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DIY Yorkie grooming tips

The Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) consistently ranks among America’s top ten most popular dog breeds. And why not—they’re adorable and outgoing dogs who love to play and cuddle! But all that long silky hair can be a challenge to groom (not to mention ear cleaning and nail trimming). Here we’ll offer a few grooming tips for those of you who want to groom your Yorkie at home.

Before you begin, you will need to gather certain supplies. These include:

  • Slicker Brush
  • Pet Shampoo
  • Electric Trimmer
  • Pet Nail Clippers
  • Hair Dryer
  • Cotton Swabs (for ears)
  • A Dry Towel
     

You’ll also want to set aside some time. Even with a compliant dog that’s accustomed to being handled, a thorough grooming can take an hour or more. So be sure you have enough time to work though al the steps without rushing.

If this is your first time, you may want to sit in with a professional groomer or watch a few tutorial videos to see the techniques firsthand.

Brushing Your Yorkie

Begin by giving your Yorkie a gentle brushing. Because a Yorkie’s hair is virtually impossible to brush when wet, brushing should be done before bathing. Begin from the head and neck and move back to the body, legs, chest, and tail, in that order. Brush until the hair hangs smooth and straight.

Cleaning Your Yorkie’s Eyes And Ears

Before bathing, carefully remove any excess accumulations around the tear ducts. Since Yorkies are extra sensitive around the eyes, trimming the hairs there should be done with extreme caution. The idea is to trim away just enough excess hair to clear the dog’s field of vision and to remove any hairs that may curl back and irritate the eyes.

Like human ears, Yorkie ears need to be kept clean. Begin by washing the outer ear with warm water. The interior of the ear can be cleaned with a cotton swab (or ear stick). The goal is to remove any dirt or cerumen (wax) from the outer ear only. Do not insert the swab in or near the ear canal. Remember to dry the ears gently with a towel when you’re done.

Bathing Your Yorkie

Since some dogs are afraid of the shower, it’s best to bathe your Yorkie in a tub, sink, or basin that’s pre-filled with warm water. Begin by pouring the shampoo into your hands (not on the dog) and work it into the hair, beginning at the neck and moving backward. Use shampoo specifically made for dogs, as human shampoos have pH levels that can dry dogs’ skin. Avoid getting shampoo in the pup’s eyes—they don’t like it any more than we do. Work the shampoo into the hair gently, lathering as you go. When it’s time to rinse, rinse until bubbles are no longer visible in the hair. Dry your pup gently with a towel, and finish with a hair dryer, set to COOL.

Trimming Your Yorkie

Now your Yorkie clean and dry, it’s time for a trim. You’ve already cleared the hairs from the eyes, so now it’s time for the ears. The long hairs on the Yorkie’s upper ears can actually weigh the ear down, giving it a floppy look. So, with the clippers, gently trim the long hairs on the outside of the ears until the ears stand freely. An 0.8-mm blade is recommended. Trim the long hairs around the paws and between the toes with grooming scissors. You’ll need to go slowly to clear the hair away from the paws and pads. To make this process easier, you can gather the long hairs with a comb before trimming them back. You may also need to trim the hairs around the anus, as these can trap feces and bacteria.

Yorkie Nail Care

In nature, dogs keep their nails short by walking on rough or gravelly surfaces, but for house pets, regular nail trimming is required to keep nails from overgrowing, which can make walking painful. Nail trimming is recommended at 1- to 2-month intervals, but a quick visual inspection can usually tell you when it’s time for a clip.

To begin, gently press the paw pad to extend the nails and gently clip at the ends. Avoid cutting too high on the nail, as this is where the nail pulp resides. The pulp is the living interior part of the nail—where the blood supply and nerve endings are. With practice, you’ll be able to judge how far back to trim the nail without touching the pulp. If you’re a first timer, begin conservatively, just removing the curved nail tip.

A Bit of Fancy…

To achieve that trademark adorable topknot, you can gather a sturdy tuft of your Yorkie’s hair from eyebrow to ear and secure it with a hair clip. Carefully adjust the clip to be sure it doesn’t tug the hairs or irritate the scalp.

We hope these tips help you give your Yorkie a home makeover that makes you both proud!


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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