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Best Brushes

Best Brushes for a Yorkshire Terrier

How to Choose Combs, Brushes and Sprays for a Beautiful Coat

When you have a Yorkshire Terrier, taking care of the coat is a crucial task to not only keep the dog looking fantastic, but it also plays a huge role in both skin and coat health.

If your meticulously groom your Yorkie but are not satisfied, it may very well be due to not having the best brush and comb.

In this section we will go over the 3 elements that are most important: comb, brush and leave-in spray. Once you have the best ones for this breed, you’ll find that brushing your puppy or dog and ending up with a super healthy, shiny coat is easy as a breeze. 

Wrong Brush VS Right Brush

It’s a bit amazing the damage that incorrect grooming tools can inflict. Sometimes you will notice damage right away. But in other cases, it will be a culmination of what a brush does over time. One day, you’ll take a look at your Yorkie and wonder ‘what went wrong?’. Luckily, this breed has relatively quick growing hair and it has a coat that responds well to the tools used on it.
Yorkie with long hair
Rusty, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Melissa Varnakulasingham
Let’s look at the difference a brush can make and why:

Dull Vs Shiny – Every day, around the clock actually, a dog’s body is producing oils. Minuscule amounts are released through the skin pores. This acts as a natural lubrication. When you bathe your Yorkie you rinse this away and start with a clean slate. 

However, in between those baths, when you are brushing your Yorkshire Terrier, the brush you use will either leave those oils trapped near the skin (doing nothing advantageous for the hair) or it will distribute them from root to tip (one element in helping to produce shiny, healthy hair). 

Frizzed VS Smooth – No doubt, even a bit of frizzed hair can ruin a coat. And if a Yorkie’s coat is not smooth, many owners then back away from brushing. They fear that the more they brush, the worse it may get. And in a way this is true: If you are using an inferior brush it can very well cause more damage. On the other hand, when using a top quality brush that works best for this breed, the pins of the brush, the distance in between those pins, the quality of the pin head and the flex of the brush cushion will all play a role in brushing through the coat leaving hair soft and smooth. 

A Yorkie Resisting VS Complying – It’s difficult to properly brush a Yorkshire Terrier if the puppy or dog has no patience for allowing you to do it. A huge factor in this is his level of comfortability while the grooming task is being done. A half brushed coat is going to look just that. Fortunately, some of the best brushes for the Yorkshire Terrier breed actually feel good for the dog. Quality textures and proper tension (of both pins and cushion) can offer what feels like a nice body massage or light scratching. And most dogs simply love this.   
Your 1, 2 and 3 of Brushing- Comb, Brush, Leave-In Spray

There are 3 basic elements of brushing a Yorkie and this holds true no matter the dog’s age or if the coat is short, medium or long. If you follow implement these 3 elements and use the best grooming tools possible, you’ll soon see that you fall into a rhythm. Your Yorkie doesn’t mind the attention (it feels good), things move along quickly (you’re not stopping to worry what the tools are doing) and it becomes second nature to hop from combing to spritzing to brushing.   

1. Combs

For all but very closely shaved coats, you’ll want your first step to be a combing over the entire coat. Even the best brush in the world cannot avert the disaster of what skipping the combing can do. 
Small tangles, and we’re talking about super small, can be in the coat. You may not see them, however the Yorkshire Terrier coat can certainly tangle and it all has to start somewhere: tiny ones.  

Just as importantly, the combing will prep the coat for brushing. Using a really good comb will separate the hairs, thus making it able for the brush to do its job. 

For these reasons, you will want to carefully comb each section. What is the best comb to use for a Yorkie? You will want to use a wide toothed steel comb with a 2 different widths of spacing between the teeth. You will want fine spacing on one end; this is used for the legs on which hairs are more delicate. You will want medium spacing on the other end (too wide of spacing will negate the purpose of the comb) and this is used for the main body, chest, neck and tail of the Yorkshire Terrier. And be sure to opt for a quality brand this durable: cheap steels will warp, bend and rust. 

You will also want a tiny facial comb sized for toy breed dogs to go over facial hairs that a body comb or brush simply cannot do.  Finally, for cases in which you suspect or know that a mat is present, you will want to first use a de-matting comb. 

To summarize:

You'll want 3 combs:

1. Your basic all-over body comb to go over the coat before brushing

2. Your small facial comb to thoroughly go over the face and ears. This is also good for super tiny Yorkies and smaller areas like the paws. 

3. Your de-matter if there happens to be a tangle that you cannot work out.
2. Brushes 

Choosing the right brush is crucially important, as we mentioned above in regard to dull VS shiny, fizzed VS smooth and how well the brush is toleratedThough the comb and spritz play a role as well (and also the shampoo & conditioner), if you don’t have a quality brush, the coat will never look gorgeous.

