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Top 10 what were yorkies bred to do You Need To Know

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Yorkies Bred For? – Past Jobs, Roles & History

Yorkies are always full of energy, though maintaining a loving and spirited attitude. These toy dogs have a personality that few people can resist. But with their fun-loving temperaments and petite size, you may wonder what Yorkies were bred for.

Yorkies were originally bred for “ratting,” where these dogs would catch rats in the mills and mines of northern England. Eventually, these skills led them into hunting small game, where Yorkies would borrow underground to chase down foxes and badgers. From there, they eventually evolved into the loving companions we know today.

The history of the Yorkie is an interesting one. It’s astonishing just how much the roles and jobs of these dogs have changed throughout the years. From ratting to hunting and companionship, Yorkies did it all! Read on to learn more about the Yorkie’s history.

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What Yorkies Were Originally Bred To Do

We measure a Yorkie's intelligence based on working and obedience intelligence.

Yorkies are very small dogs. In fact, the typical Yorkie will grow no more than 9 inches tall and weigh between 5 and 7 pounds! You must be wondering how such tiny dogs can possibly have any “job” or role in society.

Well, there’s more to the Yorkshire Terrier than meets the eye. In the past, these toy dogs were feisty, confident and brave. Plus, they had no idea how small they were. That being said, let’s look at all the jobs of these sassy lap dogs.

Yorkies Bred as Ratting Dogs

The original purpose of the Yorkshire Terrier was for ratting. These dogs were unleashed into primarily coal mines and mills, where they would skillfully track and hunt down these annoying pests. It was an important canine job back then.

In the mid 1800’s, rat infestation was a big problem. Not only did rats carry deadly diseases but also destroyed crops and generally made life very difficult for businesses all throughout England. The solution was a ratting dog.

This period was when the Yorkshire Terrier was born. These dogs were developed for the sole purpose of dealing with rats. And surprisingly, they were some of the best at their jobs. They’re small enough to get through cracks, but also had strong prey drive.

Keep in mind, the Yorkshire Terrier wasn’t always this small. Instead, they were much bigger back in the days when they were used as ratting dogs. It’s similar to how the Pomeranians were once big enough to actually pull sleds.

Yorkshire Terriers were so good at ratting that even the working class brought them home to deal with their own rat problem. And in more rural areas, a “community ratting dog” was used for the entire village.

Because Yorkies were so successful at rat hunting, they had developed instincts and skills that would let them seamlessly transition into hunting larger game.

Yorkies Bred as Fierce Hunting Dogs

If you didn’t know, you probably would have never guessed Yorkshires were also bred to hunt. Given the size of a rat, it’s believable that they once hunted vermin. However, did you know Yorkies hunted small game as well?

It’s true. Yorkies had all the components to take down badgers and foxes. They had a certain fierceness to them and sky-high confidence in their abilities. And despite their small stature, they were courageous dogs too.

According to historic documents, they simply loved the thrill of hunting, and would never back down no matter how much bigger the prey was. This is what’s called the prey drive or instincts, which can still be seen in these dogs today.

How Yorkies hunted small game was relatively simple. After having tracked down the prey, the Yorkie chases the animal (likely into the prey’s burrow). The hunters would then dig open the burrow entrance as much as they could.

And because these dogs were small, some hunters would release them into the underground burrows to flush out the game. As soon as they pop out, the hunters grab the animal and put them in their secured carriers.

This type of hunting is rare these days and it’s likely you’ll never get to see your Yorkie hunt like this. But if you’re curious, here’s a video of a badger being flushed out of a burrow by a dog:

Yorkies as Rat Baiting Dogs

Unfortunately, even the small Yorkshire Terriers were subject to the cruel blood sport, that is, rat-baiting. Similar to how Pit Bulls and Bulldogs were forced into bull-baiting, Yorkies also had a part in the killing of rats for sport.

This blood sport involves placing Yorkies in an enclosed sunken pit that’s surrounded by rats. Spectators gathered around the pit and placed their bets. Attendees would bet on how long a Yorkie would take to kill all the rats of the pit.

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It’s not a pleasant sight. Yorkies would chase down rats, pin them down and ruthlessly shake them to death while in their mouths. More often than not, at least two dogs would compete and spectators picked their dogs.

