Top Notch Toys - July 2021


J ust what is a Toy Terrier? The Complete Dog Book defines “toy” as being a group of dogs characterized by very small size; “terrier” being defined as a group of dogs used for hunting vermin. Therefore, we have in our midst a small dog used for hunting vermin. Well, that was certainly easy enough. Now, let us add a neat, compact, well- proportioned body not exceeding seven pounds, covered with a flowing, silky coat of bright, shining, lustrous, metallic steel blue and rich, shaded, golden tan. The eyes will impart a look of sparkling intelligence com- bined with an overall air of self-im- portance. This is our Yorkshire Ter- rier of today. What a unique little dog! Unique in the sense that he is first a terrier, be- ing bred down to a toy size, and when in full, flowing, silky coat, he is elegant. Joan Gordon and Janet Bennett have done much research into the early history of our breed, and in their book titled, “The Complete Yorkshire Ter- rier,” they write about an ancient breed in Great Britain, back in the 11th century, known as the Waterside Terrier. In those early years, serfs were forbidden to own dogs that could hunt game. However, they could have small dogs. To determine whether the dog was small enough, it had to be able to pass through a seven inch hoop. These dogs went into the fields to kill rats, into the vegetable gardens

to kill rabbits, and they generally kept the poor man’s home safe from rats and other vermin. The weight of this dog was anywhere between six and twenty pounds, usually settling in at about ten pounds. As time went on, these terriers, with their ratting ability, probably trav- eled the rivers, backwaters, and ca- nals from the shires to Scotland and on to the vast Australian continent. This little dog became invaluable to the free settlers because, along with its ratting ability, it also possessed the qualities of a watchdog to safeguard their homes. These Waterside Terri- ers have a special interest to me, and I truly would have loved to see one in action. Here, in this ancient breed, lay the genes for a silky coat, small size, blue and tan pattern, plus a definite terrier temperament. It is difficult for one to imagine that our elegant Yorkshires of today were once ratters. However, with the true temperament they should possess, it is easy to understand that these traits still do exist. Our early English breeders have im- parted many tales of the Yorkshire’s great love of hunting. Nevertheless, this is not a part of the criteria for to- day’s Yorkshire Terrier. The breed’s temperament should display that of a terrier. Careful consideration should be given so that this quality is not lost in our breed, as it is one of their most important assets.

Shirly A. Patterson

Temperament, to refresh your mem- ory, may be defined as the combined physical, emotional, and mental qualities that determine one’s whole nature; the whole nature of our breed being the appearance of vigor and self-importance, as our Standard so clearly states. This seven-pound giant is first a terrier at heart. At our last Delaware Valley Yorkshire Terrier Clubmeeting, I made a survey of our Club members, asking them several questions pertaining to our breed, one question of which was why they chose the Yorkshire Terrier as their particular breed. Ninety percent stated that it was that feisty terrier spirit that won them over, thus giving

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