Yippee, Yorkies!

Pint-sized pilots!


Small, sassy and scrappy, Yorkshire Terriers are absolutely stunning little dogs with big personalities!

 

As expected by the hint in the name, they originated in Yorkshire in the 18th century. Despite their later association with the upper class, they were originally bred by cotton and woollen mill workers. These hard workers wanted to develop a highly intelligent ratting terrier, to help protect product from rodents.
They bred black and tan terriers with the now extinct Paisley terrier and also the Clydesdale terrier.

 

Details and documents from this time period are scarce but it is believed that these breeds themselves all originally came from the Scotch terrier, which is different to the “Scottie” we know today. This particular breed was named the Yorkshire terrier because of how well the terriers bred from that region performed.

 

The look of the breed was not exactly uniform however, and the records for this are a mess, with almost every dog that even remotely resembled a terrier, being claimed as a Yorkshire, due to the demand.
However in the late 1860s, a beautiful Paisley type Yorkie named Huddersfield Ben was exhibited at a dog show by his owner, Mary Ann Foster. This dog was considered to be the “most perfect” example of what the Yorkie breed should be, and his size, height, hair etc was used to help determine if all other Yorkies were true Yorkies or not.

 

Ben was put to stud, siring hundreds of pups, and to this day he is considered the “father” of the breed.

 

Little Yorkies are a popular breed, with their small size and affectionate, laid-back personality being desirable traits. This makes them a good choice for the elderly as they love their home comforts such as a warm lap to lounge on and are very happy to potter around a garden or go for short walks.

 

Yorkshire terriers tend to like being pampered, with many enjoying being groomed and brushed. Their silky soft coats come in a mix of colours such as grey, tan and black. According to the Kennel Club breed standard, the coat can be allowed to grow out to a good length, and parted down the middle, however it should not be allowed to grow so long that it impedes movement. In accordance with the breed standard guidelines, in adult Yorkies, no black hairs should be intermingled with the tan hair. Instead each colour section should be clearly defined.

 

Despite being small in stature, these plucky little dogs are full of heart. In 1944, a young Yorkie was found by an American solder in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. Naming her Smoky, soldiers believed that she came from a nearby Japanese camp but soon realised that she didn’t understand any commands in Japanese or English.
Corporal William Wynne kept her in his company and for 2 years, Smoky backpacked through the rest of the war, accompanying her owner on combat flights in the Pacific, often sleeping in a spare helmet.

 

She was a hardy girl, surviving without any veterinary assistance or dog food, sharing Wynne’s C-rations and the occasional tin of SPAM. She even adapted to running on coral for 4 months without any injury to her paws or indeed, any discomfort, unlike some other military dogs.

 

She was fiercely loyal to her owner, and flew with him in a dozen sea and air rescue and reconnaissance missions, spending her flight time dangling in a soldier’s pack near machine guns used to ward off enemy fighters.

 

Smoky was awarded 8 battle stars, survived 150 air raids and made it through a typhoon in Okinawa! She even parachuted 30 feet out of a tree! She saved her owner’s life when she warned him of incoming shells on a transport ship and on another occasion, also dragged at his trousers, guiding him away from a fire that would take the lives of eight men that he had been standing near.

 

After the war, Wynne and Smoky spent ten years travelling the world, showcasing her repertoire of tricks throughout Hollywood. Smoky performed in 42 live television shows and her range of tricks was so extensive that she never repeated a single one in any show.

 

Smoky passed away at the age of 14, and was buried in a 30 calibre ammunition box. Smoky is documented as the first ever recorded therapy dog, accompanying nurses on their rounds and spending several nights in injured soldiers beds, offering them comfort.

 

You may not have another Smoky on your hands, but we love all Yorkies, whether they can sleep for 14 hours a day or whether they can parachute 30 feet!

 

РWritten by Peigí Conneff
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