Yorkshire Terriers are hugely popular dogs, both in the US and around the world. So, just what makes these small, fuzzy terriers such great pets? I myself am a proud owner and I can tell you, the reasons are numerous.
I would recommend getting a Yorkie to almost everyone. However, it’s fair to say that they also have traits that some may find undesirable. Stick with me for an in-depth look at the ins and outs of Yorkie ownership as we explore the pros and cons. Starting with the positive…
12 Reasons Yorkies Make Good Pets
I never really planned on getting a Yorkshire Terrier. However, when I moved in with my wife to be, 10 years ago, I was lucky enough to acquire one as a part of the deal. Fortunately, she is still with me today at the grand old age of 15 (I’m talking about the Yorkie, although I’m happy to say that the wife is still with me too).
Both my wife and I are crazy about animals and we’ve recently been thinking about getting more dogs. Even though I’ve had various different breeds over the years, for us and many others, Yorkies are at the top of the list. So, without further ado, here are 12 reasons why I believe Yorkies are such great pets.
#1 Yorkies Form Strong Bonds With Their Owners
Yorkies tend to form extremely strong bonds with their owners. For this reason, they make the most wonderful companions.
They love to receive affection or attention of any kind and they will appreciate it whoever it comes from. However, they often have their favorites also. Usually latching on to one person, in particular, shadowing them wherever they go.
Yorkies show affection in a number of ways. One thing that you will probably notice, is that they frequently stare lovingly at their owners, just waiting for their next move. For more information on this and other ways that Yorkies show affection, I highly recommend reading my article 8 Cute Ways Yorkies Show Affection.
Protective, loyal, and attention-loving. These are all personality traits that make Yorkshire Terriers great pets. What more could you ask for in a dog?
#2 Yorkies Are Small and Easy to Handle
Before owning my own Yorkie, I was never a real fan of small dogs. However, since getting to know them, I openly admit that the small size of Yorkies is one of the reasons they make such great pets.
I soon found out that although my new Yorkie was small on the outside, this in no way reflected her character. This is a theme that runs true with many other Yorkie owners also.
Standing at a whopping 8 inches tall and weighing in at around seven pounds, Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest dog breeds around. Being so small, Yorkies are able to live in smaller abodes, like condos and apartments. They don’t need or want a lot of space to be content!
Not only that, but they can be easily transported thanks to their size. They can be comfortably be picked up, kept on a lap, or fit into the seat of a car with plenty of room to spare.
Yorkies are also able to go places some larger dogs might not. For example, they can be carried into some stores or even sit inside the cabin on certain flights as opposed to going into the cargo hold.
Having a pocket-sized pooch really does have its advantages!
#3 Yorkies are Adaptable
One of the most desirable traits Yorkshire Terriers possess is their adaptability. Yorkies are great at adjusting to their surroundings and adapting to whatever is going on around them.
When it comes to adaptability, dogell.com gives Yorkies five out of five stars, noting…
“Yorkshire Terriers adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments. They don’t mind moving from one place to another with their owner.”dogell.com
This is great for those who love to take their dogs when they travel. It’s also great for those who may be at a transitional stage in life or those that have to move around a lot in general.
As mentioned, Yorkshire Terriers can do well in a number of different living spaces, from lofty houses to compact apartments. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in a number of environments.
#4 Yorkies Are Intelligent and Easy to Train
Generally speaking, smaller dogs are not known for their intelligence, however, Yorkies deviate from the status quo in this respect.
Their working dog background coupled with their high level of intelligence, means Yorkies respond well to commands and can be trained quickly.
The American Kennel Club notes that even though Yorkies are small, they are still able to compete and excel in rally, agility, and obedience activities thanks to their intelligence. Yorkies also make excellent therapy dogs!
#5 Yorkies Require Less Exercise Than Other Dogs
This is a big plus for pet owners who either don’t have a lot of space to let their dog exercise or don’t have a lot of time every day to devote to exercising a dog.
