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Yorkie Shedding


The Yorkshire Terrier is categorized as a non-shedding dog due to having hair opposed to fur. However, many owners wonder if there are certain dogs that fall out of that category and ask us if it is possible for this breed to be a moderate to heavy shedder.

Why? Because while many classify this breed as a non-shedding dog, this does not mean that hair does not fall out.

The only difference between hair and fur is the thickness, texture and rate of growth. Dogs with coats of hair still go through a process of renewal; and this means that hairs will fall out.

This section will discuss:
  • The facts of Yorkshire Terrier shedding
  • What is considered normal hair loss
  • What would fall out of the category of normal hair loss and could point to an issue with the coat
Yorkshire Terrier shedding
Nora Beebee Emmons,  and 1/2 years old 
Photo courtesy of Amy and Dwight Emmons

The Coat Growth and Fall Out Cycle

The Yorkshire Terrier has hair and not fur. Now, what does this really mean? Many people think that having hair will mean that the dog will:
  • Not shed
  • The coat will not trigger allergies in people
Neither of the above are entirely true. So let's look at what the difference is and how this applies to Yorkie shedding issues.

There are 2 main factors that separate hair from fur in regard to dogs:
  • The growth cycle
  • The texture
With the Yorkie coat, the hairs will grow throughout the year, on mostly an even basis...This is opposed to bursts of growth followed by intense shedding phases that many other breeds have.

The texture of the Yorkie's coat will be finer than dogs with fur. Since each individual strand is able to grow out long as opposed to being shed off and then replaced with a short strand, it will be longer and thinner. 
Yorkie dog side view
Truffle, 2 and 1/2 years old
Photo courtesy of Deborah Marsh
Now that we have established that the Yorkie coat is capable of growing long (if one chooses to have a coat style on their puppy or dog that calls out for length) and that the hair is of a finer texture than that of many dogs that have fur, what does this mean in regard to shedding? Do Yorkies shed? 

To many people's surprise, the answer is yes. Even some long time owners will disagree about this and it is usually because this is not as noticeable as one may think.

With dogs that have fur, there is often clear, distinct periods throughout the year when shedding happens rapidly...One will find hairs everywhere....And since the coat is often short on heavy shedders, those loose hairs do not have anywhere to go except on the furniture, your clothes, etc.

Now, with the Yorkie, the body pushes out older hairs and replaces them with new ones on a never ending, continual basis. If this did not occur, your adult dog would have the same coat as your puppy did! It would be dull, dry and a mess. Therefore, the nice, shiny hairs that you see are, in part, due to the year-round shedding process.

Levels Considered to be Normal Shedding/Hair Loss

Because loose hairs slip out all year round and there is no particular intense, heavy shedding cycle...AND because hairs are fine and long, they often fall back into the coat. This is why shedding is not often noticeable.

When you may notice them is during bath time or afterward when your are brushing and combing through the coat. This is because instead of falling to the floor, a great majority of them fall back into the coat. Then when you are grooming, they will be pulled up by the brush. This is why grooming is so important. If not pulled up and out, they would keep piling up and become entangled with the live hairs, resulting in knots and matting.

Using a bubble tipped pin brush, be sure to gently go down into the coat enough so that you are reaching the skin and then sweep down and up, to grab hairs that have shed. Some owners worry when they see hairs in the brush, but this is not a bad thing...It simply means that you are indeed reaching down far enough to grab the dead ones and free the coat to be cleaner and healthier.

Another time that there may be Yorkie shedding is for a female during/ right after heat and following pregnancy. Hormonal changes will effect the whole body, including the coat. It is not unusual for there to be changes in the thickness of the coat due to extra loss during these times. With normal, healthy dogs there is no need to be concerned....After the shed, the coat will grow back in. If there is a thinning that is noticeable, you will want to take a bit of extra care so that the skin is not affected....

This means that you may need to place down soft baby blankets so that your dog has a nice, soft cushion if the elbows are exposed. Sunscreen should be applied to any areas in which skin shows if you are to take her outside for any longer than 15 minutes. 

Use a quality, moisturizing canine shampoo and conditioner.... If skin looks irritated, an oatmeal based formula works well. When grooming, be sure to mist a leave-in conditioner on the coat so that hairs are not tugged when you brush and comb and the fine hairs have protection from sun, wind and dry air damage.
If you ever notice patches of missing hair this may point to a skin issue or hair loss issue that would require veterinary attention.

Now, a quick word about the issue of this breed being hypoallergenic: All dogs are capable of being triggers for people with allergies. Dogs with fur cause more allergic reactions with people. However, there are some people who are allergic to dogs that have hair and are dubbed "hypoallergenic". How and why? Because the coat holds dander and some people are allergic to that element. While it is a small percentage of owners who would have a reaction, it must be noted that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. 
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