Do Yorkshire Terriers Make Great Pets?

Updated on December 8, 2017
Leonard Tillerman profile image

Leonard is a former teacher and principal who has also been a writer for the past two decades. Writing and animals are his true love.

Yorkshire Terriers make a great family pet.
Yorkshire Terriers make a great family pet.

Introduction

When you hear the term “dog,” do the names of Old Yeller, Rin Tin Tin, or Lassie come to mind? They are all famous dogs who have a positive and defined place in our culture. Yet, every year in the United States alone, 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters and 1.2 million are euthanized. Despite this disheartening statistic, as of May 2016, there were approximately 10,000 puppy mills in the United States that continue to churn out puppies at an alarming rate [1]. Considering that this is a statistic that is not likely to change anytime soon, we can clearly see why dogs need owners and good homes like never before [2].

There is also a very good argument to be made for the fact that humans need dogs just as much as they need us. Dogs have scientifically proven significant physical, mental, and emotional benefits for people. One such breed of dog which makes for an amazing companion is the Yorkshire Terrier, better known as the Yorkie. Below is a list of the top reasons which seek to answer the question: Why do Yorkies make such great pets?

Being excellent companions is one key reason that Yorkies make for a great pet.
Being excellent companions is one key reason that Yorkies make for a great pet.

1. Companionship

While the call to fame for Yorkies seems to be that they were bred to catch and kill rats in factories and mines, they are now better known to be adorable, devoted and loving companions. Yorkies long for physical contact and are exceptionally affectionate, cute and cuddly.

According to the American Kennel Club's annual ranking, the Yorkshire Terrier is the 9th most popular breed of dog. Indeed, much of that popularity can be directly attributed to the love and loyalty they show to their human owners. They crave attention and as such are excellent companion dogs.

The tiny size of the Yorkie is an advantage and a great reason they make a great pet.
The tiny size of the Yorkie is an advantage and a great reason they make a great pet.

2. Size

Some dog lovers may point to the tiny size of Yorkshire Terriers as being problematic due to their inherent fragility. However, it is this small stature which makes them an ideal pet. Not only do Yorkies not require a lot of space to be comfortable, but they are also easy to carry around and manage. This is what makes them such an ideal pet for senior citizens and anyone who has physical limitations.

The small stature of the Yorkie allows owners to take them where many other dogs are not allowed to go. They can be carried into stores, and can even sit in the cabin on airplane flights instead of the cold and often dangerous cargo hold. Instead of being a disadvantage, their small size makes them an ideal pet to have as they can come along with you wherever you wish to go.

Yorkies will make for a great watch dog. They are very loyal pets to their owners.
Yorkies will make for a great watch dog. They are very loyal pets to their owners.

3. Excellent Watch Dogs

By saying Yorkshire Terriers are fantastic watch dogs we are not referring to their ability to physically defend their owner. Yorkies are far too small for that. Nevertheless, they are naturally protective of their owners, feisty, and have a very keen sense of hearing. What these excellent watch dogs will do, is alert their owners to the arrival of strangers by barking incessantly. Nobody will be able to get near the owner without first having to contend with the efficient early warning system known as the Yorkshire Terrier!

Their intelligence makes the Yorkshire Terrier an ideal pet.
Their intelligence makes the Yorkshire Terrier an ideal pet.

4. Intelligence

While Yorkies are not in the top ten for the brightest dogs, they are nevertheless ranked as above average in all areas [3]. As they were originally bred as working dogs, Yorkies had to possess above average intelligence so they could be easily trained. Having a pet which can be quickly and painlessly trained is a giant benefit for any dog owner. After all, dogs were originally domesticated due to their unique ability to respond to human instruction. The fact that Yorkies do it so well is a definite plus.

Being hypoallergenic makes the Yorkie an attractive pet to have!
Being hypoallergenic makes the Yorkie an attractive pet to have!

