History of the Yorkshire Terrier





The Yorkshire Terrier,By Hector Whitehead , Author 1961


  It was not until 1886 that the Kennel Club decided to acknowledge this breed, under the name of Yorkshire Terrier. By that time the breed was producing a very definite type and much as we know the yorkie today. How he was produced is fairly clear although a great deal of mystery has been built up about it, as well as many acrimonious disputes.

     When the great Industrial Revolution took place and this came over a number of years, many of the Scots from the Industrial belt of Scotland and especially from the West drifted down into Yorkshire and Lancashire. They had to follow work and also were always eager to better themselves. Dr Gordon Stables, a well known writer of these days has a brick to throw at the Scots for disowning the dog, and does so in a very satirical way. So he would be aware that there was a terrier called the Paisley Terrier, otherwise the Clydesdale Terrier. We must always keep in view that dogs were not named  and classified so accurately in 1860 , so, having agreed on that we can start to trace out the origin of this great little dog, and those who brought  him to the front .

Huddersfield Ben   was whelped in 1865, his pedigree gives at least 5 to 10 years earlier for the breed being first noted. From the inbreeding in the pedigree it is clear that someone had an idea of what would emerge in course of time. A pedigree means a lot (or Nothing) to one who has time to read and study. We are indebted for this information to Mr. Frank Pearse, Faversham, who produced the first kennel Club Stud Book in 1874 at great and necessary expense, to fill up a blank in the history of the canine world. He gave the first show we could accurately trace at Newcastle, 1859, purely for sporting dogs, but it is quite likely and indeed probable that shows of a kind were held before this date. Our ancestors were sporting people who put dogs to fight monkeys, to kill rats in a given time (And our friend Ben was an expert here) and to bait bulls.

At Birmingham in 1860 Toy Terriers appear, under 5 lbs.

In 1862 at Islington appeared “Scotch Terriers” under 6 lbs, and this must be kept in view.

Then the next year we get a little nearer  at Cremorne, London we get White Scotch, Fawn Scotch and Blue Scotch, two sizes in each, under 7 and over 7 pounds. Amongst the “Blues” we find Mr. Platts ”Mossy”( No.3628) in the Yorkie part of the stud book, under 7 lbs. The color and weight are noteworthy.

In the same year “Broken Haired” terriers appeared at Birmingham and Mr. Eden’s “Albert”(#3586) and “Prince”(#3639) did the winning and went in to the Stud Book.

     In 1864, at Islington, Mr. Dinsdale’s “Phin”(#3636) won in the Scotch Terrier Class, being followed by the above two dogs and all over 7 lbs.

Up to Birmingham come “Albert(#3586) and “Prince(#3639)” to win as ‘Scotch or Broken-haired Terriers’ with uncut ears, while ‘Phin’(#3636) above is third with cut ears.

In 1865, at Birmingham they are simply called ‘Broken haired Terriers, And Eden’s ‘Don(#3605) and Jerry’(#3616) are the winners

     So the shows went on, the nomenclature varying as “Scotch”, “Scotch and Broken Haired” and “Broken-Haired”, but in 1869 Birmingham dropped the “Scotch”, the winners being Crossley’s “Crib”(#3602) and “Jimmy”(#3621) both in the Stud book.

     This year made history, as at Manchester, in December, the great “Huddersfield Ben”(#3612) made his first appearance and was placed 2nd as a “Scotch Terrier” ears cut, there being no class for Broken-Haired. He appeared in Mr. Fosters Name but at the Crystal Palace the next year, He got his full name and appeared under Mrs. Foster’s name. This lady was to make a great name for herself in the breed and a place for it just as great. It is very difficult to estimate the debt the present day exhibitor owes to her

At Edinburgh however “Wattie”(#3662) from Dalkeith, “Tom“(#3658) from Edinburgh and “Charlie”(#3598) from Newcastle, did  the winning as Scotch terriers and are in the  Yorkie Stud pages. In the same year, 1871, the Crystal Palace and Birmingham gave classes for Broken- Haired, but no Scotch.

Manchester gave “Scotch Terriers, and Mrs Foster swept the boards in “Ears Cut” with “Emperor”(#3609) and Dundreary”(#3606) and she went over to Dublin the following year and won with “Dundreary and “Bruce”(#3595) (By the great Ben) in Broken-Haired- a 3 day show.

