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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Yorkshire Terriers Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:42 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1998
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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Sue James, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Kim Andresen
* Susan Holm
* Beverley Miller
* Robert Paul
for editing and input.
Please send all comments regarding these FAQ's to the author at the
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COPYRIGHT: © 1995. This document is distributed freely, provided you
respect this copyright. This document may not be sold for profit, nor
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of the author.
* Added Yorkie-L to resources -- CTM 1995
* _Updated December 1997_
* _Latest Version: V2.98_ This supercedes ALL other Yorkie FAQ's
authored by S. James -- to check the validity, all versions since
June 1998 will have a "Version Number".
Table of Contents
* Breed History
* Physical Characteristics
* Grooming/General Care
* Suitability as Pets
* Health and Longevity
* Choosing a Puppy
+ Books on Yorkies
+ Online Resources
HOW THE BREED WAS FORMED
Today's Yorkshire Terrier is very different from the early Yorkshire
Terriers of the North of England. There are varying accounts of the
origins of this breed and its development. I have tried to give the
most accurate, and most widely agreed upon history of the Yorkshire
Terrier assembled from books and publications written be reliable and
experienced fanciers of the breed in the UK.
Before 1750, most British people worked in agriculture. The onset of
the Industrial Revolution brought great changes to family life. In
Yorkshire, small communities grew up around coal mines, textile mills
and factories. People were drawn to these areas to seek work from as
far away as Scotland. They brought with them a breed known as the
Clydesdale Terrier, or Paisley Terrier. These were primarily working
dogs, much larger than today's Yorkies, and were used for catching
rats and other small mammals.
These terriers were inevitably crossed with other types of terrier,
probably the English Black and Tan Toy Terrier, and the Skye Terrier;
it is also thought that at some stage the Maltese Terrier was crossed
with these breeds to help produce long coats. As the outline of the
Maltese resembles that of many of today's Yorkies, this is very
likely. Unfortunately, no records in the form of Pedigrees exist to
confirm these crosses (possibly because of the poor level of literacy
in these times), but a great deal is known about the type of people
who bred them, and there can be no doubt that early breeders had a
very clear idea of the type of dogs they were attempting to produce.
We can see in today's Yorkies how strongly the terrier temperament has
Early Yorkshire Terriers and Breeders
One of the most famous early Yorkies was Huddersfield Ben, bred by a
Mr. Eastwood and owned by Mr. M.A. Foster. Huddersfield Ben was born
in 1865 and died in 1871, and can be said to be the father of the
modern Yorkie. In his day "Ben" was a very popular stud dog who won
many prizes in the show ring, and had tremendous influence in setting
In 1874 the first Yorkies were registered in the British Kennel Club
stud book. They were referred to as "Broken Haired Scottish Terriers"
or "Yorkshire Terriers", until 1886, when the Kennel Club recognised
the Yorkshire Terrier as an individual breed. The first Yorkshire
Terrier breed club was formed in 1898. During these early years, one
who greatly influenced the breed was Lady Edith Wyndham-Dawson. Lady
Edith was secretary of the Yorkshire Terrier Club for some time and
did much early work for the improvement of the breed. Later, a Miss
Palmer, who was Lady Edith's kennel maid, started her own Yorkie
kennel under the "Winpal" prefix. When Lady Edith returned to Ireland
at the start of World War I, Miss Palmer went to work for Mrs.
Crookshank of the famous Johnstounburn prefix, a name with a long list
of champions, which is now in the care of Daphne Hillman, who was
entrusted with this prefix, and still uses it along with her own
Many others have worked very hard since these early years to improve
this breed, and to these breeders much is owed. Many of their early
dogs became the foundation stock of kennels in North America and
The Yorkshire Terrier now flourishes throughout the world and the
early breeders who were instrumental in producing the diminutive toy
terrier of today would surely be astounded at the success of this
delightful breed. In 1932 only 300 Yorkies were registered with the
British Kennel Club, in 1957 the number was 2313, and in the 1970's
Yorkies were the most popular breed in Britain. This trend continued
until 1990 with a record of 25,665 Yorkies registered. However, this
figure has now begun to drop, and in 1994 there were 12343
registrations, with the Yorkie being recorded as the 7th most popular
The most famous Yorkshire Terrier of modern times in the UK was CH
Blairsville Royal Seal. He was by CH Beechrise Surprise and his dam
was CH Blairsville Most Royale. "Tosha" to his friends (of whom he had
many) was bred, owned and handled by Mr. Brian Lister and his wife,
Rita. Tosha was definitely a 'King' among dogs and no one who saw him
flowing around the ring could ever forget him. His prescence could be
felt, even by a complete novice, and many say that just thinking of
him brings a lump to the throat. During his show career Tosha won 50
CCs, all under different judges. He was 12 times Best In Show at all
breed CH shows, and 16 times Reserve Best In Show. He took 33 Group
wins, and went Reserve Best In Show at Cruft's in 1978, just as his
dam had done before him. Tosha was Top Dog, all breeds, for two
consecutive years. He became the sire of many prolific Champions and
still features in the pedigree of many of today's Yorkies.
