The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular dog breeds nowadays and there is a reason for that!
Yorkies are incredible dogs.
For their small size, they are very intelligent, playful, cute and energetic.
But lots of families with small kids that want to bring a Yorkshire terrier at their home are wondering are Yorkies good with kids?
And here we are to help you answer this question.
Are Yorkies Good with Kids?
If you want to know is it possible to have small kids and a Yorkie and if they can live happily together – yes, definitely.
But would it be an easy thing – it depends!
And, it depends on a lot of factors – the way you teach them, how you raise them, are they socialized properly with other kids and people, are you going to get a Yorkie puppy or an adult dog and so much more..
You should have in mind that not all dogs are the same and the behavior between different dogs even from the same breed can vary.
You can be a lucky pet owner and your Yorkie might be absolutely delighted from your kids, but the chances are low with this exact breed.
Some breeders do not even sell Yorkshire Terriers to people that have small children for the same reason.
If you already have a Yorkie or you are absolutely certain that you want to get one and you have small kids, you have to know something – it is possible, but it will be difficult and you will have to introduce some main rules from day one.
You should also take care for the safety and the comfort of the dog and the kids and teach them to respect each other.
And that is pretty much it – it might sound like an easy task, but it is not.
One of the most important things is to teach your kid how to treat and play with the dog.
In a nutshell
Yes, Yorkies could be great dogs for some families with kids but also could not be suitable for other families.
And it’s up to you and your household.
You may already have heard somewhere that Yorkshire terriers are not good for kids.
Now we are going to show you some of the Yorkie characteristics that lead to these opinions.
Why Yorkies Are Not So Good for Families with little children?
If you are considering getting a Yorkie and you have small kids, there are a couple of characteristics that are typical for the breed and that you should know more about.
Yorkies are “Big” dogs in small and cute body
These dogs might fool you that they are like plush toys and they are bread only to hug and kiss them but they are tougher than they look.
Originally the Yorkies are rat dogs and even sometimes were used for hunting – to chase small animals out of their dens.
This said, they are not afraid at all in dangerous situations and they can put up a good fight.
As you can expect such a personality trait is not one of the best to mix with kids.
If your children are too noisy and rowdy around the Yorkie the dog might feel the need to defend itself. This could easily lead to a snap or even a bite.
Yorkshire terriers are very small in size
A purebred Yorkie cannot exceed more than 7 lbs (3 kilograms) of weight, and most of them, are between 4 and 7 lbs. And this is the weight for a full-grown dog. You can imagine how small they are in size as well.
This makes the breed extremely vulnerable, especially around small kids that do not know how to play and handle little pets.
Do not forget that your Yorkie is very small and fragile, therefore it can be easily injured from a child.
Yorkies can stress out very easily
The breed is more sensitive to stress factors like a lot of noise for example.
Yorkies love to be in control of the surroundings and as you can expect when they start feeling out of control they can become very anxious.
Guess what, an anxious and overstressed dog is full of fear, therefore can become aggressive.
That is why you should make sure to provide the dog with a peaceful and relaxed environment.
Signs to look for when the Yorkie and your kid play together
There are some warning signs which can show you that your dog or your kids are not feeling comfortable with each other.
The first sign that indicates that your Yorkie is not feeling comfortable is if it starts yawning, avoids eye contact and licks the lips.
This should tip you that the dog feels threatened by the kids. If the situation stays that way, at some point the Yorkie will start to feel very uncomfortable and this can quickly lead to a bite.
The second sign is, as many of the dog owners know, the tail and the ears.
If your Yorkie’s tail is pointing out or up (it might be stiff as well) or is wagging in a stiff manner and the ears are perked – this is not a good sign.
In most cases this means that the dog has high energy levels, but it might be bad energy. If the dog is standing still, but the tail is wagging – you can safely assume that your dog is not happy about something.
If it is a happy tail wag – probably it will involve the body so the whole dog will be wagging.
Another sign can be excessive licking. Many ignore this one. Most people think that the face licking is harmless, but if that happens you should pay attention to the Yorkie’s body language.
If the dog is relaxed and at ease – everything is fine. However, if the dog is tense and anxious, the excessive licking can be indeed an anxiety sign that can lead to something more if you are not paying attention.
The fourth sign is an easy one – if the Yorkie is tense and stiff, you can be sure that it is preparing for a fight. We all know how dogs fight (bite alert).
Another yet easy sign that should ring an alarm is when your Yorkie is growling with eyes wide open.
As you can imagine the growling is one of those signs showing that your dog is not happy about something and if that continues – it will probably take further actions.
If you are not sure what that growling is exactly, see the dog’s eyes. If they are wide open or you can see the white part – that is not a good sign.
The last sign before a nip or a bite is when your Yorkie is showing its teeth and starts snapping.
If you see your small four-legged friend in that state, you should act quickly and remove the dog or the kids from the room. That way both of them will start feeling more comfortable and everything should be fine in a while.
Remember these signs!
It is important and if you see them at some point you should take measures before things turn to something more of a problem.
