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History Of The Yorkshire Terrier

History Of The Yorkshire Terrier


There is some doubt as to the exact origin of the Yorkshire Terrier. The most popular theory is that the Yorkie is the product of crossbreeding between various English and Scottish Terriers, particularly the Waterside Terrier. The Yorkshire Terrier made its first appearance in a dog show in 1871, when it was known as a “broken-haired Scotch Terrier.” In 1874 the breed was given the name of Yorkshire Terrier.

The little that is noted is that: This dog was brought to Yorkshire by Scottish factory workers and miners in the mid-19th century. The Yorkshire Terrier was a product of dogs developed to catch rats and aid as a hunting dog. Its small size allowed it to chase animals in mine shafts as well as badger and fox burrows.

A dog known as Huddersfield Ben is universally acknowledged as the fopet it dogs Canadaundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier breed. He was born in 1865 in the town of Huddersfield, county of Yorkshire. The very public life of this dog, owned by M.A. Foster, did much to popularize the breed in England. Ben died in an accident at the age of six, but in his short life he won more than 70 prizes at dog shows and also demonstrated exceptional skill in ratting contests.

The early pioneer breeders registered their dogs in two classes in the 1st studbook, Class XXXII – Broken Haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terrier dogs and bitches. Seventy-six dogs were registered in this class. Of these 52 were owned or bred by known early Yorkie fanciers. The second classification was XL Toy Terriers (Rough and Broken Haired), 45 dogs were registered as such. Twenty-five of these appear in early Yorkshire pedigrees, some of these even registered their dogs as being sired by Ben. In Huddersfield Ben’s registration, Mrs. Foster included all of Ben’s pedigree and this was in 1874.

Mr. Sam Jessop in the first book written solely on the breed, The Yorkshire Terrier, published in 1902 says: “Huddersfield Ben has been given the title of father of the Broken Haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terriers and pedigrees of his progeny prove this point. He was no flyer, but the result of the manufacturers of the breed. He was totally in-bred and he passed his best factors to his children. His merits as a show dog found him at great request as a stud, and luckily he possessed the rare trait of transmitting his virtues to his progeny. He was a great sire, one of those animals who make the history of the breed and whose influence is apparent generations after the progenitor have passed away”.

To this day every Yorkshire Terrier descends from him, mostly through ten of his sons and one daughter. The most prominent being Huddersfield Ben II, Old Royal, Emperor, Bismarc, Hirst’s Peter, Bruce and his litter brother Mozart, the one daughter being Old Alice.

Mr. B. Eastwood, who was the breeder of Ben, was asked how he had bred Old Ben and Old Sandy, both who appear on both sides of his pedigree, said that he had been informed that the original dogs brought from Scotland by the Paisley weavers had been from an accidental breeding of a Clydesdale and a Waterside Terrier (Otter terrier).

Mr. Coombs owned the first Yorkie to become an American Kennel Club Champion of Record, Ch. Bradford Harry, who was a great grandson of Ben.

Mr Coombs record of the early dogs:

Swift’s Old Crab, a cross-bred Scotch Terrier. Crab was a dog about eight or nine pounds weight, with a good terrier head and eye, but with a long body resembling a Scotch Terrier. The head, muzzle and legs were tanned; the hair on the body was three or four inches in length.

Kershaw’s Kitty, (originally stolen from Manchester), was a drop eared Skye with plenty of coat of a blue shade but destitute of tan on any part of the body and an Old English Terrier bitch. Like Crab she had no pedigree. Prior to 1851 Kitty had six litters all of which I believe were by Crab. In these six litters she had thirty-six puppies, twenty eight of which were dogs, and served to stock the district with rising sires. After 1851 when she passed in the possession of Mr. Jagger she had forty four puppies, making a total of eighty.

Mr. Whittam’s bitch, whose name I cannot get to know, was an Old English Rough Terrier with tanned head, ears and legs and a sort of grizzle (blue) back. She was bred on the lines of Speed. Like the others she had no pedigree. She was sent to the late Bernard Hartley of Allen Gate, Halifax, by a friend residing in Scotland. When Mr. Hartley had got tired of her he gave her to his coachman Mason, who in turn gave her to his friend Whittam, and Whittam used her for breeding purposes. Although this bitch came from Scotland, it is believed her parents came from the district.”pet it dogs Canada

One of the problems with getting the Yorkies origins correct is that each of the three breeds necessary to arrive at the final breed of Yorkshire Terrier are now extinct. By looking at the three breeds that shared the responsibility for the final creation of the Yorkshire Terrier. We find they were all breeds that started out as one breed, and then that breed split apart or merged into a new named breed only to have some of these new breeds repeat the process of split or merge until their original breed names disappeared.

First we have the Skye known as such since at least 1576. For years there existed within this breed two types of coats; the long harsh haired coat and the long silky coat. The allowed colors were dark or light blue, gray or fawn with black points. As time went on and dog shows came into being they were all shown as broken haired Scotch Terriers even the silky blue and tan ones. In due coarse friction arose among the Skye fanciers as to which texture was correct for the breed. After much contention the silky coated blue and tan, and the all blue silky coated ones were disallowed.

