How to choose both the right Yorkie and the Right Breeder:
What am I looking for in a Yorkie: Buying a Yorkie is a long term commitment. The first question a buyer should ask is, “what is the Yorkie’s purpose.” Make sure you are willing to give a good deal of time to the care and training of your Yorkie. These little devils need your attention, love, and praise. Once that is out of the way, do your research. Be familiar with the standards of AKC and YTCA. By doing this, you will be able to recognize good quality puppies. Also, think about the environment in which the dog will live. A hearty, healthy dog does much better with kids and other animals than a shaky shy purse puppy. However, you may be looking for a small travel companion. Make sure your needs are clear so that a good breeder can focus on which Yorkie puppy will best suit your lifestyle. A good quality breeder will ask why you are seeking a Yorkie puppy. Don't be put off by these type of questions, welcome them. It is a sign of someone who has a great deal of concern for what is best for her puppies.
Where do I find a quality Yorkie puppy : Once your expectations are clear, contact several breeders. Most breeders are good sources for information and enjoy visiting about their dogs and kennels. A good breeder will invite you to ask questions even if he or she does not have a Yorkie puppy available. Many will recommend good breeders in your area. We know the breeders we recommend personally. We visit with them, visit their kennels, and know their stock. Many buyers wait months for their personal Yorkie to be born. We prefer to breed only when we have good quality homes already available for our puppies. If you decide you really like a kennel and breeder, be patient, wait on the perfect Yorkie .
What traits do I look for : Almost without exception, all yorkie puppies look the same up to about 20 weeks. Buyers must be very careful as the cute Yorkie bought at 8 weeks old may turn out to be a very large, scraggly coated relative rather than the true Yorkie you desire. Finding a reputable breeder is the most important part of your search. No breeder can accurately guarantee size, temperament, and characteristics of a Yorkie prior to about 15 weeks. To help in choosing the traits you would like, see the sire and the dam of the puppy. However, do not totally rely on looks alone. Our children aren't carbon copies and so it is with puppies. Good breeders recognize traits in both the sire and dam that will insure quality puppies. If you have done your homework, you'll be confident in your breeder's ability to help. Occasionally, the sire is not on the premises and this should not be of concern. Breeders will often use another stud to improve their own line. If the dam isn’t there, it probably isn’t worth your time except in the rare case the puppy is a "pick of the litter" from a breeding. Sometimes if a breeding bitch is exceptionally nice, the breeder may opt to keep a puppy rather than have a fee paid for stud service. Also, seeing related dogs can help. Above is a diagram to assist in your search.
What about temperament : Temperament is also a very important aspect of the Yorkshire Terrier puppy. Remember, just like kids, not all puppies are going to run up to play. Some are shyer than others. AKC gives limited verbiage on temperament stating: “The dog's high head carriage and confident manner should give the appearance of vigor and self-importance.” Every Yorkie is unique in temperament and will respond differently to each person he encounters. Look for puppies that exhibit a playful, confident attitude. When buyers visit our kennel, we place the buyer and the puppies only in a large area. We encourage the buyer to interact with the puppies based on personality rather than sex.
Choosing the Perfect Breeder
Buyers are encouraged to do their homework, do lots of research, and be realistic. There are a few basic rules to follow but common sense will help you the most. Yorkies are a lifetime investment; so think of this process as you would any other really expensive item you want to keep forever. Your family and this Yorkie will be lifetime companions and the kennel from which you purchase should be a safety net for your Yorkie throughout its lifetime.
Choosing the right “kind” of kennel : It is hard to categorize breeders since we all began somewhere. Breeders with 15 dogs or 5 can have equally effective breeding programs. Almost every breeder began small and increased in size as they themselves matured as a breeder. Some have 2000 sq foot facilities some have small areas in their homes. One is not necessarily better than the other, although "home breeders" often use that terminology to indicate that they may spend more time with their dogs than kennel owners. Don't particularly be fooled by this, many "home breeders" have jobs outside of the home and are gone 8 to 10 hours a day; as opposed to some kennel owners who are with their dogs 8 to 10 hours a day. Don’t be afraid of small or large breeders. Do use some caution with breeders with multiple breeds that are not closely related. Specialization is often the key to a quality breeding program. Focus on conditions, conditions, conditions. Did I mention conditions? Yorkie kennels should be clean, but don’t expect a hospital like atmosphere, we are after all working with animals. Accidents happen, messes happen, dogs bark, and that is the way it works. On the other hand, don’t accept a Yorkie from a kennel with obvious unsanitary conditions. Look for clean water and feed bowls, free of debris of any kind. Individual feed and water bowls should be available. Not all dogs are on the same feeding schedule; thus, feeding all of the dogs in a kennel out of the same bowl is not optimal. Most kennels have a feeding schedule for each animal. Crates or kennels should be clean and tidy with no more than two dogs per kennel and one dog per crate. Crates or kennels should be free of dried urine or feces. Kennels should be cleaned thoroughly once a day at least and waste should be picked up upon recognition of it. The breeder should immediately begin cleaning up even if she has to stop “selling” in order to take care of a mess, etc… Again, don’t expect to never see a mess what so ever, dogs soil the area around them from time to time. Buyers can’t expect 100% mess free / rosy smelling kennels. That is unrealistic. Be aware that bitches look bad for a while after whelping, and are probably clipped up well. We don’t look like a fashion model after giving birth. Don’t expect a breeder’s bitch to be in full coat all combed out waiting for her photo shoot. It is just not realistic. In fact, none of the dogs in a kennel should look like they never get out of the crate. All of the dogs should look like they get out of their crates, play outside, and are secure in their surroundings. Never expect every dog in the kennel to have that fresh from the groomer's look.
