History and Origins
Country of origin: United Kingdom
British born and bred, the Yorkshire Terrier is a man-made dog of fairly recent origin. It is believed that Scottish weavers brought a small terrier with them during a period of immigration from Scotland to Yorkshire and Lancashire during the 1850s. These ‘Scotch Terriers,’ sometimes also known as ‘Halifax Terriers’ interbred with local small terriers. It is believed that Yorkies have in their lineage the Manchester Terrier, the Maltese, the Skye, Dandie Dinmont and the Paisley terriers. Shown as the Scotch Terrier in 1861, the dog later became known as the Yorkshire Terrier and was recognized as such by the Kennel Club in 1886. It is during that decade that the Yorkie was transported to the United States and was established as a breed over there as well. Thus the Yorkie is considered a breed of ‘the working classes’ and was primarily known as a ratter. Popular belief states that the Yorkie was bred to guard small children from rat bites at night, one Yorkie on guard at the head of the bed and one at the foot, rather like furry guardian angels, though somewhat less benign.