If you are thinking of adding a Yorkie to your family, you have no doubt started your research into the breed, their needs, their personalities, and all the cool accessories you will need. But, before you bring a puppy home, here are some things that you need to know before you select your puppy.
If you are looking for a Yorkie to add to your family, you have probably been searching the internet for “where to get a Yorkie puppy“. First, do not buy a Yorkie puppy from a pet store. When you buy a puppy from a pet store, you have no idea where the puppy came from, the Yorkie’s parents, how it was raised and socialized, or any number of other things you will want to know about your new Yorkie puppy. Puppies in pet stores go from the breeder to the broker to the store, and may travel thousands of miles to get there. No reputable breeder would sell their puppies to a broker. The breeder has no idea where the puppy is going and doesn’t know what will happen to the Yorkie puppy on it’s way to the new owners. In short, no breeder who actually cares about the safety and happiness of their puppies would ever allow their puppies to end up in a pet store. Only select a puppy directly from a breeder.
How do you choose a breeder? There are a number of factors to take into account when selecting the right Yorkshire terrier breeder. Some of the process is subjective, but here are a few things to consider.
The age of the puppy – Reputable breeders will not let Yorkie puppies go to a new home until they are 12 weeks old. Yorkies are very small as puppies and need to nurse longer than larger breeds. After they are weaned, they need to be eating solid food only before they go to a new home. The process of introducing solid food generally starts with feeding the puppies a liquid milk replacer as they are weaned and over time adding kibble to the milk and reducing the amount of milk until the puppy is only eating the solid food. This process takes time and 8 – 12 weeks is generally when Yorkie puppies are eating solid food on their own for every meal. Additionally, by 12 weeks Yorkie puppies are less likely to experience hypoglycemic attacks, which can be brought on by the stress of going to a new home. Yorkies also need extra time to develop socially with their mother and siblings. If a breeder wants to send a puppy home at 8 or 9 weeks, do not work with that breeder.
Where the puppy was raised – Where the puppy and parents are raised can make a huge difference in the personality of the Yorkie puppy. Are the Yorkies in the house? Are the kept in a kennel? The place itself is not necessarily as important as the conditions and the socialization that the Yorkies receive. I know great breeders who raise their dogs in a kennel, and others who raise their dogs in the house. In either case, the conditions must be kept clean and the puppies must be socialized with other dogs, people, other pets, children, etc. You should, if at all possible, assess the conditions yourself. You should visit the home of the breeder and see where the puppies live and meet the puppies’ parents and see the conditions for yourself. If the breeder will not allow you to visit, this should be a “red flag”.
The registry the breeder uses – There are many different dog registries in the world. In the U.S., the oldest and most reputable registry is the American Kennel Club. In my opinion, all great breeders register their dogs with the AKC. AKC papers do not guarantee a high quality dog, but the papers do guarantee the lineage of the Yorkie and you can rest assured that you are getting a pure bred Yorkshire terrier if your new puppy has AKC papers. Other registries in the United States are not as reputable, these include the APRI, ACA, and many others. Be sure to ask the breeder if your puppy’s parents are registered and ask them where. It is acceptable to ask to see the registration papers. You should also ask if the litter of puppies has been registered, and you should be able to see the application form for your new puppy before you agree to buy a particular puppy. The registration of the puppy may not mean too much to you, but breeders who are proud of their lines, show their dogs, and want to keep track of their puppies will register their Yorkies with the AKC.
Medical testing – Most all reputable breeders perform at least some type of medical testing on their Yorkies BEFORE breeding. Testing before breeding helps to ensure that the pairing will produce healthy puppies. These tests can be liver tests (liver shunts are common in small breeds), eye testing, joint testing (for hip dysplasia and luxating patella), or any number of other tests. Many breeders also test their puppies (though these tests are not completely reliable as many genetic issues can’t be found before the age of 12 weeks). Feel free to ask your breeder about health testing and ask to see results of the tests. Additionally, most reputable breeders will provide their puppy owners with a health guarantee, outlining what will happen and who will pay if a genetic issue is discovered in a puppy (generally when the issue is discovered before the age of 12 months).
There are many other factors to take into consideration that are completely subjective: Do you like the breeder? Do you trust the breeder? How long has the breeder been working with this breed? Does the breeder sell other types of pure bred puppies (most reputable breeders only breed one or rarely two types of pure bred dogs)? Does the breeder also breed mixes (a reputable breeder will not mix breeds)? Does the breeder show their dogs (if they do, you know they are committed to the bred and having the absolute best dogs)?
Before selecting a puppy from a breeder, be sure that you fully research the breeder and know exactly who you will be dealing with. Knowing the breeder will make for a simple, pleasurable process and your and your new Yorkie puppy will be happier together.