The best brush for a typical Yorkshire Terrier will be a quality pin brush and please note that in general pin brushes can range from terrible to fantastic. 

Qualities of a great pin brush:

High quality pins – Pins on inferior brushes will bend and/or recess back into the cushion. Once either of these two things occurs, the brush will no longer be effective.

Superior pin heads – A huge factor is the quality of the tips of the pins. This is the element that makes contact with the skin and hairs of the Yorkie. 

Tension – Too strong of tension in a brush can cause discomfort and irritation to a Yorkie’s skin. Yet, if the brush tension is too weak, you’ll be brushing in vain as you won’t be able to reach down as you should and the brush will not offer proper pressure as you brush down the coat. 

Sizing – You will want the brush to be sized correctly to effectively reach all areas of the body, gliding from one spot to the next. You’ll also want it to feel good in your hand. 

Boar Bristles Brushes

While a superior pin brush will do everything you want it to do, if your Yorkie has a long show coat and you want to make some finishing touches, you will find that a quality boar bristle brush is just the tool for that final sweep around the coat. You will still do element 1 (comb), element 2 (brushing with the pin brush) and element 3 (the spritz we will discuss next), but the boar bristle brush (which we will call ‘element 2.5’) can offer a smoothing effect which adds a nice, finishing touch. 
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3. Spritz/ Coat Spray

The product that you use while brushing is referred to by many names: finishing spray, leave-in spritz, conditioning spray and brushing spray. This plays a big role in how your Yorkie’s hair looks when you are done brushing and it also is a contributing factor to the health of the coat and its durability between baths. 

Please stand clear of inferior products that can block skin pores and add a sticky feeling to the coat.

What a good spritz will do:

Protect from contact friction – All day long your Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is coming into contact with things… the carpeting, flooring, furniture, his bedding, etc. And each time the hair rubs against surfaces, it can wear down the hair's natural protective layer.There can be static issues and over time, the coat can lose its shine.

Shield from outside elements – The cold winds of winter, the hot rays of the summer’s sun… outside elements affect the coat. A good leave-in shields it from all of this. 

Prevent breakage – When you ‘dry brush’ you risk causing split ends. Each individual hair strand of a Yorkshire Terrier has an outer protective layer. The tip of each strand is where that layer is most vulnerable to damage. It can wear away due to external stress, i.e. brushing. Once this happens, it travels up the hair shaft (while you will not see that one strand looking frizzed unless you use a magnifying glass, the more there are like this, the more the coat will not present as it should). Then, the hair – bare without protection – will snap off. 

So, bottom line, when you brush your Yorkie, do so with a protective spritz. It will be just the thing to give you the desired outcome and will continue to work after the brushing is done. Spritz AS YOU GO, section by section. Do NOT use a lot (a little goes a long way) and start at the roots, working the brush down in nice sweeps that distribute the product through the coat. If your Yorkie has a long coat, you may need to spritz at the 1/2 mark down each hair section and then brush out to the tips. 

In general, under normal conditions, you can spritz each time you brush and if you are super busy and 3 or 4 days have gone by without a full body brushing, spritz  a bit into your hands and rub into the coat, making sure to get the hair tips.
Yorkie puppy outside with rock with water
Photo courtesy of Maggie Tree
Brushing Tips

Expect for a full comb & brush to take 10 minutes, and perhaps 15 if your Yorkie needs to become accustomed to it. While you will be tempted to concentrate on the back and flanks, it will be important to brush all areas of the body and that will go a long way in giving you a completed, finished coat. 

Remember the 1, 2 3 of it all: 1 is to comb. 2 and 3 is your brush & your spray.

For short and medium length coats, a Yorkshire Terrier should be brushed twice a week and at the very least 1 time per week. Even if the coat looks great and the dog looks super clean, do not be fooled. That gorgeous coat will not stay that way unless you do a brushing on schedule. Maintenance is vital. 

For long coats, 3 times per week with a minimum of twice per week is recommended. 
If not, tangles may occur, body oil will not be properly distributed, the hair will be a mess and brushing will be a much more arduous task than it needs to be. 

There are some brushes for canines (mainly used for show) that cost between one hundred and two hundred dollars. If your Yorkie does not partake in the show ring, you of course to not need to spend that much. However, if you want your Yorkie to look beautiful, a cheap $5 brush is not going to let you achieve that. A small investment into a few qualities grooming tools is a wise one: the brushes and combs are going to be much more durable and last much longer. What’s better, a $6-dollar brush that lasts 1 year and slowly ruins the coat or a $20 brush that lasts 3 years and aids in creating a beautiful coat? 

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