Firstly, you need to know one thing - you shall fall madly in love, he will simply conquer your heart by force. Although you may be thoroughly opposed, given half the opportunity to come a little bit closer so you can get to know him, believe us: you will be lost!!!

In his land of origin, England, he belongs – because of his small size – to the TOY's but in the rest of Europe he belongs to the TERRIER-Group!

As the name says, the origin lies in Yorkshire, an Earldom in the north of England, close to the Scottish border. Around 1785, during the Industrial Revolution, the first weaving-mills came into existence. Countless miners and weavers, especially from Scotland, came into the region, where formerly the bulk of the land was being worked by farmers and small homestead holders with large families. Most of the smaller towns and boroughs where not prepared for such a mass influx.

It is not surprising that, very rapidly, both the living areas of the working people, and the poor at the outskirts of town, became over-populated. At a time, where there were no sanitation provisions, the foundation was laid for an explosion of rats and mice (and other vermin) which were a very real threat to the health of the population.

Some of the newcomer families had brought little dogs with them, quite different in size and looks, some even had long hair, but all had one thing in common: they where brave, dapper, watchful, self-possessed  and with an unerring instinct for hunting!!

It was soon noted, that these small Terriers (terra = earth) where excellent as rat and mice catchers. Because of their small size and little weight they only needed very little food, just a few scraps. This was another plus point.

With a defined sense for the dual purpose of beauty and functionality, those people began to carefully select and cross-breed the terriers. That is how, genetically, the foundation was reached. In 1865, Huddersfield Ben was born and registered. He is known as the progenitor of all Yorkshire Terriers. “ Ben ” won many prizes at exhibitions, and was also extremely proficient in the ‘rat killing competitions’ that were popular at the time.

Ben also gained a reputation for his extraordinary quality as a genetically strong father of an entirely new breed. Through a tragic accident Huddersfield Ben found an untimely death on September 26. 1871, but not without putting his stamp on the breed forever.

After more than two centuries of breeding, our modern-day Yorkies retain the true terrier characteristics of their ancestors.


©Beate Ackermann

Translation into english by Carol Campbell , 2008