What Are Some Yorkshire Terrier Facts?

yorkshire-terrier Credit: BLOOM image/Getty Images

Yorkshire terriers, also called Yorkies, were originally bred in Yorkshire, England, to help Scottish emigrants chase vermin out of their fabric mills. During WWII, a Yorkshire terrier named Smokey carried a communications wire through an underground tunnel, helping to save the lives of English soldiers. After the war, European high society embraced the Yorkshire terrier, adding to the breed's national and global popularity as a desirable household dog.

The small, long-haired dogs weigh between 4 to 7 pounds and are generally a mixture of black and tan in color. Officially classified as toy dogs, Yorkshire terriers are energetic, curious and extremely loyal pets that prefer to stay in close proximity to their owners. Yorkies also like to be around other dogs and children. Dogs of this breed bark often, which makes them reliable watchdogs.

The coat of a Yorkshire terrier closely resembles human hair and must be brushed every day to maintain its natural luster. The hair along the paws and the tops of the ears must also be trimmed regularly to prevent matting.

Yorkies require daily grooming and are prone to weakened or collapsing tracheae, easily dislocated kneecaps, hypothyroidism and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. They are also prone to dental problems and low blood sugar, and the breed has a high incidence of a genetic disorder causing a liver defect known as portosystemic shunt.

Yorkshire terriers were originally called Scotch terriers. The official name was changed in 1870 after an English reporter publicly stated that the breed was refined in England, not Scotland.