A right of passage for every new Yorkshire Terrier owner is getting to grips with Yorkie grooming.
In this article Shannon Cutts has lots of practical advice and tips to make it as easy and fun as possible!
Yorkshire Terriers, or “Yorkies” as breeders and enthusiasts often call them, may be pint-sized in body, but they are outsized in personality!
Because Yorkies are so small and cute, they are always in the running for “dog most likely to be dressed up for Halloween.”
However, this breed actually comes from a hard-working background.
They are incredible ratters – both speedy and efficient!
Today, the job Yorkies are most often called upon to do is to lay in your lap and be petted.
And they like this very much also.
Introduction to Yorkie grooming
Yorkies have soft, silky coats and sensitive skin.
Luckily, they don’t shed that much, but they are somewhat prone to allergies, which most frequently show up as itchy skin.
So now let’s take a look at Yorkie grooming, including important topics like how to groom a Yorkie face, and different Yorkie hairstyles.
We’ll also review the best shampoo for Yorkies, the best brush for Yorkie dogs, and other helpful grooming products!
Yorkie grooming basics
Learning the basics of a Yorkshire Terrier grooming session won’t take long with this helpful tutorial.
1. Choosing a Yorkie brush
Choosing the right Yorkie brush begins with understanding the structure of your Yorkie’s coat.
The ideal Yorkie coat – the one breeders aspire to – is a single layer of thick, silky fur that is shiny and lush.
Many breeders liken this ideal Yorkie coat to human hair.
But Yorkies can also have coats that are coarser and more woolen, finer and more cottony, or even double layer coats.
So the first step is to figure out what kind of coat your Yorkie is wearing.
The texture of your Yorkie’s coat as well as the number of layers (one or two) will help you choose the best brush for Yorkie fur that will penetrate without abrading your dog’s skin.
We’ll show you some great tools for every kind of coat in a moment.
2. Finding the right Yorkie shampoo and conditioner
Your Yorkie’s daily activity can determine how frequently he needs to be bathed.
Some “inside-only” Yorkies might be able to get away with having a bath every 2 to 4 weeks.
Other “indoor-outdoor” Yorkies might get dirtier quicker and need a bath every week.
You want to find the right frequency of bathing so you keep your Yorkie’s coat clean and healthy without depleting the natural oils.
If you are unsure, your veterinarian can take a look at your Yorkie’s skin and coat and advise you.
Always use dog shampoo – not people shampoo – to bathe your Yorkie.
High quality Yorkie shampoo is pH balanced for your dog’s skin, which is both thinner and more alkaline than human skin.
You may also want to add a natural moisturizing conditioner to your Yorkie’s bathtime routine; this can replenish any natural skin and hair oils lost due to frequent bathing or skin allergies.
We’ll suggest some perfect products further down.
3. Yorkie cuts
There are so many different Yorkshire terrier haircuts.
When you visit the groomer’s for the first time and take a look at all the style options for how to cut a Yorkie’s hair, it might even seem like you have more choices than you do for your own hair!
Here, just as you would pick your own hairstyle with your face shape, hair type and preferences in mind, so too finding the right Yorkie cuts that will work for your dog’s hair type, thickness, length and your preferences can take some trial and error.
More complicated cuts may require growing out your Yorkie’s coat first.
One example is the popular show style where the Yorkie’s hair is allowed to grow long and then trimmed just below floor length so it spills down over the paws.
Practical Yorkie hairstyles for everyday
If your Yorkie is still a puppy, you may want to go simple and opt for the “Yorkie puppy cut” (also called the “Yorkie teddy bear cut”).
This cut evenly trims all the hair on your Yorkie’s face, body, tail and paws to an even length.
If you are looking for a Yorkshire terrier short hair cut, you have plenty of options, including a short and sassy Yorkie summer cut that is easy to maintain and a Yorkie kennel cut.
This cut is just a hair above shaved on the torso with a little length left on the ears, face, lower legs, paws and tail.
How to groom a Yorkie
There are three basic steps to grooming a Yorkie, and you won’t do all of them every day.
Brushing will be something that needs to be done at least daily and perhaps twice daily if your Yorkie has one of the longer Yorkie cuts.
Bathing and grooming can be done less frequently, but both are also very important to keep your Yorkie looking and feeling great.
Step 1: Brushing
Your Yorkie will benefit from daily brushing to keep her coat silky soft and free from tangles, mats and debris.
But never brush your Yorkie’s coat when it is completely dry!
Dry brushing your Yorkie can cause the fine hair to break off.
The solution is simple: just spritz your Yorkie with water or spritz on a spray shine conditioner first; once the coat is damp, you can brush your Yorkie safely.
Always brush in the direction the hair grows.
Dealing with knots and tangles
You always want to be sure you have worked out any tangles or mats before you give your Yorkie a bath!
When you are brushing your Yorkie and you encounter a tangle or mat, stop and gently work the snarl out with your fingers.
Then you can resume brushing.
Choosing the right comb and brush set can make grooming your Yorkie so much easier, safer and more comfortable for you both.
Groomers will typically use a fine flew comb for the hair around the eyes, muzzle and face and a sturdier comb for the body and tail.
A brush-out after all the tangles and mats have been worked out can give your Yorkie’s coat a lovely shine.
Step 2: Bathing
Once your Yorkie has been groomed until she is tangle-free, it is bath time!
One common mistake many new Yorkie owners make is using too much shampoo.
This is such an easy oops to make, especially if your shampoo is concentrated!
A little shampoo goes a long way on such a tiny dog.
