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10 Fun Facts About Yorkshire Terriers

10 Fun Facts About Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkies may be little, but they are full of vigor and confidence with a distinct air of self-importance. These pint-sized, playful pups are easily recognizable with their silky, long coats, and they are always ready for an adventure. Learn more about this breed in these 10 fun facts about Yorkshire Terriers!

1. They are tomboys.
Yorkshire Terriers may look dainty, but don’t let them fool you. These feisty and brave little dogs are definitely tomboys. In fact, one of their nicknames is “the tomboy toy.” They may be compact, but they can have a lot of attitude!

2. Their background is rather unglamorous.
The breed was developed during the mid-1800s in the English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these Yorkies were said to be the creation of weavers from Scotland who brought their Scottish terriers (terriers of Scotland) with them when they migrated to the English north country. “Several breeds of now-extinct Scottish terriers are a part of the Yorkie’s genetic mix, along with such still-extant terriers as the Skye and Dandie Dinmont. One historical source suggests the addition of Maltese blood.”

3.They started out as working-class dogs.
Yorkies may seem dainty, fashionable, and royal, but that’s not how they started out. The Scottish weavers bred the Yorkshire Terrier to be small enough to squeeze into the nooks and crannies of textile mills and coal mines. Their job? To catch rats and other rodents!

4. Yorkies became fashionable in 1886.
These little terriers may have started off catching rats in underground tunnels, but that all changed for them in 1886. This is when the Kennel Club in England granted the Yorkie recognition. This put a spotlight on the Yorkie, who quickly became a fashionable ladies’ companion among the proper English ladies. The AKC says, “As the Yorkie’s popularity among the fashionable increased, it’s size decreased to better meet its new job description: adorable, amusing companion sitting in the lap of luxury.”

5. Their coat resembles human hair.
A Yorkie’s silky coat has a similar texture to human hair and is more like human hair than animal fur. Their low-allergen coat doesn’t have an undercoat, so they don’t shed very much. However, their long, flowing coats can be time-consuming for their owners. If their hair is kept long, they need to be brushed daily so that it doesn’t tangle into knots. The hair on the upper part of the head is often trimmed short or pulled into a topknot to avoid eye irritation. Many owners choose to have their Yorkie groomed in a puppy cut, which is shorter and easier to maintain.

6. One Yorkie became a WWII hero.
A Yorkie named Smoky served as a war dog during World War II. In 1944, she was found by an American soldier in the New Guinea jungle. She worked alongside the U.S. Army Corporal William Wynne, accompanying him on combat flights in the Pacific. Smoky is well-known for helping save the lives of many soldiers by running a telegraph wire through an 8-inch-wide, 70-foot-long pipe. After the war, Wynne wrote a book about Smoky called Yorkie Doodle Dandy. According to the AKC, there are six U.S.-based memorials honoring Smoky. She is credited with sparking a renewal of interest in the Yorkshire Terrier breed.

7. Yorkies are popular among city dwellers.
Because of their small size, Yorkies are increasingly popular among city dwellers. With a little training and socialization, they can do well in large urban environments. In fact, Yorkies often make the top of the list of New York City’s most popular breeds.

8. They are generally healthy dogs.
Yorkies are generally healthy dogs with an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years. Common health conditions in Yorkies are usually minor, including eye anomalies and luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap).

9. Many people believe that Toto was a Yorkie.
If you’ve read or seen the Wizard of Oz, you probably remember Dorothy’s dog, Toto. Many people think that Toto was inspired by a Yorkie. While it isn’t confirmed, there’s a good chance that it’s true! The original drawings for the book show a dog that looks very similar to a Yorkie. Plus, Yorkshire Terriers were popular when the book was illustrated, and the illustrator was the owner of a Yorkie.

10. They are often mixed with other breeds.
Yorkies are very popular, which has spurred the introduction of many new mixed-breed dogs. Some of the popular mixed breeds include the Yorkipoo (Yorkie and Poodle mix), the Morkie (Yorkie and Maltese mix), the Yoranian (Pomeranian and Yorkie mix), the Shorkie (Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix), the Chorkie (Chihuahua and Yorkie mix), and the Snorkie (Yorkie and Schnauzer mix).


Bonus fact: Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to developing kidney or bladder stones. These stones can cause a lot of discomfort and often end up in costly surgery. You can help minimize the chance of stone formation with Thomas Vet’s Cal Ox, which minimizes available oxalates, limits crystallization, and supports ideal urine pH and flow.

The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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