They say that yorkie originate from Yorkshire and Lancashire counties of the northern part of England. This breed was extremely popular in 18-19 centuries in Yorkshire and was described as “little, grayish blue dog with semi-long hair”. These dogs were kept by peasants who were prohibited from keeping larger breeds of dogs so that the later wouldn’t destroy the crops in the fields which belong to the rich. The little dogs were guarding houses from mice and used to accompany their owners in trips along the sides of the rivers and channels, hence the original name of the breed – Waterside terrier.
Some specialists consider maltese to be the ancestors of yorkies, but the two breeds are very different: maltese have droopy ears and white hair. Yorkies were often interbred with maltese to improve the quality of hair and make it silky and smooth. The fact that lighter colored yorkies have very good quality hair, probably proves the theory of yorkies being interbred with maltese.
In the end of 18th century when the Industrial revolution began, many people were moving closer to cities to the west of the county in search for jobs, and so were the people in Scotland. They would bring their own dogs with them, which back in those times were called Scotch Terriers, which lay the beginning of such breeds as Paisley Terrier, Sky Terrier and, apparently, those breeds took part in development of Yorkshire Terriers. In Manchester, there was another type of a terrier – Manchester terrier which has silky and smooth hair. All those breeds were the ancestors of the present day yorkies.
Breeding of yorkies is believed to have been accomplished by weavers at new factories. The hair of those dogs turned out very soft and silky, blueish steel in color with golden and brown accents. Yorkies of those times were larger than the ones nowadays, they weighed about 14 to 16 pounds. This breed very soon gained its vast popularity and became people’s favorites.
The breed was acknowledges by the Kennel Club in 1886 and was added to the studbook. The first Kennel Club of Yorkshire Terriers originated in 1898.
One of the fist most popular representatives of the breed was Huddersfield Ben. He was born in Huddersfield by Eastwood in 1865 and was sold to Mrs M. A. Foster from Bradford. Ben was the result of inbreeding of two of his ancestors. When Ben was 6 years old, he tragically dies by being run by a carriage and pair. Within the span of his short life, Ben managed to win 74 prizes in different shows and competitions. Ben left a lot of get-up and is still considered to be the father of the breed.