Ironically, when Royal Seal died, aged 15, in 1988, that year his
breed record for the highest number of CCs in the breed was broken by
Osman Sameja's CH Ozmilion Dedication "Jamie", who finished his show
career with 52 CCs, although a few of these were duplicated under the
same judges. Jamie also has two all breed CH show wins, and his many
Toy group wins helped him to win the Top Dog title in 1987. The
Ozmilion kennel is the top Yorkshire Terrier kennel of all time, and
holds the record for the number of Champions produced.
Following on from this, Jamie's grandson, Ch. Ozmilion Mystification
broke another record in 1997 by being the first Yorkie ever to win the
coveted Best In Show award at the most prestigious dog show, Cruft's.
"Justin" was retired after this event, having to his credit a total 51
CCs, 48 with Best of Breed, 22 Group wins, 9 Club BIS, and at All
Breed Shows, 7 RBIS and 3 BIS awards. He was Top Yorkie from
1994-1997, Top Dog All Breeds 1996, Crufts Supreme Champion 1997, and
Pedigree Chum Champion overall Stakes winner 1997.
Some record of achievement! In this same year, the great "Jamie" died.
Yorkies in North America
The first Yorkie to become an American Champion was Bradford Harry,
who gained his title in 1889. He was the great-great-grandson of
Huddersfield Ben, and was imported from England by P.H. Coombs of
Bangor, Maine. Some of the most notable early American kennels are
Janet Bennet and Joan Gordon (Wildweir) who imported many English
Yorkies, including lines from Johnstounburn, Haringay and Buranthea.
The Mayfield-Barban kennels owned by Anne Seranne and Barbara
Wolferman have also done much to improve the breed.
Whilst CH Blairsville Royal Seal dominated the British show scene, his
American counterpart, CH Cede Higgens was making his mark in the USA.
These two dogs were both shown during the same era, and were
inevitably, constantly being compared. However, although they were
both outstanding specimens of the breed, those who had seen them both,
agreed that they were totally different in type. Bred by C.D.
Lawrence, Cede Higgens was closely line-bred to the Clarkwyns and
Wildweir lines, by CH. Wildweir Pomp 'N Circumstance.
Another dog who had significant influence on the North American
Yorkies was CH Finstal Royal Icing, bred by Sybil Pritchard in the UK
and exported to the Jentre kennels after Sybil died. He is by CH
Finstal Johnathan, who still has winning progeny in the UK today.
Johnathan was looked after by Wendy White (Wenwytes) after Sybil's
death, until he died in 1994 aged about 17.
The Yorkshire Terrier is also very popular in North America today. In
1992, Yorkies were #14 on the AKC's list of most popular breeds with
39,904 registrations. In 1994 they were #11, although registrations
had dropped to 38,626.
It may seem strange that Yorkies have risen in popularity in North
America while the number of registrations has dropped, but overall,
AKC registration, is down (as is UK registration), with some popular
breeds having dramatic reductions in the numbers now registered.
The Yorkshire Terrier Breed Standard
(British Kennel Club)
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Long-Coated, coat hanging quite straight and
evenly down each side, a parting extending from nose to tail. Very
compact and neat, carriage very upright conveying an important air.
General outline conveying impression of vigorous and well proportioned
CHARACTERISTICS: Alert, intelligent toy terrier.
TEMPERAMENT: Spirited with even disposition
HEAD AND SKULL: Rather small and flat, not too prominent or round in
skull, not too long in muzzle; black nose.
EYES: Medium, dark, sparkling, with sharp intelligent expression and
placed to look directly forward. Not prominent. Edge of eyelids dark.
EARS: Small, V-shaped, carried erect, not too far apart, covered with
short hair, colour very deep, rich tan.
MOUTH: Perfect, regular and complete scissor bite. i.e. upper teeth
closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth well
placed with even jaws.
NECK: Good reach
FOREQUARTERS: Well laid shoulders, legs straight, well covered with
hair of rich golden tan a few shades lighter at the ends than at
roots, not extending higher on forelegs than elbow.
