Yorkshire Terriers are small, affectionate dogs that are just full of personality. They were originally developed in England as skilled ratters, but went on to become one of the most popular urban companions in the world.
And thankfully, they don’t shed much hair!
Yorkies have long, straight, glossy coats that shed very little. However, their coat is more like human hair than fur in texture and in the way it grows, so they need regular brushing and trimming throughout the year.
Let’s take a closer look at how much shedding they do and what sort of effort is needed to maintain their coat, so you know what to expect.
Yorkshire Terrier Shedding
Yorkies are a low shedding breed.
Overall, they shed about the same amount of hair as dogs like the Maltese and Shih Tzu, which are both small dogs with similar coats.
Some will say they are “non-shedding” but this is really a myth because almost all dogs shed at least some hair. It’s just that some dogs molt less than others.
And in the case of the Yorkie, not only do the shed less than most dogs overall, but they don’t have an undercoat, so they don’t tend to shed seasonally either. Not to mention, the hairs they do molt tend to get trapped within their coat, so most of the dead hair will end up in the brush, rather than on your floors and furniture. So, if you want a low shedding apartment dog, the Yorkie might be the one!
Are they hypoallergenic?
Yes, according to the American Kennel Club’s hypoallergenic dog breeds list, Yorkies are hypoallergenic. However, it’s important to understand that, even still, no dog is every truly hypoallergenic. It’s just that some breeds, like the Yorkshire Terrier, are more suitable to people with pet related allergies than others.
And the reason no dog is fully hypoallergenic is because the hair itself isn’t the problem, it is mostly the dog’s dander (dead, flaky skin). And since even hairless dogs can produce dander, there’s no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog.
As mentioned though, some dogs are more suitable for people with dog allergies than others. And this mostly comes down to the fact that some dogs produce less dander and shed less. Even though the hair isn’t the problem, dander attaches itself to the dog’s hair, so the less they shed, the less dander will typically spread around the home.
So, to sum it up, Yorkies are generally considered to be more suitable for allergy sufferers than most dogs, but there are no guarantees either.
Do Yorkies have hair or fur?
Technically speaking, hair and fur are the same thing. At least, if you were to put them under the microscope, there would be no difference chemically. So in some respects it is just the word being used. As in, most people attribute “hair” to dogs with coats like the Yorkie because of its length and because the texture is similar to human hair given how fine and silky it is.
With that being said, there are some studies that suggest that hair differs from fur in the way that it grows. Basically, the thinking is that hair has a longer growth cycle than fur, which basically means it grows longer and shed less overall.
So, call it what you will, but Yorkies do have a longer growth cycle than most dogs. And this is one of the main reasons why they molt so little.
What’s a hair growth cycle?
The hair growth cycle is just the natural cycle of hair growth, loss and replenishment. The hair grows (anagen phase), ceases to grow (catagen phase) and falls out to be replaced with new hairs (telogen phase). And the longer the hair stays in the anagen phase of the growth cycle, the longer it tends to grow and the less often it needs to fall out to be replaced.
Do Yorkies shed their puppy coat?
Most dogs shed their puppy coat, so you may notice higher shedding as your Yorkie transitions to a full adult coat somewhere between the age of 12-24 months. However, it does depend on the individual dog. Either way, Yorkies are born with a shorter, darker colored coat that grows longer as they get older.
Why is my Yorkie shedding?
If you’re noticing some hair floating around, this is normally nothing to worry about, since most dogs shed at least some hair. However, sometimes it can be cause for concern. For example, if your Yorkie has fleas, mites, allergies or some other health issue, then this could be causing excessive shedding. So if you have any concerns, contact a qualified veterinarian.
Grooming a Yorkie
Yorkshire Terriers have a high maintenance coat.
Unlike most dogs, they only have one layer of hair (single coat) rather than a double coat (outer coat and undercoat). So in this respect their a little easier to groom.
But their single coat is made up of long, straight, glossy hairs. And due to the length of the hair and its fine texture, they are prone to mats and tangles. It does depend on how you keep the coat as to how much effort you’ll need to put into maintaining it but, generally speaking, they’re not for people looking for a low maintenance dog.
For example, on one hand, if you plan on keeping his coat longer, this will mean daily brushing. Because otherwise their coat can become matted, knotted and tangled which can be quite painful for them if left unchecked.
On the other hand, what most people do is simply have their Yorkie trimmed or clipped evenly all over (which is known as a puppy cut) in order to save some effort when it comes to brushing. Simply because shorter hair won’t tangle as easy and it’s easier and less time consuming to brush. But you will need to visit the groomer more often, unless you plan on clipping him yourself, if you go this route.
Which method you use is up to you, and there are many different styles you can go for with a Yorkie. But keep in mind that, either way, you’ll need to brush often and trimming will still be needed around certain areas like around their eyes and feet. Also, when it comes to shedding, a longer coat tends to trap more of the loose hairs than a shorter coat.
Here’s a helpful video I found about grooming a Yorkie:
How do you brush a Yorkie?
It’s generally best to use a wide tooth metal comb for a Yorkie, and to simply brush each day, carefully working out any mats with your fingers. There’s not much to it, but it can be a tedious and time consuming job compared with some breeds that are much lower maintenance.
Aside from brushing, Yorkies also need regular baths as part of the grooming process. A good bath each week or every other week should suffice and it is worth using a good quality dog shampoo that doesn’t dry out his coat. As a dry coat is not only irritating for your Yorkie but it can cause excessive molting.
Note: If your Yorkshire Terrier is a mix breed, he may have both an outer coat of hair and an undercoat of softer, shorter fur. And typically dogs with an undercoat shed more, not to mention this can add more time to the grooming regime. Speak with your breeder or vet if you are unsure what you have.
Yorkies make fantastic companions. They are known for being affectionate, cheerful lapdogs that can make just about anyone smile. And best of all, they shed very little, which means you won’t need to spend your days vacuuming up loose dog hair.
That said, they are a bit higher maintenance than the average dog with respect to brushing and grooming. So if you’re looking for a small, low shedding dog that’s also super easy to brush, a worthy alternative is the Boston Terrier or Italian Greyhound.