Why Do Yorkshire Terriers Shake?

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Why do Yorkshire Terriers shake? Explore the reasons behind this common behavior in Yorkies and understand when it’s normal or requires attention.

Have you ever wondered why Yorkshire Terriers tend to shake so much? It’s a common behavior that many owners of these adorable dogs have noticed, but what is the reason behind it? In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to this shaking behavior in Yorkshire Terriers and shed some light on why they do it. So, if you’ve ever wondered why your furry friend can’t seem to sit still, keep reading to uncover the fascinating truth behind why Yorkshire Terriers shake.

Common Causes of Shaking in Yorkshire Terriers

If you’ve ever noticed your Yorkshire Terrier trembling or shaking, you may be wondering why they do this. It’s important to understand that there are several potential causes for this behavior, some of which are completely normal and harmless, while others may require attention and care. In this article, we will explore the common causes of shaking in Yorkshire Terriers and provide a comprehensive guide to help you better understand and address this issue. So, let’s dive in!

Why Do Yorkshire Terriers Shake

Normal Trembling Behavior

Shiver Reflex

One of the main reasons for shaking in Yorkshire Terriers is their innate shiver reflex. This reflex is more prominent in smaller breeds, like Yorkies, due to their higher surface area-to-volume ratio. It serves as a way for their body to generate heat and regulate their body temperature, especially in colder environments. So, if you notice your Yorkshire Terrier shaking when the temperature drops, it’s likely just their natural response to the cold.

Body Temperament

Every dog has its unique temperament, and Yorkshire Terriers are known to be quite energetic and spirited little companions. This high energy level can result in occasional shaking or trembling, especially when they’re excited or anticipating something. This is usually nothing to worry about and is just a manifestation of their enthusiastic and lively nature.

Size and Weight

The small size and delicate build of Yorkshire Terriers can also contribute to their shaking behavior. Due to their petite stature, even minor movements or exertions can cause their muscles to tremble. This is particularly noticeable when they’re engaged in physical activities or when they’re feeling exhausted. So, if you see your Yorkie shaking after a play session or a long walk, it’s most likely due to their small size rather than any underlying health issue.

Environmental Factors

Cold Weather

Yorkshire Terriers have a relatively thin coat that doesn’t provide as much insulation as the fur of larger breeds. Therefore, they are more susceptible to feeling cold, especially in chilly climates. When exposed to low temperatures, it’s not uncommon for Yorkies to shake as a way to generate body heat and keep themselves warm. Providing them with appropriate shelter, clothing, and warmth can help minimize this shaking behavior in cold weather.

Fearful or Stressful Situations

Just like humans, dogs can experience fear or stress in certain situations. Yorkshire Terriers, despite their small size, can be sensitive and easily overwhelmed by loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or unfamiliar people. In such situations, they may resort to trembling as a physical response to their emotional state. Understanding your Yorkie’s triggers and creating a calm and comforting environment can help alleviate their anxiety and reduce the instances of shaking.

Emotional States


Yorkshire Terriers are notorious for their excitement levels when it comes to various stimuli, such as playtime, treats, or the arrival of their beloved human companions. This heightened excitement can sometimes manifest as shaking or trembling. It’s their way of expressing joy and anticipation, and it should be seen as a natural response to their exuberant emotions rather than a cause for concern.


Just as some Yorkies get excited easily, they can also experience anxiety in certain situations. Separation anxiety, fear of separation from their owners or being left alone, is a common anxiety disorder among dogs, including Yorkshire Terriers. This anxiety may lead to trembling and shaking as a manifestation of their distress. If your Yorkshire Terrier exhibits excessive shaking and anxious behavior, it’s essential to address their anxiety and seek professional guidance to help them feel more secure and calm.


Yorkies may sometimes exhibit nervous behavior in unfamiliar or stressful situations. This nervousness can be triggered by various factors, such as meeting new people, encountering new environments, or undergoing unfamiliar procedures like vet visits. Shaking can be a visible sign of their nervous state. Providing a calm, reassuring presence and gradually exposing them to new experiences can help reduce their nervousness and subsequent trembling.



Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, is another common cause of shaking in Yorkshire Terriers, especially in puppies. Yorkies have high metabolic rates, and their small size means that they have limited energy reserves. Therefore, they are more susceptible to experiencing hypoglycemic episodes, particularly if they haven’t eaten for an extended period or have engaged in vigorous activity without proper nutrition.


When a Yorkshire Terrier’s blood sugar drops below normal levels, they may exhibit various symptoms, including shaking or trembling. Other signs of hypoglycemia may include weakness, disorientation, lethargy, and even seizures in severe cases. It’s crucial to monitor your Yorkie for these symptoms and seek prompt veterinary care if you suspect hypoglycemia.

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent hypoglycemic episodes in your Yorkshire Terrier, ensure that they are on a regular feeding schedule with small, frequent meals throughout the day. High-quality, balanced dog food can help stabilize their blood sugar levels. Additionally, keeping a close eye on their activity levels and providing adequate rest and nutrition can minimize the risk of hypoglycemia. If your Yorkie does experience a hypoglycemic episode, prompt veterinary intervention is essential, and they may need glucose supplementation to correct their blood sugar levels.

Why Do Yorkshire Terriers Shake

Physical Exertion

Exercise-related Shaking

Yorkshire Terriers are active dogs who enjoy exercise and playtime. However, intense physical exertion or prolonged periods of exercise can sometimes result in shaking. Similar to how humans experience muscle fatigue after a strenuous workout, Yorkies may experience muscle exhaustion, leading to visible trembling. It’s important to allow them sufficient rest and slow down the intensity of their exercise routine if you notice excessive shaking.

