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What Were Yorkshire Terriers Bred For? Surprising Facts!

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Have you thought about what were Yorkshire terriers bred for? Sometimes we just ignore their origins because we just tend to forget them. And as a pet owners, we tend to marvel at their cuteness and short stature. Because who can’t resist the charm of a Yorkshire Terrier, right? After all, they are so lovable that they are an excellent part of the family, and also a perfect choice for those who are allergic to dog hair.

Also, it’s a great thing to know about this certain dog breed because it adds a new understanding of how Yorkies become what they are today. They are remarkable in their distinctive features such as glossy, golden colored, dainty, and long coats. These certain breeds may be small but they have immense energy levels and high prey drive due to their natural instinct. In fact, they are among the 9th most popular dog breed in the world according to AKC.

In this article, we will attempt to dive deep and bring some interesting history and uncover the question of what were Yorkshire terriers bred for. So, read this article until the end and you will learn more about this breed.

A Brief History of the Yorkshire — What Were Yorkshire Terriers Bred For?

A Brief History of the YorkshireWhat Were Yorkshire Terriers Bred For?

Did you know that these dogs used to be bred to catch some rats in the Yorkshire mills and mines during the age of the Industrial Revolution? It was the workers from Scotland that traveled to Yorkshire to job hunt and hopefully get some work in the mines and mills. They brought various small terriers as their companions.

Hence, we can conclude that the name Yorkshire Terrier has been invented. Although there are no detailed records that exactly point to the creation of Yorkshire Terriers, but some have pointed out that they are somehow linked to Paisley, Clydesdale, and Skye Terriers which are connected through their ancestry.

Besides being adept at rat hunting skills of northern England, their bravery and small stature allowed them to also hunt another species. They are times that Yorkies used in hunting to enter the dens of their prey such as badgers and foxes. And it was completely changed when the Victorian era came.

They became a desirable dogs among the royalty and even in the upper classes. The reason being is due to their small stature and very adorable face which were so trendy during those days. Another factor that they become a well-loved dog is their distinctive glossy and long coat compared to other toy dogs. In addition, Yorkies are another symbol of wealth and class.

Fast forward to the present day, Yorkies are among the popular toy dog breeds in the world, especially in the United Kingdom, Australia, America, and others else.

Can you imagine how fierce they were back then but now they look so adorable and like an angel? It’s simply beyond imagination but it is evident in their high levels of energy and high prey drive especially when you are playing with your Yorkie outside. And as they say, Yorkies are small in size but big in personality. But that’s how they came to be and no wonder why they act like the way they act today.


As previously mentioned, Yorkshire Terriers may be small but they have a big personalities. They love to get along with their pet parents and cherish relationships. Although they are careful towards other dogs and strangers, which earned them the reputation of yapping.

One of the best training for them is to train them how to bark given that they are known to bark a lot. And it can be annoying to you and your neighbors especially if you live in an apartment. Also, never underestimate them because they are also somewhat notorious for picking fights with other dogs. That’s why it’s recommended to socialize them as early as possible.

Given their history of being ratters in the mills and mines, they have a high prey drive. As a result, they love chasing balls, toys, squeaky things, and other things to scamper about. Also, outdoor activities are their second nature, and love to be with their pet parent especially if it’s a walk in the park.

This is why they are always curious, adventurous, and sometimes mischievous. What makes them fascinating is that they can turn into a fierce mode when protecting their territory (your home) to being the nicest and fun little playmate. However, in some cases, they are a bit sensitive and much aware of their surroundings. Interestingly enough, they can read your emotion very well.

Even with those mischievous and being fierce, majority of the Yorkie’s personality has some soft spots. They are very loving little furry friends and they love attention, very much. They don’t want to be left alone and they can develop separation anxiety if they are constantly left alone. They needed to have a company all the time. In addition, they are sociable canine that loves some activities each day.

Health Concerns For Yorkshire Terriers

Just like any other dog breed, Yorkshire Terriers have certain health concerns to watch out for. Although Yorkies are generally healthy and they have a long lifespan that ranges from 12 to 15 years. And yet they are not exempt from some health issues and they are prone to diseases that are inherited.

That’s why it’s important to know some of them. Because every breed has its own health concerns. Knowing them even just basic knowledge is better than having no prior knowledge. So, here are some of the health concerns that Yorkies have and you should be aware of.


If you are the type of pet owner who chooses a high-fat diet, you may want to slow down and rethink your dog’s diet. Because any excess in the high-fat diet can lead to pancreatitis. And take note, this is an extremely common case and alarming in a Yorkie.

Basically, pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Sometimes it’s mild but over time, they slowly develop and can become a serious problem for your Yorkshire Terrier which can then lead to life-threatening illness.