BODY: Compact with moderate spring of rib, good loin. Level Back
HINDQUARTERS: Legs quite straight when viewed from behind, moderate
turn of stifle. Well covered with hair of rich golden tan a few shades
lighter at the ends than at roots, not extending higher on hindlegs
FEET: Rounds; nails black
TAIL: Customarily docked to medium length with plenty of hair, darker
blue in colour than rest of body, especially at the end of tail.
Carried a little higher than level of back *
GAIT/MOVEMENT: Free with drive; straight action front and behind,
retaining level topline.
COAT: Hair on body moderately long, perfectly straight (not wavy),
glossy; fine silky texture, not woolly. Fall on head long, rich golden
tan, deeper in colour at sides of head, about ear roots and on muzzle
where it should be very long. Tan on head not to extend on to neck,
nor must any sooty or dark hair intermingle with any of the tan.
COLOUR: Dark steel blue (not silver blue), extending from occiput to
root of tail, never mingled with fawn, bronze or dark hair. Hair on
chest rich, bright tan. All tan hair darker at the roots than in the
middle, shading still lighter at the tips.
SIZE: Weight up to 3.1 kgs (7lbs)
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a
fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded
should be in exact proportion to its degree.
NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicals fully
descended into the scrotum **
* In the UK it is now possible to show animals with undocked tails. As
yet there is no recognised standard for the presentation, type, length
or carriage of a full tail.
** It may also be possible now in the UK to show neutered animals,
providing permission has been obtained from the Kennel Club in
Differences in the American Kennel Club Breed Standard
There is very little difference in the American standard. The main
1. Neck: no mention is made in the Am. standard
2. Mouth: The Am. standard states: "the bite neither overshot nor
undershot and teeth sound. Either scissors bite or level bite is
acceptable" No reference is made to a full mouth.
Yorkshire Terriers are a small glamorous dog which compete in the Toy
Group in most countries, as in the UK and USA. Showing this breed is
very specialised and time consuming and only for the really dedicated
enthusiasts. To grow the Yorkie coat and prepare it to show standard
is not an easy task. Should anyone wish to know more about this, then
please send a private email request to the author, contact a
specialist breed club, or read one of the many books that show how the
Yorkie coat is prepared and maintained.
In the UK, the Yorkshire Terrier is traditionally displayed in line in
the show ring, on its own individual wooden box, which is draped with
a cover, usually red, but as there is no rule about the box cover,
some exhibitors use blue or tartan covers. The Yorkie is still
examined on the judge's table, as in most other countries. A ring full
of mature Yorkies displayed on their little red boxes is truly a sight
The Yorkie is without doubt one of the most appealing of all Toy
breeds. It is charming and intelligent, and despite its size, is full
of courage, loyalty and affection. Although this breed is small, the
Yorkie still retains the true Terrier temperament. Yorkies are small
enough to carry and are ideal for anyone with a small home or
apartment. The Yorkie is happy to go on quite long walks, but is
equally happy to run around a small garden or home, providing it has
enough toys and distractions to occupy its lively mind. These are
little dogs who think they are much bigger. They will defend their
territory decisively. They have an acute sense of hearing and will
alert their owners to the slightest sign of intruders. They can be
very noisy, so consideration must be given to neighbours when
considering this breed as a pet.
Because they have a long coat, Yorkies are not suitable for anyone who
does not have the time or inclination to spend on the grooming and
bathing this breed requires. Most pet Yorkies do in fact have their
coats trimmed short or shaved for convenience and hygiene. Therefore,
anyone obtaining a pet Yorkie must remember that there will be
additional grooming expenses to take into consideration.
The Yorkie coat does not shed, and does not have an undercoat, making
Yorkies desirable for some people with allergies, and those who do not
want a breed that has a messy moult. The correct texture of the coat
is described as long, straight and silky. It will continue to grow
unless trimmed. In fact, the Yorkie coat is very similar to human
Special care must be taken to ensure that the hair around the anus of
these dogs is kept clean. Because of their long hair, it is common for
these dogs to become matted in this area, and this can lead to
compacted faeces. Apart from making the dog very sore and
uncomfortable, this may, if left unattended, cause more serious
problems, such as fly strike, that would require veterinary
Yorkie puppies may have "tipped" or "tilted" ears until they are
around 6 months old. I am frequently asked about this when owners
purchase a 10 week old puppy with nice erect ears, only to find that
the ears drop again around 4 months of age. This is often because at
this time the Yorkie is shedding it's milk teeth and cutting it's
adult teeth, which can cause the ears to go up and down daily, and
owner's should not be unduly concerned during this natural stage.
