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The Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier - Yorkie
What the Yorkshiremen desired to make for themselves was a pigmy, prick-eared terrier with a long, silky, silvery grey and tan coat. They already possessed the foundation in the old English Black and Tan wire-haired Terrier. To lengthen the coat of this working breed they might very well have had recourse to a cross with the prick-eared Skye, and to eliminate the wiry texture of the hair a further cross with the Maltese dog would impart softness and silkiness without reducing the length.
Again, a cross with the Clydesdale, which was then assuming a fixed type, would bring the variety yet nearer to the ideal, and a return to the black and tan would tend to conserve the desired colour. In all probability the Dandie Dinmont had some share in the process. Evidence of origin is often to be found more distinctly in puppies than in the mature dog, and it is to be noted that the puppies of both the Dandie and the Yorkshire are born with decided black and tan colouring.
The original broken-haired Yorkshire Terrier of thirty years ago was often called a Scottish Terrier, or even a Skye, and there are many persons who still confound him with the Clydesdale, whom he somewhat closely resembles. At the recent time he is classified as a toy dog and exhibited almost solely as such. It is to be regretted that until very lately the terrier character was being gradually bred out of him, and that the perkiness, the exuberance and gameness which once distinguished him as the companion of the Yorkshire operative, was in danger of being sacrificed to the desire for diminutive size and inordinate length of coat.
Doubtless all successful breeders and exhibitors of the Yorkshire Terrier have their little secrets and their peculiar methods of inducing the growth of hair. They regulate the diet with extreme particularity, keeping the dog lean rather than fat, and giving him nothing that they would not themselves eat. Bread, mixed with green vegetables, a little meat and gravy, or fresh fish, varied with milk puddings and Spratt's "Toy Pet" biscuits, should be the staple food. Bones ought not to be given, as the act of gnawing them is apt to mar the beard and moustache.
For the same reason it is well when possible to serve the food from the fingers. But many owners use a sort of mask or hood of elastic material which they tie over the dog's head at meal-times to hold back the long face-fall and whiskers, that would otherwise be smeared and sullied. Similarly as a protection for the coat, when there is any skin irritation and an inclination to scratch, linen or cotton stockings are worn upon the hind feet.
Many exhibitors pretend that they use no dressing, or very little, and this only occasionally, for the jackets of their Yorkshire Terriers; but it is quite certain that continuous use of grease of some sort is not only advisable but even necessary. Opinions differ as to which is the best cosmetic, but Hairmero, the dressing prepared for the purpose by Miss D. Wilmer, of Yoxford, Suffolk, could not easily be improved upon for this or any other long-coated breed.
For the full display of their beauty, Yorkshire Terriers depend very much upon careful grooming. It is only by grooming that the silvery cascade of hair down the dog's sides and the beautiful tan face-fall that flows like a rain of gold from his head can be kept perfectly straight and free from curl or wrinkle; and no grease or pomade, even if their use were officially permitted, could impart to the coat the glistening sheen that is given by the dexterous application of the brush. The gentle art of grooming is not to be taught by theory. Practice is the best teacher. But the novice may learn much by observing the deft methods employed by an expert exhibitor.
That of a long-coated pet dog, the coat hanging quite straight and evenly down each side, a parting extending from the nose to the end of the tail. The animal should be very compact and neat, his carriage being very sprightly; bearing an air of importance. Although the frame is hidden beneath a mantle of hair, the general outline should be such as to suggest the existence of a vigorous and well-proportioned body.
Head: Should be rather small and flat, not too prominent or round in the skull; rather broad at the muzzle, with a perfectly black nose; the hair on the muzzle very long, which should be a rich, deep tan, not sooty or grey. Under the chin, long hair, about the same colour as on the crown of the head, which should be a bright, golden tan, and not on any account intermingled with dark or sooty hairs. Hairs on the sides of the head should be very long, of a few shades deeper tan than that on the top of the head, especially about the ear-roots.
Eyes: Medium in size, dark in colour, having a sharp, intelligent expression, and placed so as to look directly forward. They should not be prominent. The edges of the eyelids should be dark.
Ears: Small, V-shaped, and carried semi-erect, covered with short hair; colour to be a deep rich tan.
Mouth: Good even mouth; teeth as sound as possible. A dog having lost a tooth or two, through accident or otherwise, is not to disqualify, providing the jaws are even.
Body: Very compact, with a good loin, and level on the top of the back.
Coat: The hair, as long and as straight as possible (not wavy), should be glossy, like silk (not woolly), extending from the back of the head to the root of the tail; colour, a bright steel blue, and on no account intermingled with fawn, light or dark hairs. All tan should be darker at the roots than at the middle of the hairs, shading off to a still lighter tan at the tips.
Legs: Quite straight, should be of a bright golden tan, well covered with hair, a few shades lighter at the end than at the roots.
Feet: As round as possible; toe-nails black. TAIL--Cut to medium length; with plenty of hair, darker blue than the rest of the body, especially at the end of the tail, which is carried slightly higher than the level of the back.
Weight: Divided into two classes; under 5 lb. and over 5 lb. to 12 lb.