Among the common cause of this is your kibble food. This is because some commercially manufactured dog foods are processed over to the point it loses some natural enzymes which is needed to support digestion.

Therefore, you need to make sure that the dog food you buy is all-natural and free from too many additives because in the long they can destroy your dog’s health.

Among the common symptoms, you should be aware of are: lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and others

Liver shunt

Liver shunts are usually caused by a birth defect. This happens while the puppy is still in a developing fetus inside the womb of the mother dog, and that a portion of the puppy’s liver is not properly sealed and closed. Just like for humans, having a good liver for dogs is important.

They are a crucial component that distributes and processes protein, they are also in charge of removing toxins in the blood.

In addition, they act as a storage for sugar. This requires proper blood flow in order to make sure everything is alright. So, if your little pooch has a liver shunt, their life can’t function properly which is a very unfortunate thing to happen.

Also, because your dog has a liver shunt, the liver can’t detox properly, allowing the toxins to escape freely and they can go up to the brain and can affect your dog’s central nervous system.

As a result, your dog might experience, extremely weak, vomiting, unresponsive for certain times, and the worst case is seizures. Liver shunts can also affect the growth development of your dog. They will have poor muscle tone, lacing nutrients, and they can’t grow just like the normal Yorkies do.

Periodontal disease

Although most dog breeds are likely to experience periodontal disease especially if there is a lack of proper dental care. But in the case of Yorkshire Terriers, they may have a slight chance of developing such disease compared to other dogs.

This is because Yorkies have small jaws and they have overcrowded teeth. As a result, this can lead to tartar and plague disease and eventually can lead to decay. What’s worse is that this can spread to other organs which can become serious and life-threatening if left untreated.

Among the common symptoms of periodontal disease are teeth loss, inflamed or swollen gums, bad breath (halitosis), to name a few.

Although periodontal may be harmful over time but preventing it is fairly easy. What you just need to do is to brush your Yorkie’s teeth each day. You can also give him dental treats for additional cleaning but don’t remove the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth.

Doing this on a regular basis will make sure your dog’s teeth will be well taken care of. Also, it’s much better to have your Yorkie’s teeth get cleaned by a professional even once a year.

Legg-Perthes disease

Legg-Perthes disease targets the dg’s hip joints. in which the femur bone on the part begins to weaken. This is a type of disease that occurs in dogs ages four to 12 months.

It’s not a common occurrence to any dogs but this does not mean it won’t be acquired. Because it can still acquire. Unfortunately, the root cause is still unknown, although researchers pointed out that it can be from genetics.

Among the common symptoms of this are: lameness, loss of muscle, joint function are weakened, and inability to carry weight.

Sadly, Legg-Perthes disease can’t heal on its own. Instead, it can be treated through the use of pain medication. But if it’s a serious case, your dog might require surgery in order to remove the affected area. However, there’s good news, once your dog has undergone surgery, it can achieve full recovery without feeling any pain.

So, be sure to regularly schedule a check-up with your vet. Because it’s an extremely useful way on how to identify your dog’s underlying health issues which can be prevented at an early age. Yes, it can be costly but think about your dog’s health and well being which is your obligation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are Yorkies known for?

A: Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest and cutest dog breeds. They are highly active and fond of attention. Also, they were considered a symbol of wealth in the Victorian England which makes them famous up until now. Although, what makes them highly active and having a big personality is because they were bred to catch rats in the mills and mines of Yorkshire during the age of the Industrial Revolution. This was their original “occupation” before becoming famous in the English royalty and the upper-class society.

Q: Why are Yorkies so annoying?

A: Yorkies both admired and hated for some reasons. They are admired because they are small in size, have glossy hair, length floor coats, and are energetic. This makes them so famous and lovable in every family gaining the one of the popular dog breeds in the world. However, they are hated because of their yappy bark.

They will bark to the point you are going to be annoyed especially if you are a stranger to the dog. However, this seems a bit a generalized notion about Yorkies. Each Yorkies are different from each others and when properly socialized, they are completely different that are far from being hated. Sometimes it just depends on the Yorkshire Terrier.

Final Thoughts

We hope we provided you some answers and some additional information with regards to Yorkshire Terriers. Know that you know that these Yorkies are bred to catch rats, and they even catch other prey, maybe it makes sense to you why they are very energetic especially when you play with them. Knowing these facts will just increase your affection towards Yorkies. Given that you know what were Yorkshire Terriers bred for, you also know what are their personality, and even their common health concerns. That said, this is a great overview if you are just about to get a Yorkie.

Recommended reads: 5 Best Training Treats For Yorkies – Perfect For Picky Eaters!

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