Yorkies have some pretty distinct features compared to other dog breeds so it can make one wonder, where do Yorkies come from? The short answer is Yorkshire but their history is more complicated than that. These dogs are clever, cuddly and perfect for someone that has allergies to dander. The dog breed does originate in Northern England and you can trace the breed back to the early 1700’s. Initially they were ratters, bred to catch and kill rats in the textile mills in and around Yorkshire.
Yorkie the Hunter
Yes, it is hard to believe that these adorable little pups were actually hunters. Migrant workers that travelled south from Scotland to Yorkshire to find work in the mills brought with them several breeds of small terriers as hunters and companions. While there are no existing breeding records on how the Yorkie came about, they are similar to Skye, Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers, indicating common ancestry. Your cute little Yorkie didn’t just go after rats, they used to be sent after badgers and foxes too. The Yorkie, despite its size is pretty fearless and isn’t afraid of animals bigger than them.
Becoming a Pet
Fast forward to the Victorian era and this is when Yorkies became pets. Small dogs that you could carry around were pretty trendy at the time, that still goes on today, Royalty and the aristocracy loved Yorkies. While there were other small breeds around at the time that were also popular, Yorkies were sought after for their long coats and quickly became a status symbol.
Becoming a Breed
The breed became official sometime in the 1870’s and given the official name of Yorkshire Terrier, but the breed was actually defined and recognized a decade earlier. A Yorkie named Huddersfield Ben was prominent in the dog show circuit and ratter competitions. Because of this dog’s success his characteristics became the defining factors of the breed.
Yorkies have remained popular to this day with one pup, Smoky becoming a mascot of sorts for American troops serving in New Guinea during the Second World War. She accompanied troops on more than 150 missions while soldiers trained her to do tricks and help them on various missions. Today they are among the most popular breeds of toy dogs and are found in loving homes all around the world. Yorkshire Terriers are amazing companion dogs being both fierce and affectionate. If you are considering a small dog, then you should definitely consider a Yorkie, you won’t regret it.