Imagine falling in love with a pup and bringing it home, only to discover that you or a family member is allergic.
Who knew heartbreak could sound like a sneeze?
Allergies can make a pet-inhabited home unlivable, so if you or someone in your house has allergies and you’re considering bringing home a new dog, finding out if the breed is hypoallergenic is a crucial first step.
And if the furry family member you’re considering is a Yorkshire Terrier, you’re in luck.
In this guide:
- Are Yorkies hypoallergenic dogs?
- Hypoallergenic or not—can you be allergic to Yorkies?
- How to find out if you’re allergic to Yorkies
- How to minimize allergic reactions to Yorkies
Not what you were looking for? This post is about human allergies and Yorkies. If you want to learn about Yorkie allergies, go here.
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Are Yorkies hypoallergenic dogs?
In short, yes. Yorkshire Terriers have fine, human-like hair instead of fur. That means they don’t shed, so they produce far fewer allergens than most dog breeds.
This is great news for Yorkie lovers.
It’s important to get a dog that fits in with your family and its needs, and no amount of Zyrtec is going to help you sleep at night if your pillowcase is covered in pet dander. But if you bring home a Yorkie, you should be safe.
However, just because Yorkies are hypoallergenic doesn’t mean you’ll have absolutely no allergic reactions.
Hypoallergenic or not—can you be allergic to Yorkies?
Unfortunately, the answer is again yes. No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, so you may still find that your fluffy, fiery little bundle of joy sets off your sinuses—especially in seasons of high allergies.
Yorkies can aggravate human allergies in a few ways (which we’ll get into below), so it’s best to spend some time with a potential pet before committing to bringing it home.
Here are a few ways Yorkies can affect your allergies.
Dust, dander, & dead hair
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, two canine proteins contribute to most dog allergies: can f 1 and can f 2.
These allergens can become airborne and enter your lungs when your pet sheds dead hair and dander. And do Yorkies have dander? Sometimes—especially if they’re suffering from Yorkie dry skin.
But Yorkies don’t typically develop nearly as much dander as other dog breeds, so it shouldn’t be a major concern for most people.
When it comes to dead hair, Yorkie owners are still at an advantage. Many dog breeds have multiple layers of fur—an undercoat and an overcoat—which they shed off as new fur grows in. These are the types of breeds that leave hair all over your home and will really aggravate your allergies.
Yorkies have hair, not fur, and it keeps growing until you cut it. So you shouldn’t have major allergic reactions due to shedding.
But just as you find your own hair in the shower drain, strands of Yorkie hair may come loose from time to time, especially if you’re trying to brush out some particularly stubborn tangles.
Finally, your reaction may be due to regular old dust. Yorkies live life low to the ground, so their long hair can act like a broom, collecting up dust, dirt, and even pollen from outside. Your dog will redistribute these particles throughout your home if you don’t brush or wash them out immediately.
Allergens in the Yorkie’s saliva & feces
Two additional sources of can f 1 and can f 2 are your Yorkie’s saliva and feces.
Direct contact with poop should (hopefully) be easy to avoid, but if your dog is a licker, or if you want to play fetch, you may find it hard to avoid touching saliva.
This shouldn’t be a huge concern—it’s when these substances dry out and particles become airborne that they do the most damage.
Always clean up dog poop immediately, and wash your dog’s chew toys periodically to minimize the build-up of dried saliva. If your Yorkie is having a sneezing fit, try opening a window or turn on an air purifier to promote airflow.
Fleas & other parasites
If your Yorkie has fleas or another parasite, it can lead to a reaction for both of you. Parasites often live off of dead skin cells, and they cause dry skin and rashes that promote lots of scratching on your dog’s part.
This leads to more of the airborne allergens discussed above.
You also could come into contact with the parasites yourself, giving them the opportunity to cause an allergic reaction directly.
How to find out if you’re allergic to Yorkies
Fortunately, most people don’t need to be worried about having a serious reaction to Yorkies.
But since no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, you should give your allergies a trial run before bringing home a new pet. You don’t want to commit to adopting a dog, only to uproot it a few days later when you discover you can’t live under the same roof.
So how do you test whether you’re allergic to Yorkies? The same way you solve most of the world’s problems—go play with a puppy.
Find a friend or neighbor in your local dog park who owns a Yorkie and explain your situation. Or better yet—visit the shelter, breeder, or pet store you plan to procure your puppy from.
Most people will be more than happy to let you play with their dog—especially if it’s the same dog you might adopt.
