The History Of The Breed
During the Industrial Revolution, workers brought their families to find work in
the Yorkshire pits, textile mills and factories. They brought with them their dogs
and, from Scotland, came the Clydesdale or Paisley terrier, which was reputed to
be very similar in colour to the modern Yorkie. Inevitably these dogs would have
been crossed with the terriers in Yorkshire – primarily larger working dogs catching
rats, rabbits etc. Gradually these terriers were crossed with other breeds such
as the English Toy Terrier and the Skye terrier. Some believe the Maltese was used
at some stage.
In 1865 the now famous ‘Huddersfield Ben’ was born – this considered to be the
father of the Yorkshire Terrier and was influential in setting the type for this
breed. In 1874 the diminutive terriers were first registered in the stud book at
the Kennel Club and were called ‘Broken haired Scotch terriers’ or ‘Yorkshire Terriers’.
In 1886 the Kennel Club deemed that the Yorkie had progressed enough to be recognised
as an individual breed and in 1898 the breeders formed the Yorkshire terrier club,
which is still going strong to this day.
The early Yorkies were not tiny – the average weight being 14lb, some being much
larger. The Victorians set the precedent by the desire for the smaller dog therefore
in a comparatively short space of time (20 years) the breed was reduced in size to
the 5lb average that present day devotees consider to be ideal. This makes the
Yorkshire terrier the smallest British breed and arguably one of the most popular
and recognisable breed of dog in the world.