However, it is important to keep the hair on the top third of the ear
flap trimmed very short. This will stop the ears from being weighed
down by excessive hair until they are firmly "set". Also the hair
should be plucked from inside the ears, and ears checked regularly for
excessive wax and for mites.
Yorkies should also have special attention paid to their eyes, and
teeth. The long hair should be prevented from falling into their eyes,
thus causing irritation and infection, either by tying it back or
trimming it. As with most Toy breeds, Yorkies may have a tendency to
tartar build-up on the teeth, but if regular attention is given to the
teeth this should not be a serious problem.
Yorkies do not have an undercoat, and even with a long coat, they feel
the cold very easily, and like most Toy breeds prefer the comfort of
cosiness and warmth. They enjoy being pampered. Yorkies are difinitely
not a breed to keep outside in a kennel. When going out in cold or wet
weather they will appreciate a warm dog coat to wear.
Although regular grooming may be an added expense for the Yorkie
owner, Yorkies eat very little, and are not expensive to feed.
Suitability as Pets
Yorkies will live happily with cats and other dogs if brought up with
them, but being terriers, they are also very possessive of their
owners, so care should be taken when introducing this breed to a new
animal household member. If they do fight, they can fight to the
death. As with all small dogs, great care should be taken when
allowing small children to handle them, as they are prone to jump from
any height, and of course, being small, are more susceptible to
accidents around the home, by way of careless human feet and the
opening and closing of doors. They do however love to play with
sensible children. Their favourite sleeping place is their owner's
Yorkies are generally easy to house train. For their own safety it is
better to crate train them and to leave them in a crate when they are
left alone, e.g. during the night or if their owners are out of the
home. Always leave them some toys and fresh water, and be sure they
have a cosy bed inside the crate. Remember that as they do enjoy human
company they will not appreciate being left alone for long periods.
Obedience training is highly recommended for Yorkies. Although few
Yorkies compete in obedience in the UK today, a little dog called
"Shandy" did compete successfully, and was placed in the highly
acclaimed obedience championships at Cruft's in 1973. All breeds can
and do benefit nevertheless from basic obedience training.
Health and Longevity
Yorkies are generally hardy and healthy and long-lived. Like many Toy
breeds however, there is some incidence of heriditary/congenital
disease in the form of patella luxation, open fontanellas, Perthe's
disease and a smaller incidence of elongated soft palate and a
tendency to collapsed trachea. _*_ However, conscientious breeders
only breed from sound, selected stock, and do their best to eliminate
these defects. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one buy only
from a reputable breeder, and never purchase a puppy from a pet shop
or 'puppy mill'. Wherever possible one should see the puppy in the
home where it was bred, and view its parents, or at least its mother.
A reputable breeder will offer constant support and assistance
throughout the dog's life. To purchase a puppy from an unreliable
source may invite future heartbreak (and huge vet's bills).
_* NB: The BVA/KC who conduct health screening schemes for inherited
are now advising that Yorkies should undergo eye tests for PRA and
late onset HC. These conditionas are under investigation in the UK for
this breed. In the USA, many breeders already have their breeding
stock tested for PRA._
Choosing a Puppy
_What colour will my dog be?_
All Yorkshire Terriers are born with smooth coats and are black
with small tan points. It is only with maturity that the beautiful
long, dark steel blue and shaded tan coat develops. This feature
can vary in age depending on the individual, but when buying a
puppy you can expect it to still be black on its body, and for its
head markings to still be very "sooty" looking. In puppyhood this
is not a fault. Some Yorkies do stay black, whilst others become
very light and silver. Although these are considered faults for
showing, it is impossible to determine in a young puppy what colour
it will become as a young adult. In any case, the colour will not
of course, affect the dog's quality as a companion.
_Do Yorkies come in Miniature and Standard varieties?_
Many beginning Yorkie fanciers believe that there are two types of
Yorkie, Miniature and Standard--this is not so. However, many pet
Yorkies are somewhat larger than the show Yorkies; again this does
not affect their suitability as pets or make them any less
desirable as companions.
_How soon can a puppy be sold to a new home?_
If a Yorkie is wanted only as a pet, a reputable breeder may be
prepared to let a puppy go to a new home between 8-10 weeks of age
(although 12 weeks is more desirable). A pet quality Yorkie will be
far cheaper than a show quality specimen (which most breeders will
not sell until much older). It is quite impossible to have any
indication of show quality in this breed until the dog is at least
6 months of age.
