Are Yorkies Good With Kids?
The short and straight answer to this question is ‘’no, Yorkies are not very good with children’’. However, as we shall find, it all comes down to how you train your kid to get along with the dog, or vice versa.
In order to determine the suitability of a dog with kids, it is imperative we begin easy by understanding the characteristics of a dog that makes it great with children.
But even with that knowledge, it is still prudent to train our kids to get along with the dog.
Above all, it is important to remember that even after successfully training the two parties to get along with one other, boundaries should be clearly outlined. For instance, your kid should clearly know when the dog requires a time of its own.
Does Size Matter When Choosing A Dog For Your Kids?
Many pet owners tend to think that the smaller the pet, the more compatible it is with their kids. They often borrow from the assumption that unlike bigger pets, smaller pets are unlikely to cause any serious injuries to their children during play time.
While that assumption is true to some extent, it does not always apply in most cases. Smaller dog breeds like Yorkies might feel threatened and intimidated by your kid, so much that it begins growling or snapping at them.
Even better, how suitable a dog is with children all comes down to mental factors such as temperament, intelligence and ease of training.
However, if you are looking for a great toy dog for your kids and you just can’t seem to get your eyes off a Yorkie, all is not lost.
Though it may not always come up as a highly-recommended child friendly dog, things always take a turn for the better as soon as you begin training the dog.
Read on to uncover all you need to know about Yorkies and kids.
More About Yorkies
Before we delve deeper into establishing the compatibility between Yorkies and children, it is imperative that we give some little background information on this dog breed.
Yorkies are also known as Yorkshire Terriers and as their name suggests, these dogs trace their roots in Yorkshire country in England.
Yorkies are classified under the small dogs, terrier type categories, with adults weighing in at just 3.2 Kg.
The dog was developed earlier in the 19th Century as a working breed and a companion dog. Though no longer considered a working dog in many homes, Yorkies have defended their roles as some of the best companion dogs over the years.
Essentially, the dog descended from 3 different breeds. Its male descendant was known as the Old Crab, and then there was a female known as Kitty plus another unidentified female.
Yorkies predominantly sport a grey, tan and black coat. Their coats are also fine, straight, silky and glossy.
Though they are a relatively small dog breed, they are fairly hyperactive and overprotective of their owners. Yorkies are also eager to please so when having one around, ensure there are never dull moments.
These dogs tend to exhibit very gentle and submissive temperament, one of the reasons they do not make great dogs for kids.
But with proper training, you can successfully help your Yorkie shake off these overly submissive behaviors. If it doesn’t, the dog might be ideal only for kids above the ages of 10, not younger. Thankfully, Yorkies are very smart, so it is fairly easy to train them to be kid-friendly.
What Make a Dog Kid-friendly?
Before we adequately answer the question “are Yorkies good family dogs”, we would like to go back to our earlier argument of size and admit that though not always the case, smaller dog breeds make a perfect companion for kids. And the reasons are plain and obvious.
First, smaller dogs are likely to pack the same energy levels as your kids’. That means that whenever they are playing together, there are minimal chances of physical injuries.
When playing with your kids, larger dog breeds are likely to play rough, thereby using their high energies to knock your kids over and possibly injure them. That explains why kids are better off with dogs whose energy levels are nearly matched with theirs.
Another common feature that makes a dog kid-friendly is its general temperament. And this is where we get the exception that proves the rule above.
Larger dog breeds like the Labrador retriever are known to be very loyal and mellow. Due to their relatively bigger size compared to the size of your kids, larger dog breeds do not view young kids as too much of a threat. That’s why they are often more gentle and mellow when interacting with young children.
On the converse, smaller dog breeds like Yorkies tend to feel threatened on account of their size. Therefore, they will easily find it convenient to defend themselves, occasionally snapping or growling at your kids whenever they feel threatened.
Thirdly, and possible the most important characteristic of a kid-friendly dog is playfulness.
Like dogs, kids have lots of energies built up within them, and they often need a safe passage for this kind of energy. An active and playful dog will always get your kids to run around the house and backyard, thereby keeping them constructively distracted.
