For all of the love and affection a Yorkshire Terrier can provide a family or individual comes responsibility for their owners. Yorkie grooming is one of these responsibilities that must be done on a regular basis. Grooming should consist of maintaining a Yorkshire Terrier’s coat, nails and teeth.
A Yorkshire Terrier is a “single” coated breed, meaning that they do not have an undercoat. One great thing about the Yorkie's coat is that is does not shed. In fact, the hair found on a Yorkshire Terrier is almost identical to human hair. This is great for people with allergies and for people who can't stand to have dog hair around the home. The downside is that the hair can become extremely long and needs an occasional clipping. The Yorkie coat can also become easily matted, and just as you comb your hair everyday, so will you have to comb your dog.
The length of coat and the quality of coat will influence how often your Yorkie will need to be groomed. A soft coat or cottony coat is much more difficult to maintain than the proper silk coat. If your puppy has a cottony coat I suggest that you consider having the dog trimmed in a puppy cut or another style. A dog with a long coat requires daily grooming which consists of brushing out its coat, bi-weekly baths and regular haircuts.
If your dog gets dirty then I suggest bathing once a week and that will help keep them nice and clean except the side of the body where urine collects on a male. Wash this daily with a damp cloth and warm water.
Never brush your Yorkie’s coat while it is totally dry. It is best if their coat is misted with a mixture of water and conditioner prior to brushing. Abstain from using natural bristle brushes, as they will break the fine hairs of the Yorkshire Terrier's coat. A good pin brush with a rubber back that is soft should be used to brush the Yorkie’s coat. Do not buy a brush that has small balls on the end of the pins as they tend to pull at the coat and break it. After brushing their coat we like to use a wide-toothed grooming comb and comb their coat. You would be surprised how many snarls you will still find.
Another area that requires daily attention is the tendency of the hair surrounding the anus to become matted with feces. If you take your dog to the groomers regularly, this should not be much of a problem because he or she will clip the hair in this area very short and clean it thoroughly. But if left long, it can become matted and result in soreness, compacted stools and more serious health problems. In addition to regular grooming, you should check this area daily and clean or clip away any mattes.
A good routine to get into is to trim the nails after bathing. The water will soften the nail making it easier to trim and by trimming the nails frequently only the tips need to be trimmed reducing the risk of the nails bleeding. It is a good idea to have some liquid bandage on hand just in case the nails do bleed. I use a standard nail clipper (for people) for my puppies. Dog nail clipper will be needed as they age.
Yorkies have a tendency to get tarter buildup on their teeth so brushing their teeth each time they are bathed will reduce the tarter buildup. It is a good idea to have their teeth cleaned by your Veterinarian every 12 – 18 months. Make sure you have the Yorkie's teeth checked by your Vet by the time your puppy is 6-8 months old. Sometimes, the Vet may need to remove stubborn baby teeth that have not fallen out.
After your dog has been groomed, use an ear cleaning solution (any brand) and gently clean the ears with a q-tip and a baby wipe. Do not stick the q-tip do too far down the ear canal. If there is any hair in them, it should be removed, as they can be a source for ear infection. If you prefer, this can be done by your groomer or Veterinarian.
Because Yorkies have so much hair on and around their faces, they should have special attention paid to their eyes. The hair should be prevented from falling into their eyes, which can irritate them and in some cases cause infection. You can do this by either by tying it back or by trimming it. You can also use a small dab of Vaseline to hold your puppy’s hair in place and out of its eyes. To remove residue from the eyes, dampen a cotton ball and wipe.
The number one worst thing for a Yorkie’s coat is fleas, not because of the fleas themselves but because even one flea can cause so much itching and scratching that before long a Yorkie’s coat becomes a tangled mess!!!
There are many products you can use, both over-the-counter and prescription topical medications you can use to protect your pet from heart worms, fleas, and ear mites. See your Veterinarian to determine what is best for you and your Yorkie.
Due to the small size of our Yorkies, often adult Yorkies use flea medications intended for puppies. Again ask your vet which one they recommend based on your pet’s age and size.
A Coat for your Yorkie
Yorkies do not have an undercoat to keep them warm. Even if their hair is kept long they can become chilled very easily. Like most Toy breeds, Yorkies prefer the comfort of coziness and warmth so when going outside in cold or wet weather so be sure they have a warm dog coat to wear.
A Yorkie has hair (not fur) and like our human hair it will keep growing unless you cut it. While beautiful, keeping your Yorkie’s coat long takes a lot of time and effort so most pet Yorkies have their coats trimmed short for convenience and hygiene. There are a number of different styles for from which you can choose, so consult your groomer or do an internet search for Yorkie hair styles for ideas.
No matter which style of cut you choose, do not use a “flat iron” or another “hot” appliance on your Yorkie puppy.
It is necessary to bathe your puppy anywhere from once a week to once a month (just not within the first month). The environment, type of haircut, and quality of coat all affect how often your new puppy needs to take a bath. Any good puppy shampoo and conditioner will do. While the Yorkie is still wet we recommend that his/her coat be combed with any good quality comb. Once their hair has been combed use a blow dryer to dry the hair using a low temperature setting and the slowest speed.
Frequent brushing is essential regardless of coat length.
Use a good Conditioning Spray when brushing your Yorkie‘s hair. These products can be used as a daily brushing aid or as a freshener between baths. Look for one that moisturizes the hair and reduces static. To get an even application, spray the conditioning spray onto the brush instead of spraying it directly onto your puppy.
Always work in small sections. Start brushing from the bottom/end of the section of hair and little by little work up toward the body. If you find any mats along the way, break them apart with your fingers then use a brush or metal comb to remove them.
Yorkshire Terrier Grooming is important for two reasons:
• A well-groomed Yorkshire terrier just looks and feels good.
• Routine grooming helps reduce sources for infection and disease.
For those who prefer grooming your dog yourself we have some videos on “How to Groom Your Yorkie” and an article on “Yorkie Grooming Supplies”.