If you do not catch these signs on time, the situation might escalate quickly to a nip or bite.
If a bite occurs you can be sure that the dog was feeling very uncomfortable and threatened, therefore needed to protect itself.
You should keep in mind that every Yorkie can be different and yours might not have all of these signs. It might only show you one sign or warning before it bites the kid and other dogs might show all of them.
Everything here depends on the personality of your dog and the tolerance levels it has.
How to keep the peace between the Yorkie and the kid?
If you really want to have a dog among your kids you should probably try the following things in order to keep the peace in the house.
If at some point things escalate and your Yorkie growls or snaps the kid – do not make any rush decisions!
Keep in mind that this is the only way a small dog can protect itself. So if you see something like this, it might be very alarming for you.
Probably you will want to protect the child at all costs, however, do not forget that the Yorkie is like a baby as well and you should watch out for it.
Probably there is a good reason for the snap. In most cases, the dog felt scared, insecure, threatened or uncomfortable at some point. It is pretty natural for a dog to react that way.
If you lose your temper when something like this happens and you punish or scold the Yorkie, that kind of action can lead to even worse things. Next time the dog might move into a bite instead of growl or snap.
In these kinds of scenarios, you can be calm and quiet. Just remove the Yorkie from the room, away from the kids, and next time pay closer attention to the dog’s behavior and the anxiety signs.
Do not reward the dog nor punish it for what happened, just prove to your kids and to the dog that you will protect them both and that everything will be fine.
You can even separate the Yorkie from the kids at some point, in different rooms for instance, when you see that the dog is getting stressed. This will prevent any escalations in these kinds of situations.
Are Yorkies Good with Babies?
If you have a baby in the house, there is not much to worry about from the perspective of a dog owner.
After a while when the baby is a toddler you should start watching over.
Be careful and make sure that the child is not making the dog uncomfortable.
If your toddler wants to approach the Yorkie for some reason observe with caution and if you see some of the anxiety signals – quickly remove one of the two from the room.
In most cases it would probably be the dog, however, when you do that you can make it feel more comfortable – pet your Yorkie, give it some treats and so on.
Of course, there is always an option to remove the kids from the situation, but we all know how curious are the children, especially the toddlers. It can be pretty difficult to make them leave the dog alone.
You can once remove the Yorkie from the room and the next time the kids. That way no one would feel bad or uncomfortable. After all the dog is a family member as well.
The main thing here is to show the Yorkie and the kid that you are in charge. Show to both of them that you are in control of the situation and that you will not allow anybody to get hurt or have a bad time.
As a parent, you will probably want to play a lot with your kids. However, do not forget to find some time to play with your Yorkie as well.
This might sound odd now, but it can be pretty difficult to find enough time to play with the kids and the dog. If your Yorkie plays – it will feel stress-free, happier and overall laid back.
No anxiety or uncomfortable moments mean far less things to worry about when the kids are around the Yorkie.
Kids-free area for your dog
If your Yorkshire terrier is getting overwhelmed around the kids, you can make a special kids-free area in the house. That way your dog can go there and relax.
The most important thing here is that the area should be a place that is out of the kid’s reach. You can even invest in a dog gate or something like this in order to separate the dog from the children and create a safe zone where it would feel safe.
Teach Your Kids to Respect the Dog
I write this almost at the end of the article but one of the most important things is to teach your kids to respect the dog and treat it like it is a person.
That way the dog will feel a lot more comfortable, therefore the chance for accidents and awkward moments will be far less.
This as you can imagine can happen when they are at least a couple of years old – until then keep an eye on everything.
Teach the toddlers to be gentle with the Yorkie and touch the dog when it is calm.
The kids should not take the Yorkie toys, climb on the back of the dog, get close to it when it is resting and of course they should not mess with the dog’s food dish. These kinds of things can seem exhausting at first, but it is not that difficult.
After all, as parents, we teach the kids stuff every single day. When you are successful with that you can rest and relax, because there will be no need to monitor every single move that your kids make on the dog.
If you were lucky enough and your Yorkie is very tolerant to kids, do not skip the aforementioned things. The children should know that they should be respectful to the dog and what to do in order not to make the Yorkie feel uncomfortable or threatened.
At some point, you will see that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about anymore.
Most of the Yorkshire terriers prefer homes without kids
It is what it is.
If you would like your kids to grow up around a dog that adores them and tolerates all of their crazy stuff and sleeps next to them – then a Yorkie is not the best choice at all.
The Yorkshire Terriers are the best option for homes with older children or with no kids at all. So if you still do not have a Yorkie but you are considering getting one, if you plan to have a family soon or you have small kids – you can think twice.
A Yorkie is a good option if your kids are at least around 7-8 years old because at that age they know what is happening and they can learn and practice to be respectful and gentle to a small dog with a temper like the Yorkie.
If you want a small dog, there are other small breeds that are more tolerable towards kids. You can check for an instance Pugs, Beagles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – all of them have great personalities and love being around children.
But if you want Yorkie and nothing else – do not worry about the dog living around kids. With some attention and work, you will make this happen and after all, everything will be just fine.