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Yorkshire Terrier Temperament: Empathetic, loyal and spunky at times

We're so glad you found our blog post about this curious, handy-sized and fascinating Yorkshire Terrier. You are in for a treat.

The Yorkie temperament has so many quirks that it can be hard to put a finger on it. However, many owners vow that these little dogs have prominent personalities and will surprise and make you smile daily. As a result, they have won the hearts of the American city-dwelling population, where they regularly top the list of the most popular dog breeds.

So if you'd like to learn more about the Yorkshire Terrier's temperament and origin and if this dog is the right choice for your lifestyle, read on!

Yorkshire terrier temperament
The quirky Yorkie has a very people-loving temperament

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, or "Yorkie" as their loving supporters call them, was initially bred to hunt vermin and rats before they found their way into the laps of aristocratic ladies. One could say this handy-sized dog has worked its way up the social ladder by being the perfect companion dog.

As the name suggests, the Yorkshire Terrier was first bred in the county of Yorkshire in Northern England. However, the breed's origin from Scottish breeds can be traced back to the mid-1800s. They were then known as "Broken Haired Scotch Terriers" and later "Toy Terrier" before they were awarded their current name in 1874 and registered with the British Kennel Club.

During the industrial revolution, miners from Scotland brought little terrier breeds with them on their work travels to England. These dogs "worked" in mines and clothing mills to keep pests away. But they were a terrier known for many talents. Hunters also used them to trap animals in dens and burrows. Hunting smaller wild animals, the Yorkies' courageous and gutsy temperament was a big plus.

Yorkshire Terrier Temperament
Yorkies can be taught a range of tricks and they're very biddable

It is believed that three main Scottish breeds contributed to the Yorkshire Terrier that we know today. The Skye Terrier, The Paisley and the Clydesdale. The last two are extinct, and the Skye Terrier is on the UK vulnerable dog list. But the Yorkie escaped this fate. Furthermore, the Maltese and the Black and Tan Terrier also contributed to the bloodline.

Almost all Yorkshire Terriers of today can trace their roots to one foundation, Huddersfield Ben. Born in 1865, Ben was a show dog and an acclaimed ratter dog. And he was the most sought-after stud dog of his time.

With the official registration to the British Kennel Club, the Yorkie got catapulted in a "slumdog-millionaire" fashion from working class to aristocratic lap dog. And all because of their little frame, inquisitive nature and unique, friendly temperament.

Since then, their popularity has been relatively steady if we disregard the two world wars. For that matter, the upkeep of a Yorkie and other dog breeds took a back seat. But we could always rely on dog lovers to keep their favourite breed going.

The UK Kennel Club recognises the below breed colours for the Yorkie:

  • Black & Tan

  • Black Blue & Tan

  • Blue & Tan

  • Blue Steel & Tan

  • Steel Blue

  • Steel Blue & Tan

  • Steel Blue Black & Tan

  • Steel Grey & Tan

Yorkshire Terriers registration in the UK 2023

The registration numbers with the UK Kennel Club are lower year to date than in 2021. 99 Yorkies have been registered in Q2 2022. The total registrations in 2022 came to 495 Yorkies.


Q1 2021

Q2 2021

Q3 2021

Q4 2021

Total 2021

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

Q3 2022