So, you want to know, “Can a Yorkie be a service dog?”? Well, I can tell you that as a previous Yorkie owner (may Kiki the wonder Yorkie rest in peace), Yorkies are lovely little dogs that could indeed serve as service dogs for those who need a caring friend. They are full of energy, playful, intuitive, and hypoallergenic. Many people have also been parading their Yorkies in designer handbags as a fashion statement. Apart from the Yorkie being a fashion accessory dressed in sparkles and bling, could a Yorkie be trained to fulfill a more noble deed, such as becoming a service dog?
Yorkies can be service dogs; they are brilliant and can train to be of service in many different situations. It can range from assisting the elderly to being an emotional companion for people who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Can A Yorkie Be A Service Dog? What Do Experts Say?
It is easy to agree with the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) that all dog breeds can become service dogs, as dogs, in general, are known to be very loyal animals. We will discuss how a Yorkie can be of service to people, why they make good service dogs, and see why a Yorkie is proof that dynamite comes in small packages.
What Are The Traits That Make A Yorkie A Good Service Dog?
There are many outstanding traits of a Yorkie that make them ideally suited to be a service dog, such as the following:
Yorkies are brilliant dogs. They are ranked 34th most intelligent out of 138 other breeds. Training them is easy; they can remember a command after as little as the 5th repetition. They can even train in problem-solving.
Yorkies can feel or sense the emotional state of their owners, as they are very intuitive dogs. They are often used as emotional companions because they will purposefully try to comfort their owners if they are distressed or anxious. They do this by nudging, moaning at, or licking their owner.
A Yorkie’s coat is more like hair than fur, making them hypoallergenic. It makes them ideal companions for older people who live in smaller apartments or condos. So even if they have friends and family who have allergies to dog dander, they won’t be affected by a Yorkie’s coat. That is why Yorkies are often great companions for the elderly.
- Playful & Inquisitive
Because a Yorkie is so lively and curious, they are excellent at assisting the elderly to stay active. They need to be fed, entertained, and stimulated, making it essential for their owner to interact and exercise with them.
Yorkies are highly alert. They make excellent watchdogs because they are easily alarmed by foreign sounds and figures. They will start barking when they sense something is not quite right, alerting their owner, or the neighbors, to investigate what the problem might be.
- Dedicated & Protective
Yorkies are very loyal and dedicated to their owner. If someone comes too close to their owner, their temperamental side will snap at the person or animal who approaches.
- Medically Alert
A Yorkie can sense or detect epileptic seizures, and they can even pick up if there is a change in the glucose levels of their owner, who is suffering from diabetes.
- Compassionate & Affectionate
They can detect physical ailments but also sense when their owner is anxious or depressed. Yorkies are the perfect size for a lap dog, and when they feel that their owner is not in a good emotional state, they will climb onto their owner’s lap for comfort.
What Services Can A Yorkie Be Trained To Do?
Assisting The Elderly
Yorkies can be trained to assist the elderly in many ways, including:
- Fetching small objects such as tv remotes and medicine.
- The opening and closing of cabinets or drawers.
- Alerting their owner of a ringing telephone, doorbell, or even a crying baby.
- Detecting medical ailments.
- Yorkies are small enough to take anywhere, so they are perfect for comforting their owner, who might fear flying or traveling.
- They accompany people who suffer from social anxiety to social events, and because of their size, they can be carried around effortlessly for comfort and support.
- They are also excellent therapy dogs as they can sense if their owner has a mental illness such as depression and anxiety. They are even used in hospitals as therapy dogs to comfort ill and suffering patients.
Can Yorkies Be Trained As Police Dogs?
This question is debatable, as it could have a yes, and no, answer.
Yes, because they are brilliant and can train to perform the tasks of a police dog. And no, because even though they can do the task successfully, their size fails them when it comes to a job that requires a lot of endurance and strength. It will be difficult for a Yorkie to chase a thief and pull him down to the ground once he catches up to him.
So yes, they can be taught to attack a perpetrator on command, but they will never possess the strength and force needed, like a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois. So, unfortunately, their size counts against them, and police won’t pick them as the first on the list to catch a bad guy.
Yorkies Vs. K9
Yorkies can assist the police with detecting narcotics, bombs, and pretty much any smell-orientated task. So, Yorkies don’t get trained to be police dogs because police pay a lot of money for a trained K9. If they get a Yorkie that can only perform scent work, they will still need a stronger K9 to assist with physical, strength-orientated tasks.
It costs about $20 000 – $80 000 for a K9 trained to do all the necessary tasks. A K9 only trained in detection work costs $15 000 – $50 000. It is much more moneywise to get 1 K9, which can perform 4-5 tasks, at +/- $40 000, than purchasing four dogs at +/- $20 000 each, to complete 1 task.
Why Yorkies Are Not Preferred For Police Training?
Remember that these dogs need vet visits, insurance policies, food, housing, etc. So, as you can see, although Yorkies can train for police work, it sadly isn’t worth it due to the costs involved.
With all this said, if you think that a Yorkie can’t be of service, always remember this story. A true story is called “Yorkie Doodle Dandy.” It was written in World War II in honor of a little Yorkie named Smokey. She saved the lives of many soldiers while she strung communication lines through the tunnels because she was small enough to fit. It was said that the allies would have lost the war if it wasn’t for her service, as they could not do without those lines.
Final Thoughts On Yorkie Service Dog Potential
Yorkies are friendly, cute, and cuddly pets to have. They are pretty needy when it comes to attention, giving us a sense of purpose. It is almost like having a live teddy bear. You can rely on one to help you emotionally and sometimes physically through tricky times.
It is the best pup if you live in a small house or apartment because they are hypoallergenic, clean dogs. If you live alone or in a retirement village, they will be the perfect emotional companion, and you will never feel alone. And if you don’t want to or think you never have to exercise again, you will soon realize that your energetic Yorkie is drilling you to exercise, almost like your little personal trainer.
It Doesn’t Mean They Are Useless
So now you know that because Yorkies are tiny, it doesn’t mean they cannot be of service. I’m sure we have seen more Yorkies than we can count, and not all of them are showpieces.
It indicates that tiny Yorkies, with their significant personalities, are beloved for the service of love and spunk they bring into our lives. As Mark Twain said, “It’s not the dog’s size in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”