by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
The Yorkshire Terrier is less than 150 years old; he is definitely a man-made breed, yet the real source of his origin remains in doubt. In Yorkshire, where the breed was developed and from which it gains its name, the residents kept many Terriers and Toy dogs as companions and undoubtedly many crosses were made among them. This same district also produced the Airedale, the largest of the Terriers, and some authorities have held that the two breeds came from common parentage. The fact that both are born black and tan and change their coat color later adds authority to the premise.
These little dogs were not always known as Yorkshire Terriers. They were first shown in England under the classification of Broken-haired Scotch or Yorkshire Terriers. About 1870 a Scotch Terrier won first prize in the Variety Class at the Westmoreland show. A reporter who covered the show for The Field wrote: "They ought no longer to be called Scotch Terriers but Yorkshire Terriers." The name caught on and was adopted.
Originally the Yorkshire was by no means a Toy. His weight ran from twelve to fourteen pounds. It was through selective breeding that the breed has been dwarfed. Some of this diminishing in size was accomplished within twenty years of the time the Yorkshire first became recognized as a breed. For some time, however, the breed did not run true to type, so far as weight was concerned, as specimens ranged from 2-1/2 pounds to thirteen pounds in the show ring.
The coat and color of the Yorkshire are the breed's outstanding characteristics. Carefully tended, the coat often sweeps the ground, but some fanciers choose to keep it slightly shorter. No matter what its length, the coat must be perfectly straight and of a fine silky texture. The keeping of a Yorkshire Terrier in show shape requires constant care, but breed fanciers feel that the distinctive appearance it presents makes this care worth while.
It is an alert active little dog and, if allowed, would be as frolicsome as any of the Terrier family. The Yorkshire Terrier has a big personality in a small package. He is brave, determined and extremely energetic.
The general appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier should be that of a long coat hanging straight and evenly down each side. The animal should be very compact and neat, the carriage being very upright, and having an important air. The general outline should convey the existence of a vigorous and well proportioned body. In color the Yorkshire is a dark steel blue from the occiput to the root of the tail, a rich, golden tan on the head, and a bright tan on the chest. Average weight is between four and seven pounds.
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