- In the late 1800s, England's Industrial Revolution attracted many workers from Scotland, who brought with them a variety of terriers. These terriers included the blue and silver Paisley and the blue and tan Clydesdale, both dogs with long silky coats and prick ears.
- These dogs interbred with the native English terriers, which included the 10 pound Waterside terrier, a breed that excelled at ratting. In addition, crosses were made to a cross-bred Scotch terrier, an old style Skye terrier, and an Old English terrier. These dogs became the foundation of the Yorkshire terrier, a breed originally used to rid the mills of rats.
- With the emergence of dog shows in the 1860s, many high society women turned their attention to pedigreed dogs that could look stylish on their mistress's lap, and the Yorkshire terrier fit the bill.
- Huddersfield Ben (1865-1871) became the first influential show dog and sire.
- The breed was exhibited as Broken Haired Scotch terriers until 1870, when the name was changed to Yorkshire terrier at the suggestion of a reporter.
- Yorkshire terriers were in America by the 1870s
- AKC recognized the breed in 1885.
- Yorkies remained fairly unknown until the 1970s, when their popularity began a slow, steady rise. In 1995 they entered the top ten list of AKC's most popular breeds, and have only continued to rise.
Yorkshire Terrier Behavior Concerns
- Makes a delightful and entertaining companion.
- Playful and good with children, but children must be supervised because they could easily hurt such a small dog.
- True to its terrier heritage, it is spunky, busy, and often mischievous.
- Tends to pick fights with larger dogs, and may chase small pets, especially rodents.
- A one family dog, tending to be aloof toward strangers. Early socialization so that it willingly accepts new people is important.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- Learns quickly, but also bores quickly, and may come up with its own ideas.
- Some tend to bark a lot, which should be discouraged from an early age.
- Housetraining can be more challenging than with many other breeds.
Yorkshire Terrier Suggested Exercises
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- Although many of its physical exercise needs can be met with indoor games, it still needs the mental stimulation of walking and sniffing outdoors.
- A walk around the block once or twice daily will meet its outdoor needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
- Many Yorkies have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
- Dog parks are not generally a good idea unless only small dogs are allowed together.
- Swimming is not recommended unless constantly supervised. Swimming with a full coat could be dangerous.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Excursions in doggy purses can also provide entertainment.
Yorkshire Terrier Grooming
- Coat is long, fine and perfectly straight.
- Adult color is dark steel blue with tan points. Young puppies are black and tan, with the black gradually turning gray and then blue as adults.
- Brushing and combing every day or two is necessary to prevent matts.
- Many pet owners elect to have their dogs professionally groomed, or clipped into a trim that is more easily cared for.
- Hair must be kept out of eyes to avoid irritation.
- The hair around the anus must be checked daily for hygiene issues.
- Shedding is below average.
- Regular tooth brushing may prevent periodontal disease, which is common in Yorkies.
Suggested Yorkshire Terrier Nutritional Needs
- Yorkshire terriers tend to stay in good weight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Yorkie puppies should be fed often to prevent hypoglycemia, a serious condition to which very small puppies are prone. Meals of high protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates may also help guard against this condition.