_What Sex is best as a pet?_
This is a matter of personal preference. Most breeders believe both
dogs and bitches are equally loving, loyal and intelligent, and
make good companions. A bitch may come into season from 6 months
onwards, when extra care must be taken to prevent unwanted matings.
Pet Yorkies are better neutered. This will prevent unwanted puppies
and the possibility of disease in later life. Many breeders may not
wish to issue registration papers for pet puppies, or may only do
so on proof of neutering.
_What should I feed my Yorkie?_
When collecting your puppy be sure to get a diet sheet from the
breeder and try to stick to its recommendations, especially in the
first few weeks. The breeder should also provide you with
documentation of worming preparations given, any vaccinations the
puppy may have had, and a pedigree form.
_How should I keep my Yorkie confined when travelling?_
ALWAYS make sure that your dog is safe and secure when travelling
in a vehicle. The best way to do this is to train it to travel in a
special travelling box or crate (such as a Vari-Kennel). Should you
need to brake suddenly, your little dog will then be less likely to
be thrown forward and injured. Keeping your dog in a crate while
travelling will also prevent it from distracting the driver and
causing an accident.
_One further word of warning,_ In some countries it is common to own a
swimming pool. If you do, please ensure that your Yorkie cannot jump
or fall into the pool in your absence. I have had reports from the USA
of Yorkie's getting into pools and then being unable to get out again,
with drastic consequences as the poor little dog becomes exhausted and
drowns. If you do have a pool, please ensure that it is fenced off or
covered when not in use.
Books on Yorkies
1. Book of The Yorkshire Terrier, by Joan M. Brearley uk
2. The Yorkshire Terrier 3rd ed., by Gwen Bulgin uk
3. Le Yorkshire, by Joel DeHasse
4. Yorkshire Terriers, by Kerry Donnelly uk
5. Yorkies Today, by Anne Fisher uk *
6. The New Complete Yorkshire Terrier, by Joan B. Gordon uk
7. Your Yorkshire Terrier 2nd ed., by Morris Howard
8. All About The Yorkshire Terrier, by Mona Huxham uk
9. Yorkshire Terriers, by Armin Kriechbaumer & Jurgen Grunn
10. How To Raise & Train A Yorkshire Terrier, by Arthur Liebers
11. The Yorkshire Terrier, by Aileen Markley Martello
12. Pet Owner's Guide to the Yorkshire Terrier, by Douglas McKay uk
13. Yorkshire Terriers, by Mario Migliori
14. The Popular Yorkshire Terrier 9th ed., by Edith Munday uk
15. A Dog-Owner's Guide to Yorkshire Terriers, by Jackie Ransom uk **
16. Yorkshire Terriers, by Osman Sameja uk
17. Know Your Yorkshire Terrier, by Earl Schneider
* Highly recommended up to date book for the pet owner or those
wishing to start out in the show ring.
** Another good little book, for both pet or new show owner.
uk Unless marked with this symbol these books may not be available in
_The Yorkshire Terrier Club Centenary Book_
The official publication of the parent club in the UK to
celebrate the centenary of this club's existence is being
produced for release in 1998. This can be obtained from the
club secretary, at the address below.
_The Yorkshire Terrier Handbook_
Another publication produced annually by Carol Lees and Janice
Blamires in the UK. This can be obtained from: Carol Lees, 109
Nightingale Crescent, Lincoln.LN6 0JR. (UK)
_The Yorkshire Terrier Magazine_
9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003 (USA); (408)662-3130 or
_The Yorkie Quarterley_
PO Box 1032, Baldwin, NY 11510
The British KC Parent Club in the UK is _The Yorkshire Terrier Club_.
For information about rescue, breeders list, membership, or to obtain
the Club Year Book, contact the current YTC secretary:
Mrs Hazel Hammersley
4, Stookes Way
Hampshire GU46 6YY
Tel: 01252 871238
_The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America_
All club enquiries to the Secretary:
Mrs. Shirley A Patterson
PO Box 271
St Peters, PA 19470-0271
_The Yorkshire Terrier Foundation, Inc._
This was founded by The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America to do
research on health issues relating to Yorkies. A newsletter is
published every three months. A contributions is required to receive
$20 for individuals
$40 for families
$50 for businesses
$100 for sponsors
obtainable from the Treasurer: or from the Vice President:
Donald Quinn Ms Betty Dullinger
PO Box 10582 RFD 2 Box 542
Rock Hill Kezar Falls
SC 29731-0582 ME 04047
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