How to groom a Yorkie? Grooming a Yorkshire terrier

How to groom a Yorkie? Grooming a Yorkshire terrier

Grooming is an important part of our Yorkie’s care. The result of grooming is not only to make our doggies look better but to influence their physical and mental health.

Many of us have a professional groomer that we trust and know that he will do the best for your furry friend. But have you ever thought that you can also grab those scissors and do the task yourself?

Well, in this article we will give you some very useful tips that will help you unleash the hidden groomer inside you. Don’t be scared, all you need is patience and the right tools.

What does Yorkie grooming include?

Before going further with the juicy stuff, it is important to clarify what exactly grooming is and what it includes.

Grooming includes procedures related to maintaining the hygiene, good appearance and health of Yorkshire terriers, as well as preparing for the presentation of exhibitions.

Every Yorkie needs frequent grooming procedures. How often will they be undertaken depends on how long their hair is, the age and the health condition of your doggie. Proper grooming ensures a healthier and more comfortable lifestyle of our doggies.

Basic Yorkie grooming procedures:

  • Brushing of the hair
  • Ears and eyes cleaning
  • Cleaning of facial and other creases of the body
  • Nail cutting
  • Bathing
  • Trimming
  • Stripping

How often should I give my Yorkie a bath?

Many Yorkie parents believe that frequent bathing is not appropriate and even harmful for their furry babies. Such claims have remained since the time when there were few and low-quality products on the market. Nowadays things are totally different.

There are a wide variety of veterinary and cosmetic products that allow us to shower our doggies even weekly. The frequency of bathing depends only on the needs and length of your baby’s hair.

When should a Yorkie puppy get his first grooming session?

Our suggestion is to introduce the grooming technics and tools to your puppy as early as possible. No matter if you decide to do it yourself or will take him to a professional groomer, the younger he is, the easier will get used to the procedures. The first meeting with a professional groomer of our Zuzi was when she was only three months old.

The way we learned grooming her at home was after a couple of visits to a professional. In this way, we saw all the procedures and tools that are needed to perform the task ourselves. Below in the article, we have summarized all of what we have learned and that works perfectly for a diy grooming a Yorkie.

Is it true that cutting my Yorkie’s hair during the summer is the best for him?

Absolutely not! If you think that by cutting your Yorkie’s hair during the summer will make him cooler, you are wrong.

Yorkshire terriers and dogs, in general, do not have sweat glands (if we do not count those between the paw pads). The way Yorkies are cooled is by breathing with an open mouth. Trimming the whole body not only does not help them but is even harmful because their body is directly exposed to the influence of the external environment.

The coat and the air that stays between the hairs create an air cushion that acts as isolation and thus prevents the Yorkie’s body from overheating.

This doesn’t mean that you have to neglect his hair. You should always put maximum efforts to keep it in perfect condition so it can perform its functions optimally.

How often should I groom my Yorkie?

Well, this all depends on the individual characteristics and needs of the sweetie. We suggest grooming once per month. In that way, you will keep your Yorkie’s eyes, ears, nails and hairs around the sensitive areas in perfect condition.

Bathing could be done more often. Once per week or once per two weeks is fine. Of course, we suggest using the best shampoos and conditioners so that Yorkie’s hair doesn’t get too dry.

How long does it normally take a Yorkie grooming procedure?

Again, it all depends on the individual needs of the doggie. It is very difficult to determine the exact timing of a session. Factors like: length and condition of the hair, the age of the Yorkie, his temperament and habits would help us to estimate an approximate time of one session.

Some Yorkies that are well maintained and are familiar with this task can take about 40 – 60 minutes to be done, while others that need more attention and special approach can be finished up until 2-3 hours.

Below we want to outline some of the reasons a why regular grooming is good for your Yorkshire terrier:

  • Reduced chance of various health problems such as candidiasis, dermatitis, scratches and other skin problems and diseases;
  • General hygiene of the dog;
  • Checking the overall health status of the doggie: temperature, swelling, limb problems, temperamental change. Any of these could be a disease indicator.

You are already clear what grooming is and why it’s so important for the health of our Yorkies. Now, it is time to guide you through the entire process.

1. Prepare all the necessary Yorkie grooming tools.

Make sure you have tools to clear the ears and eyes, nail clippers, toothbrush, slicker brush, hairdryer and last but not least you need a bathroom and hot water.

