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Dog-ology: Yorkshire Terrier


The Yorkshire Terrier, nicknamed Yorkie, is a small-sized companion dog; typically maxing out around 7lbs. Its coat, which is traditionally left long, is a mixed coloring of gray, black, and tan. Yorkies don’t shed as much as many other breeds, only losing hair during baths and brushings, which makes them hypoallergenic for some allergy sufferers. This small dog seems oblivious of its stature for they pack quite a large personality. There are many adjectives that are associated with the breed, here are a few in no particular, alphabetical order: active, attention-seeking, brave, curious, determined, energetic, and investigative.

With their history as a working breed (see History below) Yorkshire Terriers are an easy breed to train, but it also means that they need a lot of both physical and mental stimulation. The Yorkie is a good dog for apartment life, as it is very active indoors and will do okay without a yard. However, since they are extremely lively dogs they need daily walks – so call us!

Yorkies are known for being a bit of a yappy dog, which makes them excellent watch dogs because they will ring the alarm anytime anyone approaches. The barking issue can be resolved with proper training and exercise. Most owners would agree that a well exercised and content Yorkie is a quiet one – so again, call us!

The Yorkie is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and more specifically, Manhattan.


In the mid-19th century, Scottish workers moved to Yorkshire, England in search of work in cotton and woolen mills and mines. The workers brought with them many different varieties of terriers. The working men then developed the Yorkie breed for catching the rats and mice that infested the mills and mine shafts. The breed is not very old, but its full origin is not entirely certain. Considering the breed was originated by the largely uneducated working-class men, they weren’t accustomed to keeping records for later public use.

In the early days of the breed, almost any dog with the same general shape and tri-coloring of the Yorkie we know today, was considered a Yorkshire Terrier. It wasn’t until the late 1860s when a dog named Huddersfield Ben, a popular show dog, owned by a woman living in Yorkshire, Mary Ann Foster, was seen at dog shows throughout Great Britain, that the Yorkshire Terrier finally received a definitive and aspired to breed type.

Soon the Yorkshire Terrier was a popular pet and show dog throughout England, with the Americans embracing the breed soon after. The dog’s popularity dimmed in the 1940s, when small breed dogs fell out of popularity. Smoky, a Yorkshire Terrier and famous war dog from WWII (see Fun Facts below), is credited with beginning a renewal of interest in the breed.

Fun Facts

  • The Yorkshire Terrier has been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.

  • The smallest dog ever recorded was a Yorkshire Terrier. This dog lived in England and when she passed at the age of 2, she only weighed 4 ounces.

  • It wasn't until 1861 that the Yorkie appeared in the first dog show, even though at the time, it wasn't known as the Yorkie. It was known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier.

  • "Smoky," a famous war Yorkie. She was found abandoned in a foxhole in the New Guinea jungle by some American soldiers. The soldiers eventually sold her to Corporal William A. Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio, for two Australian pounds. He paid for the dog not out of love at first sight, but in order to quiet the seller so he could return to his poker game. Smoky accompanied Wynne throughout the rest of his time in WWII. Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. Upon their return to the States, they were written about in the Cleveland Press and quickly became a national sensation. They spent the next ten years traveling doing demonstrations and Smoky was even featured on some of the nation’s earliest television shows.

  • At first, the Yorkie was a much bigger animal than the one we see today, but by selectively breeding the smallest individuals, the dog was gradually miniaturized over the years.

  • Huddersfield Ben was a famous dog during his time. His 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." As a winning show dog, Huddersfield Ben quickly became the type of dog everyone wanted, and through his puppies has defined the breed as we know it today. He is still considered the "father of the breed."

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