Heat Exhaustion

Yorkshire Terriers are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion and overheating due to their small size and limited ability to dissipate heat efficiently. When exposed to hot and humid conditions, their bodies may struggle to cool down effectively, leading to shaking as a response to the elevated body temperature. Always ensure that your Yorkie has access to shade, fresh water, and avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day to prevent heat-related issues.

Pain or Discomfort

Dental Issues

Dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or toothaches, can cause significant discomfort to Yorkshire Terriers. When experiencing dental pain, shaking may be one of the visible signs. If your Yorkie shows reluctance to eat, demonstrates signs of discomfort while chewing, or has bad breath, it’s crucial to have their dental health assessed by a veterinarian. Regular dental care, including professional cleanings and daily teeth brushing, can help prevent dental issues and alleviate potential pain or discomfort.

Joint Problems

Just like humans, dogs can develop joint problems as they age or due to hereditary factors. Yorkshire Terriers, although small in size, are not immune to joint issues such as luxating patella or hip dysplasia. These conditions can cause pain and discomfort, leading to shaking or trembling. If you notice your Yorkie having difficulty with mobility, showing reluctance to walk or jump, or displaying signs of joint discomfort, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders, such as gastritis, pancreatitis, or gastrointestinal inflammation, can cause an array of symptoms in Yorkshire Terriers, including shaking. These conditions can lead to abdominal pain and discomfort, resulting in visible tremors. If your Yorkie experiences recurrent digestive issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss, seeking veterinary advice is vital to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in dogs and may cause various symptoms, including shaking or trembling. Yorkies, in particular, may be more prone to UTIs due to their predisposition to bladder stones. If your Yorkshire Terrier shows signs of discomfort while urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine, or displays shaking behavior along with other urinary symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and the necessary treatment.

Other Health Conditions

Various other health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, heart problems, or hormonal imbalances, can manifest in shaking or trembling in Yorkshire Terriers. These conditions often present with additional symptoms, such as changes in appetite, lethargy, weight loss, or abnormal behavior. If you observe any concerning symptoms or changes in your Yorkie’s behavior, seeking veterinary attention for a thorough examination and appropriate diagnostic tests is strongly recommended.

Why Do Yorkshire Terriers Shake

Nervous System Disorders


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can affect dogs, including Yorkshire Terriers. It leads to recurring seizures, which may be accompanied by shaking or tremors. If your Yorkie experiences seizures or exhibits abnormal neurological symptoms, it’s vital to consult with a veterinarian to determine if epilepsy is the underlying cause and discuss suitable management strategies.

Shaker Syndrome

Shaker Syndrome, also known as White Dog Shaker Syndrome or Steroid-Responsive Tremor Syndrome, is a condition primarily affecting small dog breeds, including Yorkshire Terriers. It causes involuntary shaking or tremors, particularly noticeable in the head and limbs. If you notice continuous shaking or trembling in your Yorkie that does not seem related to any other cause, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out Shaker Syndrome.

Neurological Diseases

Various other neurological diseases, such as encephalitis, meningitis, or brain tumors, can lead to shaking or trembling in Yorkshire Terriers. These conditions often present with additional neurological symptoms, such as changes in coordination, altered behavior, vision problems, or seizures. If you suspect that your Yorkie may be experiencing a neurological issue, prompt veterinary examination and appropriate diagnostic tests are necessary to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Ear Infections


Ear infections are relatively common in dogs, and Yorkshire Terriers are no exception. These infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites, leading to inflammation and discomfort in the ear canal. Ear infections can cause shaking in Yorkies as they try to alleviate the discomfort or irritation.


In addition to shaking, other signs of ear infections in Yorkshire Terriers may include excessive scratching or rubbing of the ears, head shaking, redness or swelling of the ear canal, ear odor, discharge, or sensitivity to touch around the ears. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Treating ear infections in Yorkshire Terriers typically involves cleaning the affected ears and administering medication, such as antibiotic or antifungal drops, as prescribed by a veterinarian. It’s important to follow the treatment plan and administer medications correctly to ensure a full recovery and prevent the infection from recurring.


The Effects of Aging

Muscle Weakness

As Yorkshire Terriers age, they may experience a gradual decline in muscle strength and tone. This muscle weakness can result in visible shaking or trembling, particularly when they attempt to exert themselves physically or engage in activities that require more effort. Providing your aging Yorkie with a balanced diet, regular exercise tailored to their abilities, and proper joint support can help slow down the muscle weakness associated with aging.

Joint Degeneration

Just like muscle weakness, joint degeneration is a natural part of the aging process in many dogs, including Yorkshire Terriers. Conditions such as arthritis or degenerative joint disease can cause pain, inflammation, and discomfort, resulting in shaking or trembling. If your aging Yorkie demonstrates signs of joint stiffness, difficulty getting up or down, or limited mobility, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for appropriate management strategies and pain relief options.

Cognitive Decline

In their senior years, Yorkshire Terriers may also experience cognitive decline, similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. This condition, known as canine cognitive dysfunction, can result in various behavioral changes, including increased anxiety or restlessness, confusion, or disorientation. These symptoms may contribute to shaking or trembling in older Yorkies. If you notice these signs in your aging dog, seeking veterinary guidance can help manage their cognitive decline and provide appropriate support to improve their quality of life.

In conclusion, shaking or trembling in Yorkshire Terriers can have various causes, both benign and potentially concerning. While normal trembling behavior and occasional shaking due to environmental factors or emotional states are generally harmless, it’s essential to be vigilant and recognize when shaking may be indicative of an underlying health issue. If you’re unsure about the cause of your Yorkshire Terrier’s shaking or if it becomes excessive, consult with a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. Remember, your furry companion’s well-being is always a priority, and addressing their shaking behavior with care and understanding will ensure a happy and healthy life together.

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