The Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire (and the adjoining Lancashire), a rugged region in northern England. In the mid-19th century, workers from Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and brought with them several different varieties of small terriers. Breeding of the Yorkshire Terrier was "principally accomplished by the people—mostly operatives in cotton and woolen mills—in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire." Details are scarce. Mrs. A. Foster is quoted as saying in 1886, "If we consider that the mill operatives who originated the breed...were nearly all ignorant men, unaccustomed to imparting information for public use, we may see some reason why reliable facts have not been easily attained."
What is known is that the breed sprang from three different dogs, a male named Old Crab and a female named Kitty, and another female whose name is not known. The Paisley Terrier, a smaller version of the Skye Terrier that was bred for a beautiful long silky coat, also figured into the early dogs. Some authorities believed that the Maltese was used as well."They were all originally bred from Scotch terriers (note: meaning dogs from Scotland, not today's Scottish Terrier) and shown as such...the name Yorkshire Terrier was given to them on account of their being improved so much in Yorkshire." Yorkshire Terriers were shown in a dog show category (class) at the time called "Rough and Broken-coated, Broken-haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terriers". Hugh Dalziel, writing in 1878, says that "the classification of these dogs at shows and in the Kennel Club Stud Book is confusing and absurd" in lumping together these different types.
A number of health issues, some of them hereditary, have been found in individual Yorkshire Terriers, and are listed below. There is no data on the percentage of dogs with these ailments, and it is not suggested that all Yorkshire Terriers have all of these ailments, or that any particular dog has any of these ailments. Puppy buyers are advised to ask breeders if tests have been done for these diseases.
In the early days of the breed, "almost anything in the shape of a Terrier having a long coat with blue on the body and fawn or silver colored head and legs, with tail docked and ears trimmed, was received and admired as a Yorkshire Terrier". But in the late 1860s, a popular Paisley type Yorkshire Terrier show dog named Huddersfield Ben, owned by a woman living in Yorkshire, Mary Ann Foster, was seen at dog shows throughout Great Britain, and defined the breed type for the Yorkshire Terrier
Certain genetic disorders have been found in Yorkshire Terriers, including distichiasis, hydrocephalus, hypoplasia of dens, Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, luxating patella, portosystemic shunt, retinal dysplasia, tracheal collapse, and bladder stones. The following are among the most common congenital defects that affect Yorkies.
The ideal Yorkshire Terrier character or "personality" is described with a "carriage very upright" and "conveying an important air." Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, loves attention, very overprotective and should not show the soft temperament seen in lap dogs. Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkies, are a little harder to train than some other breeds of dogs. This results from their own nature to work without human assistance. All you really need to do is be patient, as well as persistent, with your Yorkshire Terrier and invest a lot of time into training him or her.
Yorkshire terriers tend to bark a lot. This makes them excellent watch dogs because they will sound the alarm when anyone gets near. This barking problem can be resolved with proper training.