One of the most identifiable and beautiful traits of the Yorkshire Terrier breed is its long flowing silky coat. While this luxurious coat is what makes Yorkies so attractive to many dog lovers looking for the perfect family pet, it can also be a hassle to care for. But with proper grooming and attention, you can ensure that your Yorkie remains looking spiffy at all times.
The first grooming factor that you should consider before deciding to purchase a Yorkie is the fact that in addition to daily grooming, Yorkshire Terriers need to be professionally groomed on a regular basis. Yes, professional grooming can be expensive. Expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $75 per visit. If you are not in a position to afford professional grooming services or if your lifestyle is so harried that you couldn't take the time to transport your Yorkie to and from his or her appointments, perhaps you should consider a dog breed that does not require this amount of dedication to grooming.
How often you need to take your Yorkie to the groomers will depend on how long you wish to keep his or her coat. Most show dogs have floor-length manes and require frequent grooming and combing, but some pet owners opt to have their Yorkie's hair clipped short, which reduces the time spent grooming at home in between appointments. A good time frame to stick to is scheduling professional grooming appointments monthly for long hair and every other month for short hair.
One great thing about the Yorkie's coat is that is does not shed and does not have an undercoat. In fact, the hair found on a Yorkie is almost identical to human hair. This is great for people with allergies and for people who can't stand to have dog hair around the home. The downside is that the hair can become extremely long and needs an occasional clipping. The Yorkie coat can also become easily matted, and just as you comb your hair everyday, so will you have to comb your Yorkie.
When combing your Yorkie, it is best to use a wide-toothed grooming comb. Abstain from using brushes, especially natural bristle brushes, as they will break the fine hairs of the Yorkshire Terrier's coat. Make combing your pet a part of your daily routine. By getting out snares and mattes quickly, you will avoid damaging the coat or having to cut out nasty snarls.
Another problem that requires daily attention is the tendency of the hair surrounding the anus to become matted with feces. If you take your Yorkie to the groomers regularly, this should not be much of a problem because he or she will clip the hair in this area very short and clean it thoroughly. But if left long, it can become matted and result in soreness, compacted stools and more serious health problems. In addition to regular grooming, you should check this area daily and clean or clip any mattes.
While your Yorkie is under six months in age, you should take great care to keep the hair on the top 1/3 of his or her ears clipped. Yorkshire Terrier ears are naturally erect but often go through changes during the first six months of life. By keeping the hair on the ears short, you can ensure that the ears will not become weighted down before they have a chance to “set" in their permanent erect position. You should also keep the hair inside the ears neatly plucked and check the ears regularly for excessive wax and ear mites.
Yorkies eyes also have a tendency to water and to be sensitive. Make sure that you keep hair clipped short around the eyes or tied in a topknot up and way from the eyes. Avoiding doing this can result in irritation and infection.
While the Yorkie does take a little more loving care than other breeds, nothing compares to the gentle, loyal love that these dogs give. On top of that, keeping your Yorkshire Terrier properly groomed gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with your pet. For many pet lovers, this is the reason that grooming is not a chore but a privilege.
By Rose Lenk
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