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Do Yorkies Like to Cuddle and Be Held? (What Owners Say!)

When I was a kid I had a Yorkie named Katie. I was 11 and she was my pride and joy, my best friend, my buddy! One of my favorite things about having her was the cuddles we had together. As an adult, I really want to get a Yorkie but the price for a purebred Yorkie, so far, has been out of reach. I also haven’t had any luck finding one that I can rescue yet. Thinking about it has made me curious to know if all Yorkies like to cuddle and be held as much as my little Katie did. So I decided to ask other owners to hear what they had to say.

Yorkies are very affectionate and when they are in the right mood love to cuddle and be held. They enjoy cuddling and always want to be with or next to their owners. Out of 233 people surveyed 81% of owners said that their Yorkies loved to cuddle with them. Less than 4% liked little to no cuddles.

Why do Yorkies love cuddling so much, who do they love to cuddle with, do they like to be held, and what about that small that percentage that don’t like to cuddle? Is it something their owners have done, or is it their personalities? Is there anything you can do to encourage your dog to cuddle with you?

Keep reading to learn all the secrets!

Are Yorkies Affectionate?

Yorkies have a very interesting history that can give us some clues as to why they may be so affectionate. Part of their history involves being bred to chase and hunt down small rodents, but the biggest reason why they are so cuddly is because that is exactly what they have been bred for. Yorkies sole purpose in modern-day breeding is to be companion dogs, and often breeders will choose which dogs to mate based on their affectionate characteristics.

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Even Yorkies that don’t necesarrly love cuddling or being held still love to be near their owners. They like to follow their owners around and be near to them whenever they are sitting or resting.

Thank you Karen M. & Colbly, Anette C. & Massi, Jackie T. for use of your adorable photos!

Despite being somewhat vocal and high energy Yorkies are very loving and affectionate dogs. I asked a group of Yorkies owners how much their dogs liked to cuddle with them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most cuddly to 1 being not at all and got some not-so-surprising results.

110 people said that their Yorkies were a 10 on the cuddle scale and another 54 didn’t think 10 was high enough. They gave answers such as 100%, 1000+++, and descriptions such as my Yorkies is always near me or in my lap! Their Yorkies obviously love being held and cuddled.

Over 85% rated their Yorkies 5-10 on the cuddle scale.

With that being said, those who said their Yorkies didn’t care to cuddle were relatively few! Only 3 people said their Yorkies never want to cuddle with them. Around 10% of owners rated their Yorkies a 3 or lower on the cuddle scale.

If you add up the numbers you may notice that I’m missing a few. That would be because out of all the small breed dog owners I surveyed (Papillons, Maltese, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu) Yorkie owners had the most people respond that it really depended on what mood their Yorkie is in whether or not they liked to cuddle. Yorkies may be the most temperamental and finicky of them all.

At least nine people said that it completely depended on their mood and quite a few more said that their Yorkies would cuddle with them on their own terms.

Why Yorkies Like to Cuddle

Because of the Bond and Trust you Have

When a Yorkies has established a bond and trusts its owner then it is likely to show that trust and affection by wanting to be with and around its owner at all times.

Owners who care for their Yorkies by feeding them, grooming them playing with them, and just spending time with them will gain their trust and can build a bond with them fairly easily. This helps your Yorkies understand who takes care of them and in a way presents you as their pack leader creating an instinctual trust with you.

This is one of the reasons that the Yorkies breed is so cuddly and affectionate. This is also the reason that you may notice that your Yorkies favors one person in your household more than others. If there is one person who is consistently spending more time caring for and playing with the Yorkies it’s likely that will be their preferred person to be with.

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To Show Love and Affection

Yorkies like to cuddle with their owners to show them love and affection and receive that love in return.

Science has proven (link to US National Library of Medicine Study) that when owners and their dogs are engaged in activities like cuddling and showing each other affection both of them receive a surge of Oxytocin, the hormone dubbed as the LOVE hormone. It makes both our little pooch and us feel happier, calmer and loved.

This increase in Oxytocin has a lot of positive effects for both you and your Yorkies. It’s proven to reduce stress levels, help owners who may suffer from anxiety or depression, lower blood pressure, and helps us stay present in the moment. Your dog will also benefit from this surge in the love hormone.

Yorkies cuddle for warmth

Since Yorkies are on average only around 4-6lbs, they can easily get too cold fairly quickly. It’s instinct for any dog to find its pack and huddle up together for warmth when feeling too chilly, but especially so for the tiny toy Yorkies.

You may notice that your Yorkies burrows under the blankets and hides for the same reason. If your Yorkies can be close to you sharing your body heat, in his mind, that is a great place to be!

One owner said that her Yorkie loved to be near her whenever she had the heating pad on her!

Yorkies Cuddle for Protection.

Yorkies are normally very playful, high energy, and curious but can be standoffish and wary of new people. Even though they sometimes forget how small they really are and may act a lot bigger than their britches their instinct always reminds them that they are tiny and need protection.

When wanting to relax and get some shut-eye they feel a lot more comfortable about drifting off if they feel safe and secure while doing so. This is why they turn to you to cuddle while sleeping because they know you will protect them. Again instinct kicks in and they have the desire to turn to their pack or their Alpha for safety and protection.

Yorkies cuddle because it’s instinct

Newborn puppies need to cuddle closely with their mothers as a way to survive. They need the life-giving milk that they provide as well as the protection and warmth. They instinctively know they are helpless until they get older open their eyes and become more curious.