2. Always start with brushing the Yorkie and do it carefully

When the Yorkie’s hair is wet, it becomes unresponsive to brushing.  That is why we have to do this step just before and after the shower when the hair is completely or almost dry.

Brushing and combing Yorkie’s hair at least ones per day is a must. That way you will prevent the formatting of tangles. Of course, if the hair of your furry treasure is really short, you can do that less often or brush only the areas where the hair is longer (like the legs or head for example).

The easiest way is to split the hair into areas and go over them with the brush carefully two times. The best sequence is to start from the head and the neck, then gradually move on to the body, the legs, after that the belly and the chest, and finally the tail.

Gently brush the hair until it lies straight down. After finishing, prize the sweetie and show him how brave he is. You can even give him a treat if you want.

Before going to the next step we want to mention that using professional or at least high-quality tools will make your life much easier. That is why we suggest that you think of investing in a quality grooming brush.

Not only that but if you want to keep your baby’s hair long, you should think of having a boar dog brush. You can use it to give him a prize winning look of his hair.

3. Perform the necessary procedures before washing the Yorkshire terrier


Carefully clear the eyes and remove the accumulated tear glands. For the adult Yorkies, more care is needed to make sure there is no harm left in the eye area. To do that, we usually use special eye lotions that we buy from the pet shop.

Healthy eyes should not have any redness or irritation. One of the things you can do to prevent that is to cut the hair around them. The eyes are a very sensitive area so you must perform that task with extra attention.

Cutting the hair around the eyes will not only prevent from irritation but will improve the visibility of your Yorkie.

Cleaning the ears of a Yorkie

It is normal to see some earwax in the ears of your furry baby. But if it looks swollen, red, irritated, black inside, or smells bad, it can be a sign of some kind of infection. Products like Tresaderm might be useful against bacterial infections in the ears but we strongly suggest consulting with a vet before undertaking any treatment.

Assuming there is no infection and your baby have strong and healthy ears, you must clean the earwax that we said is normal to occur. Start with cleaning the ears from the outside area. Use warm water as the cold is harmful to the ear canal.

To clean the ears from inside, take a tampon or ear stick and soak it with special ear lotion. Gently lift the ear and remove the dirty content inside. Do not rub too hard and don’t put the ear stick too deep. This might damage the ear.

This procedure is not so pleasant and most likely your baby will not like it. Most doggies get nervous during this manipulation. So don’t worry, you are not doing anything wrong, he just doesn’t like someone rubbing into his ears.

When you are done with both of the ears, make sure you dry them completely.

Yorkie teeth cleaning

Sadly, according to vet statistics, about 80% of Yorkies have problems with the oral cavity. The problems in this area may also have a negative effect on their liver and kidneys. And how may he properly eat with sick teeth?

This is another procedure that Yorkies may react negatively to. But isn’t it normal? Think of you going to a dentist and when he is putting some metal things inside your mouth. Well, the feeling is similar to your doggie while you are cleaning his teeth.

Despite the negative reactions you are most probably going to experience, you must clean his teeth at least two or three times per week. It is important to use toothpaste and toothbrush only designed for dogs. Most of the times doggies swallow the toothpaste and using a human’s may cause them a stomach disorder.

Precisely clean all the teeth making sure not to miss the spaces between them.

If you are not consistent with the dental care, there is a possibility that your Yorkie may form a dental plaque. Unfortunately, this might happen even if you take proper cares for the teeth. We suggest that you bring your doggie to a vet because cleaning a dental plaque is not an easy task to do by yourself.


We all know this cute “tick tick” sound when our Yorkies are walking around the house and their nails are touching the floor. But if we don’t cut them on time, the nails might become too long, even curly which may cause pain when they are walking.

To keep the nails short enough, regularly clip them with a proper pet nail clipper. Every dog is individual so we cannot tell you the exact frequency of cutting. For some doggies, it is normal to do it once per month, while for others once per three months is fine.

We believe somewhere in between – about every two months is completely normal. But again, it is your responsibility to check the length and estimate whether it is time for trimming or not.

Keep in mind that the nails of the rear paws can be erased by themselves if you take the Yorkie out for long walks and games outside of the house. That is why normally the nails of the front paws must be cut slightly more than the rear once.

