Described as “affectionate, spritely, and tomboyish” by the American Kennel Club, the Yorkshire terrier ranks 10th most popular out of the AKC’s 196 registered breeds. You do not get to be this popular unless you are really awesome!
Although this breed is popular for good reason, it is wise to research before bringing one home to make sure it is the right fit for your family. Are Yorkies good family dogs? Let’s explore who Yorkshire terriers are best suited for:
Who is best suited to own a yorkie?
Based upon the characteristics and personality of the yorkie breed, they are best suited to owners with a particular set of characteristics:
Due to their small stature, yorkies are often city dwellers or residents of suburban neighborhoods.
While a yorkie can live in the country, special precautions should be taken. A toy dog in the country should always be taken outside on leash or supervised in a securely fenced area, as they are what many predators would consider “snack size”.
Of particular concern are birds of prey; most people do not check trees in their yard before letting their dogs out, which could end in tragedy. Keep in mind that some birds can camouflage themselves expertly, making supervision crucial.
Coyotes, wolves and mountain lions are another predator to watch out for in rural areas.
Yorkies are a long lived breed. According to the AKC, they can live approximately 11 to 15 years. This means that potential yorkie owners must be prepared for a commitment of at least 15 years, potentially more.
Yorkies are often described as feisty and bossy. To prevent a little Napoleon from running the house hold, potential yorkie parents should dedicate time to train their fur baby so they will be well behaved.
Due to their small size, yorkies do not have significant exercise needs. However, they should receive daily exercise. Good exercise for a yorkie would be about 1-2 short walks and a play session daily.
These walks can be great for helping owners stay active who are prone to a sedentary lifestyle, especially seniors, who need activity but lack the strength to walk a large dog.
Dedicated Dog Lovers
Yorkies thrive on lots of affection and attention. This means that people who really love dogs make great yorkie owners.
These dedicated dog lovers live their lives to spend the most time they can with their dogs and ensuring that their dog receives proper care their whole life.
Some yorkies are very cuddly, but due to their long hair, some of them may not want to snuggle for very long because it can get hot wearing a majestic fur coat!
But even if your yorkie gets too hot cuddling in your lap, they probably won’t stray too far from you because they will still want attention.
Since yorkies are tiny, their little legs do not move as quickly as our legs. This means yorkie owners must have the patience to walk at an appropriate pace to prevent dragging or over-working their yorkie.
Noise Tolerant People
Yorkies are famous for their watch dog abilities, but the things a yorkie deems news worthy are not always the same things we think are worth talking about (such as someone walking on the sidewalk outside or a plastic bag blowing in the wind).
This means that yorkie owners should be tolerant of barking, because these little dogs with big personalities find lots of things to announce.
Are Yorkies good with kids?
Yorkies each have their own personalities, and as such, there will be some yorkies who love children and others who prefer adults.
However, due to their size, they are recommended to be owned by families with older, dog savvy children. Smaller children might be too rough, causing injury, and causing a yorkie to dislike children because of a bad experience.
The best way to ensure that your yorkie enjoys the company of small humans is to socialize with kind children from an early age.
Always supervise interactions and guide children on how to be kind. If this is done consistently from an early age, your yorkie should do well with children her whole life.
Are Yorkies good with other dogs?
Generally speaking most yorkies get along well with other dogs. However, each dog’s life experiences will shape who they like to keep company with.
If socialized as a puppy and raised with other friendly dogs, your yorkie will likely enjoy the companionship of other canines.
If you rescue a yorkie and you do not know her background, be sure to make introductions with other dogs carefully to avoid conflict.
Are Yorkies good with cats?
Many yorkies successfully live with cats, however, this varies by their respective personalities.
Even if a yorkie is not feline friendly, due to their small size, it is completely possible for a yorkie and a cat to share a home; it would not be difficult for a cat to jump out of their reach.
If you have a cat and you are considering adopting a Yorkshire Terrier, discuss your feline family members with the rescue to see if they have a cat friendly yorkie available. If there is a yorkie you are interested in adopting who has not been labeled “cat friendly”, ask the rescue if they have been cat tested, and if not, ask if it would be possible to cat test.
If you are considering purchasing a puppy, training your yorkie to be kind to your feline should begin from the first day your yorkie comes home. If you are unsure what the best way to do this would be, find a dog trainer to assist you.
Are Yorkies good with small animals?
According to the AKC, yorkies were raised for rodent control, so they may have a strong prey drive with small animals. They should always be supervised with small animals to be safe.
Do yorkies require any special care?
Yorkies have one special need: grooming. The yorkie’s hair mirrors the consistency of human hair more so than dog hair. While this is great for people who suffer from allergies, this does require time to provide proper care.
This means they require daily brushing, baths every few weeks, and regular grooming. Yorkies who are not properly groomed suffer from matting, which causes pain, discomfort, and an unkempt appearance.
If you don’t want to deal with the long hair, then a trip to the groomer’s on a regular basis is a good idea to keep your yorkie relatively short.
That’s what I do with my Ziggy. That’s him in the photo below. Even with the shorter cut, he’s adorable, isn’t he?
If you are unwilling or unsure if you are willing to invest significant time in grooming, you may want to consider a smooth coated breed of dog instead of a yorkie.
A favorite of urban families, yorkies make loving companions. Best suited for families with older children, yorkies have big personalities and are often playful.
Yorkies can live to be 15 years old and have significant grooming requirements. If you are prepared for or want such a life span but not the grooming needs, consider a smooth coated Chihuahua instead of a yorkie.
If you want an animal that you can hold and bond with but cannot commit to such a long life span, consider a guinea pig.
I have always loved Yorkies and got my first on when I was 19. I bred and showed them back in the 80’s. Though I love other breeds too, Yorkshire Terriers will always be my first love. I have lived and worked with dogs all my life.
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