The Yorkshire Terrier originated from Yorkshire but its descendants were several types of Terrier from Scotland, which were brought to Yorkshire by working men who developed the breed for the purpose of rat catching. These descendants are believed to have included the Clydesdale Terrier, the Waterside Terrier and the Old English Terrier. The Paisley Terrier and a smaller version of the Skye Terrier were believed to have been used to perfect the breed and there is some belief that a Maltese was used as well. The standard of a Yorkshire Terrier was very vague until the late 1860’s when a Yorkshire Terrier showdog named Huddersfield Ben was used to outline the breed type.
Within a hundred years, the Yorkshire Terriers size has changed from an average weight of 13 kilograms to a petite 3.2 kilograms. As the years went by, the need for big working dogs decreased. People grew a preference for smaller dogs and the new appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier fitted their needs perfectly. In 1872, the breed was introduced in America.
The Yorkshire Terriers we see today are very different compared to the Yorkshire Terrier of 1865. The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie as it is more affectionately known, of today is a delicate, adored and well-pampered dog.
Yorkies are toy terriers with distinctively long hair. Their coats are blue and tan, parted on the face, base of the skull and all the way to the end of the tail. The coat hangs evenly and straight on each side of the body and the dog carries its head high, giving the appearance of self-importance.
Yorkshire Terriers have a small head with a skull that is not too round or prominent. They have a moderately sized muzzle, black nose, small, erect, v-shaped ears and dark coloured eyes with an intelligent, alert expression.
The body of a Yorkshire Terrier is very compact. They have a short back and levelled backline. Straight forelegs and hind legs and round feet with black toenails. The tail is usually docked and carried slightly higher than the back level. A Yorkshire Terrier generally has fine and glossy hair, which is silky in texture and fairly long and straight. This can be trimmed for easy movement and tidier appearance.
Puppies are generally black and tan in colour. They change colours as they mature. Adults have blue and tan colouring but it is preferred that the blue colouring is dark steel-blue and not silver-blue. It should not be mixed with fawn, black or bronze. The tan colouring is darker at the roots, gradually fading to the middle and fades to a lighter tan on the tips. Standard for the breed dictates specific kinds of shades and colouring on various parts of the body.
A Yorkshire Terrier is a dog that is full of life with a passion for new things. It is quick, both physically and mentally. Yorkies are also tireless and energetic when it comes to checking out things, they love chasing after things that interest them, such as birds, butterflies and toys. They are always alert and never fail to announce strangers.
Yorkies love comfort and enjoy cuddling on a lap or snuggling into soft blankets or pillows. Yorkies can get along with other pets, although they’re not too fond of mischief and rough housing from children.
Unless trained early, Yorkshire Terriers can be very feisty and also possessive when it comes to toys and food. They are quick to learn but, if there is one thing they are infamous for, it is that they are hard to housebreak.
Yorkshire Terriers, for the most part, are very low maintenance. They have light shedding, and in fact, are one of the best breeds for people with allergies. They do not require a lot of exercise. As a terrier, Yorkies have a very suspicious nature, because of this it is important that they are socialized early, or otherwise, problems related to timidity, shrillness and even aggressiveness could surface.
Yorkies are prone to genetic defects, bronchitis, cataracts, hypoglycaemia and skin allergies, among others. Because of their size, they have poor tolerance for anaesthesia and are more vulnerable if involved accidents or fights with other dogs. A healthy Yorkshire Terrier can live to the ripe old age between 12 and 15 years.