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Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by Scott Allen

The Origin of the Yorkshire Terrier Breed: A Tale of Tenacity and Elegance

The Origin of the Yorkshire Terrier Breed: A Tale of Tenacity and Elegance

The Yorkshire Terrier, affectionately known as the Yorkie, is a breed that packs a big personality into a small package.

This breed, with its luxurious coat and feisty demeanor, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century in Yorkshire, England[1][4].

The Birth of the Breed

In the mid-1800s, Yorkshire, England, saw an influx of workers from Scotland. These workers brought with them a variety of terrier breeds, including the Black and Tan Terriers, Clydesdale Terriers, and Paisley Terriers[1]. The goal was to breed a working terrier that could help catch vermin in the mines[1].

Breed Origin
Black and Tan Terrier Scotland
Clydesdale Terrier Scotland
Paisley Terrier Scotland

Table 1: Terrier Breeds Brought to Yorkshire[1]

Some specialists believe that in addition to these breeds, the Maltese was also used to breed the first Yorkshire Terriers[1]. The breed was named Yorkshire Terrier because much of the development of the breed was carried out in Yorkshire[1].

The Father of Modern Yorkies

Huddersfield Ben, a Yorkshire Terrier, is often referred to as the father of modern Yorkies[1]. This breed became very popular during the Victorian era, and it was hard not to see one at dog shows[1]. Owning a Yorkie became a symbol of wealth, and they were often part of royalty[1].

The Yorkie’s Journey to America

The Yorkshire Terrier was introduced in North America in 1872, and the first Yorkshire Terrier was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885[4]. The breed’s popularity dipped in the 1940s, when the percentage of small breed dogs registered fell to an all-time low of 18% of total registrations[4].

The Yorkie Today

Today, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular toy dog breeds, known for its distinctive appearance, charming personality, and unique highlights[2]. They are small toy breed, typically weighing between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kilograms) and standing about 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters) tall at the shoulder[2].

Weight Height
4 to 7 pounds 7 to 8 inches

Table 2: Typical Size of a Yorkshire Terrier[2]

Their fur is typically a combination of blue and tan, with a steel-blue or silver-blue body and rich tan markings on their face, chest, legs, and tail[2].

Body Face, Chest, Legs, Tail
Steel-blue or Silver-blue Rich Tan

Table 3: Typical Coat Colors of a Yorkshire Terrier[2]

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their tenacious but affectionate personalities. They tend to be very vocal, protective, and loyal[5]. Despite their small size, they are energetic, feisty, and domineering, but also affectionate[8].


The Yorkshire Terrier breed, with its rich history and distinctive characteristics, continues to be a beloved companion for many. From its origins in Yorkshire, England, to its popularity in modern times, the Yorkie has proven to be a breed of tenacity, elegance, and charm.


  1. Highland Canine Training, “About The Breed: Yorkshire Terrier”
  2. DogTime, “Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Dog Breed Information & Characteristics”
  3. Wikipedia, “Yorkshire Terrier”
  4. The Spruce Pets, “Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie): Dog Breed Characteristics & Care”
  5. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed – Facts and Traits”