Why “Yorkies” Make Good Family Dogs

Looking for a loving family pet? There are all kinds of different opinions on what the best dog breeds are for families. Our vote goes to the Yorkie. Yorkshire Terriers make wonderful Family Dogs and are a popular breed among families. Not only are they great family pets, but excellent watchdogs and carry themselves with a sense of grandeur.  The Yorkshire Terrier crave the spotlight and fiercely stand by their loved ones. So, if you’re after a loyal and intelligent furry friend, look no further than the Yorkie!

Yorkie Temperament

The Yorkshire Terrier does not have the typical soft temperament seen in most lapdogs. This breed is bold and excitable Their suspicious nature makes them fantastic watchdogs. The breed requires mental stimulation, so make sure you are prepared to give them plenty of exercises to manage your pet’s energy levels. Obedience training alongside regular exercise helps to prevent bad habits.

Excellent Apartment Dogs

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular dog breeds for apartment living. Their small size makes them excellent apartment dogs. Many rented homes or apartments have size restrictions for any pets in the home. These stipulations are no issue for Yorkies. Some of the toy breed variations of the Yorkshire Terrier are only inches tall. The smaller living space will increase the demand for the dog’s regular exercise regimen.

Hypoallergenic Pet

The Yorkshire Terrier is an ideal breed for families containing people with allergies. Yorkies are one of a few dogs that have hypoallergenic coats. The breed standard silky coats are more like human hair than a dog. Yorkies have dark coats consisting of shades of black and brown. They do not shed or have an undercoat reducing the amount of dander and hair they release into the air. These beautiful coats require regular brushing and cutting to prevent any health issues for your Yorkie. Since their hair is similar to humans, their coats will grow throughout their life. A poorly maintained Yorkie coat can lead to matting, hot spots or even injury.

Great Family Dogs with Older Children

The Yorkshire Terrier is a pet recommended for active families with older children. A Yorkie is definitely not a nanny dog.  This dog’s affectionate nature with its family can be overwhelming. They demand the attention and time of their owners. It is not impossible to raise young children and a Yorkie successfully but will be very difficult.

During the stressful time of raising a young child, owning a Yorkshire Terrier can be more to handle than some people are prepared to tackle. Yorkies can become easily overwhelmed by loud voices and quick movement and may become aggressive as a defense. Another thing to consider is the potential harm to the pet, Young children may accidentally roll over, step on or drop the small dog causing the dog serious injury.

The Yorkie Times - history of Yorkishire Terriers dogs

Where did The Yorkshire Terrier Come From?

Yorkshire Terriers have a long and noble history. The Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire and Lancashire, northern England. In the mid-nineteenth century, many people arrived from Scotland to England to find work and they brought several varieties of small terrier dogs with them.

They bred the dogs together and out of all the breeding was one very successful new breed which came to be known as the Yorkshire Terrier. Instantly popular because of its size, character and coloring.

Yorkies today, originated from two of three possible parents. There are 3 possible dogs that were the original breeding pair for the breed we know as the Yorkshire Terrier: Clydesdale, Paisley, and Skye. It was not well documented and is now lost.

In 1860 a prize male stud named Huddersfield Ben was the most desired Yorkie for breeding. He became famous because of his great poise and obedience, he was what people wanted the Yorkie to represent. His puppies define the breed the way we know it today. But only one of his puppies carried on the legendary recognition of his father gaining such prize and acclaim in the show world. The name of Huddersfield Ben’s puppy was Mozart.

Huddersfield Ben was a champion before the Yorkshire Terrier was introduced to the United States. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878, making the Yorkie, one of the first 25 breeds to ever be recognized in the establishment of the club. The Americans liked the Yorkie because of its popularity with the English, and America held Victorian customs in high regard at the time.

The Yorkie Times - Happy Mother's Day - Yorkie Mom and Puppy

Yorkshire Terrier Health Promotion

The Yorkshire Terrier can be predisposed to some health concerns common to the breed. Not every small family dog will have these health problems, which is why it is crucial to follow up with a veterinarian to find out the overall health of the puppy or dog you get.

Many breeders will be able to inform you on what health problems the puppies will be pre-disposed to based on the health of their parents and should be testing the puppies to treat and avoid any issues. The Yorkshire Terrier can have the following health issues either inherited from birth or acquired through the natural aging process.

Distichea (Misplaced eyelash). The eyelash usually grows wrong and can cause constant irritation and tearing of the dog’s eye. Usually treatable through manual removal, electrolysis or surgery.

Hypoplasia of dens (Malformation of the vertebrae) causes pain but can be treated by having the dog wear a brace for several months and surgery if needed. The treatments may not be totally effective though, and surgery comes with huge warnings for these little dogs because of their small size.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Syndrome (Degeneration of the femur bone), treatment requires surgery.

Luxating Patellas (sliding knee cap), can be painful and are also treated by surgery. Our Lokie suffered from this and he came through with flying colors!

Portosystemic shunt is (Malformation of the portal vein which is a major vessel to brings blood to the dog’s liver), where it is detoxified of impurities, similar to the human circulatory system. Only since the system is not functioning properly in dogs with portosystemic shunt the “dirty” blood continues to circulate around the heart, brain and all other major organs. This can be corrected through surgery.

Tracheal collapse (progressive weakening of the walls around the trachea). As a result, the dog usually starts to get a cough that sounds like a “goose honk”. The Vet can often prescribe cough medication and medications to help open up the lungs to make breathing more effective. However, in later stages, surgery may be the only option.

Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar levels). Probably because this small energetic do has a high metabolism rate, it is best to have a consistent energy source. Most veterinarians would probably recommend feeding two small meals a day instead of one bigger meal.

Building a good relationship with your veterinarian over time is essential to your family dogs health and longevity, regardless of breed or size. Annual veterinarian visits are recommend even when there is nothing obviously wrong with your dog, as a preventative measure to promote the dog’s health. Prevention is always better than having to undergo treatment when available.

While there is no such thing as a perfect family or a perfect family dog, I definitely recommend considering the lovely Yorkie as one of the family-friendly dog breeds. They may be the right fit for your family.  They certainly are for mine!


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