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Dear Lisa: My question deals with how Yorkshire Terriers socialize. Do “Yorkie” females get along better with other females or with male Yorkies? We have been told varying opinions and need to know, as we are in the process of purchasing another Yorkie and need to pick the correct gender to get along with my son's female. – Gender Generalizations

Dear Gender: These small toy dogs of less than seven pounds are very alert, love to play and investigate everything. They are truly little terriers as their names suggests. Whatever gender you decide on, remember having a puppy in the house will require lots of work, training and time.

It would help to know the age of the other Yorkie and if the two dogs are planning to live together in the same household or if your son’s pet is strictly on a visiting only basis. If they will be just visitors then whatever you want to get is the sex you should chose, but if they are living together then I would speak with the breeder of the Yorkie to get a breed expert’s opinion. Breeders know what works best for their breed.

Welcoming a New Pet
How you socialize your new pet applies to all breeds of dogs. If you bring a new puppy into the household, there must be supervised introductions as well as letting the youngest know who ruled the roost before they arrived. Most puppies are very submissive and will follow the lead of the older, established dog. Be careful not to shower the pup with too much affection at the cost of the older dog or the long-time resident may act out with undesirable behavior like chewing or “marking” the house.

In my experience I have owned many males and females together, but my personal favorite is to own one male and one female. Having one of each sex seems to compliment each other. Many times bitches don’t get along or dogs don’t get along and then again sometimes they do. But in my observations the one of each pairing seems to create the most harmony.

Dear Lisa: How many litters are too many for one dog? I met this lady yesterday who has her female on the 4th litter. Granted, the dog is old enough to have this many litters, but I am curious if there are any noticeable characteristics in a puppy from the 3rd or 4th litter compared to one from the first litter. I want to purchase a stud dog from her and need to know if this is a problem. - Selecting a Stud

Dear Stud: Canine reproduction is a wonderful thing. If dogs weren’t mean to have multiple litters then Mother Nature would have not created the bitches that way. My first brood bitch had five litters in her lifetime. After conducting all the appropriate health screenings for my breed, I bred her annually from the time she was two-years-old until she was six-years-old, each time selecting breeding stock for showing and making sure all puppies were placed in good homes.

As far as noticeable characteristics from different litters that would really depend on the stud dog. I planned various litters with different goals in mind for my bitch, but always with an eye to improving upon her conformation and keeping her wonderful temperament and coat.

Quality Over Quantity
I would be less worried about how many puppies a certain bitch had and more concerned with does the breeder conduct health screenings on her breeding stock before planning a litter, research pedigrees, and have loving homes waiting for them after they are born. Certainly, the quality of the pups does not diminish with the number of litters a bitch has whelped. In fact, one of my top winning dogs came out of that fifth litter from my foundation bitch, and it was a repeat breeding of a really special stud dog.

By doing your research ahead of time, you can find out what tests are routine for your breed and inquire if the breeder tests for these. By working with a breeder, and making them your mentor, you will find yourself in good hands when it comes to selecting a stud dog for your breeding program. For more information about our Mentoring program check with the parent club as many of them have breeder mentoring programs that can help.


Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.

© 2008 The American Kennel Club, Inc.