Yorkies are known worldwide for their hair. Not only does it change colors as they age, but these little pups are also capable of growing beautiful, glossy, floor-length coats that resemble human hair.
But beauty only comes with effort. Knowing how to grow and maintain Yorkie hair will give your pup a beauty boost and help improve their health in many other ways, too. Here’s everything you need to know about Yorkie hair.
In this guide:
- Must-haves for Yorkie hair care
- How to promote healthy Yorkie hair growth
- FAQs about Yorkie hair (puppy coat stages, colors, silky vs. cotton & more)
The Dog Tale is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you buy something through our site; this doesn’t change our recommendations.
Must-haves for Yorkie hair care
How to promote healthy Yorkie hair growth
1. Healthy Yorkie coats start with good nutrition
Nutrition is the most important factor to healthy Yorkie hair growth. If your Yorkie’s dog food doesn’t include the necessary vitamins and minerals, it will be reflected in dull, brittle, or broken hair.
These are the main nutrients needed if you want healthy Yorkie hair. You can learn more about these nutrients and how to provide them to your dog in our guide to Yorkie hair loss.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: These heart-healthy fatty acids promote a shiny coat, reduce inflammation in your pup’s skin, and support the immune system. Fish oil or a Phytoplankton supplement are great sources of Omega 3
- Linoleic acid: The counterbalance to Omega 3s are Linoleic acid and other Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids also help the immune system as well as supporting blood health and cell regeneration. Modern diets tend to be higher in Omega 6 fatty acids, but poultry and eggs are a good source if your pup needs a boost.
- Zinc: The trace mineral Zinc plays an important role in helping skin heal as well as supporting bone and joint health. Zinc can be found in poultry like turkey and chicken, as well as spinach, broccoli, and green peas.
- Biotin: Biotin, or B7, is a very important element in Yorkie hair care. Your dog’s skin and coat benefit from adequate levels of Biotin in numerous ways. Because this vitamin also helps digestion, normal growth and healthy hormone production, a deficiency in Biotin can spell big trouble for your pup. Luckily, it can easily be added to your dog’s diet through Biotin supplements and can be found in foods like eggs, spinach, pork, and cauliflower.
Although supplements exist for some of these nutrients, the best way to make sure your dog is getting the nutrition they need is by feeding them a well-rounded, carefully calculated diet.
Most people don’t have time to cook nutritionally appropriate meals for their dogs. That’s why dog food subscription services like Ollie and Nom Nom Dog Food come tailor-made for your pup’s breed, age, and level of activity—so you know they’re getting the nutrients and calorie count they need to keep their hair and body healthy.
2. Healthy skin makes for healthy hair
Healthy skin is a huge factor in keeping your Yorkie’s coat healthy—especially if your dog has allergies.
Food, cleaning products, and nasty stuff in the environment (Ack! Pollen!) are common causes of Yorkie allergies. While you can’t control all of these, there are things you can do to avoid the worst of them.
Stick with dog-safe cleaning products and keep your pup away from recently cleaned surfaces until they’ve dried. That fresh lemon scent might pique your pup’s interest, but it’s probably loaded with stuff their skin doesn’t like.
Try to avoid high pollen areas during allergy season and keep your dog from tangling with high pollen plants on walks. This one can be challenging with an adventurous pup, but try to take a rain check on that romp through the field of wildflowers when you know the pollen count is high.
Most importantly, avoid food allergies by knowing exactly what is in Fido’s bowl. So many food manufacturers add fillers and low-quality junk to your dog’s dish. That is a recipe for allergies and a lackluster coat, but it can be avoided in most quality foods.
If you suspect food allergies are damaging your Yorkie’s skin and hair, ask your vet what foods they recommend, or consider a premium food subscription service like the one mentioned above. You can also review our guide to what foods Yorkies can eat for some good homemade options.
These simple steps will go a long way toward preventing Yorkie skin conditions and growing a beautiful Yorkie coat.
3. Good grooming promotes lots of hair growth
Regular grooming is a very important part of keeping a dog’s coat looking healthy. “All dogs benefit from regular grooming to remove loose hairs and dead skin cells, to keep the coat free of dirt, debris, and external parasites, and to distribute natural skin oils along the hair shafts,” says Dr. Tammy Hunter and Dr. Cheryl Yuill.1
Don’t bathe too frequently
Some people think a dull coat can be combatted with extra baths and hair care products, but the truth is, sometimes less is more. Yorkies should really only be bathed once every three weeks, although especially messy pups may need it a little more frequently. You can learn more in our guide to how to bathe a Yorkie.
Choose an all-natural shampoo
Good Yorkie hair care starts with good shampoo. Don’t reach for the harsh, chemical-filled shampoos and conditioners next time you shop for bath time supplies. Yorkie coats benefit greatly from high-quality shampoos with simple ingredients, and when it comes to these tiny pups, a little goes a long way.
We outlined the best shampoo for Yorkies that rely on natural, organic ingredients that won’t leach into your Yorkie’s hair or dry out their skin.
Along with bathing, regular brushing is another key part of healthy, long Yorkie hair. Regular removal of dead hair prevents the development of gnarly mats and tangles which invariably lead to breakage.
A good detangling spray, a pin brush, bristle brush, and a detangling comb can tackle just about any issue you run into. Our guide to the best brush for Yorkies will walk you through everything you need.
Keep your grooming on a regular schedule to prevent any coat issues from sneaking up on you. A great trick is to schedule grooming time each week during your favorite show, so you never miss a session. Your pup will grow to love the regular attention.