While Yorkies are very active dogs, they do well with only moderate bouts of daily exercise, like short walks or quick bursts of activity like chasing after toys around the home.
This is a big difference compared to other, larger dogs, like the golden retriever who is best off with several hours a day of playtime and exercise.
#6 Yorkies Require Less Food Than Other Dogs
Think of large dog breeds – Huskies, Great Danes, German Shepherds. Just imagine how much food these guys need to eat to stay healthy and happy. That much food can certainly make a dent in anyone’s pocketbook.
Again, since Yorkshire Terriers are so small, they require a lot less food than other dogs. Not only that, but they also have notoriously small stomachs, Yorkies just really aren’t big eaters.
As less money needs to be spent on food, Yorkie owners can either pay for higher quality food or devote that extra money to other items for their Yorkie, or both!
#7 Yorkies Have Generally Good Health
Unfortunately, many dog breeds are notorious for certain health issues. This is a problem for the poor pooches who have to suffer through health problems and their owners who may be burdened with large veterinary bills.
Luckily, with a couple of minor exceptions (which I will get onto later on in the negative portion of the article) Yorkshire Terriers are a breed that’s regarded to have generally good health. Breeders usually only have to screen for two health issues: eye abnormalities and luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap). Overall, Yorkies are very healthy, and that’s great for everyone involved.
With that said, you should be cautious of “Teacup Yorkies”. These are actually just normal Yorkies that weigh less than 4 pounds. However, they are often misclassified and miss-sold as a different subset of Yorkies altogether.
Teacup Yorkies are often bred purely for size which has a detrimental effect on their health. There are many health issues associated with Teacup Yorkies such as weak immune systems and stunted livers plus many more. For these reasons, I would strongly discourage you from getting one.
Despite the health issues associated with them, Teacup Yorkies are often sold at inflated prices. People who purposely breed these dogs are usually only out to make money and do not have the dogs’ wellbeing in mind.
#8 Yorkies Don’t Drool or Shed Fur
You’ve may have owned or at least known someone who has owned a dog that really needs a lot of cleaning up after. Many dog breeds drool a lot and others shed a lot. Sometimes both!
Yorkshire Terriers do need grooming and brushing to ensure their coats don’t become tangled or matted, but you won’t have to worry about them leaving a trail of hair or saliva all over you and your house.
Since their coat is made up of hair rather than fur, Yorkies only shed about as much as humans do, which isn’t much! You may just be able to ditch your lint roller.
Speaking as someone who also owns a white short-haired labrador, I can tell you that having a dog that sheds compared to one that doesn’t, is no trivial thing!
#9 Yorkies Are Better for People With Pet Allergies
If you know anything about Yorkshire Terriers, you probably know they’re widely revered for their beautiful coats. However, there is more to be said for their coats than just how beautiful they are.
Leading on from my last point, having hair instead of fur also means that Yorkies are as close to as hypoallergenic as dogs can get. That’s awesome, considering 30% of people are allergic to household pets!
Although people often claim otherwise, it cannot be said that any dog is truly hypoallergenic. However, people with allergies are typically more sensitive to particular breeds than others and Yorkies are one of the best options for allergy sufferers out there.
#10 Yorkies are Great Watchdogs
When you think of a watchdog, a Yorkshire Terrier might not be the first breed that comes to mind. However, Yorkies make fantastic watchdogs!
Yorkies are curious, high-alert, and protective, which is a great mix when it comes to watching over an owner or a home. Yorkies also tend to bark at the sign of anything suspect; with a Yorkie around, you will be alerted to anything coming your way.
Our family Yorkie also tends to watch over my wife’s handbag when we go to visit friends too! She soon lets us know if anyone comes too close for comfort as she likes to have a good old grumble.
It’s essential to make the distinction that Yorkies are “all bark and no bite” though. These little pups are excellent watchdogs and can alert people to disturbances or anything out of the ordinary, but other than alerting you, they’ll have a hard time actually doing anything about it themselves.