Use less shampoo than you think you need and always do a double rinse to make sure every bit of the shampoo is rinsed away.
Then apply the conditioner and it is on to step three!
Step 3: Trimming
If you are grooming your Yorkie at home, you may want to ask your groomer for a lesson on how to trim a Yorkie face and how to do a claw trim at home.
Learning how to do these basic maintenance grooming tasks at home can reduce the frequency of groomer visits.
If you are planning to show your Yorkie, there are many great tutorials that can teach you professional-grade methods for how to trim a Yorkie at home!
Here’s a great example of a professional groomer demonstrating how to give a Yorkie a simple puppy clip:
Best comb for Yorkies
The best comb for Yorkies will be a comb with safely rounded pins, a comfy handle for you and a gentle, firm action that penetrates through your Yorkie’s long yet fine coat to remove tangles and shake loose any trapped debris.
These Yorkie combs do a great job of prepping your Yorkie’s coat for bathing and grooming.
UGroom Non-Slip Rubber Grip Pet Rotating Pin Comb
This high-quality and popular rubber-backed grooming comb has rotating pins that will move through your Yorkie’s coat to help gently detangle it without snagging or pulling.
It comes in both 5.5 and 7.5-inch sizes.
Andis Pet Steel Grooming Comb
This wildly popular and well-made grooming comb has rounded steel pins to protect your Yorkie’s sensitive skin.
The round pins also provide stimulation and massage to enhance blood flow and new hair growth. It leaves the hair fluffy and full of body.
Li’l Pals Double Side Comb
This economical and popular double-sided comb gives you flexibility for combing different areas on your Yorkie’s face and body where the hair is thicker or finer.
Best brush for Yorkie dogs
Each of these pin brushes will do a good job of brushing out your Yorkie’s silky coat, whether you keep it short or long.
Brushing can really bring out the shine, softness and natural body in your Yorkie’s coat!
Chris Christensen Oval Pin Brush
This popular pin brush is sized for small and toy dog breeds.
Each bristle has a rounded end so it won’t abrade your Yorkie’s sensitive skin. This brush, like the whole Chris Christensen line, is show quality.
It is easy to use, leaves hair soft and silky and is easy to clean.
PetPawJoy Gently Cleaning Pin Brush
This extra small pin brush is also a slicker brush, but it is extra fine and gentle for soft, fine coats like Yorkie coats.
The brush head rotates for massage and grooming.
It has an ergonomic handle to make brushing sessions more comfortable for you as well.
Safari Pin Brush for Dogs
This affordable and highly rated pin brush features a comfy-grip handle and gentle rounded bristles to work out mats and tangles without any pain.
Best flea comb for Yorkies
Many Yorkie groomers recommend using a small, fine-tooth flea comb for delicate hair around your Yorkie’s face, eyes and muzzle.
This type of comb can also help with removing tear stains.
MECO Toothed Flea Comb for Dogs
This small, stainless steel comb features fine teeth and a solid plastic handle grip to make it easy to use.
Safari Pet Products Double Row Flea Comb
This flea comb features a double row of teeth to work through thicker hair and also help to gently release tear stains around the eyes and muzzle.
Sentry Flea Comb for Dogs
This highly rated and affordable flea comb has longer teeth to work through areas of longer hair effectively.
The handle is ergonomic to make brushing sessions more comfortable.
Best coat dog spray
These coat spray products will help to condition, clean and detangle your Yorkie’s hair to make brushing and grooming much faster and easier.
Everyday Isle of Dogs Silky Coating Dog Brush Spray
This jasmine and vanilla scented spray is formulated for Yorkies, Poodles and tangle-prone hair.
The silky soft spray acts as a detangler to help work out tangles and mats with less pain and effort.
It conditions your Yorkie’s hair and adds shine.
Best of all, it leaves your dog smelling fabulous!
Miracle Coat leave-in conditioner and lusterizer for dogs
This popular and highly rated leave-in dog coat spray is a perfect choice for daily brushing and grooming sessions.
We’re pretty sure “lusterizer” isn’t a real word, but this product will add shine and help keep your Yorkie’s coat manageable.
Tea tree oil and vitamins add natural oils back to your dog’s coat and skin.
Nootie Daily Spritz Pet Conditioning Spray
This highly rated and popular dog coat spray comes in a number of pleasing scents.
It is free from both soap and paraben and made with natural ingredients.
Owners say a little goes a long way and it leaves the coat silky but not oily or weighed down.
Now that you have read through these expert tips for Yorkie grooming, bathing and brushing, you are ready to give the process a try with your Yorkie pup!
It can take a little while to get the hang of grooming a Yorkie, simply because their soft, single layer coat is so unique.
If you have a gentle approach and are patient, this will help you navigate problems like trapped debris, tangles and mats without causing you or your dog any anxiety.
Are you a Yorkie grooming pro?
Do you have a favorite haircut for your Yorkie?
How about a favorite grooming brush, comb, coat spray or shampoo?
Please drop us a comment about your favs for grooming your Yorkie!
YTCA, “Grooming a Yorkshire Terrier,” The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, 2018.
Silver, J., DVM, “Breed of the Month: Yorkshire Terrier, Shedding Light on the Little Mystery Dogs,” Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital, 2018.
Brewer, L., “Skin – the difference between canine and human skin, dog skin,” Vet West Animal Hospital, 2018.
Henery, S., “Yorkie Grooming,” Yorkie Splash and Shine Groomers, 2014.
Rose, K., “Yorkie: Short Trim,” Groomer to Groomer, 2014.