This section is from the book "The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland", by Rawdon B. Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: The Terriers.
When the Yorkshire terrier is about three to four months old, he begins to change his colour down the sides, on his legs, etc.; but even at nine or ten months the back is still very dark, excepting in such specimens as eventually turn out too silvery and light in colour when fully matured. As a rule no more attention than daily washing, combing, and brushing need be paid to the puppy until it is approaching, say, ten months in age, when the coat is commencing to "break in colour" and increase in length and denseness. The following preparation should be prepared and rubbed thoroughly into the roots of the hair once a week: Tincture of cantharides, 1 ounce; oil of rosemary, ½ an ounce; bay rum, ¼ of a pint; olive oil, ½ a pint, and white precipitate, 1 drachm. At the same time the puppy must be kept scrupulously clean and not allowed to run about too much. Indeed, he ought to be housed or kennelled in a case, one about 18in. by 14m. and some 16in. in depth being the most adaptable size. A cushion should be used to lie upon, as hay, straw, shavings, etc, are liable to become entangled in the coat, of course to its detriment. As I have said, the dressing must be applied once a week, and done thoroughly, but twice a day, i.e., night and morning, the coat should be thoroughly well brushed. It may occasionally be combed, but when the latter is being done, great care must be taken not to break any of the hairs or pull out any of the jacket. In addition the dog must be washed each week, and continuously wear on his hind feet "boots" or "shoes," or "socks" or "stockings," or whatever one likes to call them, of wash-leather. Such are sometimes made from linen or other material, but wash or chamois leather appears to be the best for the purpose. These of course prevent the little fellow from spoiling his coat by scratching, at the same time preserving the hair on the feet.
In due course the hair on the head or skull of the dog will increase in length, and when grown sufficiently, it should be tied up and plaited; this must be done afresh daily, at the same time it must be well brushed, care being taken that none of the hairs become matted or stick to each other. There is a special brush used for the purpose, rather smaller than the ordinary toilet article, with the bristles about three inches in length; a suitable article costs about five shillings. The Yorkshire terrier, has, as a rule, his ears cut, and it is many years since I saw a really first rate dog on the bench which had not been so mutilated. At the earlier shows excellent specimens often enough appeared with their ears entire, and for them special classes were provided. Mr. P.. Eden's Albert, a particularly good dog in his day, had natural drop ears. With this variety ear cropping has increased, and may now be said to be general.
The feeding of these dainty, delicate little creatures is a matter of great importance, and if the ladies of ancient Rome fed their lap dogs on the breast of chicken, the ladies of more prosaic old England are equally particular what they give to their cherished pets. These must be fed in a manner consistent with their confinement and lack of exercise, the bowels always being kept in a normal condition, and light and nourishing food is best for the purpose. Milk, with a little rice occasionally, milk biscuits, with bread and vegetables soaked in good gravy, not too fat, being best. A bone sometimes and a little calves' liver are not amiss, but care must be taken not to force the appetite. Where they can be obtained and are not too expensive, fish with the bones removed and chicken do not come amiss.
From what I have written it will be seen that it is no joke to keep a Yorkshire terrier in healthy and suitable condition for exhibition purposes, and such is no doubt the reason why its popularity has not progressed with the times. One of the most interesting sights in a modern dog show is when the Yorkshire terriers are being judged. Their fair owners, handsomely dressed as a rule, always looking quite charming, and wearing snow white aprons, enter the ring, carrying their dog in one arm and its highly polished "case house" in the other; they have also one of their specialty brushes. The case is deposited upon the ground, the little fellow to be exhibited is placed upon the top of it, and, until the judge is looking around, final touches are carefully given the toilet. The exhibit is then allowed to trot about, sometimes in a lead, sometimes without one. The judge now picks up the dog in his hands and examines it carefully, even to the separation of the coat down the back; then it is allowed another run, and if the class be a big one and troublesome the exhibitress carries the dog under her arm, or replaces him on the top of his case. Then in due course the awards are made, and it is seldom that we hear any grumbling. The competitors are eventually taken back to their benches and, all being right, the hair on the head, which had been "let down," is replaited and retied, the chamois socks are replaced on the hind legs, and the little competitor is once more safely ensconced in his box, which may be is now bedecked with cherry-coloured ribbons or elaborately curtained with choice lace.
Actual measurements go for not very much, but the length of the hair on the body and head of some of the best dogs is almost incredible, and its texture and colour are simply extraordinary. It is said that when in his best form the little dog Conqueror, already alluded to, had hair of almost uniform length of 24m.; he weighed about 5½lb. One of the smartest little dogs of the variety, and a game little chap too, was Mr. Kirby's Smart, which did a lot of winning about twenty years ago. Old Huddersfield Ben was another of the "pillars" of the breed; Mrs. Troughear's Dreadnought was another celebrity; and Mrs. Foster's (Bradford) Bright and Sandy were notable dogs a few years ago. Indeed, to the latter (one of our few lady judges), and to her husband, Mr. Jonas Foster, more than to anyone else is due any little popularity the Yorkshire terriers possess to-day. They have bred them for years, and have from time to time owned the most perfect specimens imaginable. Mrs. Foster's Ted, who weighed 51b., has, perhaps, for all round excellence, never been excelled, and it was extremely funny to see this little whippet of a dog competing against an enormous St. Bernard or dignified bloodhound for the cup for the best animal in the show. Nor did the award always go to the big and to the strong. One of the tiniest dogs I ever saw was a Yorkshire terrier Mrs. Foster showed at Westminster Aquarium in 1893. Mite by name and nature, for it weighed only a couple of pounds, was nicely formed, of fair colour, and quite as active, even more so, than some of the bigger creatures often brought into the ring, which they certainly do not grace. Another extraordinary and diminutive Yorkshire terrier is Mrs. Vaughan Fowler's Longbridge Bat, which scales 2¾lb., and is particularly smart and lively.