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Yorkshire Terrier Facts: Can a “Yorkie Cutie” be a Service Dog?

2018-12-26

Yorkshire Terrier facts

The Yorkshire Terrier always attracts attention on the street because of its long silky coat and its traditional “top knot”. Because of its small size, it is possible for Yorkies to stay with their owners while traveling. In addition, their energetic and friendly character wins our hearts, which is why some intellectually disabled children like to make friends with them. They can help children overcome challenges, correct their behaviors and develop a sense of responsibility. Although Yorkie has a great reputation, does he qualify for a service dog? This article will give you the answer.


General traits and facts of the Yorkie

Before we judge the qualifications of a service dog, we should learn more about the Yorkie and its characteristics.

  • An ideal watchdog, Yorkie is curious and sensitive, but a bit wary of strangers or “intruders” and barks at unfamiliar noises and disturbing behavior.

  • The Yorkshire Terrier is also a playful and energetic dog and likes to go in search of new adventures. Because of its infinite energy, children love to play with it and treat him like a friend. In addition, the Yorkie is a very intuitive breed, as it can observe the feelings of the owner and respond differently to situations, which is why the Yorkie is considered a popular companion dog.    

  • Yorkies will not grow very large. The ideal maximum size is 7 pounds (3.2kg),  which means the owner can put him in a dog carrier and  travel with him. The low weight also allows the Yorkie to sit on your lap while flying with you in the cabin. The average weight of a Yorkie is 4 to 6 pounds (1.8kg - 2.7kg); the height up to his shoulders can be up to 9 inches (22.9cm); his lifespan is usually between 12 to 15 years. 

  • Because of their medium size, Yorkies do not need a large area for running and playing. They are welcome to stay in apartments and  dog-friendly hotels, where a large dog breed such as the Great Dane would be denied access. But of course this can vary from hotel to hotel and from apartment to apartment due to different rules. 


How about Yorkshire Terriers as a service dog?

As we know, service dogs are trained to serve people with mental and physical disabilities, such as blindness. For example, the person having difficulty walking needs a service dog for large tasks such as pulling a wheelchair or physically supporting the body to maintain balance. However, because of its size, this seems to exceed the ability of a cute Yorkie.

Although they are small, that does not mean that they are unable to help disabled people. They are good at helping you with many manageable projects at home, this includes opening a cabinet door, taking dirty clothes to the washing machine, reminding owners to take medications, and call attention to sounds such as doorbells and telephone ringing.

Therapy dogs specialize in providing people with comfort without special training. But medical alert service animals are trained to detect physical changes such as epileptic seizures and diabetic blood glucose levels. The Yorkie has proven to be an outstanding member of these service animals.

The Yorkie service dog is valuable for those who have psychiatric disorders such as autism and social anxiety disorders. Their small size allows them to accompany their owners almost everywhere, including shopping malls, restaurants and churches, which is a great advantage for people who are confused by mental illness.  

yorkie service dog

Can my Yorkie be a service dog 

According to the ADA, there is no restriction on the breed of a service dog. Although the Yorkshire Terrier is a small breed, he can learn many service dog duties. In addition to the normal obedience training skills, service dogs must learn special tasks that are obviously different for the emotional support dog and the therapy dog. Therefore, consider training your Yorkie to become a service dog if he has the following characteristics:

  • Is quiet and active when in public; 

  • Has a certain intelligence and obedience; 

  • Is well-behaved in public situations; 

  • Is healthy and strong to perform the required tasks.