     The Manchester Show of 1873, where, in Scotch Terriers over 12  pounds, “Dundreary”(#3606) and “Mozart”(#3629) won, while Mrs. Fosters “Crack”(#3601) was first in the under 12 pound group.

     There is another point to be studied, in so far as this K.C. Stud Book had a group for  “Toy Terriers”( Rough and Broken-Haired) and a great many of the entrants were sired by “Huddersfield Ben” or descendants of his. To complete the confusion, Mrs. Foster entered in “Toy Terriers”, Broken –Haired, under 5 pounds, three who did some winning-“Cobden”, “Little Kate” and “Tiny” all close descendants of Ben: While “Mozart”, had a pup by the name of “ Wallet” winning at  Nottingham in 1873 under the same category

     In other words puppies from the same litters might be shown as different breeds and be entered in different categories of the Stud Book. What a blessing to historians it would have been, if there had been a Kennel club on present day lines, but still we should be glad there is so much left of the old days.


     I would say that there are few better stock breeders than the Yorkshire man, and that the Scot is not far behind, What went on in their own kennels was their own business, but other blood other than the above must have been used to produce the present Marvel.  That the above was the foundation would appear to be beyond doubt when you study the “Official” records.

     In the Clyde Valley there was a dog called the Paisley Terrier and by some the Clydesdale Terrier and under the above name he was shown no later than 1902.  Now here is what a great authority on Terriers Says “It has been said that this Terrier was originally a cross between the ordinary Skye Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier but, though it is of quite modern origin, no proof had been produced when such crosses took place, or who made them. To my idea it is much more likely that the Yorkshire Terriers were produced from the Paisleys or Clydesdales”.

     This entirely agrees with my views, crossed with an original local terrier in Halifax and Bradford, as there must have been such there. It is alleged that the “Maltese” were also used- this is where the “Silver–Blue” comes from as opposed to the Steel Blue.  On the other hand, the Clydesdale was a soft coated Skye Terrier and its colour given as a level bright steel blue, the head, legs and feet a clear golden tan, free from soot or dark hairs. I wish you note the “sooty” and how that word comes into the standard of our yorkie. The parting of the coat (shedding in Scotland) extends from the head to the tail evenly down each side. What more tempting to infuse into the yorkie of that day, nameless then, like the Scottie.

    In my considered opinion is therefore that the Yorkie as it stands today , is a manufactured dog, and that the above is not far from the truth, if not the truth itself. It detracts nothing from the Great little fellow or those who produced him, but rather gives them credit that with  the material at hand, they have succeeded in such a short time in getting  the breed to come so true to type-Except in size, which in my view cannot be properly controlled  in any breed.


                                    The Rise of the Yorkshire Terrier


Prior to the year 1939, the year of the was, the average for the five years was 250 registrations per annum.  1939 gave 147, a drop.

1940 produced 47 the lowest ever and the worst was feared for the breed.

1941 gave 56 registrations and 1942-132 registrations

1943-236 registrations

1944-366 registrations

 1945 produced  479 . And then 1946 produced 727

 1947 produced  953 and the Yorkie was safe.

In 1948 registrations fell to 931 but in 1949 the registrations for the first time got into the four digits at 1,041.

1950  there were 1217 registrations, 1951-1,331,  1952 it dropped to 1,241, in 1953 went up seven to 1248  from then it kept rising. In 1955 registrations rose to 1,708.

1956 history was made as registrations reached 2,148, compared to 147 in 1939 you will see the  tremendous advance made in a little over 15 yrs

In 1957 registration again increased to 2,313, 1958- showed 2,824 registrations.

 In 1959 registrations rocketed to 3,244, and 1960 indeed brought to the top Britain’s own Toy Dog , the Yorkie at over 4,000. The average being 400 a month.

The Yorkshire Terrier, Hector Whitehead  Author



 Below is from the  Kennel Club Stud Book of 1874 by Frank C S Pearce

It is the entries of Broken haired and Yorkshire Terriers into the Stud Book




 parti yorkies, parti yorkies, parti yorkies, partiyorkies

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events