A Brief History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The exact origins of the Yorkshire Terrier are shrouded in a cloud of mystery. While several breeds are thought to have contributed to the development of the breed, the most likely are the Clydesdale Terrier and the Skye Terrier. The English Terrier, the Waterside Terrier, and the Scottish Terrier are also possibilities. What is known determinately is that the Yorkie was developed by the working man for ratting during the Industrial Revolution. The best terriers were bred according to spirit, looks, and ratting effectiveness in the local coal mines, textile mills, and factories in Yorkshire, England.


The first definitive publication was in Dogs of the British Isles (1872) of the Broken-haired Scotch Terrier, later called the Yorkshire Terrier (1874); which described the Yorkie as an exceptional silky coated terrier of coat and of color being blue on the back and a golden shade of tan on the head. The Yorkshire Terrier was originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886 with two divisions, Over 5 pounds and Not Exceeding 5 pounds, unlike the 7 pounds recognized today.


The father of the modern day Yorkie was Huddersfield Ben (1865-1871) bred by Mr. Eastwood in 1865 and owned by Mr. and Mrs. M.A. Foster. Ben won 70 prizes during his short life and bred 10 dogs and 1 bitch that set the foundation for the future of Yorkie breeding stock. The first Yorkshire Terrier to achieve his Championship was Bradford Harry, great-great grandson of Huddersfield Ben.


In 1978 two spectacular Yorkies made their mark in the dog world, one in the United States and one in Europe. CH Cede Higgins is to this day the only Yorkie to win Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club and his English counterpart CH Blairsville Royal Seal won Reserve Best in Show at the Cruff’s Show in Europe. As these two dogs were showing at the same time they were inevitably compared with one another as to who was the better dog. No matter the preference, they were both magnificent specimens of the breed and were two totally different styles or phenotypes representing the breed.


During World War II a very special Yorkie made her mark on the world. Smoky was found on burial detail by Ed Downy in the jungle of New Guinea in 1944. William Wynne took one look at the little 4 pound dog and offered two pounds ($6.44 at the time) for her and a deal was made. Smoky soon settled into military life and was a combination messenger dog, parachuter, troop mascot, show performer for the troops and hospitals, and all round true therapy dog. After the war was over Smoky went on to win Rare Breed at the Western Reserve Classic Dog Show in 1946 and was celebrity show stopping performer (including tight rope, drums, and scooters) who appeared on television shows and met future Presidents. Today there is a memorial to Smoky in Cleveland, Ohio where she was honored with a life-size bronze statue and a twenty one round time honored salute in November 2005. The Smoky and Dogs of All Wars memorial she is forever immortalized as the Yorkie Doodle Dandy.

Written by Jennifer White



About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Standard  |   History  |   Health  |   Puppies  |   Our Dogs  |   Articles

All Rights Reserved ©2009 Bricriu Kennels

This disclaimer applies to the information, services, products, software and links found on this web site.  We do not make any representations with respect to the contents hereof and specifically disclaim any implied or express warrants of availability or fitness for any particular usage, application, or purpose. The materials found on this website are designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not provide or make any representation with respect to its contents or specifically claim any implied or express availability, fitness, usage, or veterinary services through this site. Any information found on this website is our opinions and dog owners should exercise their own common sense on their own individual dogs. This website was designed by OZ Design Studio, LLC.  All materials including design, photographs, materials, articles, and software are copyrighted by OZ Design Studio, LLC and Bricriu Kennels and may not be copied, reprinted, or electronically reproduced unless prior written consent is given. Any commercial use or multiple distribution by anyone, either electronically or by traditional methods is prohibited without permission. To the best of our knowledge, the information on this site we own, have gotten permission to use, or is free. If we have unknowingly included copy written content, please contact us and we will remove it. This website provides links to other Internet sites and resources. We can not be, and are not, responsible for such external sites and resources and do not endorse and are not liable for any content, advertising, products, or other materials available from such sites and resources. Nor are we liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss, or alleged damage or loss, in connection with, or reliance on, any such Internet site or resource. Individuals viewing should exercise common sense and consult with their own personal veterinarian for advice. When it comes to concerns for your pet, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PERSONAL VETERINARIAN.