triggers, such as visual and auditory stimuli, even when the threat is not present. 

Yorkshire Terriers who have been abused or abandoned often experience anxiety. This also happens if they haven’t been socialized and exposed to various types of environments in puppyhood. 

Certain behaviors other than barking indicate anxiety in Yorkshire Terriers:

  • Hiding under the table or in apparently protected spaces
  • Lowering their body posture
  • Pacing or retreating
  • Seeking the presence of their owners

Yorkies Bark When They Are Excited

When they are excited, Yorkies bark with a rising pitch.

In some situations, Yorkies’ behavior is similar to humans. When they are excited, they bark out of joy, much like the way humans express their excitement vocally. 

Yorkies are good at predicting your intentions. They anticipate what you are going to do seconds before you engage in the behavior. This happens because dogs learn to interpret our body language as a means to understand us better. As a result, it is hard to prevent excitement barking. 

If your Yorkie barks in the following situations they are communicating their excitement:

  • You are about to take them for a walk.
  • You are taking them on a car ride.
  • They are about to eat.
  • They meet their loved ones. 
Yorkies Bark When They Are Excited

Yorkies Bark Because of Loneliness

When they feel lonely, Yorkshire Terriers engage in continuous barking with pauses.

Yorkshire Terriers don’t enjoy being left alone. They form strong bonds with their owners and love the company of other humans or dogs. Similar to humans, dogs can feel lonely too. Prolonged periods of loneliness often lead to separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs is characterized by the distress caused by the separation from their loved ones.[4]

When they experience separation anxiety, Yorkshire Terriers feel a mixture of loneliness and fear. Barking is a form of releasing these emotions and of letting you know something is wrong. 

It’s easy to determine if a dog barks because of separation anxiety by observing if they also experience:

  • Immediate frustration
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Improper elimination
  • Redirected frustration
  • Social panic
  • Reactive communication

 Yorkshire Terriers with separation anxiety bark in the following situations:

  • Someone is at the door.
  • They cannot reach a familiar object or person.
  • The doorbell rings.
  • An unfamiliar person or dog approaches them when they are in the car.
  • Their owners have an unpredicted departure.
  • Before their owner leaves the house.

Besides barking, Yorkies with separation anxiety engage in restlessness, excessive movement, biting, whining, and destructive behavior.

Yorkies Bark When They Are Scared

When they are scared, Yorkies bark fast, long, and with a high pitch. Their bark is accompanied by a drawn bark or howl at the end.

You can easily learn how to recognize if your Yorkie is barking because of fear by observing their behavior and body language.

These behaviors indicate fear in Yorkshire Terriers: 

  • Scratching and jumping on the door
  • Constantly moving back and forth
  • Climbing up the window with the desire to get out
  • Refusing to move because of fear
  • Chewing on the objects in their proximity 

Yorkies sometimes bark when they are scared. Depending on the situation and how they perceive the threat, their fear differs in intensity. When they are extremely scared, Yorkies can’t contain their strong emotion. In consequence, they become restless and start barking.

Yorkies Bark When They Are Scared

Yorkies Bark for Attention

When they need attention, Yorkies bark persistently, at a high pitch.

Because of their size, it is sometimes hard for Yorkies to get your attention. As a result, they engage in barking. This behavior is sometimes reinforced by owners. If you constantly pay attention to your dog when they are barking, it will use it whenever you are engaged in a situation that doesn’t involve them.

Attention-seeking behavior is common in most small breeds[5]. It can be controlled by reducing the anxiety of your dog, increasing their independence, and ignoring them when you identify attention-seeking barking. 

Are Yorkies Loud?

Yes, Yorkshire Terriers are loud. This does not refer only to the fact that they bark a lot but also no to the fact that they bark loudly. 

Yorkshire Terriers are initially bred to hunt rats and mice. They sometimes had to chase these small creatures into tight places. If they were stuck there, they died. As a result, they learned to bark loudly so they could be saved by their owners.

How to Stop a Yorkie From Barking

The best way to stop a Yorkshire Terrier from barking is to prevent the behavior. This can be done by ignoring the barking, engaging your dog in an activity that doesn’t allow them to bark, and keeping their stress levels low.

If your Yorkshire Terrier barks to get your attention, it’s best to ignore them. After you practice this for a while, they will understand that barking does not determine you to pay attention to them.

If your Yorkie barks when someone new comes into the house, teach them to grab a toy in their mouth every time the doorbell rings. This impairs them from barking.

Keeping your Yorkshire Terriers calm makes them less likely to get triggered by external changes. This also reduces their anxiety levels and makes them less likely to get scared.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce Yorkies’ anxiety levels:

  • Never skip the daily 30-minute walk.
  • Don’t fight in front of your Yorkshire Terrier.
  • Manage your stress levels because dogs mirror your internal states.[6]
  • Provide a nutrient-dense diet.
  • Provide mentally stimulating activities every day.
How to Stop a Yorkie From Barking

How to Train a Yorkie Not to Bark 

There are two ways to train your Yorkshire Terrier not to bark. The first one is to teach them the quiet command and the second one is to desensitize them to the stimuli.

Teaching the “Quiet!” Command

Here are the five steps you need to take to train your Yorkshire Terrier the “Quiet!” command:

  1. When your dog is triggered, don’t interrupt their barking for a few seconds.
  2. Use a single word, such as “quiet”, to let them know you want them to stop.
  3. Give them a treat when they do so.
  4. Repeat the command until they understand what you want from them.
  5. Reduce the time you allow them to bark if they do so just to get treats.

Yorkshire Terriers understand new commands in between 15 and 25 repetitions. They obey the first command 70% of the time.[7]


Yorkshire Terriers bark to express their emotions, to signal changes in their environment, and because of certain health issues. The acoustic structures of their barks and their pattern offers information about the reason behind the barking. By observing this structure you can identify and control this behavior.

About Ioana Moldovan

Ioana is a Misfit Animals staff writer and psychology student interested in animal behavior. She likes to dive deep into the newest scientific studies to find out the latest discoveries in the field.

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