Grooming a Yorkie

Kelly Roper
Yorkie in show coat

Grooming a Yorkie can be a challenge, but following these grooming instructions will help you keep your pet looking fabulous.

Basics of Grooming a Yorkie: Bathtime

  • First, brush the dog to remove any matting. Tangles will only get worse during the bath.
  • Select a quality canine shampoo and conditioner. Dilute four parts shampoo with six parts water in a separate container. This will make the shampoo easier to distribute through the hair. Do the same with the conditioner.
  • Lay a towel in the bottom of a tub for traction, and adjust the water to warm but not hot. Put your Yorkie in the tub and use a hose attachment to gently spray water through the coat, taking care not to get it in the eyes, ears and nose.
  • Once the dog is thoroughly wet, begin pouring the shampoo mix from the back of the head and down the middle of the dog to the tail as well as on the chest, legs and rear. Wet your hands with the shampoo and wash you dog's face and head. Work the shampoo downward thought the coat, and avoid scrubbing it in or you'll make more mats. Be sure to wash the undercarriage as well.
  • Once you have thoroughly soaped the dog's entire body, rinse with the sprayer starting at the head (taking great care around the eyes, ears and nose) and working your way along the length of the back to the tail. Make sure you rinse the chest, rear, legs and undercarriage well.
  • Repeat the entire procedure with the conditioner and then rinse well.
  • Squeeze out the excess water from the coat, and wrap your dog in a large towel to help draw out more water. Follow this up by blow drying your dog on a low heat setting while sectioning out the fur and brushing it.
  • Clean out your dog's ears with a cotton swab and ear wash, and trim his nails. Once all this is accomplished, you're ready from the trim.

Long-Coated Show Dogs

Show dogs are necessarily long-coated, so some trimming is needed to facilitate proper movement.

  • Trim the hair between all the foot pads.
  • Part your dog neatly down the back. Using hair clips, pull the body coat up and out of the way of one front leg. Section out the hair from the ankle down, and trim it neatly all the way around the foot. Let down the rest of the leg hair, brush it straight, and trim all the way around to match the length of the foot hair. Repeat on the rest of the legs.
  • Working on one side of the body at a time, use hair clips to pull up the top half of the hair from mid-body to the part on the back. Brush the remaining loose hair straight, and trim the coat evenly so that it falls slightly longer than the hair on the legs. Let down the upper coat, brush it straight and trim it to match the layer you just trimmed. Repeat this procedure on the other side as well as the chest.
  • You will trim the rear skirt in basically the same fashion, but you'll leave the length slightly longer so it drapes out in a pleasing manner behind the dog, yet is still fairly well balanced with the length of the rest of the coat. Be sure to trim the hair around the anus short.
  • Section out the topknot, and tie it up with a band and a bow.
  • The beard and ear fringes can be slightly trimmed just to give them a cleaner look. The very tips of the ears can be trimmed close to accentuate the prick-eared look.

Pet or "Puppy" Trim

This trim requires a good set of clippers and scissors.

Head

Yorkie in a pet trim

Using a 4F blade, clip the top of the head down the back of the neck. You can also clip the sides of the head, but trim the beard with scissors so it is longer but neat. Use scissors to carefully trim hair away from the corner of the eyes.

A topknot is optional, but it is the Yorkie's signature look. If you want a topknot, do not clip all the hair from the top of the head. The topknot hair comes from the point where the head meets the muzzle (aka the stop) as well as from the eyes upward to just between the ears. Use a rubber band to tie the hair up away from the eyes.

Body

Use the 4F blade to clip down the neck, body, rear and chest, but leave the leg hair long for the moment. Make sure you trim out your dog's undercarriage as well, taking great care around the teats and genitals as applies.

Legs

You can trim the leg hair to a length that is pleasing to you. Some people prefer to cut the legs to a uniform length using the 4F blade. Others prefer to scissor the leg hair at a slightly longer length for a fluffier look.

Tail

Yorkies have extremely short tails, but the fur is traditionally left a little longer here to look stylish. Trim the hair around the anus short to help keep the area clean.


Don't hesitate to consult a grooming diagram when grooming a Yorkie in order to tailor the look you want. The directions above will give you a basic clean look, but you can feel free to tinker around and create a custom clip you love.

Grooming a Yorkie