Yorkshire Terrier Rescue Guide: How to Find One, and What It Will Be Like

So, you’re thinking of rescuing a Yorkshire Terrier, lovingly known as a Yorkie? What both an exciting and scary time! The amount of dogs that are stuck in shelters around the world is heartbreaking. I’m sure you have many questions, and fortunately, I have many answers.

Local animal shelters and the SPCA can help you find a Yorkie to add to your family. They will put you on a waiting list for Yorkies and they’ll notify you when there is one available. And once you bring your Yorkie home, but might be hard work at first but it will be so worth it.

How exactly hard will it be during an adjustment? What kind of special care will your Yorkie need? What exactly do you need to know before taking this great adventure? The answers to these questions and more will be down below. Everything you need to know about the where and how of Yorkie rescue will be down below.

Where to Find the Yorkies

There are many places where one can find a dog that needs a home. Unfortunately, there are more dogs needing homes than people able to provide those homes. But, that is why it’s so important and admirable when someone who can adopt chooses to adopt.

The first step is to contact your local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). They can help get you in contact with Yorkies ready to be adopted in your area. Along with that, contact any of the animal shelters within a reasonable driving distance from your home.

When looking for a specific breed it is important that you ask to be placed on a waiting list for Yorkshire Terriers. That way when they have any come in, they will notify you.

When the shelters are putting you on the waiting list, they may ask if you want to be called about Yorkshire Terrier mixes. These mixes can be great companions, and you have a better chance of bringing a pup home sooner and they have a better chance of finding their home.

My dog is actually a Yorkie mix. He’s a Dachshund Yorkie mix, and we affectionately call him a Dorkie. These mixes each have their own different quirks and personalities, and you never know if one of their personalities will perfectly complement yours. It’s a great idea to open up to these other personalities and dog types as you might find your best friend.

Online Sources

Adopt A Pet is also a great source for finding specific breeds of dogs near you. There are many websites available for finding nearby dogs, but be sure whenever you use a website it leads to legitimate shelters rather than puppy mills or other backyard breeders.

Another great place to find your dog is through Pet Finder. This is a website that has complete profiles on its dogs so that you can get to see what these dogs are all about, and see if they’re a good match for you. Also, you can set it up so that you can get alerts when there are Yorkshire Terriers available, which makes it really nice.

Save a Yorkie Rescue is also a really nice website that is all about Yorkies. They have the means for people to foster a Yorkie, adopt a Yorkie and even surrender a Yorkie if needs be. They also are a no-kill organization, so even the dogs that can’t seem to get adopted have a place to stay at Save a Yorkie.

Puppy Mills

Speaking of Puppy Mills, what exactly are they? Well, they are basically a big company that breeds puppies for sale. Conditions are intense and inhumane in these mills.

Yorkies are often bred in these despicable conditions because they are such popular dogs. Puppy mills take advantage of that fact.

These dogs bred here have generations of dogs with hereditary defects that can possibly be prevented. But, there is not the care in the mill to look for these things. They want to push puppies out fast and make fast cash.

Because of these deplorable situations, it can be hard to rehabilitate the puppy mill survivors. These are the dogs that stay at the mill and are used to breed.

They most often have only had negative experiences with humans so they can be very resistant to trusting humans. Often they can be rehabilitated though through lots of patience, compassion, and training.

If this sounds like something that you may be able to handle, I would definitely recommend considering taking on a dog that needs a little more TLC.

The Actual Adoption

When you’ve decided on the platform that you want to adopt through it is a good idea to fill out an application immediately before you start looking at actual Yorkies. This gives you a better chance of getting the Yorkie that you want.

It’s always a good idea to foster a Yorkie before adopting one. If you can adopt the Yorkie that you actually want that’s even better because there is an area of trial and error to make sure you fit together.

What Will it Be Like?

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Rescuing a dog is one of the most rewarding and challening jobs you will ever face.

Samantha Bubar

Bubar captures the essence of rescuing perfectly in this statement. While bringing home a rescue may be hard (which it will) it is also the most humbling and marvelous experience. You will find a love deeper than you thought possible as you put so much work into that relationship.

It will take patience, time, money, perseverance, dedication and consistency. And after all of that, you will have your new pal who you gave a home and who trusts and loves you completely. You’ll have saved a life.


It’s good to know the temperament of a Yorkie before bringing a Yorkie into your home. If you’re wanting to adopt one, then it is likely that you already have a Yorkie or you know what their temperament is like, but it’s a good reminder. This way you can tell what are quirks of the Yorkie and what are quirks because of the past that they had to live.

Yorkies are known for their intelligence. They are incredibly smart. This also means that they are incredibly entertaining as well as stubborn. While they love to please their owners, if something else looks more fun, they will most likely opt for that option.

They are full of energy and love to be all over the place. If you’re wanting a mellow dog, then this is not the breed for you. They do have their cuddly phases though.

Every once in a while they will enjoy cuddle time with you. People say that male Yorkies are more likely to be more cuddly while females tend to be on the more mischievous end of it.

My Yorkie mix, Scamp, is a very good example of this. He loves cuddle time with mom, but when he wants to play he wants to play. He wants you to pick up his toy and play with him. He wants what he wants when he wants it.

Yorkies are also known for their incredible, and sometimes ironic bravery. These little dudes have major guts. They will take on anyone if they are threatening their family, even dogs four times their size.

