Known for their long, flowing hair, Yorkshire Terriers have a versatile coat that can be cut and styled in a variety of different ways. These tiny dogs can wind up with a tangled mess of a coat if they are not properly groomed. The type of clip or hairstyle that is appropriate for your dog may be dictated by your lifestyle and that of the dog. While show dogs must have a full coat, pet Yorkies can have cuts that require less maintenance.
Yorkies that are shown for conformation require a full coat. This flowing coat can be longer than the distance to the ground, making walking difficult for your Yorkie. To allow for proper movement and to prevent your show dog from tripping in the ring, the bottom of the coat can be trimmed slightly to floor level. Hair on the tips of the ears is trimmed short in the front and back of the ears. The hair around the feet and on the bottoms of the feet is clipped for neatness.
With a full coat, the hair on the top of a Yorkie's head will hang in front of the dog's face and eyes. This hair, called the fall, can be styled in one of two ways for show purposes and for everyday practicality. Gather all of the hair into a pony tail and tie it with a ribbon. You can also part the fall down the middle and separate it into two pony tails, each tied with a separate ribbon.
If you aren't going to show your Yorkie, this tuft of hair can be clipped shorter to keep the hair completely out of your dog's eyes, or shortened into a miniature pony tail.
Show dogs who must maintain long, silky coats require extensive daily brushing, and conditioning after bathing. This may not always be practical, especially for these spunky little dogs, who do enjoy an occasional frolic in the yard. To solve this issue, the coat can be sectioned, folded up and wrapped in small packets of rice paper that are secured with rubber bands. Before wrapping, the hair is coated with oil to maintain its silky texture. This keeps it ready for showing while giving your dog ease of motion without the need for frequent grooming. This is a practical way to style your Yorkie's long hair for daily life without having to cut it, keeping your dog show-ready.
For owners who don't plan to show their dogs professionally, a puppy cut or pet clip may be a good solution. This cut clips the dog's hair, over the entire body and face, to one length, usually about an inch or two long. This low-maintenance style reduces the grooming needed to keep this breed's fur looking its best.
The puppy cut also works well for Yorkies suffering from atopic dermatitis. Yorkies are affected by the contact or food allergies that cause this skin condition more than other dog breeds, according to the pet allergy testing lab, Bio-Medical Services. The shorter hair style allows you to more easily treat your Yorkie's itchy skin with whatever creams, dips or medicated shampoos your veterinarian may recommend.
The modified schnauzer cut can be given to your Yorkie, giving the terrier the look of a schnauzer. This cut, also referred to as a "snorkie," involves clipping the torso and tail shorter in length, similar to a puppy cut, while the hair on the head and legs is left a few inches longer. The longer hair on the legs gives the dog the appearance of a skirt, and the hair on the muzzle looks like a short mustache and beard. The fall is either cut short enough to keep it out of the dog's eyes or left long enough to tie into a short pony tail. The snorkie cut allows your dog to keep a look of glamour, while reducing the grooming time for your dog. You will have to brush the face and legs of your Yorkie daily to prevent knotting of the longer fur.
To keep the hair out of your Yorkie's eyes and shorten it around the face, a modified version of the West Highland white terrier cut can be given to your dog. This cut, referred to as the modified Westie clip, shapes the hair around your dog's face into that of a circle or chrysanthemum-like shape, something that the Westie is known for. The hair on the face is trimmed to a few inches in length, while the rest of the body is clipped short, as in the puppy cut.
Ask your veterinarian to recommend a groomer in your area who has experience with Yorkies, especially if you plan on showing your dog. Bring a picture of the cut you have in mind to the groomer, because different groomers may have different ideas of cuts.
Observe the groomer during your initial session to ensure that your Yorkie is comfortable with the person; these little dogs, usually no more than 7 pounds in size, are delicate and can be easily injured by a groomer.
Reward your Yorkie after the session to reinforce the grooming as a positive experience.