This senseless violent sport was not exclusive to Yorkies. In fact, many dog breeds (mostly terriers) participated in both rat and bull-baiting, such as the Rat Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Bull Terrier, Fox Terrier and many more.

With the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, the UK Parliament had essentially banned the baiting of large animals, including bulls and bears. But despite the act’s purpose of protecting animals, the law was not enforced for rats.

After the act, rat-baiting had exploded in the popularity within the country. So much so, that it’s estimated London had at least 70 rat pits going on at one time. And while rat-baiting has been long since banned, it is still legal in some countries.

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire terriers were not always like the ones you see today. In fact, it wasn’t until many iterations of breeding that we developed this cute little toy dog perfect for your lap. There’s plenty of history behind these dogs.

Ancestor Terriers From Scotland

Due to the industrial revolution & boom of the mid 19th century, mills began popping up in Yorkshire, England. As a result, a flood of new workers from Scotland migrated to northern England in search of new opportunity.

A good amount of Scottish immigrants had brought their companion dogs with them, which were mostly small terriers. For example, many had with them the Paisley Terrier, Skye Terrier, Waterside Terrier and others.

It seems that no one can’t make up their mind about which dog breed the Yorkshire Terrier was primarily developed with. Many suspect the primarily breed was the Waterside Terrier (now called the Airedale Terrier).

We don’t know for sure which terriers actually contributed to the development of the Yorkshire Terrier. However, plenty or people believe that it was a combination of these various terrier-types brought from Scotland.

The Debut & Name

It wasn’t until 1861 that the Yorkshire Terrier made it’s debut to the world at a bench show. When they were first introduced, they were called the “Broken-haired Scotch Terrier” due to their Scottish origins and silky textured coat.

For nearly a decade they were called that name. Others also called them the “Rough Coated Toy Terrier” or the “Broken Haired Toy Terrier.”

Around 1870, a reporter commented saying that they should be called the “Yorkshire Terrier” because the terrier had changed much since first debuting. And from then on, the name stuck and they were thus called the “Yorkie” for short.

Back then, there was a lot of confusion about the breed. There simply was no strict standard for the Yorkies yet. In fact, any dog breed that resembled the appearance of the Yorkshire was considered one.

If the dog was in the shape of a terrier with a long coat, the proper colors, docked tail and ears, then they were automatically labeled as Yorkshire Terriers. It’s very similar to how pitbull-looking dogs in shelters are falsely labeled as pits despite no genetic connection.

The “Father of the Yorkie”

It wasn’t until the late 1860s that the standard for the Yorkshire Terrier took a huge leap forward. A show dog by the name of Huddersfield Ben became extremely popular while touring shows throughout Great Britain.

Huddersfield was a superstar dog during his time. Not only did he win multiple show awards everywhere he went, but also won several rat-baiting events too. Huddersfield did it all and as such, captured the hearts of Great Britain’s dog enthusiasts.

Huddersfield Ben was the best stud dog of his breed during his lifetime, and one of the most remarkable dogs of any pet breed that ever lived.

– George Earl (Painter & Terrier Enthusiast)

With all that fame and glory, Huddersfield Ben inevitably became the standard for the Yorkie. The dog quickly became the ideal family dog that everyone wanted. And from the puppies of Huddersfield, the breed we know today as the Yorkshire Terrier was born.

For this reason, Huddersfield Ben is still called the “father of the Yorkshire Terrier.” He had the irresistible Yorkie charm and the silky smooth coat. And without him, we could be talking about a very different Yorkie today.

Yorkshires in America

The Yorkshire Terrier eventually made its way to North America, where they exploded in popularity. Since 2013, the Yorkie has been on the American Kennel Club’s top 10 most popular dog breeds list.

This makes them the single most popular toy dog breed in America. And in the small dogs category, only the French Bulldog is more popular (and not by much). But how exactly did the Yorkshire Terrier make it’s way to America?

Unlike other European breeds, the Yorkie was introduced to North America shortly after the standard was developed (in 1872). Even so, it wasn’t until 1885 that the first Yorkie was officially registered with the AKC.

The Yorkshire Terrier had its ups and downs in North America. By the 1940s, the popularity of Yorkies had slumped to it’s all-time lows. With the growing popularity of big dog breeds, the slump was as expected.

