When many people think of "Yorkshire Terriers" they think of cute, little whispy dogs being carried around by women wearing high heels. I remember one time I was at Home Depot, and some folks were pushing a Yorkshire Terrier around in a shopping cart like their baby. (I think he was their pet, I don't believe Home Depot sells Yorkshire Terriers) Most folks would be shocked to discover the origins of Yorkshire Terriers. It might suprise you that they were originally bred to chase and kill mice and rats, and that a Yorkshire Terrier named "Smokey" was a famous war dog hero in World War II.
The Yorkshire Terrier or “Yorky” is a toy-sized breed in the terrier group of dogs. Their average height is around 6-7 inches and their weight ranges from 4-7 lbs. Smaller than average Yorkshire Terrier are called “teacup terriers”.
Originally the Yorkshire was by no means a Toy. His weight ran from 12 to 14 pounds. It was through selective breeding that the size has been scaled down. Some of this diminishing in size was accomplished within 20 years of the time the Yorkshire first came "recognized" as a breed. (around 1875) For some time, the breed did not run true to type, as dogs ranged from 2.75 - 14 pounds.
Yorkshire terriers have luxuriously long glossy fur which as a puppy is most often black, brown and tan but lightens considerably with age to a steely blue and tan color.
In spite of their small size. Yorkies are very brave, energetic, loyal, and adventuresome. They make outstanding companions especially with someone who is willing to become their “pack leader”. Yorkies have a tendency to become a bit bossy if not taught its boundaries and who is their leader. They are easy to train and are excellent house dogs. Yorkies are sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.
The Yorkshire Terrier was developed as a breed in northern England to work in the various mills, (clothing mills, not puppy mills) mines and factories as rat and mice exterminators. The breed was larger in its early history but has since been selectively bred to a considerably smaller size. The breed interestedly went from a dog to exterminate mice and rats to a fashion statement which ladies were known to tuck in their purses.
These little dogs were not always known as Yorkshire Terriers. They were first shown in England under the classification of "Broken-haired Scotch or Yorkshire Terriers." Along about 1870, Mozard, a son of Huddersfield Ben, won a first prize in the Variety Class at the Westmoreland show. Angus Sutherland, of Accrington, was the reporter who covered the show and one of his written comments read, "They ought no longer to be called Scoth Terriers but Yorkshire Terriers". The name caught on and was adopted.
Smokey the Yorkshire Terrier War Dog:
Smokey was discovered by American Soldiers on the front lines of battle in the New Guinea jungle, near Nadzab. Smokey did not seem to understand Japanese or English, so it has been a mystery how a purebred Yorkshire Terrier ended up on the front lines of the middle of nowwhere. William Wynne purchased Smokey for a sum of $2 from a friend who wanted to finish a poker game and needed money.
Travelling in a soldiers pack, Smokey went through 150 air raids, flew 12 air-sea rescue missions, and went through a typhoon at Okinawa. Thus she went through all the island hopping of the Pacific war. In the meantime, Wynne, who had no previous training experience, taught her to waltz, walk a tight rope, and jump through hoops, among other things.
The 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, Fifth Air Force, made a special parachute for the dog, and she learned to make jumps from a 30 foot tower. She ate C-Rations, Spam, took soliders viatiam pills and got her bath in Wynne's helmet.
Various outfits from Australia to Japan decorated her, and the medals were placed on her green blanket, which was made from the cloth of a card table. Yank magazine gave her the title of "Mascot of the South Pacific." Today there are 6 war memorials dedicated to Smokey in the United States.