Dog Breeds Dog Health

Do Yorkies Shed? – The Owner’s Guide to Yorkie Shedding

A detailed guide into Yorkshire Terrier shedding.
Written by Tiffany Jeng

Like a true terrier, Yorkies are adorable dogs with a feisty and spirited personality. Though small, they come with big personalities and they’re always full of fun confidence. But for allergy-sensitive owners, any amount of dog shedding can potentially be a concern.

So, do Yorkies shed? Yorkshire Terriers are touted as a hypoallergenic dog breed. But just like how humans lose hairs, Yorkies will too. They’re low-shedding dogs that have a much slower shedding cycle than most breeds. And considering their petite size, you’ll rarely find strands of hair around the home.

So how much exactly do these dogs shed? And why do Yorkies shed so much less than other dog breeds? Let’s examine all these excellent questions.

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Why Yorkies “Don’t Shed”

Yorkies are smarter than most dog breeds. In fact, they're above average intelligent dogs.

Many owners tell me that Yorkies don’t shed. It really depends on your definition of shedding. If “losing hair” is considered shedding, then Yorkies will shed. It’s just that these small dogs shed so little that it’s quite difficult to notice.

Nearly all dogs will shed to a certain extent, some more than others. And while Yorkies don’t shed as much as a Corgi, they aren’t a hairless dog breed that has no fur to shed. That being said, here are the reasons why these dogs “don’t shed much.”

Hair, Not Fur

If you’ve ever pet a Yorkshire Terrier before, you’ll notice that their coat feels a lot different to that of a Golden Retriever’s. That’s because Yorkies have a hair coat and not a fur coat.

It may not seem like a big deal. But when it comes to dogs, there’s a huge difference between a hair coat and a fur coat.

While most people use the terms “hair” and “fur” interchangeably, it’s not technically correct. Sure, both are genetically similar. For example, both are made from a protein compound called keratin.

However, they are different in texture, feel and length. Let me explain. Hair is smoother, in addition to being longer and finer. It can be straight or curly too. In the Yorkshire Terrier’s case, it’s both long and curly.

On the other hand, a fur coat is almost always shorter than a hair coat. Plus, fur coats are typically more dense thanks to their “double coats” (two coat layers: the undercoat and top coat).

But do you know what the best thing about the Yorkie’s hair coat is? Hair coats are always going to be single coats, which means there’s less shedding due to a much slower shedding cycle.

Yorkie’s Slow Shedding Cycle

As mentioned above, the Yorkshire Terrier’s single coat has a slower shedding cycle. The slow cycle is also the reason why their hairs are typically much longer than their double-coated counterparts.

But no matter what type of coat the dog has, the growth cycle of hair will be the same. They just spend longer or shorter times in different phases. That being said, here are the 4 phases of a dog’s growth cycle:

1. Anagen Phase

The first phase of a dog’s hair growth cycle starts in the Anagen phase. It’s the initial period when follicles become active and new hair start to emerge.

The Yorkie’s coat in the Anagen phase will grow to its “full” length. In other words, to their genetically determined length.

Yorkshire Terriers tend to spend a much longer time in the Anagen phase compared to the double-coated dog breeds. It’s also why these low-shedding (hypoallergenic) dogs have a longer coat than others.

2. Catagen Phase

Also called the transition phase, the Catagen phase is the point when the hair follicles of the Yorkie stops growing. Note that the Catagen phase starts before the previous Anagen phase ends.

Their coats will briefly pause in growth and follow this up by detaching from the “dermal papailae.” For normal people, we just call this process, shedding.

3. Telogen Phase

The Telogen phase, otherwise known as the Resting phase, is a period of “limbo” for the Yorkie’s coat. Not only has the hairs paused in growth, but the shedding has stopped as well.

At the same time, some new hairs will begin growing in the Anagen phase. The hair growth cycle starts from the beginning once again.

4. Exogen Phase

At last in the Exogen phase, the hair on your Yorkshire Terrier will start the final shedding phase. Simultaneously, new hair will already be growing and ready to take over in the new cycle.

Yorkies tend to spend less time in the Exogen shedding phase because they just don’t shed as much as other dogs. While other breeds can shed heavily for a whole month (in Exogen phase), that’s just not the case with the Yorkie.

Small Dogs with Less Hair

Even if your Yorkie is the exception and “sheds a lot,” it’ll likely be hard for you to even notice. That’s because they’re small dogs. In fact, they’re some of the smallest breeds in the world.

These dogs rarely grow over 9 inches tall. And for the average Yorkie, you can expect them to be around 4 to 6 pounds in weight. They’re tiny dogs!

Let’s take the Great Dane for example. Danes are generally moderate shedding dogs relative to their massive size. However, because they’re one of the largest dog breeds in the world, it feels like they shed excessively.