#11 Yorkies Have a Relatively Long Lifespan
Dog lovers wish for the most part that their furry friends could live as long as we do. While no dog lives as long as a human, there are a few dog breeds that live relatively long lifespans. Yorkshire terriers are one of those breeds.
On average, Yorkshire Terriers live 12 to 15 years. This is above the average for all dogs, which is about 10 to 13 years. So, getting a Yorkie means getting a companion that could stay by your side for 15 years, and possibly longer. As I mentioned, our girl is now in her 15th year and she has plenty of life left in her yet!
#12 Yorkies Are Adorable and Entertaining
So, this is fairly obvious to most people who have a pulse and functioning eyesight. Nonetheless, with their beautiful coats, big eyes, and button noses, Yorkies are irrefutably adorable.
Having long hair also means that there are plenty of options for owners to choose from when it comes to hairstyles too!
As they are also naturally inquisitive and energetic they are always up for playing games and trying new activities. Check out the following clip to see just how entertaining they can be.
5 Reasons Yorkshire Terriers Might Not Be the Pet for You
Hopefully, you’ve now read 12 reasons why Yorkshire Terriers make good pets, and all of those reasons ring true. However, although Yorkies can make great pets, that doesn’t mean they’re the right pet for everyone.
If you’re considering getting a Yorkshire Terrier, you may want to consider the following aspects below. After all, getting a new dog is a big commitment and so deciding on the right pet is not a light decision. Here are some cases in which a Yorkie may not be the best option.
#1 Yorkies Aren’t Great With Small Children
Kids love dogs and often want to play with them and show them affection. However, young children (particularly those under the age of 5) have not yet perfected their motor skills. They can often be a little rough for such a tiny dog.
When you add to this a Yorkies’ courageous and territorial nature, along with the fact that kids are not so good at reading the subtle cues that dogs exhibit when they want to be left alone, it can lead to trouble.
It’s easy to see why Yorkies have a reputation for being aggressive or nippy towards small children, but in the Yorkies defense, they usually only act this way for good reason. This behavior mainly occurs around kids that do not know how to act properly around dogs.
On the plus side, Yorkies only have tiny jaws that are not very powerful. They are fairly incapable of causing any severe damage or permanent harm.
With adequate socialization from a young age, Yorkies can learn to get along with small children and other dogs just fine, so long as they are not mistreated.
I have my own young kids, and while we’ve never had any real issues, I have had to intervene on a couple of occasions, particularly when there’s food involved.
#2 Yorkies Aren’t Great Guard Dogs
Remember talking about how Yorkies make great watchdogs? That much is true. However, Yorkies really don’t make good guard dogs.
If you’re looking for a dog who can be both a watchdog and a guard dog for you and your family, a Yorkie probably isn’t the dog for you.
Sure, Yorkies think they’re large dogs in a small dog’s body, but at the end of the day, they’re still only delicate little pups. Even if a Yorkie plucked up the courage to attack an intruder in your home, they will not be able to do any real damage.
Nevertheless, sometimes any dog is enough to put some people off. I did once have a big burly plumber who wouldn’t enter my house until I had shut the big bad Yorkie away in the bedroom!
#3 Yorkies Require Regular Grooming
The awesome coat of hair that adorns Yorkshire Terriers is one of their greatest traits, but taking care of it could require more time than you’d like to or are able to give.
If you allow your Yorkies coat to grow long, that means daily brushing and frequent bathing. Since their hair is so much like human hair, it needs to be treated as such.
On the other hand, as I have, you may opt to keep your Yorkies’ hair as short as possible to get around this issue. However, this still requires some attention every so often as you will obviously still need to actually cut their hair.
Unless you have enough time and are brave enough to do it yourself, dog groomers can get expensive. If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time (or the funds) to devote to grooming, then a Yorkie might not be the best dog choice for you.