This survival instinct goes back to the beginning of time even before dogs were domesticated. as well as protection for themselves, they can also be somewhat territorial and protective of others in their family. You may notice this if your Yorkies has attached to one person in your family. He may cuddle with that person more and show an instinct to protect this family member from others. This can lead your Yorkies to bark or snarl when feeling threatened by any outside source.

It’s important that your Yorkies is well trained and well socialized when they are young in order to avoid this trait in this breed.

Why Yorkies Don’t Like to Cuddle or be Held

There are many things to figure when trying to figure out why your Yorkies may not like to cuddle with you.

It could be too hot. Unlike us our dogs can not sweat through their skin. The only way they can cool themselves off is through their nose and the pads of their feet, as well as panting. Because of this they are much more sensitive to temperature changes. If it’s very warm your dog my be avoiding your snuggles because it doesn’t want that extra body heat.

They have been abused or had bad experiences in the past. For Yorkies that really don’t enjoy cuddling at all this is usually the most likely scenario! If you have a rescue or your dog has had negative experiences with cuddling others in the past then this normally loyal trusting breed could be struggling with trust issues.

It’s possible to regain its trust and have a strong bond with your dog, but it will take a lot of time and patience and they may not ever warm up to the idea of super close snuggle time.

Their personality will have a lot to do with whether or not they want to cuddle up to you. Some dogs are naturally more energetic and inquisitive and don’t want to slow down enough to relax and snuggle. Some dogs just prefer to have their space.

You’re not their person. A lot of owners admit that their Yorkie may like to cuddle with another member of the household a little more than others. Yorkies can choose a favorite person and may prefer to be with them when possible. You may even find that they become jealous (see this article I wrote about Yorkie Jealousy) when they see their favorite person showing affection to someone else. Their favorite person is often the one who plays with, feeds, gives affection and attention to the most.

Your lifestyle and home dynamics can play a big part in whether or not your dog is super cuddly and affectionate. If as a puppy you spend a lot of time snuggling on the couch and holding your dog in your lap then it will naturally lead them to be more snuggly. If you are a very active family and are on the go exploring and moving around a lot your dog will tend to follow your lead.

They are still a puppy and full of energy. Puppies tend to be a bit more rambunctious and may not slow down for cuddles very often in their first year of life. They are so busy exploring and trying to figure things out they will tell you they don’t have time for those cuddles. It’s usually very easy to steal some cuddles from them, however, once they nod off to sleep. It can even be a great way to train your puppy to cuddle (Link to my article can I train my dog to cuddle) and get them used to it.

Can I Teach My Yorkie to Cuddle and Enjoy Being Held

You can train a dog to do many things including learning how to lay down and sit still, whether that be in your lap on next to you it’s possible to help your dog learn to be closer to you and share some of the same space. However, you should never force your dog to cuddle with you or be more affectionate than it’s comfortable with. Here are some ways you can encourage your Yorkie to enjoy giving cuddles and being held.

  • Understand a Baseline: Notice where your Yorkie is at with their desire to cuddle. When do they like to do it, when don’t they? Do they shy away from petting? Is there a particular way they like to be pet and held? Can you recognize their body language and what they are trying to tell you?
  • Take advantage of their natural cuddle times: Once you know when, where and how they like to cuddle take advantage of those times and work it into your schedule so you can get maximum cuddle time and your pup will get used to the routine of it. Some owners really like to cuddle with their Yorkies in bed at night and in the morning, but before you decide to let your Yorkie sleep in bed with you check out this article I wrote about the pros and cons of your pup sleeping with you.
  • Wear Them Out: A tired dog is a well-behaved and happy dog and a lot of times a cuddly dog! Never try and force your Yorkie to cuddle with you especially when they are full of energy and want to play.
  • Bond with your Yorkie and Build Trust: The more your Yorkie trusts you the more affection and love they will naturally want to give you. Doing things with your Yorkie you know they will enjoy will help you become closer not only emotionally, but physically as well. This can include playing with toys or hand-feeding them.
  • Encourage your Yorkie and reward Behavior you Like: When your dog is cuddling calmly with you in your lap or by your side make it a pleasant experience with a high-value reward attached.
  • Get Good at Basic Commands: When your Yorkie gets good at commands like sit, stay, and settle, you can use those to your advantage to help them learn to be calm when it’s cuddle time.
  • Name the Cue: As with training your Yorkie most things you’ll want them to understand the word associated with what they are doing. When they know what a cuddle is called then as you get better at communicating with each other you’ll be able to ask for a cuddle and receive on-demand.
  • Respect Boundaries: It’s important to remember that most dogs do not like hugs in the traditional sense. Being held too tightly can make them feel agitated and stressed. Kisses and getting into your Yorky’s face can also be upsetting to them and possibly dangerous for you.

Final Thoughts

Yorkies can make great cuddle companions and will be great friends for us throughout our lives. I still remember the day I had to say goodbye to my precious Katie. I was 17 and it was my first experience I had felt the heartbreak of losing a dog that I picked out, taught, and raised as my own. I will forever hold her in my heart and cherish every single cuddle I had with her. Hopefully someday soon I can get another Yorkie, and maybe my own daughter will choose her and raise her and cuddle her just as I did.

For more Yorkie fun check out this article:
Should I Get My Yorkie a Friend (A Guide to Yorkie Pairs) | Paws and Learn

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