Can A Yorkie Be A Service Dog? (How About Other Small Dogs?)

When you think of a service dog, you more than likely picture an Alsatian, a Retriever, or a Labrador?

Well, you aren’t alone! These dogs are strong, easily identifiable, and reliable, which is the perfect combination for individuals who may struggle with sight impairment.

Below, you’ll find a ton of information on what makes Yorkies such good service dogs, what it takes to be a service dog, and more!

Can a Yorkie Be a Service Dog?

Yes, a Yorkie can be a service dog as long as they are successful enough to pass the first few stages of their training.

Though Yorkies may not seem like the greatest fit due to their small stature, they definitely shouldn’t be counted out for the role!

What Is A Service Dog?

Service dogs are specially trained to help make life easier for an individual or a group of people living with a disability. Much like police dogs, they are a type of working dog that fits in with your daily activities.

However, service dogs play a much more prominent role in day-to-day life and are an invaluable asset to those with disabilities.

What To Look For In A Potential Service Dog

Some of the most common types of training dogs include guide dogs for the blind, mobility assistance dogs, seizure response dogs, diabetes assistance, and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired.

Many dogs are also trained to help alleviate psychiatric issues, notably those about severe mental health.
Regardless of the breed, there are several key characteristics a good service dog should possess. These include;

  • Being the appropriate size. You don’t want a guide dog who only reaches to your ankles in height!
  • Having the correct amount of strength and stamina to perform appointed duties.
  • Having a good temperament. The canine must be physically active as well as calm.
  • They must always be well-behaved when in the public eye. They must be calm, obedient, and ready to problem-solve at a moment’s notice.

Yorkie Fast Facts

  • Weight: 4 to 6 pounds
  • Height: Up to 9 inches at the shoulder
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

General Traits Of The Yorkie

Yorkies are small dogs with lots of love to give. They are curious, sensitive, and highly intuitive creatures that can easily pick up on the feelings of others. Yorkies can also adapt quickly to their surroundings.

Due to their size, a Yorkie may be better for helping with mundane tasks around your home. This includes retrieving the television remote and bringing it back to you.

Others may involve the dog retrieving clean clothes from the dryer, and alerting you to sounds like the ringing of a telephone, a doorbell, or a crying baby. But it all depends on your specific needs and requirements!

The Yorkie breed is also especially valuable as medical alert service animals. They have the right temperament to undergo training to detect medical emergencies including epileptic seizures, changes in the glucose level of a diabetic, and even allergy detection.

Another area where a Yorkie can be used as a service dog is lap duty. This gives caregivers the chance to physically embrace their canine companions rather than just having the dog’s head resting on their laps, which helps to create feelings of calmness.

They are also a great choice for a psychiatric service dog. They are small and portable, meaning that they can accompany their caregivers almost anywhere they are needed.

According to the Psychiatric Service Dog Society, this is a critical component in the management of mental health symptoms. So if you suffer from anxiety or PTSD and are assigned a service dog, they can detect and alert you to your symptoms before anything bad happens.

How About Other Small Dogs?

In addition to size, other factors must be considered when you begin training a dog for this purpose, including their temperament and physical ability.

Therefore, you simply cannot say that small dogs aren’t suitable for the role of a service dog. Each animal is different, so this statement is far too generalized!

Why Small Dogs Make Great Service Dogs

Smaller dogs may not have the physical strength you’d typically associate with a service dog, but, with the right training, they can do many of the same tasks!

Many dog breeds can learn the necessary behaviors to become a service dog – regardless if they are taught from being a puppy, or are brought in from the pound. These include the Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Unfortunately, this can’t be said for every small dog. Whether they can be trained or not is entirely dependent on the individual breed. Therefore, there are several advantages and disadvantages to using a smaller dog breed for this role. We have outlined some of these below:


  • Small dogs can be quite intuitive. This means that they can learn and develop new behaviors to help individuals in need.
  • They are small, so they won’t need a lot of additional exercises.
  • They can immediately alert their handlers to a change in mood.


  • Small dogs can become quite snappy if they feel threatened.
  • They can become possessive over their territory.
  • They can be very excitable, so you must make sure to not fuss or over-crowd them with excessive attention, otherwise, they won’t be able to properly carry out their job.


Yes, Yorkie’s and small dogs can be service dogs if they are given the right amount of dedication and training by a qualified handler.

Small service dogs help deal with a wide array of physical and mental disabilities, but they excel with smaller household tasks and psychiatric care due to their smaller stature.