5. They Are Hypoallergenic

Many individuals who would like to have a dog and make it part of their family cannot due to the presence of allergies. The excessive fur which dogs shed does not make ownership a possibility for people with allergies or asthma. However, the Yorkshire Terrier is known as a hypoallergenic breed which in turn makes dog ownership a possibility for allergy sufferers. The actual dictionary definition of hypoallergenic is, “designed to reduce or minimize the possibility of allergic response, as by containing relatively few or no potentially irritating substances.” The Yorkie fits right into that category and is on an actual top list of hypoallergenic dogs [4]. While no dog is 100% allergy free, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most allergy and asthma friendly dog out there.

6. Cleanliness and Maintenance

One of the most common complaints of any dog owner is the need to constantly clean up shed fur in the house. It makes for a never-ending vacuuming routine. However, the Yorkshire Terrier has hair, not fur, and sheds very little. The reason that Yorkies shed so infrequently is due to the fact that their hair has the ability to grow long (in contrast to dogs with short fur which is shed quickly) [5]. Similar to humans, Yorkies will shed some hair, but the rate is drastically lower than most other dog breeds. This results in a cleaner house and greatly reduced housekeeping maintenance routines.

Yorkshire Terriers are Excellent Therapy Dogs

7. Excellent Therapy Dogs

The world can be a very overwhelming and stressful place for many people. Individuals with mental health concerns, such as anxiety or depression, often rely upon therapy dogs to help reduce and manage their various symptoms such as agitation, high blood pressure, and social withdrawal. Yorkshire Terriers make excellent therapy dogs as they are so manageable, friendly, loving, and affectionate. In fact, the earliest therapy dog was a Yorkie named Smoky who used to spend his time in the hospital during World War II, comforting injured and recovering soldiers [6]. Yorkies have the unique ability to brighten anyone’s day.

The Yorkshire Terrier does not need as much exercise as bigger dog breeds.  This can make them an attractive pet for busy owners!
The Yorkshire Terrier does not need as much exercise as bigger dog breeds. This can make them an attractive pet for busy owners!

8. Do Not Need a Lot of Exercise

It is true that all dogs require some form of exercise. It helps them with their actual physical development, releases energy, and teaches socialization. Nevertheless, it is also true that certain dogs need much more exercise than others. Yorkshire Terriers are on the low end of the spectrum as they do not need a lot of vigorous activity at all. Short strolls in the neighborhood more than meet the exercise requirements for Yorkies.

Not having to devote a lot of time to exercising their dog can be particularly attractive for owners who do not always have time to take the dog for a long walk after just spending 12 hours at the office. While Yorkies still need a lot of attention and play, their need for exercise is low (relatively speaking) when compared to larger breeds. They simply cannot handle the distances the bigger dogs go for walks and dog parks can simply be too dangerous for the little Yorkie.

9. Require Less Food

In these days of economic uncertainty, every penny helps. The vast majority of households need to follow tight budgets to make ends meet. Disposable income is contracting all the time. In such an environment, saving money on pet food is an added bonus. None of us would want our dog to go without, but the simple fact of the matter is that providing our dogs with proper nutrition is expensive, and some dogs eat much more than others. Yorkies are a very small breed, usually weighing between 4-8 pounds. They also have a very small stomach and are notoriously picky eaters. Considering all of these factors, a bag of dog food for Yorkies tends to last a very long time. They are particularly cheap to feed.

Adaptability is a key reason that Yorkies make such a great pet.
Adaptability is a key reason that Yorkies make such a great pet.

10. Very Adaptable

Another reason that a Yorkie makes for such a great pet is due to their unique adaptability. Their tiny size means that they really do not need a large living space to accommodate them. Also, they can be potty trained to go indoors as a pee pad can be easily utilized. Due to these factors, they are known to be excellent pets for apartment dwellers. Whereas larger dogs and a small apartment would certainly not work, a Yorkie’s small stature, unique portability, and adaptability make them the perfect choice for almost any living arrangement.

