8 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Yorkshire Terriers

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Yorkshire Terrier

1. Yorkshire Terriers Used To Be Bigger

The first Yorkshire Terriers weighed in at between 12 and 14 pounds. Part of the supposed heritage of the Yorkshire Terrier is that of the Clydesdale Terrier, which comes in at a hefty 18 pounds. Now, a typical Yorkshire Terrier weighs only 7 pounds, or thereabouts. There are several theories about why Yorkshire Terriers were bred to be smaller. One is that financially-strapped poachers wanted smaller dogs in order to chase rabbits into their holes. One thing is for certain: the current AKC requirements specifically state that they can’t weigh more than 7 pounds.

2. The Name Yorkshire Terrier is Relatively New

Yorkshire Terriers hail from England, where they became all the rage with well-to-do Yorkshire families. In those days—the 1800s—the desire for these useful and attractive pups made a lucrative market for poor families who bred them and sold them to the upper class. At the time, the dog was called a Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, but in 1870 they were renamed Yorkshire Terriers as an honor to the region of England where the breed was supported the most.

3. A Yorkshire Terrier Lived in the White House

President Richard Nixon kept a Yorkshire Terrier as a pet during his tenure at the White House. Pasha was one of three canine companions, but Pasha was the favorite of Trisha, one of President Nixon’s daughters. Pasha’s best canine friend was King Timahoe, an Irish Setter. The two were inseparable, despite their disparity in size. When Trisha got married, Pasha and pals stood guard, adorned with flowers to celebrate the occasion. Pasha was so adored by the entire Nixon family that a children’s story was written by Julie Nixon, entitled, Pasha Passes By, about a day of exploits in the White House.

4. Yorkshire Terriers are Popular with Celebrities

Tom Brady and his wife Giselle Bundchen own a Yorkshire Terrier named Vida. In fact, Yorkshire Terriers are famously popular with celebrities including, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, and Jay Mohr.

5. The Yellow Brick Road Was Trod By a Yorkshire Terrier

Most people believe that Dorothy’s dog was a Yorkshire Terrier. The original drawings for this story in the book by L. Frank Baum feature a dog that bears a striking resemblance to a Yorkshire Terrier. Since Yorkshire Terriers were popular when the book was illustrated, and the illustrator himself was a Yorkshire Terrier owner, it’s likely that the rumor is true.

6. One Yorkshire Terrier is a War Hero

During World War II, a special Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky is credited with saving lives after she dragged communications cable through a long and narrow pit, allowing the trapped soldiers to radio for help. Smoky weighed just four pounds in adulthood, but her bravery belied her slight body. As the story goes, an American soldier rescued Smoky from an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. Amid a poker game, Smoky was sold to a Corporal, who then carried Smoky in his backpack throughout the war. She lived as a soldier, surviving on meager rations and enduring inclement weather conditions. On that fateful day, a telegraph wire had to be run through a pipe, but it got stuck halfway through. Smoky as able to get through with her small size and ended up saving 250 ground crewmen in the process.

7. Teacup Terriers are a Myth

The term Teacup Terrier was invented by puppy mills to get people to buy more Yorkshire Terriers. These places take pictures of puppy-sized Yorkshire Terriers and claim that they are full-grown. Yet, people are still fooled by this unethical practice. Some Yorkshire Terriers do weigh only a few pounds, but no full grown Yorkshire Terrier will fit in a teacup.

8. Yorkshire Terriers are Not Fond of Water

The naturally long hair of a Yorkshire Terrier is not really conducive to being able swimmers. Still, their playful nature means that some Yorkshire Terriers might enjoy a dip in the family swimming pool, while others might prefer to watch, just like many people.