Keep your Yorkie looking neat and tidy all year round!
The luscious, soft, flowing coat of the Yorkshire terrier is part of what makes the breed so unique. The long silky, coat parted down the back and the long hair around the face are true trademarks of the Yorkshire terrier. But this coat comes with a price; it needs regular, effective care. You should do your best to make grooming chores, like cutting nails, ear cleaning and tooth brushing as regular as possible. We'd go as far as saying it should be a weekly routine. Doing it more often also allows your Yorkie to adapt and understand that it's a common occurrence. This will make it WAY easier to care for them.
Caring for your Yorkies coat as often as possible has two benefits:
- Your Yorkie will always look beautiful and clean
- Your Yorkie will learn it as part of a routine, and keeping it up will be a lot easier
- Easier to keep track of your Yorkies health with regular inspection when grooming.
One of the main reasons your Yorkie needs daily care with it’s coat is because it can knot and matt extremely quickly. Knots/matts usually form where the dog moves a lot, namely, on/around the collar, under the neck and around the ears, the arm-pits of the front legs and between the back legs. These are the spots you’ll want to keep an eye on.
Once the knots have formed, they become quite annoying for your Yorkie, causing them to scratch and bite at it because it pulls on the skin—usually causing worse knots. Daily brushing can catch tiny tangles before they turn into something more menacing. Make sure to also examine the coat for any debris or knots after walks and playing outside.
Maintaining the Look
The long, flowing hair can sometimes be a hassle to maintain, especially as it grows longer and longer. To help keep the coat easy to maintain, you can try one of these two cuts:
This cut allows you to keep much of what makes the Yorkie so unique and beautiful. By shaving the underneath (the chest, belly, inside of legs and groin area) you are taking care of most knotting problem areas. The top and sides of the Yorkie are left long, to fall over and cover the shaved areas, preserving the famous long, silky coat.
Short Hair / Trimmed
A short coat is the easiest to care for since knotting is brought to a minimum. We recommend cutting the coat to a length of between 3cm - 10cm, and trimmed uniformly. You should also try keep more length on the face to retain that cute Yorkie expression!
Short hair can be especially helpful during the hotter seasons and through tick/flea season.
Just like we have a set of tools for grooming ourselves, we need tools for grooming our Yorkie, too. Try and have these items on hand for when you start grooming:
Shampoo & Conditioner
Make sure to use gentle products, made for long-coated dogs or puppies.
Make sure there is a cool/low setting.
This helps the comb run through tangles and knots.
Preferably a metal comb with wide and narrow teeth.
This type of brush has three or four curved blades made to brush through tangles and knots.
A small pair of dog nail clippers, the ones that look like a curved scissors are great.
Brushing & Combing
The initial thought would be to find a nice spot to start grooming. Somewhere with space, and usually perched higher, like on a table, so you don't destroy your back while you're busy. Having a specific, established spot also becomes recognised by your Yorkie and makes it easier to get into the swing of things. Once you've got your spot, get them on the table and teach him to stand still and quiet. You can do this through gently holding them and talking to them gently, while maintaining their position on the table. Simple affirmations like "No!" or "Good boy/girl" will help correct bad behaviour or encourage good behaviour.
Before brushing your Yorkie, make sure to have removed any knots/matts beforehand. Run your fingers through your dogs coat to find any knots and see if you can pull them apart with your fingers—if not, try the de-matter, if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to cut/trim the knots out completely.
Once the coat is free of knots and matts, you can start combing. Start from the top down. From the ears and head, working down the body. It's usually easier to have a set order—helping you to not miss any spots as you work your way through.
The topknot is made from the hair on the Yorkie's forehead. There is an invisible line from the corner of the dogs eye to the base of the ear that will help you determine what hair to use when forming the topknot, below this line is the beard. To make the topknot, gather all the hair on the forehead, leaving out the beard; with the hair in one hand comb gently through it to smooth it and then tie it up with a covered rubber band or hair band. The topknot should be placed in the centre of the head, equally between the two ears and slightly in front of them. Try not pull the hair too tightly or your Yorkie will be irritated by it and start scratching it, which will loosen it.
The beard includes the hair below the invisible line we mentioned earlier. It's probably the most high-maintenance part of your Yorkie because it will pick up water and food every time your Yorkie takes a drink or eats. It will also pick up dirt or debris from outside when they're playing. Because of how often it will get dirty, we recommend brushing it out gently, every day. We suggest combing from the bottom, starting with the most dirty first 2-3cm, working your way up, and finally brushing from top to bottom when it's all clean.
The Back End
This is definitely an area we recommend trimming and keeping in check. The Yorkies hair grows in abundance all over its body. If the hair around the anus/genitals gets too long, it can be a trap for feces and other bodily excretions. After you're done combing and brushing your Yorkie, use your scissors to snip away unwanted, long hair. You can decide on the length you'd like to leave it. Remember to keep your fingers between the dog and the scissors so you don't land up cutting your dog.
Cleaning the Coat
Always comb out your Yorkies coat thoroughly before bathing him. Yorkies are small enough to take a bath in the sink. Leaning over a bath for such a small dog can be quite tiring and tough on your back.
Have a couple of towels at the ready, as well as your Shampoo and conditioner. If you’re afraid of getting water in their ears, try using small cotton balls to keep the water out. And lastly, make sure the water is a comfortable temperature. Use your wrist to test the water as you would for a baby.
Work the shampoo into the coat, making sure to get it down into the skin, and repeat with the conditioner. Once done, give your Yorkie a good rinse, making sure you’ve removed all shampoo or conditioner. Remember to rinse underneath!
Drying the Coat
Using a hair dryer with your Yorkie can be a little scary for the little fury one. It can be loud and overwhelming. Get them used to it initially by using it on a low setting, and keeping a toy or treat nearby. Also, speak to your Yorkie in a calm tone so you don’t cause him more anxiety than necessary.
While you dry the coat, run your brush through it to prevent any new knots or matts from forming.
Well, that’s it for now. We hope these little tips help with maintaining and grooming your amazing little Yorkshire terrier. At the end of the day, as long as your Yorkie is clean, comfortable and HAPPY, that’s all that matters.