Shedding is a problem that almost all dog owners have to put up with to some degree. It all depends on the type of coat that your dog has and their general health and well-being.
There are some breeds that are classed as non-shedding because they have long hair rather than fur and barely make any mess. The Yorkshire Terrier makes this list, which means that the question of do Yorkies shed should have a simple answer.
The problem here is that there isn’t a simple yes or no answer. These toy dogs don’t shed in the way we tend to think of, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t lose hair. In some case, this hair loss can seem extreme and there are bigger issues to deal with.
In this guide to Yorkie shedding we will look at some the important issues of shedding and hair loss. It is important to understand the difference here and to spot the signs of abnormal hair loss.
Here we will look at the coat of the Yorkie, instances where they may naturally lose some of that coat and the bigger issues of excessive hair loss. Through understanding these differences, you can get a sense of how best to care for your Yorkshire Terrier’s coat and when to worry.
The Yorkie coat
As we mentioned above, the Yorkie coat is more about hair than fur. There is a single coat of long Yorkie hair with thick strands, much more like our own hair than the double layered fur coat of other breeds. This means that there is no undercoat to deal with and there is just one layer of beautiful hair to maintain.
The best looking show dogs are the ones with well clipped long coats that have a strong shine to them. The colouration of these coats, especially in adults, can lead to a metallic look that is unique and appealing. Adults have this blue sheen to the back and a mixture of light and dark hair.
Puppies tend to have darker coats without this metallic element. There are also variations to the rule. Some genetics and family lines will lead to a thick coat that looks more like a double coat or a wiry texture. This is seen as undesirable in a show dog, but it is not an issue in family pets.
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Do Yorkshire Terriers shed any hair at all?
There is an urban legend with Yorkies that they don’t shed any hair at all because of this non-shedding categorisation.
The truth is that all dogs shed hair when new hair grows. They are like us in the respect that we replace old, dead hair in a natural cycle. We will notice the hairs on a hair brush or on clothes, but they are never falling out in droves.
This is the same with Yorkshire Terriers. They will continue to replace the hairs, but they will not have a mass shed like other dogs. This therefore answers the question of do Yorkies shed their winter coat? This is a year-round process and the season has nothing to do with it.
You are more likely to notice Yorkshire terrier shedding during grooming and bathing, which makes the issue easier to control.
Loose pet hairs often stay trapped within the coat, so you could notice quite a few on a brush when you groom your pet. Don’t assume that you have just pulled them all out. Many may have fallen out days ago. This regular brushing is a great way to keep on top of the problem. It also stops the coat from getting tangled up with knots.
There will be some owners reading these facts about Yorkie hair and querying the truth to the question of do Yorkies shed a lot. As far as they are concerned, their dogs are shedding a lot because they are finding large amount of hair left behind when grooming or on the couch. It is possible to see your Yorkie shedding clumps of hair and there are a number of potential reasons for this. It could be hormonal, or it could be a sign of a bigger medical issue.
Hormonal changes can make your Yorkshire Terrier shed a lot a hair in one go
The first hormonal issue occurs when a puppy reaches puberty, as it were, and goes through the necessary changes into maturity.
As we stated above, there is a clear difference between the coat of a puppy Yorkie and an adult one. These pups need to lose this first coat and develop their adult one at the time of maturity. This tends to occur around the age of 5 or 6 months. If you have a puppy of this age that is losing more hair than normal then don’t worry. It should be a sign that their hormones are kicking in and they are going to get this new coat.
The hormones simply speed up the process, causing more hair to fall out more rapidly. This can lead to brief phase of a thinner coat, but it is temporary.
The second hormonal issue that will make Yorkies shed comes with pregnancy and birth. This period is a tumultuous time when it comes to hormone levels and these changes can have a knock-on effect on hair loss. Many bitches will lose their hair, possibly in patches, as their hormones kick in. Again, this is soon fixed as the hormones regulate themselves and hair growth will return to normal.
There are other potential health problems that can arise that might lead to Yorkie shedding problems.
Hypothyroidism is another condition where your dogs hormones take over. The thyroid slows down, changing hormone levels, and this can lead to weight gain, ill health and poor coat conditioning. This poor condition means that the hair is more likely to break and fall out.
When asking the question of why do yorkies shed hair, we need to look at other issues, such as their skin and their state of mind.
Neurodermatitis is a condition where dogs impulsively lick their coat to the point where the hair falling out. A determined focus on one area will result in an alarmed patch of hair loss. This is thought to be brought on by stress, anxiety or boredom. It can occur in periods of change, such as a house move, and will be resolved with appropriate time and care.
Allergic Dermatitis is a common problem when dogs encounter something they are allergic to. The problem is that you may not know that they are allergic until they come out in these patches of itchy, sore skin. The knock-on effect here is a thinning of the coat and hair breakage. This can be easily corrected by treating the reaction and avoiding further exposure.
The final condition to consider with Yorkie hair loss is Alopecia. This is thought to be linked to an autoimmune disorder as the body reacts to an illness. The hair will thin and fall out with no other physical symptoms. Once the illness is resolved, the Alopecia tends to correct itself and the hair grows back. This is not common, but it is more likely to be seen in this breed than many others.
A Good Yorkie coat care regime and good grooming habits can help you to look after the hair and limit hair loss
You don’t need much in the way of Yorkie grooming tools to look after this breed, but you do need to be careful with products and brushing. The right brush and a good leave in conditioner can work wonders for stopping your Yorkie losing hair.
Use a gentle, bubble tipped pin brush to get deep into the coat and sweep out the hair. Then use an appropriate shampoo and conditioner to strengthen the hairs and massage the skin.
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There are also some tips to look at for caring for your pet if she has lost some hair in clumps and has bald patches for a little while. Try and make sure that they are as comfortable as possible during this period. Some extra soft blankets and cushions in their beds are a good idea.
If they skin becomes irritated during this period of exposure than you can try some dog-friendly moisturisers. There are some helpful preventative measures there that can be used, such as Omega 3 supplements and sunscreen when taking your dog outside.
If the hair is simply in poor condition, rather than falling out, try a new conditioner and shampoo to nourish it.
So, what have we learned about Yorkshire Terrier shedding and hair loss?
There is a lot to take away here. There are probably many Yorkie owners that came into this thinking that this was a low maintenance breed that are now concerned that they were misled.
The good news is that this breed is still low maintenance with the right grooming regime. There is just the chance that health issues and hormonal changes will affect their coat.
Do Yorkies shed? Not in the way that fluffier working dog shed their seasonal coat, but they will lose their puppy coat and are prone to hair loss. As long as you keep an eye on their health and conditioning, you can prepare yourself for these issues and know how to handle them.