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14 Fascinating Yorkshire Terrier Facts For All Dog Lovers

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

puppy dog Biewer Yorkshire Terrier

14 Fascinating Yorkshire Terrier Facts For All Dog Lovers

Yorkshire Terriers are incredibly intelligent, feisty beyond their size, and some of the most playful dogs you’re likely ever to meet. But don’t let their small size or regal look fool you! The Yorkshire Terrier is a storied breed with some serious street cred in the canine world.

Read on to be amazed and enchanted by the following 15 fascinating Yorkshire Terrier facts!

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The 14 Fascinating Yorkshire Terrier Facts

1. The First Therapy Dog Was a Yorkshire Terrier Named Smoky

In World War II, an American soldier went into battle with his dog, Smoky, a Yorkie. Amazingly, Smoky was involved in 12 combat missions and survived all of them, giving great relief to the soldiers in the field.

Smoky also survived over 150 air raids during the war and was credited with securing the successful construction of an airbase towards the end of the conflict. Smoky eventually became so famous that six memorials in the United States were dedicated in her honor.

2. Yorkshire Terriers Were Bred to Catch Rats

The Yorkshire Terrier is an unassuming little dog that looks like it wouldn’t (and couldn’t) hurt a fly. However, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Yorkies were bred to catch rats, especially in coal mines and mills. Coal miners took Yorkshire Terriers with them down into mines to get rid of the rats and keep mice under control.

Because they were so small, it was easy to carry them from the surface down into the mine and back again. Yorkshire Terriers on farms were just as helpful by keeping the mouse population under control and rats away.

Yorkie dog in grass
Image By: Amber Earnest; Shutterstock

3. Yorkshire Terriers Almost Always Have Tan Faces

While Yorkies come in various color combinations like black & tan, steel grey & tan, and steel blue & tan, almost all of them, no matter the body color, have tan faces. Most Yorkshire Terriers also have tan legs and a marking on their backs that looks like a saddle.

4. Yorkies With Long Fur Must Be Brushed Daily

While they look like they don’t need a lot of maintenance, Yorkshire Terriers require regular brushing. Daily brushing keeps the coat healthy and prevents mats and tangles.

The fact is, Yorkshire Terriers have hair that’s very similar to humans and, if it’s not kept under control, can become a terrible mess in a short amount of time.

5. Yorkshire Terriers Don’t Shed

One of the traits that many people love about the Yorkshire Terrier is that they don’t shed like most dogs. The reason, as mentioned earlier, is that Yorkshire Terriers have hair that’s almost identical to human hair. It keeps growing until it dies and falls out, and a new strand starts to grow.

Sure, a few hairs might fall out every day, but nothing like a dog that sheds handfuls of fur.

6. Most Yorkies Are Fully Grown at 1 Year of Age

Although all dogs are different, most take 18 to 24 months to reach their full adult size. However, because they’re such a tiny breed of dog, Yorkshire Terriers only take 12 months, sometimes even less, to reach their adult size.

They might not have the temperament and maturity of an adult dog at that time, but they won’t grow any larger.

Yorkie Russell standing on grass
Image By: Natali12389, Shutterstock

7. Yorkshire Terriers Only Have One Approved Color

Although Yorkshire Terriers come in several colors, only one, a brown coat with a blue saddle, is approved by the AKC. Veterinarians say that a Yorkshire Terrier’s coat takes about 3 years to come in completely, so knowing if your Yorkie will be the approved color when it’s a puppy isn’t easy.

A Yorkie that’s any other color combination is called a “parti-color” Yorkie.

8. A Yorkshire Terrier Lived in the White House

While President Richard Nixon was in office in the 1970s, his daughter, Patricia, owned a Yorkshire Terrier named Pasha. Pasha the Yorkie lived in the White House the entire time Nixon was there.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of the 45th president, also owned a Yorkshire Terrier but not while her father was in the White House.

9. The Smallest Dog Ever Recorded Was a Yorkshire Terrier

In 1945 a Yorkshire Terrier named Sylvia was recorded as being 2.5 inches tall at her shoulders and, from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail, 3.5 inches. Sylvia also weighed a whopping total of 4 ounces, making her the smallest dog ever recorded.

In the Guinness Book of World Records, several Yorkies have held the title of “world’s smallest dog” also.

10. Yorkshire Terriers Became Popular Thanks to Audrey Hepburn

In the 1950s and 1960s, famous movie star Audrey Hepburn helped introduce Yorkies to the world when she took hers, Mr. Famous, to parties and media events. Mr. Famous also shared a magazine cover with Hepburn and was even in one of her movies, 1957’s Funny Face.

Yorkshire Terrier standing on the pavement
Image By: Josep Monter Martinez, Pixabay

11. Yorkies Make Excellent Watchdogs

All dogs have good hearing, but Yorkshire Terriers have exceptional hearing and are remarkable watchdogs. A Yorkie will hear someone or something long before its humans will and start barking a warning.

Of course, one of the most significant difficulties with Yorkshire Terriers is that they tend to bark excessively, which could be problematic in some situations.

12. Yorkshire Terriers Are #13 in the United States

The Yorkshire Terrier is the #13 most popular dog breed in the US as of 2022. That puts them in good company with other fantastic dogs like the Golden Retriever, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepherd, and Bulldog, among others.

Yorkshire Terriers have long been among the most popular dog breeds in the United States and are typically in the Top 20 every year.

13. Yorkies Are Very Stubborn

Although intelligent, most people find Yorkshire Terriers a little bit difficult to train because they’re incredibly stubborn. This stubbornness sometimes gets in the way of training, so it’s recommended that you be persistent and keep up their training until your Yorkie obeys your commands, is well-behaved, and barks less frequently.

14. Yorkshire Terriers Were Officially Recognized by the AKC in 1885

After being introduced in the United States in 1872, the Yorkshire Terrier was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885. The first Yorkshire Terrier registered by the AKC was a female named Bella.

yorkshire terrier dog standing on grass
Image By: Steve Bruckmann, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed the 14 fascinating Yorkshire Terrier facts we’ve presented today and now have a better idea about the type of dog the Yorkie truly is. They may be small and look dainty, but the average Yorkshire Terrier is a brave, outgoing fighter with a spunky personality and a heart that belies its small stature.

If you’re looking for a wonderful, pint-sized companion who will be your fast friend forever, a Yorkie is an excellent choice.

Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Khoruzhaia, Shutterstock

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