7 Interesting Fun Facts About Yorkshire Terriers
The adorable Yorkshire Terrier is one of the smallest breeds today, but they have a huge character. This is exactly what makes them such great pets. These tiny dogs are entertaining to be around, and people mostly focus on their small size. Still, there is a lot more to this dog than their adorable and handsome looks.
Today, Yorkies are one of the most popular house pets, but they had different beginnings. We absolutely love these small dogs, and we decided to dig a little deeper and find out what makes these dogs so famous and adored. Here are some Yorkshire Terrier fun facts you probably didn’t know.
Yorkshire Terriers have a unique coat. They have silky-smooth hair that barely sheds, which is one of the characteristics that makes them so popular. Living with a Yorkie will require quite a bit of grooming; if their beautiful coats aren’t maintained, they can easily get tangled and matted. These dogs have a single coat, which means they have no undercoat, which means little to no shedding.
Yorkies have a unique hair texture, which is a lot like human hair. If you ever attend a dog show, you will encounter numerous Yorkies with long, groomed hair. Most “casual” owners will trim them because a shorter coat is easier to maintain. However you decide to groom your Yorkie, we are sure they will be absolutely adorable.
2. War heroes
It would be impossible that such a tiny dog became a war hero, right? Well, you probably never hear about Smoky, the brave Yorkie. In 1944, when the interest in small dog breeds was the lowest, an army Corporel William Wynne and his soldiers found Smoky in Papua New Guinea’s jungles. She was wandering the wilderness for who knows how long. These soldiers took her under their wings, and none more so than the Corporel.
Smoky repaid soldiers for saving her life by saving theirs. She dragged a communications cable through a narrow drain pipe and restored the US Army communication systems. She was a part of many missions. Once she came to the USA, she made public appearances and visited army veterans in hospitals. Smoky is considered the first American therapy dog.
Check out the full breed profile here - Yorkshire Terrier.
3. Working history
This is another fun fact that can seem impossible, but Yorkshire Terriers were working dogs. All Terriers are hunters, and the smallest ones specialized in hunting vermin and rats. This is the job Yorkshires were trusted with. They were one of the best at hunting rats and mice in tunnels and burrows.
Yorkies became extremely popular amongst weavers and miners because of their hunting and exterminating abilities. These tiny dogs helped these craftsmen and women keep their working area rodent-free. Their tiny bodies allowed them to access tiny areas and get ahold of disease-carrying rats and mice. One might think that tiny bodies are a disadvantage in this line of work, but it actually allowed Yorkies to be agile and catch rats with ease.
4. Yorkies created a new breed
The Biewer family, Gertrud and Werner, were famous German Yorkshire Terrier breeders who bred some of the world’s finest Yorkies. In 1984, they received a dog called Schneeflocken von Friedheck, which had a unique coloring. That dog was white, gold, and blue and used as a foundation for a completely new breed separated from the Yorkshire Terrier. This is the first breed in history recognized based on gene testing.
The Biewers started carefully breeding this new “version” of the Yorkie and carefully established a breeding line. Because of their different looks and adorable characters, the new Terriers became extremely popular, especially in the US. Pretty soon, there was a massive demand for these small dogs named in honor of their creators. The Biewer Terrier was accepted on a provisional basis by the American Kennel Club in 2014, and in 2021 these dogs were fully accepted and registered.
You can read more about Biewer Terriers’ acceptance in AKC here - Meet The Newest AKC-Recognized Breed - The Biewer Terrier.
5. Celebrity owners
Nothing can give a more significant popularity boost than a celebrity owner, and Yorkies seem to have been adored by many different celebrities over the past years. It all started when Audrey Hepburn introduced her Yorkie, Mr. Famous, to the world. She even included her dog in a few scenes in a famous 1957 movie “Funny Face.” Her co-stars in the movie were Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson.
Hepburn was first to share a bit of spotlight with her dog Mr. Famous, and the list only starts there. Celebrities all over the US are madly in love with these tiny dogs. Some of the names include Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, Natalie Portman, Liev Schreiber, Miranda Kerr, Molly Sims, Ivanka Trump, Alyson Hannigan, and Naomi Watts. Even the former United States President Richard Nixon had a Yorkie.
6. Yorkie Meetups
It shouldn’t surprise you that Yorkie owners are crazy about their dogs. They want to show the world their appreciation, so they started different groups and clubs dedicated to these adorable dogs. One of the biggest Yorkie Gatherings is organized in New York.
The Big Apple has a considerable number of these dogs, and their owners wanted to introduce their dogs to other Yorkies. They gather and discuss the breed, and several of them are breeders that found breeding partners that would help them improve and create healthy and happy puppies. Yorkies are adaptable, and their non-shedding and hypoallergenic properties make them ideal dogs to keep in apartments.
Check out more hypoallergenic dog breeds here - 11 best hypoallergenic breeds.
7. Smallest dog breed in history
Although Chihuahuas hold the title of the smallest dog breed in the world, it was actually a Yorkie that holds the title of the smallest dog ever. A Yorkie from the 1940s was barely bigger than a human fist. He was 2.8 inches tall at the shoulder and was 3.75 inches long. That makes him the smallest dog on record.
The current record holder is Milly, a Chihuahua that measures 3.8 inches at the shoulder. This tiny dog weighs less than 1 pound. You can read more about this small dog breed here - Chihuahua breed profile.
World Dog Finder team