However, during World War II, a Yorkie named Smoky served as a war dog and became an instant hit around the USA. Despite being just 4 pounds and 7 inches tall, he was “serving” the country in war.

An American soldier, named Bill Wynne, found Smoky in an abandoned foxhole somewhere in the jungles of New Guinea. For the following years in the world war, the Yorkie followed him everywhere in his backpack.

He was so popular at the time, it’s believed he was the sole reason for the resurgence of the Yorkshire Terrier. As a matter of fact, there’s even a memoir about Smoky and Wynne, called Yorkie Doodle Dandy.

What Yorkies Are Bred For Today

The Yorkshire Terrier has come a long way since the mid 19th century. Not only do they look different (they’re much smaller), but their temperaments aren’t exactly the same either. They’re the same, but different.

It’s safe to say that hunting, ratting and rat-baiting are all roles of the past for the Yorkie. Rather, they’re bred solely as top companions and lap dogs today. They also make some of the best playmates for older children.

Still, these dogs have retained some characteristics and traits from their old days. Given the array of roles and jobs they had, it’s easy to see why they’re such energetic, feisty, clever and confident dogs. And of course, adaptability was a must.

Teddy, our Yorkie, is a sweetheart. But I think he is very prey driven. He’ll always go for the final kill. Not even flies are safe around him.

– Maximo (Yorkie owner)

Some Yorkies can show aggression towards smaller animals, such as guinea pigs, hamsters or small cats. But this is just all part of the strong prey-instincts they once had as a legitimate hunting dog and premier ratting dog.

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It’s hard to stop this natural instinct of your Yorkshire Terrier. The most you can do is to try to socialize your Yorkie with these animals very early on. But, you’ll still need to be careful when they’re with small pets or kids.

Overall, the Yorkshire Terrier has become a very easy companion to take care of, as they are bred for today. They don’t really shed (great hypoallergenic dogs) and require minimal exercise. Yorkies are really the perfect dog for any family!

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Extra Information About what were yorkies bred to do That You May Find Interested

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What Were Yorkies Bred For? - Past Jobs, Roles & History

What Were Yorkies Bred For? – Past Jobs, Roles & History

  • Author: thesmartcanine.com

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  • Sumary: Ever wondered what Yorkies were bred to do? Discover the past history & jobs of Yorkshire terriers. READ HERE.

  • Matching Result: Yorkies were originally bred for “ratting,” where these dogs would catch rats in the mills and mines of northern England. Eventually, these …

  • Intro: What Were Yorkies Bred For? – Past Jobs, Roles & History Yorkies are always full of energy, though maintaining a loving and spirited attitude. These toy dogs have a personality that few people can resist. But with their fun-loving temperaments and petite size, you may wonder what Yorkies were bred for. Yorkies were originally bred for “ratting,” where these dogs would catch rats in the mills and mines of northern England. Eventually, these skills led them into hunting small game, where Yorkies would borrow underground to chase down foxes and badgers. From there, they eventually evolved into the loving companions…
  • Source: https://thesmartcanine.com/what-yorkies-bred-for/

What Were Yorkies Bred For? Original Job, Roles and History

What Were Yorkies Bred For? Original Job, Roles and History

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  • Sumary: Key Points: Yorkies were bred in the 1800s to catch rats in mills and mines during a rat infestation in Northern England.Known for their long, silky hair, Yorkies shed very little and produce minimum dander – making the breed a popular pet for people…

  • Matching Result: Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to hunt rats. Despite being dainty, they’re known for being feisty and bold.

  • Intro: What Were Yorkies Bred For? Original Job, Roles and History Key Points:Yorkies were bred in the 1800s to catch rats in mills and mines during a rat infestation in Northern England.Known for their long, silky hair, Yorkies shed very little and produce minimum dander – making the breed a popular pet for people with allergies.Although petite, Yorkies are a ball of energy. Known to be feisty and domineering, they are also affectionate and can often demand a lot of attention.When Yorkies were first introduced, they were called “Broken-haired Scotch Terriers” because of their Scottish ancestry. It wasn’t until 1861 that…
  • Source: https://a-z-animals.com/blog/what-were-yorkies-bred-for-original-job-roles-and-history/

A Brief History of the Yorkshire Terrier - Culture Trip

A Brief History of the Yorkshire Terrier – Culture Trip

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  • Sumary: Are you a dog lover? Even if you’re not, you’ll be enthralled by the history of the Yorkshire Terrier!