#4 Yorkies Tend to Bark a Lot
Harking back to the point about watchdogs again, Yorkshire Terriers can be quite vocal. As we said, they love to stay on high alert to warn of any disturbances or danger.
If you’re someone who can’t really stand a lot of barking (or in the case of the Yorkie, what might be referred to as “yapping”), a Yorkshire Terrier may not be the best breed for you.
Yorkies can, of course, be trained to bark less, if you’re willing to devote the time to that. However, by nature, they are prone to barking, so just keep that in mind!
#5 Yorkies Don’t Like to Be Left Home Alone
If you’re someone who works very long hours or has a schedule in which you need to leave your dog home alone frequently, you may want to reconsider getting a Yorkshire Terrier.
Yorkies are incredibly social and closely bond with their owners, and if they are left home alone frequently or for long periods of time, they can get separation anxiety.
This can be distressing not only for Yorkies but for their owners, too. Yorkies with separation anxiety may behave in undesirable ways, like chewing things they shouldn’t, urinating where they shouldn’t, and barking more frequently.
#6 Yorkies Are Prone to Dental Issues
While Yorkies do have generally good health overall, like many other small breeds, their small jaws mean that they are fairly prone to developing dental issues.
Most of these issues can be avoided through proper care such as regular brushing, however, this is will take your consideration and time.
I would recommend sticking to a dry food diet as opposed to using canned or wet foods. This will be very helpful in preventing tooth decay.
#7 Yorkies Have Small Sensitive Stomachs
While having such a small stomach may be beneficial as far as your wallet or purse is concerned, the negatives to this are as follows:
- Finicky eaters – Finding the right food can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for Yorkies, they can be quite picky sometimes and many foods disagree with their little tummies. This can cause them to vomit or get diarrhea as a result.
- They need feeding more frequently – Larger dogs should have no problems with only one or two meals a day. However, Yorkies have to eat smaller portions and more frequently. You may still be able to get away with two meals though, as long as they can have a snack in between.
If Yorkies do not get food often enough, they can end up vomiting bile or suffering from hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is caused by a lack of blood sugars which causes them to feel weak and shake a lot. More severe cases can even cause fainting, seizures, and can even be fatal.
Hypoglycemia shouldn’t be an issue if you keep a good feeding schedule. If your dog is having a hypoglycemic episode, you can rub syrup or honey inside their mouth and contact your vet immediately if the symptoms are severe.
Recap: Pros and Cons of Yorkshire Terrier Ownership
At this point, you know not only the reasons Yorkshire Terriers make great pets, but some of the reasons they may not be the best pet for everyone. That was a lot of information, though, right?
Let’s boil down the pros and cons of having a Yorkie as a pet.
- Bond closely with owners
- Small and Easy to Handle
- Intelligent and easy to train
- Require less exercise
- Require less food
- Generally good health
- Don’t drool or shed fur
- Great Watchdogs
- Long lifespan
- Adorable and entertaining
- Not great with young kids
- Not great guard dogs
- Need regular grooming
- Prone to barking a lot
- Don’t like to be left alone
- Prone to dental issues
- Require good socialization
- Small sensitive stomachs
As you can see, while I may be somewhat biased, I have tried my best to give a balanced opinion. However, the benefits list is still longer than the negatives. Armed with this information, you can decide if these wonderful little dogs will be right for you too.
Purchasing a Yorkshire Terrier
If you’ve decided that a Yorkie is the dog breed for you, then you may find this section particularly helpful.
Let’s take a look into the minutia of getting and owning a Yorkshire Terrier – from finding a breeder or adopting, to training and socializing.
Finding a Yorkshire Terrier Breeder or Adopting
Nowadays, with all the “designer dog” breeders, it can be a morally tough decision on whether to purchase a dog from a breeder or try to find one who needs adopting.
Since Yorkies are a popular breed, they’re often hard to find in adoption centers and shelters.
This brings up a conundrum, because not only are Yorkies hard to find in adoption centers, but the amount of puppy mills has risen to breed and make money from these tiny pooches.
Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities that aim to breed as many puppies as fast as possible – especially breeds like Yorkies. Puppy mills more often than not have inhumane conditions for their dogs, and sometimes breed unhealthy dogs.
Therefore, puppy mills shouldn’t be supported and should aim to be avoided at all costs. So, where can you find a responsible Yorkshire Terrier breeder, or where can you safely adopt a Yorkie?
Finding a Yorkshire Terrier Breeder
First, try to find lists of legitimate Yorkshire Terrier breeders. The AKC has its own marketplace for puppies, which has the contact information of legitimate breeders. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America has a similar list of referred breeders.
While these are good places to start, once you’ve found a breeder in your area, it’s up to you to take the next steps to ensure that the breeder has been operating ethically and that your potential new pup is healthy and comes from a good breed line.
If possible, it is highly recommended to visit the actual Yorkshire terrier breeders in person. That way, you can meet the puppy’s dam and sire, meet the breeder, and see the conditions the dogs have been born and raised in.
Additionally, you can ask breeders for references of people who have previously purchased a puppy from the breeder. Reputable breeders should be willing to give you this information and allow you to get some testimonials from previous adopters.
Adopting a Yorkshire Terrier
If you feel like you would rather look into adopting a Yorkie instead of purchasing one from a breeder, you’ll have to keep an eye out at local shelters and adoption centers as well as national shelters and adoption centers.
Again, because Yorkies are what’s considered to be a “designer” breed, the easiest way to get them is from breeders and (unfortunately) places like puppy mills. Unlike some breeds, it’s not very often that you will be able to walk into a shelter or adoption center and find a Yorkie.
YorkshireTerriers can end up in shelters or adoption centers for a number of reasons, but most often, they end up there because an owner passed away or was unable to keep up with their needs.
For a start, to watch for adoptable Yorkies on the national level in the US, you can check out the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue. There, you can find a list of adoptable Yorkies from around the country; you can even submit your application right there on the website if you find one you’d like to adopt.
Next, visit the websites of your local rescues and shelters to see if they have any Yorkshire Terriers available, or check out the rescues and shelters in person.
If you have no luck, keep checking back, as you never know when a Yorkie could show up.
Yorkshire Terrier Training and Socializing
Yorkshire Terriers need a fair amount of training and socializing in order to be the best dogs they can be. This is especially true if you have other dogs, small children, or don’t want your Yorkie to be overly territorial.
Yorkies need to begin being trained and socialized from a very early age. The first three months of a Yorkie’s life will shape how it reacts to its environment as an adult dog, and will also develop its future personality. So, clearly, that early socialization and training are essential!
In short, starting socialization and training at the earliest age possible and especially during the first three months of a Yorkie’s life needs to be done.
This is also why if you are getting your dog from a breeder, it’s recommended to hold off until the dog is around 10-12 weeks old before separating them from the mother and the rest of the litter.
It’s very good for them to learn to get along with other dogs during this early period. For more information, please read my article When Can Yorkie Puppies Leave Their Mother?
In order to socialize your Yorkie correctly, you’ll want to introduce them to and spend lots of time around new dogs, people, sounds, sights, and smells
Places like dog parks, your neighborhood, and any areas you travel are great for socializing your Yorkie with the world around them. Think of as many situations, settings, and places as you can and try to expose your Yorkie to all of them – especially in their first three months of life.
All in all, Yorkshire Terriers make great pets. Not only are they adorable, but there are (at least) 12 significant reasons why they’re so great to have as pets.
Yorkies are loyal and protective, they’re small and compact, they adapt easily to their surroundings, they’ve got hypoallergenic coats, they’re very intelligent, and they generally have good health. Just think – those are only some of the reasons why Yorkshire Terriers make great pets.
Above all, Yorkies will show you true and pure unconditional love. You will always have a loyal companion close by your side as long as they’re around. What could be better than that?