Technique of cutting

The inner part of the nail is called a pulp. It contains many nerves and blood vessels. Touching the pulp is very sensitive for the Yorkie and it will cause pain and bleeding. Don’t be scared, we have seen many professionals doing that by mistake. It is not the best experience but well, sometimes it happens.

How to set the cut limit?

At first, you need to get a comfortable access to the nails. So, press the paw pads with your thumb and hold the paw in your palm. That way the nails will “go out” by themselves and it will be easier to work with them.

Now comes the most “exiting” part. Even if you have not done that before, it is not that scary. Getting closer to the boundary of the pulp is sensitive to every dog, so cutting off the first nail will guide you how close you are. The dog will show you how close you are to the forbidden area.

With the time, you will be clear on what is the normal length of your doggie’s nails. The first slice must be small, cut a few segments only. The appearance of the first cut will help you control the process.

In other sources, you may find the technique of “right” and “wrong” angles of cut or 2 -3 cuts with different angels.Many Yorkie parents are afraid to cut the nails of their pets, so this information is unnecessary. There are no problems with a simple, “straight” or slightly “wrong” angle of cut.

In case of bleeding

Well, as we said before, even professionals do mistakes and sometimes if you cut the pulp low, bleeding is possible to occur. To be honest, everyone has encountered paw wounds. We know that it looks scary but do not panic. Your baby is absolutely fine!

So to be prepared in case of bleeding, make sure you have a tampon with soaked potassium permanganate. There is no cut that cannot be discontinued in this way. As soon as you see the little blood drop, press the soaked tampon to the injured place. Hold it like this for about 4 – 5 seconds and you will see the result!

4. How to bathe a Yorkie

We are finally done with the “scary” procedures so now comes the time for a refreshing bath. We know that there are hundreds of articles and videos out there on the web so we will quickly go through the most important things when bathing a Yorkie.

One of the most common questions people ask us is: How often should I bath my Yorkie? Well, we’ve already mentioned before that today’s products give us the opportunity to bath our hairy babies as often as once per week.

So it is entirely up to you and your Yorkie’s look. Logically if he has a longer hair, it is better to give him showers more often (once per week) as his hair gets dirty easily and you will see it oily or a little stinky.

On the other hand, if you like him with a short hairstyle, this will save you a lot of time brushing and combing daily. Also, baths are not necessary each week. You will realize that short hair gets dirty more difficult which gives you the chance to reduce the baths to once per two or three weeks.


So, place your baby in the bathtub or if you don’t have one under the shower. Some doggies are afraid of the sound of water so if you have a bathtub it is better to fill it up before.

Once he is in the shower, make sure to wet all the hair. The most important thing here is to watch for the eyes and ears. Make sure no shampoo and water go inside them.

Applying the shampoo

Apply shampoo to the neck and then gently move down the body. Make sure you spread the shampoo properly throughout the entire body, that way it will be easier to wash it after. A little trick here, do not pour the shampoo directly over the body. Put some in your hands first, rub a little bit as you are going to wash your hands with it and then apply it over the body.

Leave washing of the head last. Do not use shampoo around the eyes and ears. Also, be careful with the area around the nose and the mouth.

Do not use human shampoos, they have other formulas. Only use quality dog shampoos. Yorkies have their own pH levels and using a human shampoo will only destroy them and make the skin itchy, irritated and dry.

Some people believe that baby shampoos are appropriate for bathing a Yorkies because their hair is very similar to the humans. No, they are not appropriate. Only use them in extreme situations like for example, you realized in the last moment that your dog shampoo is over or you are on a holiday and you forgot it.


Carefully rinse the shampoo. Do that until you stop seeing foam bubbles on the hair. If you regularly leave shampoo over the body, it may cause irritation, redness, and even hair loss in particular areas. So rinse until you are completely sure there is no shampoo left.

Using a quality conditioner

After washing with the shampoo, do the same with a quality conditioner. The only difference is that after applying it over the body, for best result we recommend to leave it about 4 – 5 minutes before rinsing.

Many people underestimate the importance of using a conditioner. We strongly recommend it! Not only it will leave a nicely soft and silky touch of the hair but it prevents from matting and protects the skin between the regular groomings.


After taking the Yorkie out of the shower, use a towel to dry him as much as you can. After, take the hair dryer and continue but do not dry the hair completely. If your doggie has long hair, you need to brush it while drying or leave the hair a little bit wet and brush after.