  • Matching Result: Due to their small size, Yorkshire Terriers were initially bred to catch rats in Yorkshire mills and mines during the Industrial Revolution.

  • Intro: A Brief History of the Yorkshire TerrierYorkshire Terrier | © Wikimedia CommonsYorkshire’s most famous breed of dog is one of the smallest and cutest in the world. Who isn’t charmed when they meet a tiny Yorkshire Terrier? The perfect pet for families, an excellent choice for those who are allergic to dog hair, and one of the cleverest breeds there is – the Yorkshire terrier is an excellent choice for dog lovers. But where did they originate from?Due to their small size, Yorkshire Terriers were initially bred to catch rats in Yorkshire mills and mines during the Industrial Revolution. During…
  • Source: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/england/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-yorkshire-terrier/

Origin & History of the Yorkshire Terrier - Yorkie Info Center

Origin & History of the Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkie Info Center

  • Author: yorkieinfocenter.com

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  • Sumary: Learn about the Yorkshire Terrier ancestors and Yorkie origin. This history of how this dog breed turned from a ratter hunting dog to a lovable lap dog companion.

  • Matching Result: The Yorkie was very skilled at hunting down animals that lived in dens and burrows hidden on the forest floor. Hunters would carry the Yorkie in their pockets …

  • Intro: Origin & History of the Yorkshire Terrier Overview The history of this gorgeous breed is interesting, and as many owners know, the location of this dog’s history lends its name to the breed.Several small Terrier breeds combined to create the Yorkie breed.First known as the Broken Haired Scotch Terrier and then as the Toy Terrier, the Yorkie finally was given the official name as the Yorkshire Terrier in 1874.Beginning as hunting dogs for small vermin…to becoming one of the most popular Toy breed companion dogs…the Yorkie has had a long and unique history.Let’s discuss:Which breeds created the YorkieHow the Yorkshire…
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What Were Yorkies Bred For? Yorkie History Explained - Hepper

What Were Yorkies Bred For? Yorkie History Explained – Hepper

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  • Sumary: After generations of chasing down rats in England, the Yorkie has now earned their place as a popular companion dog.

  • Matching Result: Yorkies were originally bred for “ratting.” These tiny dogs were tasked with catching rats in mines and mills throughout northern England.

  • Intro: What Were Yorkies Bred For? Yorkie History Explained The tiny Yorkie is known for their spirited personality and boundless energy. Most people find these dogs irresistible, but some people think that their small size limits their abilities. Yorkies were originally bred for “ratting.” These tiny dogs were tasked with catching rats in mines and mills throughout northern England. They eventually moved on to hunting small game that lived underground, like foxes and badgers. The Yorkie breed has an interesting history, and their role has changed significantly over the years. They’ve been ratter, hunters, and companions. Let’s take an in-depth look…
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What Were Yorkies Bred For? History Of The Yorkie - Pet Keen

What Were Yorkies Bred For? History Of The Yorkie – Pet Keen

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  • Sumary: Who would have guessed that the tiny dogs with the flowing coats we know today as Yorkies were originally bred as rat killers?

  • Matching Result: Known primarily as pampered lap or purse pets today, Yorkies boast a much more colorful and working-class history. Believe it or not, Yorkies …

  • Intro: What Were Yorkies Bred For? History Of The Yorkie Consistently ranked among the most popular breeds registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC), Yorkshire Terriers or “Yorkies” are tiny dogs with feisty personalities. Known primarily as pampered lap or purse pets today, Yorkies boast a much more colorful and working-class history. Believe it or not, Yorkies were originally bred to hunt rats and other vermin, just like other terrier breeds. In this article, we’ll teach you all about the history of Yorkie, starting from their roots as rat killers in England. We’ll also talk a little about the Yorkie’s popularity…
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Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Dog Breed Information

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  • Sumary: Beneath the dainty, glossy, floor-length coat of a Yorkshire Terrier beats the heart of a feisty, old-time terrier. Yorkies earned their living as ratters in mines and mills long before they became the…

  • Matching Result: The Yorkshire Terrier was developed during the mid-1800s in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It became a fashionable …

  • Intro: Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Dog Breed Information Beneath the dainty, glossy, floor-length coat of a Yorkshire Terrier beats the heart of a feisty, old-time terrier. Yorkies earned their living as ratters in mines and mills long before they became the beribboned lapdogs of Victorian ladies.
  • Source: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/yorkshire-terrier/

6 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Yorkshire Terriers

6 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Yorkshire Terriers

  • Author: akc.org

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  • Sumary: As one of the AKC’s top 10 breeds year after year, Yorkshire Terriers are popular toy dogs, offering a big personality in a tiny package.

