Yorkshire terriers, commonly referred to as yorkies, may be small, but they can be amazingly helpful when it comes to certain service dog tasks. They are known for their affectionate attitudes and lap-sized stature, and they are often intelligent enough to learn many different skills that help individuals with their disabilities.
Our article gives you more information about Yorkshire terriers and how these pups might be helpful as working service dog companions.
Is There a Required Service Dog Breed?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog can be any breed or size of dog.
The only requirement for these working pups is that the service dog is specifically trained to help relieve the symptoms of their owner’s disability by performing certain tasks. These may be tasks such as opening and closing doors, retrieving medication and water, interrupting harmful behaviors, checking around corners, and providing deep pressure therapy.
Some service dogs are also trained to deliver medical alerts. This entails letting their owner know about seizures, drops in blood pressure, and blood sugar issues in time for the individual to get somewhere safe or take medication as needed.
You can consult the ADA for more information about the basic requirements of service dogs and the federal protections that they are granted.
Yorkshire Terrier Traits
They are categorized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a toy breed. This category fits yorkies, as they only grow between 7 and 8 inches in height and weight an average of seven pounds.
The general life expectancy for Yorkshire terriers is between 11 and 15 years. These dogs are known for their affectionate attitudes toward their families, their playful, energetic natures, and their high level of trainability.
Yorkies are fairly eager to please their owners and they don’t have as much of a stubborn streak as some other dogs may have. They love to learn new things and thrive when given proper mental stimulation. Yorkies may be a little bit vocal, but with proper training and enough activity in their day, they won’t bark excessively.
Do Yorkshire Terriers Make Good Service Dogs?
When most people think of a service dog, they are likely not thinking of a small breed like the Yorkshire terrier. After all, these dogs are small and well-suited to being lap dogs. However, even though yorkies are small pups, they are intelligent and willing to please their owner, which makes them a good candidate for being a service dog.
Due to their size, they are not able to complete tasks such as guiding the visually impaired or providing support to those with mobility issues. However, Yorkies are suited for alternative service dog tasks, such as acting as a psychiatric service dog (PSD). A PSD performs tasks like ensuring rooms are clear and accompanying their owner into public.
Yorkies may also make suitable medical alert dogs if they are trained to detect the onset of seizures, blood pressure drops, heart rhythm irregularities, or blood sugar issues, among other medical problems.
They are easily able to retrieve items like medication and water, they may be able to open and close doors for their owners, and they provide a sense of comfort and safety for individuals that need support when they are out in public. Yorkies are a great choice to help with mental health conditions where individuals need to have their service dog with them at all times – they’re easily brought into public spaces.
Can Yorkies Be Emotional Support Animals?
Yorkies, like many other types of animals, are able to become emotional support animals (ESAs). ESAs are different from service dogs in that they are not specifically trained to help an individual with tasks directly related to their disability. However, they do provide comfort and companionship to those suffering from mental health conditions or other disabilities.
Emotional support animals are not granted the same public access rights that service dogs are, though an individual’s right to live with their ESA is protected by the Fair Housing Act.
If you have a yorkie in your life that provides you with significant comfort and calm, they may be a great candidate for becoming an emotional support animal. You may also want to consider adopting a yorkie from a shelter. Their affectionate and playful nature can help support you with any condition after the right training.
How to Add a Yorkie Service Dog to Your Life
They can make great service dogs in the right conditions, and it’s important to take their size into account as you consider adding a Yorkshire terrier service dog into your life.
If you believe that you would benefit from a yorkie service dog, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor, therapist, or another licensed medical professional to get this process started. You can either adopt a fully-trained service dog or opt to train your own yorkie service dog with the specific tasks that you need to be completed.