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Robin Burkett, Animal Photography
Robin Burkett, Animal Photography
Rob Wiss, Flickr
Jeremy Page, Flickr
A Yorkipoo is a mix of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Toy or Miniature Poodle, or more rarely the offspring of two Yorkie/Poodle mixes. At his best, the Yorkipoo is friendly, playful, smart, and cute as all get out. His small stature makes him best suited to a home with adults or older children.
Crossbred puppies like the Yorkipoo — even within the same litter — can look very different from each other and can look the same as or different from their parents. The Yorkipoo is usually extremely small, but his size, color, coat, temperament, activity level, and health risks can vary depending on the traits an individual puppy inherited from his parents.
The Yorkipoo is a crossbreed. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you never know what’s going to be inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not necessarily something a breeder can control, even less so when two breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.
The idea behind crossing the Yorkie and the Poodle is to combine the intelligence, trainability, and reduced-shedding coat of the Poodle with the bright, bold nature of the Yorkshire Terrier and tone down the independence and stubbornness of the Yorkie. When this works as advertised, Yorkipoos can be friendly, people-oriented, and easy to train. They’re almost impossibly cute as puppies, with their twinkling eyes, sassy attitude, and great playfulness.
A Yorkipoo from an irresponsible or inexperienced source, without the benefit of the kind of health and temperament testing done by good breeders, can be a mess of the combined genetic problems of his ancestors. That can mean a snappy, noisy tyrant of a dog with a wide variety of costly health problems.
Yorkipoos are usually small dogs, so while a well-bred dog will probably like children and other dogs, care needs to be taken that he isn’t hurt by rough play. The boldness that comes from the Yorkie side might make him foolish in challenging dogs much larger than himself, so keep him on a leash when around large dogs.
Yorkipoos are first and foremost companion dogs and cannot live outdoors. They need to live in the house with your and your family.
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People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament, or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger, and more, originally got their starts.
But crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size, and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.
Crossbreeds such as the Yorkipoo have always been bred, but they have become especially popular over the past 10 to 20 years as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that crossbreeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic or intelligent or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross, or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special, and loving companion.
Ideally, the sense of humor and trainability of the Poodle will temper the Yorkie’s tempestuous streak, without compromising his boldness. The problem is, Yorkipoos can turn out to be a combination of the least desirable traits of the Poodle and the Yorkie. At his best, though, he should be friendly, people-oriented, and easy to train.
The well-bred Yorkipoo is likely to be an active and mischievous dog with a sense of humor. He won’t do well living in the backyard (no dog does), and if he’s left to his own devices he will probably become noisy and destructive. Yorkipoos can be barkers, so consider whether your living situation allows for a certain amount of barking before bringing a Yorkipoo into your family, and gently nip any sign of nuisance barking in the bud.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 8 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed. Invite people to your home as well, so he becomes accustomed to visitors.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from an Yorkipoo, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
All dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the mixed breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the mixed breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Yorkipoos may be susceptible to the health problems of both Yorkshire Terriers and Toy Poodles, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Please refer to the breed guides on Yorkshire Terriers and Toy Poodles for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these two breeds.
Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have the appropriate certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Eye registry Foundation, etc.
If the breeder tells you she doesn’t need to do those tests because she’s never had problems in her lines, her dogs have been vet checked, or any of the other excuses bad breeders have for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Yorkipoo at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life.
Yorkipoos usually have a slightly scruffy coat, although it can also, like the Poodle’s coat, be curly. A Yorkipoo’s grooming needs will vary depending on his coat, but all Yorkipoos need regular, even daily, brushing. Those with the curlier Poodle coat require grooming every four to six weeks. Some owners learn to use the clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on professional groomers. Either way, it’s essential to take proper care of the coat, because without regular grooming it will quickly become a matted mess that can cause painful skin infections at the roots of the hair.
Your Yorkipoo’s ears need to be kept clean and dry to help minimize wax, so clean them regularly with an ear cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Finding a good breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. She is mosre interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with, and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes to avoid those problems.
Avoid breeders who seem interested only in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from a website that offers to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the mixed breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Yorkipoo might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dogs of your dreams. An adult Yorkipoo may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
Yorkipoo puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. But there’s no need to pay big bucks for a Yorkipoo. There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com can have you searching for a Yorkipoo in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Yorkipoos available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Yorkipoo. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Rescue Groups
Most people who love Yorkipoos love all Yorkipoos. Search online for Yorkipoo rescues in your area. Poodle rescues and Yorkshire Terrier rescues are also good sources for this crossbreed. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Yorkipoo home for a trial to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Yorkipoo, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with puppy lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, a breeder purchase or a rescue, take your Yorkipoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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