The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, the Halifax Blue-and-Tan Terrier, the Yorkshire Blue-and-Tan Terrier and the Yorkie, became best known as a fashionable tiny accessory in the mid-1800s. However, its true origins lie with England’s working class, particularly with miners and weavers who immigrated to England from Scotland in the mid-19th century, where it was a prized ratter. Today’s Yorkie is exclusively a charming companion and a competitive show dog and is one of the world’s most popular of all breeds. It has been described as being fearless, bossy, dynamic, intelligent and lively. When gaiting, a Yorkie gives the impression of being “mounted on wheels,” because its feet typically are not visible under its extremely long, flowing coat. Too much coddling can lead to neurotic behaviors, such as barking and aggression, and Yorkies can be somewhat difficult to housetrain.
One particular account involving a Yorkshire Terrier helped to endear the breed to millions of people. During World War II, an American soldier named William Wynne reportedly found a tiny Yorkie bitch in a shell hole near the Japanese line in New Guinea. Wynne named her “Smokey.” Smokey apparently rode in Wynne’s backpack and accompanied him on 150 air raids and 12 air-sea rescue missions before the war ended. According to one author: “Yorkshire Terriers have occupied almost every environment with style and moxy, from the mine shafts of northern England to the trenches of World War II to the halls of the White House in the United States, where Richard Nixon’s Yorkie, Pasha, was a regular visitor.” The Yorkshire Terrier was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group in 1885.