The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed of terrier type, developed in the 19th century in the county of Yorkshire, England, to catch rats in clothing mills, also used for rat-baiting. The defining features of the breed are its maximum size of 7 pounds (3.2 kg) and its gray, black, and tan coat. The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy Terrier section of the Terrier Group by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and in the Toy Group or Companion Group by other kennel clubs, although all agree that the breed is a terrier. A popular companion dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has also been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.
A newborn Yorkshire Terrier puppy is born black with tan points on the muzzle, above the eyes, around the legs and feet and toes, the inside of the ears, and the underside of the tail. Occasionally yorkies are born with a white "star" on the chest or on one or more toes. Also, a few Yorkies are born with a red tint in their coat, but that is only when the parents also have this trait. It is also common to find white patch on one or more nails. These markings fade with age, and are usually gone within a few months.
The Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire (and the adjoining Lancashire), a rugged region in northern England. In the mid-19th century, workers from Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and brought with them several different varieties of small terriers. Breeding of the Yorkshire Terrier was "principally accomplished by the people—mostly operatives in cotton and woolen mills—in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire." Details are scarce. Mrs. A. Foster is quoted as saying in 1886, "If we consider that the mill operatives who originated the breed...were nearly all ignorant men, unaccustomed to imparting information for public use, we may see some reason why reliable facts have not been easily attained."
The ideal Yorkshire Terrier character or "personality" is described with a "carriage very upright" and "conveying an important air." Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, very overprotective, curious, and loves attention.