What Made the Yorkshire Terrier Popular?

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When you think of popular dog breeds, the Yorkshire terrier is likely one of the first that comes to mind. These little dogs are cute and full of personality, which is why they’ve become so popular over the years. But what makes them so special?

Let’s take a closer look at this breed and find out.

What Made the Yorkshire Terrier Popular?

There are several reasons why the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular dog breeds globally. For starters, they are incredibly cute, and their small size means they can be easily accommodated in apartments. Yorkies are known for being friendly and good with children, making them perfect for families.

A Yorkshire terrier with its tongue out

Yorkies are also relatively easy to take care of and don’t require a lot of exercise, making them ideal for busy people. If you’re considering getting a Yorkshire Terrier as your next pet, here are some things you should know.

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The breed began in Victorian times, specifically at a mill outside of Manchester, England, during the Industrial Revolution when flocks of rats infested many factories and mills. This was an era before chemicals and pesticides, so rat-catching dogs were critical to the success of these businesses.

Due to their small size, Yorkies were the best option, and so many people started bringing them to their workplaces. Earlier breeds like the Paisley, Clydesdale, and Skye Terriers are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Yorkshire Terriers we love.

How Did the Yorkshire Terrier Become Popular?

Their Small Size

Their small size saves on space, meaning they can fit into any home and can live comfortably in an apartment. This was especially useful for urban dwellers that wanted pets but lacked a huge space.

Friendly nature

They’re human-friendly and great with kids as long as they know how to treat a dog properly. In addition, they are hypoallergenic, making them an ideal pet for people with allergies or asthma.


They are highly adaptable dogs that can be happy living indoors and out. Making them suitable pets for both urban and rural areas.

Yorkshire terrier with long white hair

Factors That Helped Spread the Yorkshire Terrier Popularity

Dog Shows

Prestigious dog shows have given Yorkies a platform to showcase their beautiful and friendly nature to millions of viewers globally. Yorkies have wowed the crowds with their unique, attractive coats and the ease of teaching them skills leaving many desiring to own one of these dogs when they leave the show.

Symbol of Wealth

During the Victorian era, owning a Yorkshire Terrier was seen as a symbol of high status and wealth. This was because the dogs were most common among the royal families and upper class. This influenced other people to get Yorkies, too, since it was the new wealth trend.

Celebrity Influence

It’s no secret that social influencers and celebrities have significantly impacted society over the last few decades. When their fans see them with small dogs such as these, they desire to copy the stars, and this has led to the Yorkshire Terrier becoming even more popular.

Movie and Film Industry

Many films have used Yorkies as part of the cast because of their gentle, friendly nature, and ease of learning. The presence of them in the movies has further popularized the dog.

Early Travelers

Yorkshire Terriers were easy to travel with, and so when people moved from place to place, they often carried their pups along. This led to the breed spreading worldwide. Right now, Yorkies are common in many parts of the world, including the US, Australia, the UK, Italy, and parts of South Africa.

A yorkshire terrier in a pony tail

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Yorkshire Terrier Smart?

Yes, their intelligence is above average. Unlike human IQs, canine IQs cannot be measured numerically; instead, they are compared and ranked against each other. In a study, Yorkies were compared to 138 different dog breeds intelligence-wise, and the Yorkies ranked 34th.

Can You Train a Yorkshire Terrier?

It’s not always easy to find a dog breed that is smart enough to learn tricks or commands but also gentle and calm. Yorkshire terriers are both highly intelligent dogs who can pick up new things quickly, as well as being one of the most even-tempered breeds.

You’ll never have to worry about your dog becoming aggressive or too hyperactive.

Can a Yorkshire Terrier Be Used for Security?

Yes, Yorkshire Terriers can be used for security. They are small enough to be discreet, but they are fearless dogs that will not back down from a fight despite their tiny size. Yorkies will bark loudly to alert homeowners, making them great for protecting your home or property.


The Yorkshire Terrier has evolved from a status symbol to a common household pet, and its popularity continues to grow. We hope this article has helped you better understand the background of Yorkshire Terriers and how they became so popular.