The lustrous coat of the Yorkshire terrier is so silky that people in 19th century England joked that its fur was woven in clothing mills. But this glossy, single-coat mane is also known for knotting easily. Regular grooming is essential, even for pups who don't compete in the dog show circuit.
Always untangle, brush and trim your Yorkie's coat before giving him a bath. Even though Yorkies don't shed, individual hair strands die and accumulate in the coat, causing knots and itching. Washing your Yorkie before you've untangled his coat will exacerbate existing tangles and make post-bath brushing painful. Removing this extra hair before sudsing your Yorkie lets the dog shampoo reach his scalp and the healthy strands of hair. Dampen your Yorkie's coat with a few sprays of leave-in conditioner to prevent the dry hair from breaking while you brush.
Even if your Yorkie's coat is short, certain areas require extra grooming and hair removal. His genitals and rectum, for instance, require frequent trimming to keep small amounts of feces from sticking to the hair. Yorkies also grow hair inside their ears, which can store moisture and bacteria, eventually leading to ear infections. A professional groomer will often pluck the hair from your Yorkie's ears using tweezers. Always have a groomer demonstrate the proper technique before trying it yourself.
Always finish your pup's bath with dog conditioner. The sleek smoothness of your Yorkie's coat encourages tangles and painful matting. Your Yorkie will need a post-bath brushing while you dry his hair with the blow dryer. Adding a conditioner to his hair not only moisturizes his tresses, it protects his skin from becoming too dry. For daily brushing protection, mist his coat with a leave-in conditioner before brushing his dry fur. Prevent chills and shivering by blow-drying your Yorkie after his bath, but use a very low heat setting and keep the dryer moving to prevent burning.
Part of keeping your Yorkie well-groomed is cleaning his ears and teeth. Clean your pup's ears using a cotton ball dampened with dog ear-cleaning solution. To prevent injury, never force the cotton ball deeper than his outer ear, and never insert cotton swabs in his ear canal. The small mouth of your Yorkie is prone to tooth overcrowding, which increases the chance of dental decay. Brushing your Yorkie's teeth at least twice a week using dog toothpaste and a small toothbrush will prevent painful infections and future tooth loss.
- windswept yorkshire terrier image by MichMac from Fotolia.com