The breeders of the silky coated variety wanting to continue showing and breeding their dogs renamed them Clydesdale (blue and tan) and Paisley (all blue). Thus we have two new breeds coming from the Skye Terrier. The Clydesdale carried all the points necessary to lay the foundation for the Yorkshire Terrier. They had the proper coat texture, the desired colors and their proper placement.

Another early quote states: “The only relationship that a Yorkshire Terrier has with a Skye Terrier is through its main ancestor the Clydesdale Terrier. The Paisley due to its coloring would have been a very minor contributor“.

According to the earliest history of the dog there existed in England “a rough haired black and tan terrier, occasionally grizzle (defined as bluish-grey or iron-grey) thicker in skull, shorter in head, and stockier in body. The tan of these dogs was extensive and a lighter shade than is usual in modern day specimens. They went to earth after game as well as being known for hunting with ferrets pursuing badgers and otters in the river. They had great courage and stamina“. The crossing of the long coated terriers with other pure bred terriers was said to have established the various fancy breeds of terriers (both the Clydesdale and the Yorkshire were so called fancy terriers).

The Old English Black and Tan Terriers were described as a very old breed. Some of these terriers were long-legged and some had short crooked legs and were said to be smooth coated. The straight legged terriers were said to have coats of shaggy hair. Their weight was from twenty to twenty-five lbs. and their color was black and tan or grizzle and tan. This Old English Black and Tan, Blue and Tan or Blue and Fawn Rough Broken Haired may have been bred into the mix, but it was becoming extinct as the Yorkshire was developing and thus would not have been readily available and since it was a larger dog it was probably not a major contributor.

The small sized Waterside Terrier also became rarer and rarer as it followed it’s path to a larger terrier which became known as the Bingley Terrier and then finally emerging as the Airedale Terrier.

It was the Broken Haired and Rough Coated Toy Terriers – Black and Tan or Blue and Tan that became the second major contributors.

The early developers of the breed gave full recognition of the connection to these toy terriers. Not only by registering their dogs as Toy Terriers, but actually breeding and showing them as Toy Terriers until the Yorkshire Terrier was given his own designation class and the Rough Coated – Broken Haired Toy Terrier joined their brethren the Broken Haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terrier as a single breed recognized as the Yorkshire Terrier.Pet it dogs Canada

These Toy Terrier, Rough and Broken Haired, carried the genes for coat texture, the desired size as well as the gene to change the colors from black to blue and to clear the black from the tan. The Clydesdale of course also carried the coat texture and the ability to change and clear colors. There is a great deal of evidence that these toy terriers were acknowledged by these early fanciers as full members of the breed.

At the 1860 show in Birmingham Mr. Wilkinson an early fancier and later a Yorkshire Terrier breeder won the class for Broken Haired Toy Terriers under 4 lbs. At the Crystal Palace show held in London on June 17, 18 and 19 1873, Mrs. Mary Foster (Huddersfield Ben’s owner and the most prominent early breeder and exhibitor of Yorkies, as well as the first female judge in England), showed her Bradford Kennel dogs, winning the first three placings in Broken Haired Scotch Terriers with Dundreary (KC no. 3695), Emperor (KC no. 3609) and Bruce (KC no.3595). In the class for Toy Terriers Broken Haired under 5 lbs.

Mrs. Foster again won the first three placings with Cobden (KC no. 3985), Little Kate (KC no. 4007) and Tiny (KC no. 4022). Emperor, Bruce and Little Kate were all sired by Huddersfield Ben. Cobden was a grandson.

This record has always existed proving that these early fanciers were admitting to the connection with Toy Terriers Rough and Broken Haired, and thus proving that these breeds were well bred into the breed. There were numerous varieties of these diminutive terriers. Their main qualifications beyond their color and texture, was that according to their standards laid down for each type they had to weigh between three and seven lbs.

Early Yorkie breeders such as Peter Hirst, J. Inman, J. Shackleton, Tom Burgess, Miss Alderson, Lady Gifford, W. J. Lucas, Mr. Grossley and Mary and Jonas Foster all registered and showed in both classifications. Miss Alderson’s Mozart and Peter Hirst’s Peter (both sons of Huddersfield Ben) were top sires of many early winners and they still appear in the background of the pedigrees of present day dogs as do a number of Mrs. Foster’s dogs.

The facts and evidence makes it apparent that the major breeds responsible for present day Yorkshire Terriers are the Clydesdale (Paisley), the Broken Haired Scotch Terrier and the Rough and Broken Haired Toy Terriers. The Broken Haired Scotch was undoubtedly a descendent of the cross of the Clydesdale and the Waterside.

When the Yorkshire Terrier became a separate recognized breed, more and more fanciers and breeders began promoting the breed. It became the most desirable pet of ladies during the Victorian Era. Many a supposedly demure Yorkie adorned with ribbons rode on a fancy satin pillow, in the carriage beside it’s owner.

As with many such new fashion trends, the interest crossed the ocean to the USA causing a rising demand. There were already breeders and fanciers of Rough Coated Toy Terriers, Broken Haired Scotch Terriers and Silky Coated Blue and Tan Skyes (Clydesdales) or all Blue Skyes (Paisleys) waiting to consolidate all their Silky Coated Little Terriers as a distinct recognized breed. Now they had a name – Yorkshire Terrier. The affect was immediate and in a very short period Yorkies were being bred in 22 states.

Yorkshire Terrier Breed Stanadard

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