Although the history of the Yorkshire Terrier is sketchy, there is a great deal known about the origins of this exceptional, vibrant breed. The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie for short, finds it humble beginnings in Northern England, in the counties of Yorkshire, Manchester and Leeds, during the years prior to 1750.
During this time, the onset of the Industrial Revolution gave rise to small communities located around coal mines, textile mills and factories. The people of these areas originally made their living from the land and experienced great upheaval during the time of the Industrial Revolution. Many had to learn new ways of life to continue to support their families. These persevering families, many from as far away as Scotland, were drawn to the small fledgling communities to begin a new life.
Along with this hardy group of migrants came equally hardy pets and companions. During the 19th century, Scottish weavers began to arrive and brought with them the sturdy Scottish Terrier. Far from being a simple bloodline the Scottish Terrier has been attributed to creating several different types of Terriers including the Yorkshire Terrier.
Part of the Scottish Terrier bloodlines later became the breeds today known as the Skye, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and the last of the named from their separation, the Cairn Terrier.
The Scottish Terrier was also known to be on Argyle or the Isle of Skye. It was of a bluish color and was also known as a broken or smooth haired Scots depending on the length of coat it had.
There is every possibility that they were forerunners to the modern day Skye Terrier. Other breeds that have ancestral claim to the Yorkie are the Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers and the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier.
All of these Scottish breeds, along with some English ones, were working dogs, used to keep the vermin under control in the coal mines and mills.
In an effort to produce canines with exceptional skill at catching mice and rats, the common men of the day would breed only smallest, quickest and best ratters of the bunch. These men were not out to produce a purebred, sophisticated breed of dog; instead they desired the best dogs to keep the mice away. This is the reason why no records were kept as to what breeds were mixed to create the Yorkshire Terrier.
The best guess is that miners in Yorkshire County bred the Black and Tan English Terrier with the many breeds of the Scottish Terriers. It is even believed that Maltese may be thrown in there somewhere. The resulting Terriers were then probably crossed with yet again other types of terriers such as the Welsh Terrier.
In the late 1800s, the first written recordings about the ancestors of the modern-day Yorkshire Terrier began to appear. Most of these were written by wealthy educated men who had traveled to Yorkshire County and witnessed the intelligent, spunky dogs chasing down their prey.
Rawdon B. Lee, speaking of Yorkshire Terrier in