Knowledge of the breed : In a perfect world, all puppy breeders would breed specifically for improvement. However, that world simply doesn't exist. As our perception of what a Yorkie or any pet should be changes, so does the breed standards. Most reputable breeders will strive for AKC’s standard understanding that this standard changes from time to time based on public preference. The last revision to AKC’s standard was in 1966. That said, public preference has changed a great deal. Today’s consumer is looking for small “purse” size dogs. Although it should be rare for a kennel to produce this size dog, it does happen. A kennel’s entire reputation should not be built on the word “tea cup.” By breeding to improve, rather than produce a certain size, breeders become knowledgeable about the traits each female / male combination produces and can effectively evaluate each litter. These breeders are better equipped to detect health problems and poor quality early and can give much better advice to the buyer as to the quality of the Yorkie they are considering. If the sole purpose of every litter is to produce tiny dogs, beware. Your breeder should be able to answer any questions you have, thus specialization being the key. Breeders should know about other kennels and what types of puppies they produce. Even if the kennel you are considering does not have a show program, the breeder should have some idea of what else is out there as compared to her dogs. Buyers should ALWAYS be welcome to visit the kennel. NEVER meet at another location.
Why are these dogs so expensive: To put it bluntly, expect to pay for a quality Yorkie . Truly dedicated breeders spend a great deal of time and expense on their bitches, sires, and puppies. This should be rewarded not haggled over. Breeders provide a service just like any other working person. You, as an employee, expect to be paid for your service to your company (you probably don’t believe you make enough for your work). Breeders are no different. For some, raising dogs is a hobby and for others, it is part of their income. Neither indicates a better breeder. Good quality pets are a reflection of the kennel in which they are whelped.
Who can I trust : Your breeder’s primary concern should be the best placement and over all health of the Yorkie even if it cost them a sale. I disagree that reputable breeders only produce puppies over 4 lbs. Great yorkies come in all shapes and sizes. Ask to see breeding records at the kennel and an explanation of the breeder’s overall program. Kennel records should have information on various litters, sizes of each Yorkie , health info, vaccination info, etc. SEE THE PAPERS ON BOTH SIRE & DAME and Request a Litter number at the time of your purchase. You should be given a contract to sign, a copy to keep, copies of any paperwork, contact numbers for the breeder in case of emergency, and a great deal of information. You should feel almost overwhelmed by the amount information. If breeding is serious for them, regardless of how large or small the operation, this information will be available. If anything is secretive, it is probably not worth your time.
I want a Tea Cup : Firstly, tea cup / teacup is only a descriptive advertising term and should not be used by the breeder. You, as the buyer, may use the term in order to aid in conveying to your breeder exactly what you want, but reputable breeders will talk in terms of overall weight and proportions. The most common complaint from Yorkie owners is often a size issue. Breeders promise that cute Yorkie will be a tiny little teacup, the buyer buys at a super low price and, well it generally goes down hill from there. Again, that 8 week old Yorkie was supposed to be a "tea cup" and ends up a long legged, large eared, 12 pounder. Breeders cannot promise at even 8 or 12 weeks exactly what size your Yorkie will be. Generally, size can be approximated by multiplying x3 at 6 weeks and x2 at 15 weeks. If a breeder is explaining that a Yorkie will be a certain size, ask how they know. Ask to see the puppies weekly weight chart. Good breeders have these and know the math. This may not insure the overall size is exact, but at least your breeder has some idea and isn't making empty promises. Using the diagram of the Yorkie at the top of the page as a guide to what a yorkie puppies should look like, will aid in helping choose a Yorkie with the right features. But again, I cannot stress enough, at even 12 weeks, a breeder cannot guarantee any traits. If they do, ask to have that added in writing to your contract and see how quickly they back off.
Ethical Breeding practices are important : If you suspect you are visiting a puppy mill, you probably are. So many buyers later admit they purchased a puppy simply because they felt so sorry for it. By purchasing from Mills you perpetuate exactly what we are working against. Every dime these folks make is an indication to them that what they do is OK. Ethical breeding practices ensure that bitches are rested from time to time. Every kennel is different; however, resting is essential to a good program. Males should be DNA typed with AKC especially if he is used as a stud outside the kennel. Each dog's living area is clean, well kept, and the dogs themselves have a quality of life beyond their breedablity. A quality breeder always works to balance the dog’s needs, the buyer’s expectations and her own financial needs. Be cautious with breeders who “down” other breeders. It can be a "dog eat dog world" (excuse the pun). Business should never be about downing someone else to make a sale. No kennel is perfect. Buyers should look to breeders that sell their own merits and the merits of their puppies and overall customer service.
Guarantees and Contracts : DO NOT BUY WITHOUT A CONTRACT. Where do you find a good contract? Well, since you asked, feel free to take a look at ours. Your breeder should have a very comprehensive contract protecting all parties. A four line contract basically explaining you are stuck with the dog you have purchased after 24 hours does not a contract make. So, look for contracts with some work and thought put into them. Also, ask questions about every aspect of the contract. Go over it with a fine tooth comb as you are stuck with it in most cases once signed. Many breeders sell on a spay / neuter contract. There are some different schools of thought on this. The intention a breeder has for these type contracts can be different. Just ask. In its simplest terms, if the reasoning makes sense to you, then it is probably ok. All breeders should offer some type of health guarantee. Be aware of the different health issues that can be a problem for yorkies. Address these concerns specifically with the breeder. READ the contract before you sign it. Make sure it contains litter numbers, dam and sire numbers, etc. A good contract will have more information than you could ever need. Some breeders also include a waiting list clause in their contract if needed. Often, we sell on a waiting list basis and must have some way of managing that aspect of the business. Generally, such clauses are specifically addressed by the buyer and the breeder prior to any deposits being placed.