If you can get up-close and personal with a Yorkie for an hour or two, you should know pretty quickly if you’re going to be able to live with one of your own. Just look for common signs of an allergic reaction.
Common signs that you’re allergic to your dog
- Sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose
- Nasal congestion, including facial pain or earache
- Postnasal drip and an itchy throat
- Wheezing, coughing, or trouble breathing
- Rashes, hives, or eczema where skin comes in contact with dog saliva
- Foggy or watery eyes
- Nausea or digestive problems
If you have a clear and substantial allergic reaction to a Yorkie, we don’t recommend you adopt one as a pet.
Your affection for the new pup might lead you to convince yourself that you can just deal with your allergies. But Yorkies can live for 12 to 15 years, and your home needs to be a comfortable, welcoming place for both of you during that time.
The last thing you want is to grow attached to the dog, only to discover that your allergies have grown worse over time until you have to give up the pet.
However, since Yorkies score high on the hypoallergenic scale, most people shouldn’t have to worry.
>> Read more: Yorkie Growth Chart: How Big Will My Yorkie Get?
How to minimize allergic reactions to Yorkies
If you only experience occasional or slight reactions, it may be possible to minimize your allergies through diligent housekeeping and regular grooming.
Here are six steps you (or better yet, a family member without allergies) can take to reduce allergic reactions to your Yorkie.
1. Cleanse your home of dead hair
Dead hair and dander are two primary contributors to human allergies, so purging your house of these particles will go a long way toward minimizing allergic reactions.
Vacuum or sweep regularly and wash all surfaces your pet spends time on. A good pet hair wand can also help you remove hair from larger pieces of furniture you can’t easily wash.
2. Mark your territory
You should also consider limiting your dog’s access to certain parts of the home. Rooms with carpet will trap more hair and be harder to clean than rooms with wooden or tile flooring. Likewise, fabric furniture will trap more hair than wooden or leather furniture.
Your bedroom, especially, is a bad place for your dog to roam free. It’s filled with fabrics, and you probably spend more time there than in any other part of your house.
If your Yorkie insists on sleeping in the same room as you, at least keep it off your bed, and make sure the air in your room has good circulation.
3. Keep your Yorkie in a puppy cut
There are many different Yorkie haircuts you can choose from, but a few are somewhat more allergy-friendly than others. A Yorkie puppy cut—which is what our Yorkie Max regularly sports—is ideal because the fur is short and easy to groom.
Although shorter fur won’t decrease most allergens your dog produces, it will be much easier to brush and wash on a regular basis, reducing the amount of dust and dander your Yorkie carries around the home.
>> Read more: Best Dog Clippers for Yorkies
4. Maintain a weekly bathing schedule
Normally, you’d only want to bathe your Yorkie two or three times per month. Too much bathing—or bathing improperly—can actually cause your Yorkie to develop dry skin that might just exacerbate your allergies even more.
But if you start having allergic reactions to your Yorkie, it might be time to start a weekly bathing routine. This can reduce the amount of dust and other allergens that get trapped in your Yorkie’s fur, aiding your allergies.
5. Keep the outdoors… outdoors
Your Yorkie could be triggering your allergies without producing any allergens of its own. Just a quick romp in an old pile of leaves is enough to keep you sneezing all day—if you suffer from outdoor allergies.
After walks and outdoor play, make sure you clean your dog’s paws with a damp cloth or paw wipe. Then use a Yorkie pin brush to remove any dust and debris that may have gathered in your their coat while outside.
This is especially important in the springtime when high pollen counts are high.
You could also try using a blow dryer—set on cool and held at least a foot away—to blow away the dust in your dog’s fur. Just make sure to do it on the back porch, in the garage, or somewhere else where the stirred up allergens won’t bother you.
6. Get an air purifier
If airborne allergens are getting to you—whether they’re coming from your Yorkie or not—a good air purifier is an excellent solution. This is especially true if you live in an urban area and deal with poor air quality on a regular basis.
Keep the purifier in your bedroom while you sleep, but consider moving it to the parts of your home where your Yorkie spends the most time during the day to filter out allergens at their source.
You can live with a Yorkie—even if you have allergies
If you have strong allergies, it’s possible you’ll react to any type of pet. But the Yorkshire Terrier is a hypoallergenic dog breed, so with a little extra maintenance, you should be able to live happily together.
Just make sure you spend time with a Yorkie before committing to bringing one into your home, and once you do, groom your Yorkie regularly to help minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
>> Keep reading: Yorkie Colors: An Illustrated Guide to Yorkshire Terrier Coloring