The Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie is one of the smallest dog breeds.
It is the smallest dog breed of terrier type.
The lifespan of the Yorkshire Terrier is between 13 to 20 years.
A small, compact dog, the Yorkshire terrier stands about 20 to 23 cm (8 to 9 inches) with a maximum weight of 3 kg (7 pounds).
For Yorkshire Terriers, importance is placed on coat color, quality, and texture. The hair must be glossy, fine, straight, and silky. Standard color combinations are black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, and blue and tan.
Tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy, the Yorkie exhibits all the traits of a true terrier.
They are also very playful and energetic dogs. Many people who have a Yorkie as a pet have two, because they often have separation anxiety when left alone and “they don’t enjoy being alone.”
The Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire, a county in northern England.
In the mid-19th century, workers from Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and brought with them several different varieties of terriers. Breeding of the Yorkshire Terrier was “principally accomplished by the people—mostly operatives in cotton and woollen mills—in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire.”
In the 1800s, miners wanting to develop a ratting terrier, bred Black-and-Tan Terriers with the Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers.
The breed comes from three different dogs, a male named Old Crab, a female named Kitty, and another female whose name is not known. The Paisley Terrier, a smaller version of the Skye Terrier that was bred for a beautiful long silky coat, also figured into the early dogs.
Yorkshire Terriers were shown in a dog show category (class) at the time called “Rough and Broken-coated, Broken-haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terriers”. However, by 1874, the breed was given the official name of the Yorkshire Terrier.
Huddersfield Ben was a Yorkshire Terrier whose portrait was painted by George Earl and in 1891 an authority on the breed wrote, “Huddersfield Ben was the best stud dog of his breed during his lifetime, and one of the most remarkable dogs of any pet breed that ever lived – and most of the show specimens of the present day have one or more crosses of his blood in their pedigree.” A show winner, Huddersfield Ben, through his puppies, helped define the Yorkshire Terrier breed. He is still referred to as “father of the breed.”
During the Victorian era, the Yorkshire Terrier was a popular pet, and show dog in England, and as Americans embraced Victorian customs, so too did they embrace the Yorkshire Terrier.
The Yorkshire Terrier was introduced in North America in 1872 and the first Yorkshire Terrier was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885.
The breed’s popularity dipped in the 1940s, when the percentage of small breed dogs registered fell to an all-time low of 18% of total registrations.
A noble Yorkie named Smoky was found by an American soldier in the jungles of Papua New Guinea in World War II. She provided a heroic service by dragging communications cable through a 18-meter (60-foot) long culvert that was only 8 inches wide. She later worked as a therapy dog for wounded soldiers and has several memorials dedicated to her. Her owner, Corporal William A. Wynne, recalls Smoky’s story in the book, Yorkie Doodle Dandy.
The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular purebred in the United States.
“Teacup” Yorkshire terriers are very small Yorkshire terriers. The American Kennel Club and other kennel clubs do not acknowledge the Teacup as a variation of the breed or a separate variety. Usually a teacup is any dog weighing less than 1.8 kg (4 lb) when fully grown, when the actual breed standard is given at 3.2 kg (7 lb) maximum.
There are reports of a dwarf Yorkshire terrier (name unknown) from the 1940s that was barely bigger than a human fist! Owned by Arthur Marples (UK) – a former editor of Our Dogs magazine – the pint-sized Yorkie was said to have stood 7.11 cm (2.8 in) tall and measured 9.5 cm (3.75 in) long. That makes him easily the smallest dog ever on record.
The Yorkshire Terrier’s coat requires daily grooming. The hair on top of the head, if grown long, is usually secured with a band or bow. However, if the Yorkshire Terrier is not being used for show, then the coat may be clipped short. Ears and eyes must be cleaned daily. Dental hygiene is also important.