A common misconception is that Yorkshire Terriers do not shed at all. This is simply not true.
However, Yorkies go through a different coat growth and shedding cycle than many other breeds. Due to this unique trait, Yorkies shed far less than the average dog, making them an ideal breed for people who don’t like lots of pet hair around the house.
Let’s take a look at how Yorkshire Terriers shed, what to do to help keep the shedding manageable, and when to be worried about health issues if shedding is happening too frequently.
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Do Yorkies shed?
Although Yorkies do occasionally release hair, they do not shed seasonally, and that makes all the difference.
Many dog breeds have both a stiff, hardy outer coat and a softer, insulating undercoat. These breeds tend to shed their undercoat seasonally, dropping the extra insulation for the warmer months and growing it again for the winter. This type of coat is typically called fur.
Yorkies are different in that they have a fine, single layer coat, which is typically referred to as hair. It is somewhat similar to the undercoat on other breeds, except that Yorkies do not shed and regrow this coat seasonally.
Instead, Yorkie hair will continue to grow until cut, allowing the pup to grow a longer coat than most dogs have. However, Yorkies will still shed gradually throughout the year, dropping a small amount of hair at a time similar to how you or I do.
This single layer of fine hair and low level of shedding makes Yorkies essentially hypoallergenic, and people with allergies tend to react less or not at all to Yorkie hair. Dog breeds that shed seasonally tend to produce far more dander and create a problem for people sensitive to allergens.
Yorkies don’t shed a lot, but that doesn’t mean their hair won’t fall out
Because Yorkie hair is fine and tends to cling to itself, loose hairs often stay within the coat when shed. This means you won’t have to deal with large amounts of dog hair on your furniture during seasonal shedding cycles, and a Yorkie will rarely leave more than a stray hair to two on your clothing.
This does not mean that your Yorkie’s hair will never be found around the home. Much like human hair, Yorkie hair undergoes typical cycles as it grows, matures, and eventually falls out. However, the volume of shedding is minimal and manageable and will likely go almost unnoticed in a regularly cleaned home.
Regular Yorkie grooming will also help reduce loose hairs and eliminate the little shedding that does occur. Brushing at least a couple of times a week with the right grooming tools will go a long way to keeping flyaway hairs under control and has the side benefit of keeping your Yorkie’s coat beautiful.
Grooming and Yorkie hair care is especially important during specific scenarios that might contribute to shedding. For example, pregnant dogs may experience elevated hormone levels that can lead to higher rates of shedding. Similarly, if your pup is fighting off specific health issues that impact a Yorkie’s coat, they may shed more than normal.
All of these conditions tend to be temporary, however, and once the puppies are born or their health stabilizes, shedding volume tends to normalize.
Does Yorkie puppy hair fall out?
A common misconception is that Yorkie puppies shed their puppy coat.
This myth is likely due to the fact that Yorkie colors start to change when the pup reaches about six months of age. At this point, new hair growth comes in with a lighter color than the original puppy coat, but it has no effect on the normal shedding rate, and the change takes place over a period of months.
This remains true for Yorkie puppies of all sizes, including so-called teacup Yorkies. As long as the puppy is healthy and developing normally, Yorkie shedding patterns should remain very consistent throughout their lifespan.
How to prevent Yorkshire Terrier shedding
There are four key areas you need to address to prevent Yorkie shedding: nutrition, skin health, grooming, and exercise. You can learn more about them in our guide to Yorkie hair loss, but we’ll touch on them below.
Diet & nutrition
Nutrition is a key factor in preventing abnormal Yorkshire Terrier shedding. A diet balanced in Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin B7, and other nutrients will promote healthy hair follicles and stronger hair.
With proper nutrition, a Yorkie will have a stronger immune system and will be less susceptible to more serious health issues that can cause hair loss. Additionally, a pup that eats a balanced diet will tend to have glossier, less brittle hair that will be less likely to prematurely shed.
In addition to a balanced diet, supplements like fish oil or a Phytoplankton supplement contain many of the essential nutrients that cultivate general health, immune resiliency and help improve coat strength.
Allergies and parasites pose a particular risk to your dog’s coat. If left unchecked, parasites and allergies can cause inflamed, irritated skin. Inflamed skin and complications from parasites often lead to scratching, infections, and other issues which may result in significant hair loss.
Identifying Yorkie allergens is an important first step. Once identified, treatment with mediation or simple contact avoidance will help prevent allergic reactions and reduce the resulting skin irritation.
If parasites are present, it is important to identify the type and seek treatment quickly to prevent it from gaining too strong a foothold in your dog’s skin. Many parasites, like ear mites and ticks, are treatable with simple solutions that can be implemented at home or with the help of your vet.
Grooming & haircut
Regular grooming will remove dead hair, keep healthy hair shining, and help identify underlying conditions more quickly.
In addition to keeping the coat glossy and healthy-looking, routine bathing and brushing keep a Yorkie coat free from major tangles, which can lead to bald spots and irritation. Grooming also stimulates a dog’s skin and hair follicles, promoting healthy growth and oil production. Our guide to how to groom a Yorkie will walk you through all the necessary steps.
Along with brushing, a regular bathing schedule will wash out irritants like pollen and dust. Using a quality dog shampoo with natural essential oils will help ward off pests and parasites, and shampoos that contain ingredients like lavender and oatmeal will help calm inflammation.
Unlike many other breeds, Yorkies are noted for their ability to grow long, silky coats, often reaching floor-length when carefully maintained. The drawback of Yorkie coats—especially those that are allowed to grow out—is a greater risk of tangles, trapping of irritants, and far more matting when grooming sessions are skipped.
When a Yorkie coat becomes tangled, dirty, and otherwise ungroomed, it becomes far more likely to cause irritation and matting which may result in eventual hair loss.
An easy solution that helps prevent these types of issues is to simply give your Yorkie a shorter puppy cut, which requires far less maintenance. The side benefit of a puppy cut is that shorter haircuts tangle infrequently and will tend to shed less.
>> Read more: The 3 Best Haircuts For Active Yorkie Puppies
Daily exercise provides many benefits for a Yorkie’s mental and physical wellbeing, and coat health is no exception.
Regular exercise not only strengthens the immune system, but also helps reduce obesity, improves circulation, and engages a pup mentally. All of these benefits help prevent infections, susceptibility to pests, and self-harming due to separation anxiety.
Dogs who do not receive regular exercise are far more likely to experience health issues that lead to skin and coat deterioration and frequently resort to habitual chewing or scratching when mentally unstimulated.
Does your Yorkshire Terrier shed?
If your Yorkie is shedding a little bit, there is likely nothing to be worried about. If shedding is occurring in significant amounts, it is probably a good idea to visit your vet, just to be safe.
We love this little breed for many reasons and minimal shedding is definitely one of them. With a little care and knowledge, Yorkie shedding is incredibly easy to manage.
What has your experience been with Yorkie shedding? We’d love to hear your stories and tips for keeping shedding to a minimum in the comments below!