A dog named Huddersfield Ben, bred in 1865, gets mention as the pillar of the breed. Mozart, the dog that spurred the name of the breed with his variety class win, was a son of Ben. Ben's handler, Mary Ann Foster, worked to popularize the breed. She traveled through England and Ireland, showing her dogs and letting people come to know the Yorkie's small size and big personality. She used many of Ben's offspring in her breeding, passing on his features to the breed. Her dog Bradford Hero was influential on early American breed representatives.
The very first dogs mentioned by name in association with the Yorkshire terrier breed were Swift's Old Crab and Kershaw's Miss Kitty. Crab, the male, was a black-and-tan terrier, while Kitty, the female, was a Skye-type terrier that was steel blue in color. Huddersfield Ben traces back to these two.
Famous British Dogs
British dogs were imported to improve American lines. Those important in helping to solidify the breed in the States include Ch. Little Sir Model (instrumental in the foundation of the Wildweir kennel, mentioned in the next section), Ch. Progress of Progresso (winning bests in England, Canada, and the United States), and Daisy of Libertyhill (who produced multiple champions herself, and her daughters and granddaughters did the same).
Much later, another Brit, Osman Sameja, founded Ozmilion Kennel and gained fame for spectacular Yorkshire terriers. In the 1980s, Ch. Ozmilion Dedication earned the title Dog of the Year All Breeds in Great Britain, with a group win at Crufts (England's most famous dog show) and more Challenge Certificates won than any other Yorkie.
Famous American Dogs
In the late 1800s, Americans were infatuated with everything Victorian, and Yorkshire terriers became part of that culture. Selling adult dogs was more common then, and the adults drew the highest prices. While Yorkshire puppies could be bought for $10 to $25 at the time, an adult male could fetch up to $150 — a very considerable sum in those days. These dogs were considered fashionable, and a wealthy member of the upper class could afford (and would willingly pay) the high prices.
The only Yorkshire terrier to go Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show was Ch. Cede Higgins. This dog won the discriminating eye of a highly respected judge named Anne Rogers Clark in 1978.
Butch and Daisy, both owned by Charles Andrews of Illinois, had AKC registration numbers, but Belle was the first to appear in the AKC studbook in 1883. A New Yorker, John Marriot, was the first American breeder of record. The Westminster Kennel Club show of 1878 included thirty-three purebred Yorkshire terriers. The first AKC Champions of Record were Ch. Toon's Royal and Ch. Bradford Henry, both tracing directly back to Huddersfield Ben.
In the early 1900s, Canadian and U.S. breeders interchanged dogs freely, keeping the breed vigorous. British imports also added to the gene pool until the advent of World War I. Through the war, Mrs. Harold Riddick was instrumental in maintaining the breed through a time of low popularity.
After both wars were over, Janet Bennett and Joan Gordon started their Wildweir kennel. Their British import, Ch. Little Sir Model, became the first Yorkie to win a U.S. Best in Show. A dog of their own breeding, Ch. Wildweir Pomp N' Circumstance, could at one time be found in the pedigrees of two-thirds of all Yorkshire terriers that had won Best in Show. Bennett and Gordon are widely credited with firmly establishing the American lines of the Yorkshire terrier.
What is a studbook?
A studbook is an official record of the pedigrees of purebred animals. Though this term is primarily used in the discussion of thoroughbred horses, other purebred animals, including dogs, are also registered in studbooks.