The places where you have to dry completely are the paws. In case you leave them wet, there is a possibility of developing fungus.

When drying the dog, make sure that the dryer is in cool air mode. It will take more time, but it is better for his skin.


So you are done with the drying and it is time for the final brushing and combing. If your Yorkie’s hair is long, you might want to use a special lotion that will help you untangle it much easily. Those lotions are used when the hair is not completely dry.

It is believed that the first Yorkshire terrier breeders were textile operators in Yorkshire, England. Their hands were covered with lanolin during the entire day. While they were fondling the little Yorkies, they were very surprised to find that lanolin was a substance that strengthened the growth and gave extraordinary shine of the hair.

They were the ones with award winning Yorkies at the exhibitions at those times. Their coat was definitely the strongest and the most beautiful.

Getting back to brushing.  Now your baby is almost dry so you can continue brushing with a proper pin brush or a metal comb. Do that from top to bottom throughout the entire length of the coat. Keep the hair that is close to the skin with one hand, and with the other, brush the first third (the one that is farthest from the dog’s skin) and do not stop while the comb passes freely.

Continue doing the same with the rest of the coat while the comb slides from the roots to the tops. Your long-haired Yorkie will definitely like this massage. The procedure also removes dead hair and stimulates blood circulation.


Here we will not give you lessons on how to become a professional Yorkie coiffeur. Rather than that, we are going to point the areas where you need to always keep short enough to maintain a proper hygiene.


Have you seen how most of the Yorkies have their hair really short on the top of their ears? Yes, you must always keep it that way if you want your Yorkie to be with proper straight ears. Leaving hair in this particular area gives pressure to the tiny little ears. Because they cannot hold this pressure it will make them fall down.

You must trim one-third of the ear hair with an electric hair grooming dog shaver. For best results, we use a 0.8 mm blade. After that, we form a trimmed triangle shape, as is the shape of Yorkie’s ear.


The hair below the paw pads must be completely trimmed. Also, try to go in between the fingers and trim as precisely as you can. Using a comb, collect the coat of the paw in a circle and shape it without shortening the length drastically. The best way to do it is by using professional dog grooming scissors.


It is very important to check and clean regularly this part of your pet’s body because any minimal obstacle may worsen and force the puppy to strain while trying to relieve. This may lead to discomfort and possible internal injury.

Perhaps it is best to trim the hair around the anus, this is the best way to keep it clean and healthy. And everything else around it can be removed by bathing and gentle brushing.

The same suggestion applies to the area around the vulva. If you want to keep it clean, you better trim the area around it.


We have already talked about the eyes but we want to mention once again that you must not keep any hair that hinders the visibility of your Yorkie. Make sure to cut all the projecting hairs with a proper dog grooming scissors.

Now, this is an extremely gentle area so if you are not sure you can do this yourself our suggestion is to visit a professional. Even a small mistake can cause serious injury to the eyes of your baby.


So far, we’ve gone through the most important information about grooming a Yorkie.  Before we are done, we want to say a few words about the iconic Yorkie top knots.

The long blond hair on Yorkie’s head requires special care. In order not to get into his eyes, we tie it up in the so called top knot. To achieve this, turn the Yorkie facing you and comb the face, the neck, and the chest. Pay special attention when doing this around the eyes.

Divide the hair into a straight horizontal line from the corner of the eye to the ear. Try to separate a piece of the coat so that it looks maximally voluminous. If the Yorkie’s hair is too soft, it is not a bad idea to use volume sprays.

Carefully, without pulling it too hard, tie it up with a hair clip. Make sure you have not grabbed some skin because it will form a blank space between the ears. To reduce the pressure, loosen the hair clip backward and then move it back forward.

We have gone through the most important information that you need to know if you want to groom your Yorkie at home. For sure, there is so much more to say and we can go deeper and deeper into each step.

We believe that the information above is more than enough to start your first grooming sessions. Follow the topics in our blog for many other grooming tips, ideas, and lessons.

Once again, we want to encourage you to invest in quality tools and products. This will not only make your work much easier but it will ensure the best care and maintenance for your hairy treasure.


  • Patricia Shomers Posted January 9, 2018 5:15 pm

    What shampoo and conditioner and detangler products do you recommend?

    • YorkieLife Posted January 24, 2018 8:09 am

      Right now we are using the cosmetics of Chris Christensen and I must say they are really good. It is worthy of giving them a try.

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