In contrast, if your small Yorkshire Terrier sheds heavily, it may still feel like they’re low shedding dogs simply because there’s so little dog to go around.

But because Yorkies are naturally low shedders and small, it’s easy to see why some owners claim that their dog doesn’t shed at all.

How Much Do Yorkies Shed?

Not all Yorkies are guaranteed to be low-shedding. There may be some outliers. In addition, some may shed more than others. It all depends on the individual dog.

The best way to gauge how much a Yorkshire Terrier will shed is by asking real owners this question. So, we surveyed the Yorkie Subreddit and other popular dog forums to find out what Yorkie owners are saying. Here’s what they had to say to the question:

Real Owner Answers

1. Jakey123 says Low:We have two Yorkies. It seems like Jake has never shed. Jenny sheds a tiny bit because she’s lacking nutrients due to her digestive problems, but I rarely notice anything on her brush.

2. Dukesmommy says Low:The only time I’ll notice hair coming off my yorkie is when brushing. I love that they don’t really shed!

3. Sakuraserene says Low:I hardly find strands of hair on my clothes. I have a black and tan yorkie and sometimes i’ll notice hair when i’m wearing white. That’s about it.

4. Cookie3 says None:I’ve had 3 yorkies in my life and none ever shed, not even as puppies. That’s one thing I love about them. I don’t know any reasons why a Yorkie would shed.

5. Newyorkies10 says Low:Every now and then, I’ll find a few pieces of hair on the couch or rug. And I’m not even sure it belongs to our yorkie.

6. Princessyork says Low:The only time my yorkie ever shed was when she was a pup. 4 years later and it’s rare to find hairs. If i do, it actually surprises me.”

7. Fidebra says Low:There are times when I will notice a little more hair loss with my yorkies. And I don’t really mean shedding, but about as much as hair loss just as we do.”

8. Doubletheyork says None:My yorkie has never shed. And if he has, I’ve never seen it. Even when I brush him, I never see any hair on the brush afterwards. Is it just my dog?

9. Misslizzie says Low:Lately I’ve noticed Itsy is shedding on my clothes and her blanket where she sleeps. It’s not really a lot of hair, but a light layer of wavy fuzz.”

10. Dogqueenb says Low:I’m not sure you can consider it shedding, but gracey will lose some hair every now and then. Not much, but still noticeable especially against our white carpets.

Why Is My Yorkie Shedding?

We measure a Yorkie's intelligence based on working and obedience intelligence.

It’s pretty obvious that Yorkies are meant to be extremely low-shedding dogs. But sometimes they will shed more than normal. And in some instances, they’ll shed much more than usual.

Though we could never replace the advice of a veterinary professional, here are some potential reasons why your Yorkie may be experiencing heavier shedding.

Yorkie Puppy Shedding

Most dogs will shed their puppy coat. But depending on the dog breed, this shedding typically happens between the ages of 4 and 6 months.

Whether a double-coated dog breed or not, all puppies will be born with a single coat. The new adult “standard” coat will begin to fully develop only after the puppy coat is completely shed.

Yorkie pups don’t really shed like other breeds, but your baby WILL get a coat change. The adult coat does grow out but they really shouldn’t be shedding all over the place.

– Red98Vett (Yorkie owner)

It’s also possible that the texture of your Yorkie’s coat may change. And in some less common cases, the color of the coat will change too.

Some owners have reported that their Yorkies don’t shed at all, even throughout the whole puppy phase. On the other hand, there will be some Yorkies that will shed low to moderate amounts until the adult coat develops.

It’s unpredictable whether your dog will shed, even if you definitely have a purebred Yorkshire Terrier. But knowing this may help keep you from freaking out if it does happen.

Malnutrition in Yorkies

If your Yorkie is excessively shedding well after developing its adult coat, then it’s probably a good idea to look into your dog’s nutrition. In fact, malnutrition is one of the leading causes of unnatural shedding.

Yes, dogs are carnivores. But they need more than just meat and protein. Rather, VCA Hospital recommends providing your Yorkie with the 6 basic nutrients: water, protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

But the problem is that there are a lot of dog food products on the market that don’t provide enough of these nutrients. At least, according to Roy Cruzen DVM at Pet MD.

The number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet. People go to discount stores, buy a 40-pound bag of cheap food, and then see their pets’ shedding increase. 

– Roy Cruzen DVM

Cruzen goes on to explain that plenty of cheap and discounted dog food have a lot of “filler” nutrients, which don’t do much for your dog. That being said, you should always be buying quality food for your dog.

And by high quality, you don’t need to buy the very best and most expensive brands. In fact, Cruzen estimated that high quality food should cost roughly $4 per pound.

