Yorkshire Terriers, fondly known as Yorkies, are synonymous with their petite frames, expressive eyes, and impressively glossy coats. However, behind these distinctive traits lies an array of surprising facts that demonstrate there’s much more to this popular breed. Here are seven lesser-known aspects of Yorkies that might just astonish you.
Yorkies Were Born to Work
Although today’s Yorkies are primarily adored as companions, they were initially bred for a far more industrious purpose. Originating in 19th-century Yorkshire, England, these dogs were initially working class, used in mills to hunt and exterminate rats. Their compact size allowed them to squeeze into tight spaces, while their tenacity ensured they got the job done.
A Yorkie Was a War Hero
During World War II, a Yorkie named Smoky became an unexpected hero. Smoky was found by an American soldier in Papua New Guinea and was enlisted as a ‘war dog.’ She served in the Pacific and is credited with twelve combat missions, saving numerous lives by running a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe.
They’re a Favorite of Celebrities
Yorkies have long been favorites of the rich and famous, but few people know just how extensive their celebrity connections are. Audrey Hepburn, who was rarely seen without her beloved Yorkie Mr. Famous, is one example. More recently, Britney Spears, Natalie Portman, and Paris Hilton have all been spotted with these adorable companions.
Their Coat is Similar to Human Hair
A unique fact about Yorkies is that their coat is strikingly similar to human hair in its texture and growth patterns. Their hair is straight and fine and continues to grow in length over time. Additionally, Yorkies are hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for those with allergies.
The Smallest Dog in the World Was a Yorkie
The Guinness World Record for the smallest dog in the world was held by a Yorkshire Terrier named Sylvia. Weighing just 4 ounces and standing only 2.5 inches tall, Sylvia was about the size of a matchbox. Her surprising size exhibits the extreme end of how small this breed can be.
Yorkies Change Color as They Grow
Yorkie puppies are born black and tan but undergo a fascinating transformation as they mature. Around six months, their coat begins to change, typically developing into a blue (steel gray) and gold coloration. This color metamorphosis is a distinctive trait of the breed and adds to its unique charm.
A Yorkie’s Lifespan is Longer than Most Breeds
Finally, one of the most unexpected facts about Yorkies is their notably long lifespan. While the average lifespan of dogs ranges from 10 to 13 years, Yorkies often live well into their teens, with many reaching 15 years or older. In fact, the oldest recorded Yorkie lived to be an astounding 27 years old.
Despite their small size, Yorkies are a breed rich in history, packed with personality, and full of surprises. From their working-class origins to their lengthy lifespans and playful nature, these unique traits make the Yorkshire Terrier an even more remarkable breed. These fun facts offer a deeper understanding of these compact canines, enhancing our appreciation for their endearing and enduring appeal.