  • Matching Result: In World War II, a Yorkie named Smoky is credited with saving the lives of soldiers by dragging a communications cable through an 8-inch-wide, 60-foot-long …

  • Intro: 6 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Yorkshire Terriers As one of the AKC’s top 10 breeds year after year, Yorkshire Terriers are popular toy dogs, offering a big personality in a tiny package. Here are six surprising facts about Yorkies and the people who love them: 1. Yorkies are called the “Tomboy Toy.” Don’t be fooled by this toy breed’s tiny stature—they are five to seven pounds of pure tomboy. This spunky personality has earned the Yorkie its nickname, “the tomboy toy.” The breed standard references the breed’s trademark confidence and courage, saying, “The dog’s high head carriage…
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An Extremely Intelligent Dog, The Yorkshire Terrier - Aquafind

An Extremely Intelligent Dog, The Yorkshire Terrier – Aquafind

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  • Sumary: The Yorkshire Terrier, (nicknamed Yorkie), is a breed of small dog in the toy category.

  • Matching Result: Yorkies originated in Yorkshire and Lancaster, England in the nineteenth century. The Yorkie was bred as a ratter, used to kill mice and rats in small places.

  • Intro: An Extremely Intelligent Dog, The Yorkshire Terrier An Extremely Intelligent Dog, The Yorkshire Terrier by Randy Taylor The Yorkshire Terrier, (nicknamed Yorkie), is a breed of small dog in the toy category. The long-haired terrier is known for its playful demeanor and distinctive blue and tan coat. Yorkies can be very small, usually weighing not more than 7 pounds. The American Kennel Club does not specify the minimum weight accepted nor does it specify a height. Based on registrations of the American Kennel Club, Yorkshire Terriers became the second most popular dog breed in the United States in 2006, following…
  • Source: http://aquafind.com/articles/dog2.php

Frequently Asked Questions About what were yorkies bred to do

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what were yorkies bred to do, then this section may help you solve it.

Why are Yorkies famous?

Yorkies are a true ‘personality breed,’ offering years of laughs, love, and close companionship. They are a favorite of urbanites everywhere.

A Yorkie is made up of which two breeds?

It is thought that the main ancestors of the Yorkie were the Skye Terrier, Maltese, black and tan Manchester Terrier, now extinct Leeds Terrier, and possibly the Dandie Dinmont Terrier.

For what purposes were miniature Yorkies bred?

pursue rats

What is the Yorkie’s past?

Yorkshire terrier breed history As suggested by their name, they are descended from terriers that were bred together by Scottish weavers who immigrated to England and developed the distinctively small and fearless dog breed known as the Yorkshire.

What breed of dog is the smartest?

The average lifespan of a Yorkie is 13 to 15 years, and although they don’t shed much, they do need regular brushing and grooming to maintain their silky coats.

Which canine is the smartest?

The record-holder for the longest-living dog is an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey, who lived to an incredible age of 29. The breed typically lives for about 15 years.

Why do Yorkies have their tails cut off?

Yorkie tails are typically docked for aesthetic reasons because their natural tails are long and stick up above the level of the head, whereas docked tails stick straight up below the level of the head and produce sharp lines when the hair is worn at show length.

How old are Yorkies on average?

A lover of all things cozy, the Yorkshire terrier enjoys cuddling with loved ones and snuggling into everything soft and fluffy. For you, their silky coat isn’t too bad for petting, and Yorkies won’t turn down a cuddle party.

Which dogs most often turn against their owners?

Pit Bull Terriers State and local governments have been active in limiting ownership of this dog through breed-specific legislation. The pit bull is arguably the most notorious breed on this list due to its reputation for unpredictable aggression, even against its owner or his family.

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