Meet Two Legendary Yorkies Worth Knowing AboutThere’s no dispute among Yorkie lovers about the endearing qualities of our favorite companions. They are bright, joyful, loyal and exceedingly beautiful. Most of us are as fiercely loyal to them as they are to us, and we love to learn new things (or old things) about our favorite little breed. The history of Yorkshire Terriers is not a very long one, their official name being coined first in 1874. Most of us have heard that they were originally bred for eradicating rats from textile factories and coal mines – and many of us have seen that genetic disposition in action in our own garages and backyards!
We also know that they are descendants of a mixture of larger terriers, including the now extinct Scottish breed called the Paisley Terrier. But have you ever heard of Huddersfield Ben? Or Yorkie Doodle Dandy? These are two of the most famous Yorkshire Terriers thus far, and both have stories that every Yorkie lover would be proud to know. In fact, the Yorkie on your lap is probably related to Huddersfield Ben who is considered the “Father of the Breed”. Huddersfield Ben lived in Huddersfield, England from 1865 to 1871, and his arranged liaisons with local terrier ladies helped set the standards for all Yorkshire Terriers yet to come. Ben was well respected and considered one of the best and brightest dogs of his day. He won many shows and awards and was sought after to sire the pups who are the great-grandmothers and grandfathers of the Yorkies we love today. Ben’s first descendant is believed to have arrived in North America in 1872, one year after Ben’s untimely death in a roadway accident. It was 14 years later, in 1886, that the American Kennel Club officially recognized this new and enchanting breed.
About 60 years later, in 1944, in the jungles of New Guinea, a four pound Yorkshire Terrier was discovered huddling in a fox hole. Corporal William A. Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio was immediately smitten with the little lady and he paid his battle buddy approximately six and a half dollars for her. Smoky, or Yorkie Doodle Dandy as she was fondly nicknamed, became a war-time companion for Cpl. Wynne – and her fearless attitude made her a WWII heroine. During her time in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force, 26th Photo Recon Squadron, Smoky comforted and entertained wounded soldiers, flew in rescue and reconnaissance missions, survived over 150 air raids and lived through an Okinawan typhoon. In between their patriotic duties, Wynne taught Smoky some incredible tricks – including how to walk a high wire (blindfolded!) and how to pick out the letters that spelled her name. Smoky showed her gratitude for Wynne’s friendship by saving his life (and the lives of other soldiers) more than once. After the war, the two continued showing off Smoky’s amazing aptitude and talent for wowing a crowd until she passed away in 1957 at the age of (at least) 14 years. Smoky’s partner, Cpl. Wynne can still be found today, 6 decades after her death, discussing his spectacular friendship with one of the most amazing dogs of our time.
For those who share their lives with a Yorkshire Terrier, it should come as no surprise that there are heroes and legends coursing through the bloodlines of our most beloved pets. To learn more about the history, health care and husbandry of these amazing pint-sized canines, contact us any time!