Yorkshire terriers, or Yorkies, are spunky companion dogs with trademark looks. Not all look alike, though, as some Yorkies sport long, shiny coats while others wear a shorter, sportier cut. It all comes down to the type of fur they were genetically blessed with, and what their owners do with it.
Smooth as Silk
Of the two main types of Yorkie hair, the American Kennel Club prefers a long, fine, silky 'do. These are the Yorkies you see in dog shows: the ones with the perfectly straight, shiny fur that falls flat and runs long. Because the hair is so long, the hair on top of the head is usually seen pulled away from the face and pinned back with a fashionable bow.
Soft and Fluffy
Some Yorkies are born without that fine hair with the slick sheen. In fact, Yorkie hair can be quite the opposite: soft, cottony and fluffy. While fine, silky hair has an smooth gloss, a Yorkie with soft, cottony hair has to contend with tangles and frequent matting. For that reason, caring for a short-haired Yorkie isn't necessarily any easier than caring for a long-haired one.
A Yorkie doesn't maintain her long, silky coat naturally. It takes a lot of work, and you'd better believe that she isn't going to brush herself. That long coat requires brushing every single day, along with weekly baths and monthly professional grooming appointments. The short-haired ones don't have it much easier, as their hair so easily mats. They require daily brushing, too, as well as conditioning treatments that moisturize the easily damaged fur.
Texture isn't the only thing that varies on a Yorkie's coat. Color patterns change from dog to dog. While they are typically a mix of dark blue, black and shades of tan, things aren't always that simple. According to the American Kennel Club, Yorkies should sport certain colors in certain patterns and places—for example, the head should be tan, but not the back of the neck. While these variations don't have any discernible impact on your dog's health, some could hurt a competitor's scores on the showroom floor.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.