Not only are they adaptable in terms of living space, but they can also be easily transported almost anywhere. This is a very attractive trait for human owners who crave the companionship and company of their beloved Yorkie. Adaptability is a key reason that Yorkies make a great pet.

There is never a dull moment when you have a Yorkie as a pet!
There is never a dull moment when you have a Yorkie as a pet!

12. Never a Dull Moment

Nothing is guaranteed in life, but if you have a Yorkie as a pet you can rest assured that there will never be a dull moment. They are naturally very inquisitive, lively and energetic. Yorkies will also tend to follow their owners around the house like shadows, always looking for an opportunity to play and perform. If someone seeks daily entertainment and amusement then the Yorkshire terrier is the perfect pet.

11. Peaceful With Other Pets

Just as with humans, no two Yorkies are exactly the same. While some are standoffish and snappy around other pets, most are friendly and peaceful. This makes for a much calmer household if someone has more than one pet. Something to always remember however, is the fact that Yorkshire Terriers were bred as rat hunters. If you have a Guinea Pig or Hamster, they will not mix well with the Yorkie.

Conclusion:

Undoubtedly, everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to owning a pet. For the many dog lovers out there, a multitude of breeds exist from which to choose. There are big dogs, working breeds, intelligent ones ...and the list goes on. However, if people want to own a pet which has a little of everything, with a whole host of advantages, then the Yorkshire Terrier is the ideal dog. The sheer number of advantages and unique characteristics of the breed convincingly provide the answer to "why do Yorkies make such great pets?" Once you get a Yorkie, you never go back!

Why Do Yorkies Make Great Pets?

Do You Think Yorkies Make Great Pets?

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Resources:

1. Shelter Intake and Surrender. ASPCA

2. Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures. The Humane Society of the U.S.

3. Dog Intelligence Ranking. Petrix.com

4. Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic: Yorkie Mag. 2016

5. Yorkie Shedding. Yorkie Info. Center.

6. Therapy Dogs. Doggies.com

The Everything Yorkshire Terrier Book. Cheryl Smith. 2005

The Complete Idiots Guide to Yorkshire Terriers. Liz Palika. 2013

Peanut Paws. Best Dog Food For Yorkies: Small Stomach, Picky Appetite. Brian Hersh. 2016

Life with a Yorkie!
Life with a Yorkie!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Natalie Frank 15 months ago

      I've been thinking of getting dog and as I live in an apartment want one that is small. I work from home and would love the companionship. Thanks for the tips in this article. It's a great resource!

    • Jesse Drzal profile image

      The Write Life 15 months ago from The United States

      Great article. I know a few people with Yorkies and I will say they are a wonderful breed. Very energetic with lots of spunk and sass!

    • Leonard Tillerman profile image
      Author

      Leonard Tillerman 16 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you so much. I love my Yorkie so much I figured I would write an article about all the good things about him. There are some not so good things as well...but I decided to leave them out. :) Thanks again.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      sannwi 16 months ago

      I loved this. I am a huge dog lover. They sound a lot like my chihuahua's (we have 2 chi's and a pitbull -who actually thinks he is a chi). I can't imagine life without dogs. I can attest for the mental well-being and peace that they bring. There's nothing like coming home to my dogs, I feel so blessed to be loved so much :)

      LOL...I loved the Intelligence part (yorkies are not in the top ten of the brightest dogs...lol). Great article! Definitely flipping ;)

    • profile image

      Lowell John Gaspw 16 months ago

      well honestly, Yorkshire Terrier dogs are a great company most especially with kids. their small, cute and very gentle attittude makes them best at home and especially a pet. also, their breed are commonly use for security for their high sensitivity

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 16 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yorkshire Terriers are lovely dogs. I've never personally owned one, but a good friend of mine had and it was a lovely little dog.

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