Are Yorkies working dogs?

Like other high energy dogs, Yorkies may develop negative behaviors like digging or chewing your furniture out of boredom. There are many ways to channel this energy productively, such as lots of walks or agility training. But, maybe your Yorkie could use a job. They were working dogs back in the day.

Here are some reasons why Yorkies are considered working dogs:

  1. Rat Hunting: Yorkies were originally raised to hunt rats in mills and tunnels, making them skilled at pest control and rodent hunting.
  2. Earthdog Tests: The American Kennel Club holds Earthdog tests in several states to test the hunting abilities of various breeds, including Yorkies, which demonstrates their natural hunting instincts and skills.
  3. Watchdog Abilities: Due to their energy, tenacity, and loyalty, Yorkies make great watchdogs and can be trained to alert to predators and intruders.
  4. Therapy Work: Yorkies can serve as therapy dogs, providing comfort and support to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and after natural disasters, showcasing their ability to bring joy and comfort to those in need.
  5. Working-Class Roots: Despite being commonly raised as show dogs and for companionship, Yorkies have a history of performing various jobs in both urban and rural settings, demonstrating their versatility and adaptability as working dogs.

In the earliest days of this breed, Yorkies were raised to hunt rats in mills and tunnels aka ratters aka working dogs. Many Yorkies retain this disposition to hunt rodents and can provide much-needed pest control in backyard gardens, country farms, and urban apartments.

The American Kennel Club holds Earthdog tests in several states that test the hunting abilities of various breeds including Yorkies. Their website also provides lots of tips to train your dog to hunt and track quarry.

The same qualities that make Yorkies effective mouse hunters, such as having lots of energy, tenacity, and loyalty, can also make them great watchdogs. With proper training, they will alert to predators and intruders and are truly fearless.

Working dogs (Yorkies) in history

We’ve written a few times about Smoky, the Yorkie who helped the war effort in World War II and then became one of the first therapy dogs. While your pup probably isn’t ready to serve in combat, they can be a hero to kids and adults in hospitals and nursing homes, and even provide comfort after natural disasters. Therapy Dog International has information on how your well-socialized Yorkie can become a therapy dog.

With their silky coats, tiny statures, and wonderfully expressive little faces, Yorkshire Terriers may not be the first breed that springs to mind when someone says “working dog”. While Yorkies are often raised as show dogs and for companionship, they have working-class roots and can happily perform many jobs in the city and the country.

We’d love for you to contact us and tell us what jobs your Yorkie loves to do!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This