Leonard is a former teacher and principal who has also been a writer for the past two decades. Writing and animals are his true loves.
When you hear the word “dog,” do the names of Old Yeller, Rin Tin Tin, or Lassie come to mind? They are all famous dogs who play a positive role 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 churning out puppies at an alarming rate . 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 .
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.
Why Do Yorkies Make Such Great Pets?
Below is a list of the top answers to this question. Be warned, you may not be able to stop thinking about these sweet pups after reading!
1. They Provide Devoted 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.
2. Their Small Size Is an Advantage
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.
3. They Are Excellent Watchdogs
By saying Yorkshire Terriers are fantastic watchdogs, 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!
4. They Are Intelligent
While Yorkies are not in the top 10 for the brightest dogs, they are nevertheless ranked as above average in all areas . 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.
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 . While no dog is 100% allergy free, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most allergy and asthma friendly dog out there.
6. Clean-Up and Maintenance Are a Breeze
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) . 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.
7. They Are 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 . Yorkies have the unique ability to brighten anyone’s day.
8. They 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. They 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 from 4 to 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.
10. They're 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.
11. There's Never a Dull Moment With Yorkies
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.
12. They're 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.
Note: 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.
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 exists from which to choose. There are big dogs, working breeds, furry 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'll never go back!
Why Do Yorkies Make Great Pets?
- Shelter Intake and Surrender. ASPCA
- Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures. The Humane Society of the U.S.
- Dog Intelligence Ranking. Petrix.com
- Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic: Yorkie Mag. 2016
- Yorkie Shedding. Yorkie Info. Center.
- 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
© 2017 Leonard Tillerman
Albina on August 20, 2020:
My Yorkie "Wiggles" is 18 months and the best acquisition I ever made!
He is smart and definitely gets a lot of attention wherever we go.
I want to get another to play with him, although he amuses himself by playing with a little bouncy ball when I'm baking or doing housework.
I feel blessed to have found him.
Smart , loyal and lovable.
Helene Ginsburg on August 01, 2020:
I fell deeply in love with my sister's Yorkie and eventually i bought one. I tried rescuing one for 6 months but someone always got there before me. Picked up my 8-week old Yorkie from a breeder as it was love at first site. He's my Emotional Support Animal who i desperately needed. Sure we have our challenges but I totally adore him. In fact so much so when i brought this tiny creature home, i fell over him 3 times. 3 times was definitely not a charm for me cause the 3rd time I actually broke my wrist. Better me than him to have gotten hurt. I feel GOD blessed me with him and even though we have our struggles with training, feel lucky to have found a wonderful Behavioral Specialist to help me. He, along with my sister and friends, cheer me on and feel with everyone's love and patience with me, we'll get there. After all, how fortunate I am to have finally found the love if my life!
Derbert D Mooney Jr on June 27, 2020:
I have a Yorkie named PEANUT. . This dog is very loyal and gentle. When Im home Peanut doesn't let me out of his sight. Wonderful dog to have. My daughter and her family gave me this dog when they couldn't take it with them due to moving .
Maya on April 28, 2020:
I have a Yorkie and everything that this article said was 100% correct about her. I love Yorkie so much because they do not shed and they are so small and adorable.
Dale Slater on February 21, 2020:
Good article. I have 2 yorkie brothers, Toby & Boo. They are 13 yrs young. I work from home, so they go to work with me every day. They are my assistants and co-workers. Never does the UPS or Fedex man sneak up on me, and never does a bug or insect crawl by without me being alerted. I will say that no two yorkies are the same, even if they are brothers from the same litter. These two are the very definition of the Odd Couple, i.e. one Oscar and one Felix. If humans loved unconditionally like these little guys do, the world would be a much much nicer place. Lastly, your point of being an excellent watchdog is spot on. I really believe that they have a 6th sense in addition to super hearing.
babygirllov on January 28, 2020:
Perfect article and very true! I lost my little one Stitch at the age of 13 1/2 recently and I cannot express how lonely my home feel without his little legs running around of cuddling in the bed with me under the covers or even swiping me food and running away. Even tho I have a Morkie Lilo left there energy, happiness and kisses are very much missed and cant be replaced.
Mommy misses you puppy
Mary on October 26, 2019:
I had no idea what unconditional love was until I got my Yorkie
kassie on March 25, 2019:
my dog is my best friend i tell him everything and his name is dopey
Kate on February 19, 2019:
Dogs are very cute and this is so very true about yorkies. Very good article!
Mike Diggins on January 12, 2019:
Great article and the last point is so very true! Yorkies have a need for closeness to their pack leader, so you have to watch where you put your feet. Also, that need means you have to commit to having someone with them at all times for the first few months - you don't want "separation anxiety". After maybe three months we started leaving ours for no more than an hour, with a treat to say "we're coming back". By six months that could be as long as needed, because she knew by the treat.
Finally, can't recommend vets' "puppy parties" highly enough at about 12 weeks. You get to see the world through your dog's eyes, and its a great eye-opener. It taught us to look for new places to go and people/dogs to meet - Yorkies need that stimulation.
Jb’s on July 23, 2018:
Agreeable to all you said I add.... Yorkies are brave even though they are small, they will fight anyone of any size human or pets. also they hide themselves when they are sick, not showing their best friend (master) of their sad feeling and since you will love him/her so much.... their wish is my command. I lost my Yorkie HABIBI this year on his 12th year. I miss him so much and love him. Looking for one and hopefully I could find him again.
Thank you so much sir I can feel you are a great Man and the people reading your site. A blessed day to everyone.
Chika Echebiri on July 15, 2018:
Hi Leaonard. That was an interesting piece about yorkies.I was surprised to learn that they are covered with hair and not fur, and that they serve as therapy dogs. These are great qualities, really.
MARK SCHULTZ from Portland, Oregon on July 15, 2018:
Great post, Leonard! I didn't know Yorkies were hypo-allergenic.
Esther on July 15, 2018:
Great article Leonard!
So many wonderful reasons to welcome a Yorkie into our lives.
Plus they're just so darn adorable! (great pics)
Teresa Viarengo on July 15, 2018:
Hi Leonard, I like your explanation of each dog's psychology .The pictures you have chosen are beautiful and expressive. The poem seems reflecting what dogs think.
Natalie Frank on February 27, 2017:
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!
The Write Life from The United States on February 17, 2017:
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 (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 19, 2017:
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 on January 19, 2017:
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 ;)
Lowell John Gaspw on January 19, 2017:
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
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 19, 2017:
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.