Loyalty and obedience is yet another crucial combination in a kid-friendly dog. During kids’ playtime, there are often lots of commands to pass across. A loyal dog should be obedient to the child at all times and above all, should understand that the kid sits higher in the family hierarchy.
Apart from these four basic requirements, a kid-friendly dog should also be highly intelligent.
Intelligence kicks in in various situations. The most obvious one is that it makes it easier to train the dog as commands become easier to remember. Secondly, a smart dog would easily recognize danger and therefore warn the child whenever his/her safety is threatened.
So, Do Yorkies Have These Kid-friendly Features?
The only way to adequately answer the question – are Yorkshire terriers good with kids? – is to take a closer look at some of the fundamental mental and emotional traits of this dog breed.
As we already mentioned, Yorkies are generally gentle and submissive dogs. This should come as good news for parents scouting for kid-friendly dogs, but there is a caveat.
Dogs that are very submissive tend to be great for older people and not for small kids.
Submissive behavior is especially a hallmark of lap dogs that demand too much attention from their owners. For such dogs, it is only business as usual when they are appreciated through cuddling and lots of other physical and emotional treats.
But does your kid need a dog that’s too cuddly and attention-seeking? Absolutely not. What your kids want are dogs that will join them during playtime, not dogs that are too emotionally-demanding.
Yorkshire Terriers are also known for their excessive barking behavior. Again, this should come as good news for any dog owner but not in all cases.
A dog that barks a lot will easily warn your kids of any intruders or strangers nearby, thereby enabling them take the necessary safety measures.
In fact, their excessive barking tendencies has seen Yorkies occasionally used as watchdogs. However, the emphasis is on the word ‘’excessive’’ and as you know, too much of anything is poisonous, even if it is a well-intentioned bark.
Though they will readily sound the alarm and warn your kids of lurking danger, their excessive barking behavior makes Yorkies unideal for young children. Children tend to get anxious over dogs that bark persistently.
Such barks do not only interfere with a child’s peace and comfort, it also makes it difficult for the child to judge whether the bark is meant to warn them of an impending danger or not. The good news though is that proper training can help resolve the problem of excessive barking.
Yorkshire Terriers are some of the most adaptable dogs. They tend to familiarize themselves with new surroundings pretty fast. This explains why most people consider them among the best travel companions. In terms of kid-friendliness, this is a plus.
Their ease of adaptability makes it easier to introduce them to a home with young children. They will immediately be taken by their new environment and will consider your kids as part of their family.
Being a small dog, Yorkies do not require too much exercise. That, however, is not to be confused with their playful tendencies. As we already pointed out, the dogs are very playful.
It is important to remember that Yorkies were developed as working dogs. Therefore, they require adequate physical and mental stimulation. And that can only be achieved by going for long walks in the neighborhood, going for swimming together or engaging in indoor games.
Anything that keeps the dog physically and mentally engaged is just fine, and it is even better if it is an activity that both the Yorkshire terriers and kids participate in.
However, Yorkies need minimal exercise, or just enough exercise to keep them in shape for their playful escapades with your kids.
Exercise will also help make them more sociable. Depending on individual dogs, there are some Yorkies that may be a little timid in their interactions with people or other dogs. Such are the dogs that will only feel comfortable and at ease around their owners. So, exercising and socialization should always go hand in hand.
Another common trait among Yorkshire Terriers is that they are quite physically fragile. Therefore, you need to carefully monitor and supervise them especially when playing with small children.
And it gets even worse when dealing with miniature varieties such as teacup Yorkies. And this might lead us to ask, are teacup Yorkies good with kids?
Well, for kids under the age of 10, there should be close supervision to ensure the dog does not sustain any physical injuries.
Remove all objects that the kids could use to potentially harm your cute, little dog. And as soon as you realize the dog is burned out, separate it and allow some downtime before having the dog resume playing.
If you have a Yorkie, you probably have noticed that your dog is a little sensitive to commotion and noisy environment.
Though they are relatively playful, they like it a lot better if they are always in control of their surroundings. They get really uneasy around very noisy kids and should they feel the commotion is too much, they could become anxious and withdrawn.
