The American Kennel Club (AKC) consistently lists the Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, near the top of the most popular dog breeds. And it’s easy to see why. Not only are these little dogs cheerful, affectionate, and loyal to their human family members, they’re generally good with kids and other pets, too. On top of that, they’re absolutely adorable.
Yorkies can be black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, or blue and tan. Their flowing locks — sometimes likened to human hair because of the texture and appearance — make them a very recognizable breed, and they do have particular grooming requirements. It may leave you wondering: Do Yorkies shed?
The answer is yes, Yorkies shed. But they’re not considered heavy shedders – yet another reason why they make great pets for many families.
Read on to find out how much Yorkies shed, whether or not these dogs are hypoallergenic, and what could cause your Yorkie to shed more than usual. Then, we’ll discuss how you can keep your beloved pet’s coat in tip-top shape for life.
How Much Do Yorkies Shed?
Yes, Yorkies do shed. But they shed far less than other dogs — far less than heavy shedders like Golden Retrievers or Australian Shepherds. Most dog groomers and veterinary professionals would call the Yorkshire Terrier a low-shedding breed.
It’s helpful to understand more about a Yorkie’s hair. First of all, this breed does not have a double coat. Dogs with a double coat have a topcoat and an undercoat. The undercoat will go through a shedding cycle throughout the year. In certain seasons (typically spring and fall) the dog’s old fur gets pushed out to make room for new hair, resulting in periods of increased shedding.
The Yorkie’s coat is made of one layer of fine, silky hair that is longer than average dog hair. It grows at the same rate all year round, so you won’t see seasonal shedding with this breed. Plus, much of the loose hair that does fall out of your Yorkie’s coat simply gets caught in the rest of the coat rather than falling all over your carpets, furniture, and clothes.
So, do Yorkies shed? Yes, but very lightly. If you’re looking for a small dog who won’t leave tons of fur all over your home, the Yorkie might be a good fit for you.
Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic?
Since Yorkies shed much less than other dogs, you might be wondering if they’re good pets for allergy sufferers. Do Yorkies shed so little that they’re considered a hypoallergenic dog breed? Well ... it depends on who you ask.
To be clear: No dog is truly hypoallergenic, technically. Dander (microscopic dead skin cells and oils) is what causes most pet allergies, not the hair itself. But dander attaches itself to dog hair, so even dogs who don’t shed much (like the Yorkie) can cause pet allergies, especially if a person is very sensitive.
Still, breeds like the Yorkie who shed very little are much better for those with allergies than dogs who shed a lot. So, in most circles, the Yorkie is considered a hypoallergenic dog. Those with allergies to pet dander are much less likely to experience allergic reactions around a Yorkie than they would be around a heavier shedder.
Could Health Issues Make My Yorkie Shed More Than Usual?
Yes, there are a variety of health problems that could cause a Yorkie to shed more hair than usual or even experience full-out hair loss. You’ll want to keep an eye out for certain symptoms so that you can quickly get your dog proper treatment.
Here are some of the more common health issues that could make a Yorkie shed more than usual:
External parasites like fleas, mites, or lice could wreak havoc on your Yorkshire Terrier’s skin and fur, resulting in more shedding, hair loss, and even bald patches. Dogs are also susceptible to flea allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction to the saliva of a flea which causes even more severe itching, scratching, and hair loss.
If you notice severe itching and scratching, red or inflamed skin, or hair loss in your Yorkie, tell your vet right away. Topical and oral medications can be prescribed to rid your dog of the infestation. Then, your vet can set your dog up with preventative medicine to make sure the infestation doesn’t recur.
Another possible cause of hair loss is a bacterial or fungal skin infection. Ringworm is a common fungal infection that affects dogs — they pick up the fungal spores in their environment or from another infected animal, and the fungus soon starts to cause hair loss. You might also see inflamed skin, bald patches, or flaky and scaly skin in the event of a bacterial or fungal skin infection.
Let your vet know as soon as you spot these signs. Antibiotics or anti-fungal medications will need to be given until the infection is completely cleared up.
Ever feel like stress makes you want to pull your hair out? The same is true, in a way, for your dog. Increased stress levels actually contribute to poor coat health, which leads to more shedding. Stress also makes your dog more likely to over-groom themselves, biting and chewing to the point of pulling out hair. This is especially common in cases of separation anxiety.
Your vet can help you get your dog’s stress under control with lifestyle management techniques, training, and even medication if necessary. You can also try giving your pooch Native Pet’s Calming Chews, which can help reduce general anxiety, improve sleep, and aid in relaxing muscles.
Take note: Pregnancy can cause increased shedding and hair loss in dogs, including Yorkies. Fortunately, hair growth should resume after the gestation period and your dog’s coat will get back to normal. If you have a female Yorkie that hasn’t been spayed, keep this possibility in mind.
Caring for Your Yorkie’s Coat
Do Yorkies shed enough that they need extensive at-home grooming? No, but they still need regular hair care to make sure their coat stays healthy and smooth. And grooming is especially important if you keep your Yorkie’s hair long. (Some Yorkie owners opt to keep their dog’s hair short with a puppy cut, a simple trim that leaves an even one- to two-inch coat around the body, which reduces the need for frequent brushing.)
Here are some quick tips on maintaining your Yorkie’s coat:
- Brush your dog often: Use a soft-bristled brush so as not to hurt your Yorkie’s delicate skin. Brushing is crucial for avoiding tangles that can lead to painful matting and knots, particularly with a longer cut. If your Yorkie has long hair, brush them daily. If they have a shorter puppy cut, brushing a few times per week will do the trick.
- Bathe your dog regularly: Most Yorkies benefit from baths every few weeks or so. (Ask your vet or dog groomer about an appropriate schedule.) Bathing can wash away dirt and grime on the skin and loose and dead hair in your dog’s coat. You’ll want to use a delicate shampoo, like an oatmeal shampoo, made specifically for dogs, and you can also use a dog conditioner to get the coat extra soft.
- Feed your Yorkie right: What little Fido eats has a lot to do with his or her skin health and, by extension, the coat quality. Make sure you’re feeding your dog a nutritionally balanced dog food that contains healthy protein, vitamins, and minerals. You can also give your dog an omega-3 fatty acid product like Native Pet’s Omega Oil, which can promote healthy skin and reduce itching and scratching. Bonus: It can alleviate joint pain at the same time.
Do Yorkies Shed? Yes, But Only Lightly
Still wondering, “Do Yorkies shed?” The answer is yes, they do — but thanks to their single coat of hair and their fine, silky coat texture, they are a very low-shedding dog breed. In fact, they’re generally considered to be one of the best dogs for those with dog allergies because they shed so little.
Like any dog, your Yorkie is susceptible to certain health conditions that could make them shed more. These include parasites, skin infections, and high stress levels. Luckily, these issues can typically be dealt with easily by your veterinary professional. Let them know right away when you notice an unusual increase in shedding.
What can you do to keep Yorkshire Terrier shedding levels under control? Brush your dog frequently with a soft-bristled brush, bathe them regularly with a shampoo made for dogs, and feed them a proper diet to maintain your Yorkie’s beautiful coat.
For more insights into your dog’s health and wellness, visit the Native Pet blog.