The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed with a black and tan coat which originated in Yorkshire, England, UK.
For many US and overseas visitors, the yorkies are the best known connection to this English region, along with the Yorkshire Pudding.
Find out more about your connections to Yorkshire.
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Facts about Yorkshire Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies as they are commonly known, are a popular breed of small dog in the UK.
- They are affectionately referred to as “little terrors” due to their feisty and confident nature.
- Yorkies were originally bred in Yorkshire, England in the 19th century to catch rats in clothing mills.
- They were also used for hunting small game, such as rabbits and rodents.
- Yorkies are a toy breed, weighing between 4-7 pounds (1.8-3.2kg).
- They are known for their silky, fine hair that is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed much.
- The breed standard for Yorkshire Terriers includes a small, flat head, v-shaped ears, and a compact body.
- Their coat can come in a variety of colors, including blue and tan, black and gold, and parti-colored.
- Yorkies have a high-pitched bark and can be vocal, making them good watchdogs.
- They are an intelligent breed and can be trained to do various tricks and tasks.
- Yorkies are a social breed and love to be around their owners, but they can also be independent.
- They are a good choice for apartment living due to their small size and low exercise needs.
- Yorkies are prone to dental problems and require regular teeth cleaning.
- They have a tendency to get cold easily, so they may need extra warmth during winter months.
- Yorkies can be prone to certain health issues, such as tracheal collapse and patellar luxation.
- They are often used as therapy dogs due to their calm and comforting presence.
- Yorkies are known for their cute and expressive faces, often appearing to be smiling.
- They are a popular breed for crossbreeding, creating designer breeds like the Yorkipoo.
- Yorkies have a high energy level and love to play.
- They are prone to separation anxiety and may need to be gradually trained to be alone for short periods of time.
- Yorkies are known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners.
- They can be stubborn at times, but they are generally easy to train.
- Yorkies are often used in movies and TV shows due to their cute and photogenic appearance.
- They are alert dogs and make good watchdogs, despite their small size.
- Yorkies are adaptable dogs that can live in various climates and environments.
- They can be prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching and irritation.
- Yorkies require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy.
- They are good with children, but because of their small size, they should be supervised when playing with young kids.
- Yorkies are often carried in purses or bags, earning them the nickname “handbag dogs.”
- They are a good choice for people with allergies, as they are hypoallergenic.
- Yorkies have a tendency to become territorial and may bark at strangers.
- They are known for their courage and will stand up to much larger dogs if they feel threatened.
- Yorkies have a long lifespan, often living up to 15 years or more.
- They are a popular breed for urban dwellers due to their small size and adaptability to city living.
- Yorkies can be prone to obesity, so it’s important to monitor their diet and exercise.
- They are often used as lap dogs due to their affectionate nature and small size.
- Yorkies have a strong prey drive and should always be kept on a leash or in a secure fenced area when outside.
Made by the Mills
Yorkshire Terriers were bred as ratting terriers by workers in the wollen and cotton mills of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Most of these mills have since been converted and now include major visitor attractions and comfortable accommodation.
The breed comes from two distinct dogs, a male named Old Crab, a female named Kitty, and another female whose name is not known.
In the late 1860s, a popular show dog named Huddersfield Ben, owned by a woman living in Yorkshire, Mary Ann Foster, was seen at dog shows throughout Great Britain, and defined the breed type for 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.”
Find out more about Huddersfield and plan a visit.
George Earl British, fl. 1856-1883 ‘HUDDERSFIELD BEN’; ‘MOLLEY’; ‘CHARLIE’; ‘TIGER’; AND ‘HYLAS’ (5)
Sold for £ 32,638 inc. premium
Five, all inscribed on mount, oil on canvas
each 15 1/4 x 17 1/2 inches. (39 x 44.5cm.) (5)
Inscribed on the mount are the breeds of the dogs and the names of their owners. ‘Huddersfield Ben’, a Broken Coated Terrier was the property of Mrs Foster; ‘Molley’, an Italian Greyhound belonged to Mr Macdonald.
The Blenheim Spaniel ‘Charlie’ was the property of J. Dawes, Esq. and ‘Tiger’, a Pomeranian was owned by Mr Cooper.
‘Hylas’, a King Charles Spaniel was owned by Mr Garwood.
Although there is no record of this specific set of paintings, it is a wonderful record of not only the quality of Earl’s work but the high esteem in which Victorian breeders and enthusiasts held their dogs.Bonhams Auctioneers
In North America
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. Smoky, a Yorkshire Terrier and famous war dog from World War II, is credited with beginning a renewal of interest in the breed in the US. The AKC ranked the Yorkshire Terrier as the 6th most popular purebred in the United States in 2012 and 2013.
Famous Yorkshire Terriers
In 1997, Champion Ozmilion Mystification became the first Yorkie to win Best in Show at Crufts, the world’s largest annual dog show.
White House dogs
Pasha, Tricia Nixon Cox’s pet Yorkie, lived in the White House during Richard Nixon’s presidency.
Visiting Yorkshire with Dogs
The UK government has resources here on bringing pets to the UK.
For dog-friendly trips to Yorkshire, see our resources here.
Famous Yorkshire Terriers
- Toto – The famous Yorkie who starred in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) as Dorothy’s loyal companion.
- Bruiser Woods – A Yorkie who appeared in the movie “Legally Blonde” (2001) and its sequel as the dog of the main character, Elle Woods.
- Smoky – A Yorkie who served in World War II and became known as the first therapy dog, providing comfort to soldiers in hospitals.
- Lupo – A Yorkie who belongs to the British royal family, specifically Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
- Shiloh – A Yorkie who was owned by Paris Hilton and appeared in the reality TV show “The Simple Life” (2003-2007).
- Bijou – Another Yorkie owned by Paris Hilton, who has been featured in various media and was often seen with the celebrity in public.
- Hopper – A Yorkie owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who often posts pictures of him on social media.
- Sophie – A Yorkie owned by singer Miley Cyrus, who has shared many photos and videos of her on Instagram.
- Tinkerbell – A Yorkie owned by hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton, who was often seen carrying her in a purse or bag.
- Smoky – A Yorkie owned by singer Britney Spears, who was often seen carrying her in public.
- Gizmo – A Yorkie owned by reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who has shared many pictures and videos of him on social media.
- Sam – A Yorkie owned by singer Adele, who often posts pictures of him on Instagram.
- Daisy – A Yorkie owned by singer Ariana Grande, who has shared many pictures and videos of her on social media.
- Finley – A Yorkie owned by actress Reese Witherspoon, who often posts pictures of him on social media.
- Oliver – A Yorkie owned by actress Hilary Duff, who has shared many pictures and videos of him on social media.