They adapt well and are pretty easy to train. They love to be the center of attention and have all adoring eyes on them, so training can be easy. They eat up the attention, so when training it’s always a good idea to use praise and food to reward your pup.


Speaking of training, it may be easy to train a Yorkie, but it can easily be made difficult when training a rescue Yorkie. Often these rescue dogs have missed important milestones in their development.

It is common for rescue parents to have to teach their dogs how to play, how to eat out of a bowl or housebreak them.

It is most likely that instead of jumping into teaching your new family member impressive tricks, you will be teaching them to trust and how to have fun.

The Spruce Pets offers some great things to remember when training.

  1. Remember when training that there needs to be a period of adjustment. A time where your dog can get used to its new home and new family.
  2. Boundaries need to be set. Don’t coddle! It will lead to a world of hurt later. Set rules from day 1 and stick to them.
  3. Speaking of, consistency is essential. Get on a schedule. Dogs and humans enjoy routines because it reduces stress. A rescue dog most likely hasn’t had any sort of routine so far in its life. Setting a routine of playtime, bedtime, feeding, and walking will help your Yorkie see that his new home is safe.
  4. Assume your dog has had no training. It is best to treat them like a new puppy and teach it everything over. Even if it was trained, it might need a refresher.
  5. Plan on crate training.
  6. Enroll in obedience class/training class.
  7. Take a pace that is comfortable with your dog.

On Wide Open Pets, Allie Layos provides a list of things to remember when training. One thing she mentions is to remember that training your dog is an investment. It is an investment in time but can also be an investment in money if you go for training classes.

This can be a great option because these classes will allow your dog to be around other dogs. They’ll be able to socialize at the same time as being trained. And, you can have help with training, which can be quite difficult.

Care Tips

Yorkie Info Center provides a great inclusive list of things to be sure to do to make sure that your rescue Yorkie feels safe and has a better adjustment process.

  1. Be sure to have essentials ready before Yorkie comes home.
    • Playpen
    • Canine Orthopedic Bed
    • Pee-Pads
    • Grooming Supplies
    • Healthy Food and Snacks fit for sensitive stomachs.
  2. Keep the environment and interactions from being overwhelming.
    • Approach everything slowly and gradually.
    • Be prepared for most common fears. (loud noises, car rides, strangers, crowded places, etc.)
    • Clingy behavior is common.

Things to Know About Rescues

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It is important to know that only a small percent of dogs have serious enough behavioral issues to prevent them from ever being re-homed. According to Yorkie Info Center, “the majority of dogs are healthy [as well]; 80 – 90% have no serious health issues that would affect ownership.”

This is fantastic news for both the owners wanting to adopt as well as the dogs wanting a home. While rescue dogs may have some weird quirks, only a small percent are dangerous or unhealthy for the dog or future family. Most are just due to having to live through some really hard things. These dogs have had to learn to adapt.

With a patient and willing family though, a Yorkie rescue can adapt to their new loving home.

Common Problems

There are certain medical issues and problems that Yorkies are prone to, so when they are neglected, abused or forgotten, these things can often be problematic.

A big part of loving a rescue dog is understanding why they behave the way they do. If you can understand why they might be acting unfavorably, you have a better shot at being able to re-train your rescue.


One thing that is common to see in not only Yorkie rescues, but all rescues, is separation anxiety. Once your dog starts to trust and love you, they may have a really hard time letting you out of their sight. Often in the past, they have been abandoned or left behind, so dogs can fear this will happen again.

Another thing that is quite common is food aggression or resource guarding. This is when a dog guards their food with aggression such as snarling or even biting. They might do this because in the past they’ve had to fight for their food every day, or didn’t know when they were going to get their next meal. Training can help relieve this.

Something else to keep an eye on is dental issues. They are prone to tooth decay so when neglected or abused, this is often one of the first things to go wrong. It is vital that when bringing a rescue Yorkie home, have a vet check the health of their teeth. It is a good idea to immediately have a vet check everything out, but especially the teeth.

Other’s Experiences

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Yorkie Info Center provides the ins and outs of several success stories of Yorkie rescues finding their forever homes. In the stories, they discuss how the transitions and adaptations went as the Yorkies and their new family members got to know each other.

June tells the story of how she found her new love, a little 5-year-old male Yorkie, Munchie. She says, “I took one look into his eyes and it was love at first sight for me”. And then she goes on to talk about how the first three times she held him he had diarrhea on her, threw up on her and then threw up on her again. “In the first ten minutes of knowing him I changed my clothes three times.”

She goes on to describe how she dedicated three days specifically to just sitting on the couch and cuddling with Munchie, and each day he opened up more and became more comfortable. She clarifies “It took months for him to completely understand me”. After consistent patience and understanding, June finishes the story saying, “I think Munchie loves me just as much as the dogs I raised from puppies... He freaks out when I leave his sight. He doesn’t like any other person to hold him either.”

June and Munchie’s story is a great example of how with patience and consistency, scared lonely dogs can find their forever homes.

“If I ever add another dog to our family, it would definitely be a rescue. It does not matter what the dog has been through before entering your life. They don’t live in the past. What matter most is the quality of life you, as an owner, will provide for your rescue.”

Diana (Another Rescue Mom)