A History of The Yorkshire Terrier

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by: Rose Lenk

Although the history of the is sketchy, there is a great deal known about the origins of this exceptional, vibrant breed. The Terrier, or Yorkie for short, finds it humble beginnings in Northern England, in the counties of Yorkshire, Manchester and Leeds, during the years prior to 1750.

During this time, the onset of the gave rise to small communities located around coal mines, textile mills and factories. The people of these areas originally made their living from the land and experienced great upheaval during the time of the . Many had to learn new ways of life to continue to support their families. These persevering families, many from as far away as Scotland, were drawn to the small fledgling communities to begin a new life.

Along with this hardy group of migrants came equally hardy pets and companions. During the 19th century, Scottish weavers began to arrive and brought with them the sturdy Scottish Terrier. Far from being a simple bloodline the Scottish Terrier has been attributed to creating several different types of including the .

Part of the Scottish Terrier bloodlines later became the breeds today known as the Skye, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and the last of the named from their separation, the Cairn Terrier.

The Scottish Terrier was also known to be on Argyle or the Isle of Skye. It was of a bluish color and was also known as a broken or smooth haired Scots depending on the length of coat it had.

There is every possibility that they were forerunners to the modern day Skye Terrier. Other breeds that have ancestral claim to the Yorkie are the Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers and the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier.

All of these Scottish breeds, along with some English ones, were working dogs, used to keep the vermin under control in the coal mines and mills.

In an effort to produce canines with exceptional skill at catching mice and rats, the common men of the day would breed only smallest, quickest and best ratters of the bunch. These men were not out to produce a purebred, sophisticated breed of dog; instead they desired the best dogs to keep the mice away. This is the reason why no records were kept as to what breeds were mixed to create the Yorkshire Terrier.

The best guess is that miners in Yorkshire County bred the Black and Tan English Terrier with the many breeds of the . It is even believed that Maltese may be thrown in there somewhere. The resulting Terriers were then probably crossed with yet again other types of terriers such as the Welsh Terrier.

In the late 1800s, the first written recordings about the ancestors of the modern-day began to appear. Most of these were written by wealthy educated men who had traveled to Yorkshire County and witnessed the intelligent, spunky dogs chasing down their prey.

Rawdon B. Lee, speaking of Yorkshire Terrier in “Modern Dogs says: “How the name of Scotch Terrier became attached to dog which so thoroughly had its home in Yorkshire and Lancashire is somewhat difficult to determine, if it can be determined at all, but a very old breeder of the variety told me that the first of them came from Scotland, where they had been accidentally produced from a cross between the silk-coated Skye (the Clydesdale) and the black and tan Terrier. One could scarcely expect that a pretty dog, partaking in a degree of both its parents, could be produced from a smooth-coated dog, a long-coated bitch or vice-versa.

Maybe, two or three animals so bred had been brought by some of the Paisley weavers in Yorkshire and there, suitably admired, pains were taken to perpetuate the strain.”

Then, at the turn of the century, Mr. James Watson claimed in the “Dog Book,” that the pedigreed origins of the Yorkshire Terrier could be traced back 60 years. Before that time, there were two Class Registrations for Toy Terriers, Rough and Broken Haired. In 1866 Broken Haired Scotch Terriers were registered as not exceeding 5 pounds. These were later registered as Yorkshire Terriers in 1874.

Since the official recognition of the Yorkshire breed, there have been many famous, well-loved Yorkies. And today, this breed is gaining newfound attention as more and more people are turning to this lovable breed for companionship.

About The Author

Rose Lenk

Get Rose’s free mini course: 7 things you need to know about Yorkshire Terriers at http://www.GoodYorkie.com.

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