Yorkies come in three coat types: silk, soft and wiry. All are adorable little bundles of love, but only Yorkies with silk coats are considered breeding- and show-quality dogs. Wiry coats are easy to recognize, but it can take some deductive work to distinguish between silk and soft coats.
Almost all Yorkshire terriers are born with tan heads and feet, and black bodies. Between birth and 3 years of age, your Yorkie's adult color will develop. Silk-coated Yorkies end up with golden head-to-forelimbs and steel blue body coloration. The American Kennel Club website's Yorkshire terrier pages provide details for exactly how a show-quality Yorkie's fur must be colored. Any deviation from the show-coat color is considered a soft coat, even if the texture is silky.
A Yorkie with a silk coat has fine, humanlike hair that grows in a single layer with no undercoat. When properly groomed, your silk-coat Yorkie's fur will hang perfectly straight off the body. It will not be wavy and will be very shiny because of the translucent nature of the show-quality Yorkie's colors.
Yorkie soft coats may be further defined as cottony or wooly. Neither is considered breeding- or show-quality. Wooly soft coats are thicker than cottony ones and may have undercoats.
Soft coats are usually shorter than silk coats. They can be wavy. They are prone to mats. The fur length may vary over different parts of your soft-coat Yorkie's body. Many soft-coat Yorkies have a very large amount of fur for their body size; some breeders describe a soft coat Yorkie as a dog that "looks twice as big as he is."
- Absolute Yorkies: Does Your Yorkie Have a Silky or Soft Coat?
- Yorkshire Terrier Club of America: Yorkshire Terrier Grooming
- Yorkies of Walnut Hill: Yorkie Coat and Coloring
- Silk-coat Yorkies need daily brushing to keep their long fur neat. The hair on their heads should be tied up to keep it out of their eyes. The breed standard accepts one topknot tied with a bow, or a part in the middle and the head fur tied with two bows.
- Soft coat Yorkies require combing and detangling as well as brushing. Yorkshire terrier breeders and enthusiasts recommend grooming these coats twice a day or giving your soft-coat Yorkie one of the many stylish haircuts considered appropriate for Yorkshire terriers.
- If you have your heart set on showing or breeding your Yorkie furbaby, it is highly recommended that you do not get (or breed) a dog younger than 2 to 3 years of age. It is impossible to determine your pooch's adult coat type from the baby coat and parents' coats alone.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.