Skin Allergies

Many Yorkshire Terriers are prone to skin allergies. And as a result of these allergies, the Yorkie can experience skin infections. Often times, leading to some hair loss in the dog.

There are many reasons why dermatitis can develop, but the most common seems to be from environmental or external factors. This can include fleas, dust mites or even simply lawn grass. It can really be anything, such as the shampoo you use with your Yorkie.

If your Yorkie experiences unnatural shedding through allergies, then it will usually happen very suddenly. They could even be losing patches of hair instead of the more typical shedding of hair strands.

If this happens, make sure to reach out to your veterinarian immediately. I would highly recommend allergy testing to determine what your Yorkie is actually sensitive to. That way, you’re more likely to eliminate the root cause in the future.

Yorkie Grooming Guide

Just because Yorkies don’t really shed doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming at all. I mean, your human hair doesn’t “shed” either. Does that mean you shouldn’t ever groom your hair?

Though it’s much easier than grooming a Husky, there is still some work involved. However, dealing with a Yorkies’ coat is more like maintenance. Fortunately, there’s really only three things you need to do for the coat: brushing, bathing and the occasional trimming.

Brushing a Yorkie

Unless you’re dealing with a rare hairless dog, you should be brushing your dog no matter which breed you have. Yorkies are no exception. The only difference is in the type of brush and the frequency of brushing.

If possible, it’s best to turn coat brushing into a daily routine. Of course not all owners have the time or actually do this. However, for the best results, this is what’s recommended for Yorkie owners.

Yorkies have long and curly hairs, so it’s very possible for matting to occur (tangling of the coat), especially without grooming. Daily brushing does an excellent job preventing this from happening.

If your Yorkie plays outside, they may easily get dirt, pebbles or grass stuck in their coats. Brushing gets rid of the unwanted debris that’s trapped in the curly hairs of your Yorkie.

Recommended Brush for Yorkies

The best type of brush for a single-coated dog, such as a Yorkie, is a slicker brush. These dogs do not need a de-shedding tool like the Furminator. For our Poodle, we’ve always went with the Hertzko Slicker Brush.

There’s so much to love about the Hertzko. As a matter of fact, plenty of Yorkie owners swear by this product. The bristles are fine and long enough to get through to the skin of the Yorkie.

Plus, cleaning up is as easy as a push of a button! Just make sure that you’re gentle when brushing, as you don’t want to accidentally hurt your Yorkie.

So if you’re looking for a high quality brush for a Yorkie, or any single-coated breed, this is the one. Check them out at Amazon and see why thousands of happy customers love this slicker brush.

Bathing a Yorkie

It’s important that you give your Yorkie a bath from time to time. However, you also don’t want to be giving them baths too frequently. Let me explain.

According to WebMD, too many baths will strip away the essential and natural oils in the dog’s coat. These oils are meant to protect your dog’s skin. Plus, these oils help keep the Yorkie’s coat glossy with a nice shine.

Thanks to the Yorkie’s single coat, they don’t need as many baths as double-coated dog breeds. Because double coats shed so much, bathing is a good way to keep the shedding in check.

A general rule of thumb is that you should bathe your dog just once a month. However, there are exceptions. Some dogs with more outdoor activities should be getting baths more frequently than a lap dog.

I’ve heard of Yorkie owners giving their dogs a bath every other week with no problems at all. So it really depends on you and your dog.

Dog Shampoo for Yorkies

To prevent skin allergies with your Yorkie, it’s important that you pick a dog shampoo that’s all-natural and safe. As we mentioned, the Yorkshire’s skin is highly sensitive and prone to skin allergies.

These are the dog shampoos that we currently use (or have tried in the past). So, we can confidently recommend these for your dog too:

  1. Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – This is our “go-to” shampoo and what we currently use with both our dogs. Made from all-natural oatmeal, the Pro Pet Works works great and smells fantastic.
  2. Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo – We’ve used the Earthbath shampoo in the past after being recommended by so many of our friends. This product has been around for a while and is truly a time-tested product.
  3. Paws and Pals Dog Shampoo – Paws and Pals is a reputable brand in the dog grooming space. I’ve tried this with our Corgi and it’s worked great. Plus, thousands of happy customers agree.

Using an all-natural dog shampoo is important. And, the most popular all-natural shampoos are typically oatmeal-based shampoos. This “special” ingredient is effectively in cleaning your dog, without being harsh on the skin.

You never want to use human shampoo on your Yorkie. They are not made for dogs and can potentially cause a lot of problems for the dog. Given the sensitivity of the Yorkie’s skin, it’s not worth the risk.


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About the author

Tiffany Jeng

Tiffany is a product of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine (class of 2022). Combined with over 5 years of veterinary technician experience, she's dedicated her life and career to dogs. When she's not studying or working, she's taking care of her Mini Australian Shepherd - Olympus! Read More.

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