As a dog owner, you need to exercise due diligence to ensure you help your Yorkie successfully overcome stressful situations.
While a short walk will often help do the trick, you should place more emphasis in helping your dog avoid resorting to self-destruct behavior whenever he is stressed.
Last but not least, Yorkshire Terriers score fairly high when it comes to intelligence and as we have seen, intelligence makes for a great kid-friendly dog.
Even if you are not so lucky to find a kid-friendly Yorkie, you can always train it to comfortably live around and interact with your children.
The dog is smart enough to know that the kids rank higher than them in the family hierarchy. Plus, their intelligence will also come in handy in terms of remembering the many games they will be engaging in with your kids.
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Warning Signs That Show Your Yorkie Is Anxious and Likely To Attack Your Kids
As a parent, it is important to take note of some warning signs that could signify your Yorkie is stressed out and likely to attack.
The following are some of these warning signs;
1. Yawning, Licking of lips and Avoidance of eye contact
These are signs that the dog feels threatened by the presence of your kid, and is essentially uncomfortable around them. Usually, your Yorkie would try to escape from a situation it finds potentially-threatening. When it feels really cornered, the dog might bite your child.
2. Tail pointing outwards or upwards
If your Yorkie shows off his tails pointed outwards or upwards and wagging it in a stiff-like manner, it signifies the dog has lots of energies within it.
Now, it would be wrong to assume that high energy automatically means your Yorkie is urging your kids to play. Instead, tail wagging may be emblematic of an unhappy dog, especially if the rest of the dog’s body remains still and the dog’s ears are perked.
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3. Licking of your child’s face
It is natural to overlook various instances of the dog licking your child’s face. In most cases, it shows that the dog is generally happy with the kid and finds him/her a nice companion.
However, as the dog owner, you should take note of how the licking takes place. Is it done in a frantic manner? Is it accompanied with growling? Is it overly persistent? Some lickings could be a sign of anxiety and if not monitored closely, your Yorkie may end up biting the child.
4. Baring the teeth and snapping
This is probably one of the most noticeable signs of aggression that any dog will exhibit. Normally, it is what most dogs do right before they launch an all-out attack.
When you notice your Yorkie baring its teeth and snapping, quickly move in to diffuse the situation. An easier solution would be to remove the child from the situation so that the dog feels more comfortable.
5. Stiff and tense body
In most cases, a stiff and tense body is a sign that your Yorkie is bracing himself for a fight. The fight may not be very close to happening, but if you do not withdraw your kid from the tensed situation, the dog could eventually attack.
6. Growling with wide eyes
Growling is a clear sign that the dog is about to attack but is kind enough to sound a warning first. In fact, if a dog finds something extremely dangerous, it will hardly growl but instead attack outright.
So, your Yorkie growling at your kid is a sign that the kid has gotten on its nerves and they no longer enjoy the show. Most kids understand this vocalization well and will often retreat. But for younger kids that may not be able to decipher the message, a great solution is to intervene and diffuse the tension.
While your Yorkie will not readily bite your kid, it may be forced to nip at them. A nip is a soft bite that a dog lands when it does not really intend to harm you. It is a way of telling you to back off and if it goes unheeded, a full-scale bite might ensue.
Conclusion: So, are Yorkies kid friendly?
Naturally, they are not. The dogs are physically fragile, are persistent barkers and are overly submissive.
These traits make it unideal for a family with young kids. However, Yorkies have quite a few redeeming characteristics that make them a considerable option as kid-friendly dogs. Not only are they playful but are also adaptable. Best of all, they are easier to train.
When getting your Yorkie out of the shelter, remember that training should come almost immediately. But first, be sure to inquire about the kind of home where the Yorkie came from.
If you can, go for puppies as these are easier to train. The most important rule, however, is to ensure the training cuts both ways.
As you train your dog to be gentle around your kids, similarly train your children to handle them with kid gloves.
If at all possible, keep all kids younger than 5 from interacting with your Yorkie, until you are sure they can get along fine. With proper training and socialization, your Yorkshire terrier can eventually become a kid-friendly dog.
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