We love our dogs, don’t we? Some of us prefer certain breeds, others focus on size, and still others prefer a rescue animal. There is no right or wrong animal as long as the pet is cared for and loved as a member of the family.
We are Yorkie people. Between my husband and me we have had a Llasa Apso, a Bulldog, a Jack Russel Terrier, Rottweilers, rescue dogs, and now Yorkshire Terriers. Yorkies are a breed unto themselves, and those of us who love Yorkies would agree. A Yorkie is not just a dog, a Yorkie is an experience. They may appear to be the darlings of the dog world, but looks can be deceiving.
Yorkshire Terriers have a colorful, if not convoluted, history. The origin of the Yorkie harkens back to the mid-1800s and the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire in northern England. The fashionably dressed and coiffed Yorkies of today were the working dogs of yesteryear. It is believed that weavers from Scotland brought their Broken Hair Scottish Terriers, not to be confused with the breed Scottish Terrier, when they migrated to England. The Scottish terriers were small but mighty and were used as ratters in the textile mills and coal mines because of their ability to squeeze into nooks and crannies to ferret out rodents. Hunters put the Terriers in their pockets when heading out across the fields hunting fox, badgers, and any other medium-sized animals unfortunate enough to tangle with these brave, skilled little dogs.
The Yorkie’s ancestry is a compilation of the Clydesdale, Paisley, and Skye Terriers from Scotland with a dash of Waterside Terrier from England. Huddleshire Ben was a well-known Terrier, named after Huddleshire County in Yorkshire, England. Born in the mid-1860s, Huddleshire Ben has the distinction of establishing the Yorkshire Terrier as a recognized breed. He was a larger dog, yet sired litters of dogs weighing 5 pounds or less, thus the establishment of the toy breed most are familiar with. Huddleshire Ben was a champion in his own right having won 70+ dog shows and ratter contests. Although Huddleshire Ben provided the foundation of the Yorkie breed, it wasn’t until 1874 the breed was officially named the Yorkshire Terrier. In 1878, the AKC registered the formerly known Broken Hair Terrier as the Yorkshire Terrier. The popularity of the Yorkie took off during the Victorian era and the breed went from working-class ratter to the pampered toy breed and companion dog we know today.
Yorkies are often seen as the bedazzled breed of the dog world wearing the latest fashions and matching bows, but don’t be fooled by their pampered pooch appearance. During World War II, another famous Yorkie named Smokey served with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific. Smokey was found in a shell hole near the Japanese lines in New Guinea by William Wynne, an American soldier. Smokey was a courageous pup, indeed. As a member of the troop, she went on 150+ air raids and 12 sea missions, jumped from a 30-foot tower with a specially made parachute, assisted the Signal Corp by carrying telegraph wire through a 70 foot, eight-inch pipe, and even survived a typhoon in Okinawa. After her war experiences, Smokey visited veterans’ hospitals with William Wynne.
Yorkies are set apart in other ways, too. The fur of the Yorkshire is more like human hair as opposed to fur, thus making Yorkies low-allergen dogs. And, they don’t shed, so regular grooming is necessary to keep their fur silky and healthy.
Yorkies are personality plus pets. Energetic, fun-loving, affectionate, quite independent, and highly intelligent, ranking 17th out of 90 dog breeds in intelligence. Most Yorkies learn quickly with a little consistent training from their fur parents. Yorkies are feisty and tend to be a bit on the bossy side, too. It can be adorable but the pint-sized pups need to learn manners so they don’t rule the household.
We love our Yorkies that much is obvious. We believe every pet is special, every pet deserves to be a valued member of the family, every pet is a God-breathed soul…..