Grooming is not an option when it comes to the Yorkshire Terrier. They grow long, silky coats, and their hair is very fine. It tangles super easily and can quickly become matted. If you want to keep your Yorkie’s coat long, then it is going to require weekly bathing, and brushing at least a couple of times per day.
If you’re looking for an easier to manage, low maintenance cut for your pup, then you are going to have to do one of two things… Either pay for a professional groomer, (which is what I recommend if you can afford it!) or learn how to do it yourself. In this post I am going to show you how to groom a Yorkie in a very simple low maintenance cut.
Professional is best.
– Disclaimer! I am NOT a professional groomer. I was a hair dresser for several years, but it is still very different, so if you want to learn how to cut your Yorkie’s hair perfectly at home, you may want to go to grooming school instead… HA!
What I mean is… do not expect to watch a video on YouTube of a professional groomer doing a cut on a Yorkie and then be able to do the same thing to your dog. Groomers go through a lot of schooling or apprenticeship, and countless hours of practice to be able to cut your Yorkie’s hair so beautifully, so it’s not something you will be able to just pick up and run with.
What you CAN do is start with a simple cut like the one I am going to show you, and practice that one several times. Once you feel confident with that cut, then maybe you can try something a little different.
Grooming a dog is not easy. Especially if he or she is a nervous dog that is not used to being groomed. They wiggle around a lot, and it can be pretty nerve wracking the first few times. So trust me… start simple. Don’t try to go all professional on me just yet. 😉
– (Take it from someone who tried and ended up giving her poor Yorkie a total hack job that took weeks to look normal again!) oops.
Professional grooming is the best option if you can afford it. Not only do they do a wonderful job, but they also do more than just cut your dog’s hair. They clip nails, brush their teeth, clean their ears, and some will even do the… (ehem) anal glands for you… which is probably not something you want to try on your own. These are all things that NEED to be done in order for your Yorkie to remain in good health. If you cannot use a professional groomer, then you must either learn to do all of these things on your own, or take your dog to his or her vet and have them do it for you.
At Home Grooming Supplies (What you need)
1. Clippers – I personally use the Oster Golden A5. It is an affordable option, while still being a very good quality set of clippers. They cut wonderfully, and they aren’t super noisy, which is especially good for nervous dogs. The blade does get hot after awhile, but pretty much all clippers do. Some high end models claim to stay cool, but they are a lot more expensive. You can manage the clippers getting hot by taking short breaks in between clipping, or using a cooling agent like kool-lube by Oster. One quick spray of this on the blade helps to cool it down. These clippers come with a number 10 blade, (1/16 inch of hair left after cutting) but the blade is removable and you can use other size blades with the clippers to get the length you are looking for.
2. Grooming Scissors – I really like the AEXYA Premium dog grooming scissors kit. It comes with straight shears, curved shears, and thinning shears. For the cut I am going to show you, you’ll only need straight scissors, but if you want to try other cuts down the line, then you will want to have more options in shears. This kit also come with a comb, which you will definitely need no matter what.
3. Brush – The brush I have is very similar to the AtEase Accents Natural Bamboo pet grooming brush. It is dual sided pin and bristle brush. I like to use the pin side (gently) to work on any knots that have formed, and then I smooth the hair and remove hairs stuck in the coat with the bristle side. It is two brushes in one which is really convenient.
4. Nail Clippers – I have this set – gonicc Professional Hardened Stainless Steel Pet Nail Trimmer. These do the job for a Yorkie, and they even have a safety guard to help avoid overcutting. This is great for someone trying to learn to do this at home, because it can be a little scary trying it on your own. The set even comes with a little nail file, which is super handy for those sharp edges left behind after trimming.
5. Doggy Toothbrush and Toothpaste – The Nylabone Dental Kit is a great choice. It comes with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a little finger tooth brush for dogs that are more difficult when it comes to brushing! Teeth brushing is super important for a Yorkie. They are especially susceptible to tooth decay, so this step shouldn’t be skipped.
6. Ear Cleaner – You will need an ear cleaning solution to clean your pups ears. I use one like this – Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner. Do not poor this down into your dog’s ear canal unless instructed by a vet. Use a cotton ball to clean the visible parts of your dogs ear only. Never stick an instrument of any kind down into the dog’s ear canal. This can cause severe damage to your dog’s ear.
At Home Grooming Tutorial.
I have created some video tutorials to help guide you through the process of cutting your Yorkie’s hair. I will also write out some instructions on how to do each part. Hopefully between the two, you will have a good idea on how to do this low maitenance cut for your Yorkie!
To make the grooming process easier, it is wise to bathe, brush out, and blow dry your Yorkie before you begin the cut. If the dog’s hair is dirty and knotted, it will be harder for the clippers to cut through, making the experience unpleasant for your pup. If my Yorkie has recently had a bath and is free of tangles then I will skip this step, and bathe her at the end instead. Most times, however, it’s best to do it first.
I typically use Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner for dogs.
Shaving the Back and Sides.
I start this cut by shaving my dog’s back and sides down. This is pretty much the easiest part, so it goes really quickly. I use my clippers with the number 10 blade that it came with. Start at the base of the neck, and slowly move towards the dog’s tail going WITH the hair in the direction of growth. It is easiest to do this in several long strips along the back and sides of the dog. Remember to check the metal clipper blade often to make sure it isn’t getting too hot for the dog’s skin.
Here is a video to help you see this process.
Shaving the Legs, and Potty areas.
For this cut, we are going to use the clippers to take the legs and potty areas short as well. This will make for a very easy cut to maintain, and it lasts a while before you need to cut again. You can scissor cut the legs if you feel more comfortable with that, but it is a little harder and more time-consuming if you are just learning.
To clipper the legs and potty areas, you’re pretty much going to do the same thing as you did on the back. You want to run the clippers in the direction that the hair is growing. In this case that would be from the hip area going towards the toes.
In areas like the armpits, and around the potty areas, you want to make sure you’re not getting too close to the dog’s skin. In these places, be careful not to run the clippers in the wrong direction. The skin stretches away from the body, and it could be snagged by the clippers, resulting in cutting your dog. Be very gentle and take your time. I use the clippers more like a brush or a comb in these areas, trying not to touch the dogs skin very much, but just gently rake the hair to clip it away.
I tried to demonstrate this in the video below. I included a short video giving you an idea on how to use scissors for the legs, but I made a longer video on using the clippers.
Trimming the Neck, Ears, and Face.
The neck is another sensitive area. Hold the dog’s head in an upward position and run the clippers downwards from the top of their neck, moving down their chest, and gently take the hair off.
The Face is the fun part, at least I think so… Maybe because it is the part that is most like cutting human hair! Ha!
The first thing I do is tip my Yorkie’s ears. This is done by shaving a triangle section of hair off of the tip of the ear. After the ears I go around the perimeter of Willow’s face and get the general shape that I want her to have. Next I move on to trimming her hair above and around her eyes and mouth. This is a bit hard to explain so I’ll just let you watch the video! 😉
After you are all done take lots of pictures of your pup’s new do, and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can see your sweet dog’s amazing new cut! 😉
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come out great your first few times. It is not easy, and is definitely something that requires some practice. Keep working at it and you will get faster and better every time.
If you have any questions, or other tutorial videos you’d like to see me post, let me know in the comments below!
Willow and I are going to create separate video tutorials and posts for trimming nails, cleaning ears, and brushing teeth, very soon… so stay tuned for those! 🙂