Yorkshire terriers have a silky single coat that feels similar to human hair and doesn't shed. No shedding, however, means that daily brushing is imperative to remove dead hair and skin cells. Infrequent brushing leads to snarls and tangles, which eventually become solidified mats that require shaving by a professional groomer.
Mist your Yorkie's coat with a spray bottle of dog conditioner diluted with water. Brushing your Yorkie's delicate hair when it's dry causes the strands to break and makes untangling knots painful for your pup. Spraying a small amount of water and conditioner before you start brushing makes her strands slippery and less resistant to the brush. Her hair should be damp, but not saturated.
Start at your Yorkie's neck and apply gentle brush strokes in the direction of hair growth, using a rubber-backed pin brush. The rubber backing on the pin brush will catch dead strands of hair hiding beneath the surface of her coat. Continue brushing her back and hind quarters. A pin brush not only removes dead strands and skin cells, it also invigorates the skin and distributes her natural oil over her entire coat.
Remove any minor tangles you find by placing a few drops of conditioner on your fingers and massaging the knot. Brush the knot slowly, one section at a time, starting at the bottom. Unlike a traditional comb that forces the knotted hair through a single line of teeth, the broad spacing of a pin brush helps untangle the knot in several different places. Work your way up the knot an inch at a time until the entire section is smooth to brush.
Comb the hair around her face, and finally, her genital region, at the end of the brushing session using a grooming comb. Use short, extra gentle strokes around her face, taking care not to poke her eyes. Use small scissors to remove any mats around her rectum. Because Yorkie's don't shed, even small amounts of fecal matter on her hair will cause mats.
- Always comb and brush your Yorkie before her bath. Removing dead hair and tangles before shampooing her hair reduces the post-bath combing.
- Praise your Yorkie throughout the brushing session and give her a small doggie biscuit afterward, as a reward for her patience.
- Severely matted hair requires a professional groomer. Do not attempt to brush or comb any matted areas yourself, as this will be extremely painful and ineffective.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.