Just don’t blame us if your dog learns to associate lap time with the intro song to Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
>> Read more: How to Groom a Yorkie
4. Couch potatoes don’t shine: exercise helps Yorkie puppy hair grow
An active lifestyle isn’t just good for us humans. Dogs need to keep moving to stay in peak health too, and luckily this is good for both of us.2 Yorkies don’t have high exercise needs, but they are an active little breed and should be taken on at least one or two moderately paced walks every day. In addition to walks, a Yorkie gets a lot of physical and mental stimulation from playing tug-of-war or chasing a ball indoors.
Walks and play sessions help all aspects of your pup’s health, including digestion, heart health, and immune responses. These, in turn, manifest as healthy (or unhealthy) Yorkie coats and skin, so keep a regular walking schedule and give your Yorkie lots of opportunities to be on the move.
Frequently asked questions about Yorkie hair
Do Yorkies have hair or fur?
While dog ‘hair’ and dog ‘fur’ are the same chemical composition and grow out of the same hair follicles, there are some important differences between the two categories.3 These differences have more to do with their growth cycle, their texture, and their shedding patterns.
Many breeds undergo seasonal shedding, during which they shed a heavy winter coat and grow a lighter summer coat or vise versa. Other breeds, like the Siberian Husky and the Australian Shepherd, are ‘double-coated’ with a long, protective outer coat and a shorter, insulating undercoat. These breeds, with their heavy, coarse coats, are classified as having fur.
Yorkshire Terriers do not have seasonal coats or an undercoat but, instead, have a simple overcoat. This overcoat consists of hair that grows at a consistent rate from follicles that produce similar, lightweight hairs. Since Yorkies don’t shed seasonally, their coats stay around long enough to grow long, lightweight stands. This type of coat is classified as hair.
Do Yorkies have human hair?
Do Yorkies have human hair? Well, not exactly, but due to their lightweight coats Yorkie tend to have hair that has a human-like quality.
This is especially true when the coat has been grown out several inches or more and has been well cared for. The net effect is a very soft, silky coat that closely resembles human hair in weight and shine.
Silky coat vs. cotton coat: what’s the difference?
Yorkshire Terriers are famous for their silky coats. However, some members of Yorkie dog breed may have a slightly different type of hair known as a cotton coat.
The typical Yorkie coat is known as a silky coat. This is the hallmark, silky-soft coat that can grow floor-length glossy locks. Silky coats are the type seen parading around the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show and are officially the breed standard. Silky coats are pin-straight, with no wave or curl, and they have a glossy sheen.
One easy way to spot a silky coat Yorkie is their appearance after a bath or being caught in the rain. The fine hairs of a silky coat Yorkie tend to ‘clump down’ giving the Yorkie a soaked, ‘drowned rat’ appearance.
Yorkies may also have a unique type of hair known as a cotton coat. While cotton coats are nonstandard and prevent a dog from competing in some conforming shows, they are still just as cute as silky coats. Cotton coats are much thicker and wiry, requiring more regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles.
Cotton coats can’t grow to floor-length and tend to curl or wave as the coat grows longer. Given the tendency for matting, cotton coat Yorkies are better off with a short Yorkie haircut, like the puppy cut.
Because of the stiffer, curly structure, wire-haired Yorkiestend to maintain their shape more than those with silky coats when damp, avoiding the drowned rat effect.
How long does it take for a Yorkie to grow a full coat?
While every dog is different, a healthy Yorkie coat tends to grow about ¼–½ inch per month. For an adult Yorkie measuring seven inches at the withers, a floor-length coat will take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to grow to full length.
A full-length Yorkie coat is not for the faint of heart. Yorkies with long hair will require considerably more daily grooming to prevent tangling and breakage.
Do Yorkie coats really change colors?
A unique aspect of Yorkie puppy hair is the color transformation it goes through in the first few years of life. All standard Yorkies start with a beautiful black and tan coat. But as they age, most Yorkie coats transform into either blue (sort of a dusky grey) and tan or black and gold coloring, with the majority being blue and tan.
The degree of color change will vary between dog to dog, but in most cases, it is a fairly dramatic change from the puppy coat to the adult coat. Check out our guide to Yorkie colors for more info on the Yorkie puppy coat stages.
Do Yorkies shed?
Many people are surprised to find that Yorkies do shed, though they tend to shed differently than most other breeds. With no undercoat and no seasonal shedding cycles, Yorkies tend to shed very slowly, only releasing minimal amounts of hair monthly (kind of how you or I do). With regular brushing and basic Yorkie coat care, this amount of shedding decreases even more, making them a virtually hypoallergenic dog.
Bottom line: take care of your Yorkie’s hair!
There are simply no shortcuts to a long, healthy Yorkie coat. Nutritious food, happy skin, regular grooming routines, and loads of exercise make up the foundational recipe for a great looking coat. Take some time today to review what kind of food, exercise, skin, and coat care your pup is receiving. They give you the best of their happy little selves every day. Don’t they deserve the same?
Let us know about your favorite coat care hacks and tips in the comments below and hit us up on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
- Hunter, Tammy. “Coat and Skin Appearance in the Healthy Dog.” vca_corporate, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/coat-and-skin-appearance-in-the-healthy-dog.
- Levine, G. N., Allen, K., Braun, L. T., Christian, H. E., Friedmann, E., Taubert, K. A., . . . Lange, R. A. (2013). Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk. Circulation, 127(23), 2353-2363. doi:10.1161/cir.0b013e31829201e1
- Hair versus Fur and Other Pet Fur Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://www.brookfieldanimalhospital.com/project/pet-hair-allergies-hair-versus-fur-pet-fur-facts/