Are Yorkies hypoallergenic?

Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic? (Everything You Need to Know)

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If you’re thinking about bringing a new puppy home and have allergies, you’re probably asking yourself the same question about a variety of different breeds: “are they hypoallergenic?”

The short answer is no: no dog is actually hypoallergenic.

There’s still more to the story.

While no dog is hypoallergenic, the reactions people have to dogs can be complicated, and some dogs can be “more” or “less” hypoallergenic (or likely to trigger your allergies).

For that reason, we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer advice on pet care and how to think about allergic reactions to your dog.

She shares those later on in this post.

Additionally, we’ll go into great detail on:

  • Whether people have allergic reactions to Yorkies
  • What you need to know as it regards allergies if you’re thinking about bringing home a Yorkies
  • What to do if you think you or a loved one may be allergic

Let’s dig in!

Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic?

If you’re an allergy sufferer and animal lover, you may be looking for a dog labeled as hypoallergenic. This phrase is thrown around fairly quickly without knowing all of the details. Knowing Yorkies are recommended for those with allergies, it’s good to wonder if the Yorkshire terrier is hypoallergenic.

Is a Yorkshire Terrier Hypoallergenic?

The short answer is no. For something to be fully hypoallergenic, there’s no chance it can cause an allergic reaction. With this definition, no dogs are 100% hypoallergenic; therefore, Yorkies cannot be hypoallergenic.

Are Teacup Yorkies Hypoallergenic?

If you’re wondering if a teacup Yorkie is hypoallergenic, the answer is also no. Since no dog is hypoallergenic, the teacup Yorkie cannot be either. The term teacup Yorkie is a nickname that refers to the size of a Yorkshire terrier. There is no difference in breed between the two, so any breed characteristics that apply to a Yorkshire terrier also apply to a teacup or toy Yorkie.

Do Yorkies Shed?

Many people think that Yorkies don’t shed at all, making them hypoallergenic. Since we know that no dog can be hypoallergenic, both statements are false.

Yorkies don’t have an undercoat. They have hair instead of fur, so their shedding schedule is very similar to ours. It is a light shedding that probably goes unnoticed until brushing it. It is this light shedding that can make them allergy-friendly.

Are Yorkies Allergy Friendly?

While no dog or specific breed is completely hypoallergenic, there are a few breeds that are better than most because they are less likely to trigger an allergy. 

Although Yorkshire terriers aren’t entirely hypoallergenic, they are generally unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, making Yorkies allergy friendly.

Yorkies are allergy friendly because of their fur, or the lack thereof. Yorkies actually have hair instead of fur and generally don’t shed. Due to the small amount of shedding, they aren’t releasing the dander that traditionally, people can be allergic to. 

It’s essential to keep up with a regular grooming routine to help keep down on the amount of hair and dander you come in contact with. Although Yorkies don’t shed much, you should brush them daily if they have long hair and every other day if they have a shorter puppy cut. It is also important that, just like people, they get a good trim every 4-6 weeks.

Can You Be Allergic to a Yorkie?

Although they are a better option for allergy sufferers, you can still be allergic to a Yorkie. They’re generally considered “hypoallergenic” because they are less likely to cause allergies since they have hair instead of traditional fur. Although this is true, there is still a possibility that an allergic reaction can occur.

A pet’s dander, saliva, urine, and even sweat usually cause allergies. Although Yorkies shed very little fur and dander, they can still cause a reaction with their saliva, sweat, or urine. 

Your dog may not be a frequent licker and hopefully does not pee on you, but those allergy triggers can still reach you through their fur. 

If the dog licks itself or accidentally gets itself with urine, those allergens are now on its fur, giving you more chances to come into contact with them.

Grooming Tips for Yorkies

Proper grooming is an important factor in keeping allergies as much at bay as possible. Here are a few tips on how to groom your Yorkie:

  • Brush their coat regularly. Yorkies have long, silky coats that can tangles easily. It’s important to brush their coat several times a week with a soft bristle brush to prevent mats from forming.
  • Give them regular baths. Most Yorkies only need a bath every few weeks, but you may need to bathe them more often if they get particularly dirty or start to develop a doggy odor. When bathing your Yorkie, be sure to use a dog-specific shampoo that won’t dry out their coat.
  • Trim their nails regularly. Like all dogs, Yorkies’ nails grow relatively quickly and should be trimmed every few weeks. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take them to a groomer or vet to have it done.
  • Check their ears regularly. Yorkies are prone to ear infections, so it’s important to check their ears frequently for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
  • Keep their teeth clean. Yorkies are also prone to dental problems, so it’s important to brush their teeth regularly with a dog-specific toothpaste. You can also give them dental chews or bones to help keep their teeth clean and healthy.

This is a great video walk through of how to groom a Yorkie:

Yorkie Fur, Hair, & Coat

It’s also helpful to know more about a Yorkie’s fur, hair and coat if you’re concerned about allergies. Here are some key details:

  • Yorkies have a thick, long coat of hair that can be either straight or wavy.
  • The hair on their head is usually shorter than the rest of their body.
  • Yorkies come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, and tan.
  • Their coat requires regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting and tangles.
  • Yorkies are hypoallergenic, which means they are less likely to cause allergies in people who are sensitive to pet dander.
  • The Yorkie’s coat is one of the breed’s most distinctive features.
  • While some people may think that Yorkies are high-maintenance because of their long hair, regular grooming is actually quite easy and only takes a few minutes each day.

Fast Facts About Yorkies

If you’re looking into how hypoallergenic Yorkies are, you may be interested in bringing one home. If that’s the case, here’s a big list of facts about Yorkies that may help inform your decision:

  • The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular breeds in the United States.
  • Yorkies are known for their long, silky hair and small size.
  • Yorkies were originally bred in England to hunt rats in textile mills.
  • Today, Yorkies are popular companion animals and often used in dog shows.
  • Yorkies typically weigh between 4 and 7 pounds.
  • The average life expectancy for a Yorkshire Terrier is 12-15 years.
  • Yorkies are prone to certain health problems, such as Luxating patellas and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
  • Yorkies are not good with children and other dogs
  • Yorkies are very active dogs and need plenty of exercise.
  • Yorkies are intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks or obedience commands.
  • Yorkshire Terriers are one of the most popular breeds for pet owners in the city.
  • Yorkies are known to bark excessively, making them less than ideal pets for apartment dwellers.
  • Yorkshire Terriers have been featured in movies and television shows, such as The Wizard of Oz and Phoebe on Friends.
  • Queen Victoria was a fan of the Yorkshire Terrier breed and owned several dogs herself.
  • The American Kennel Club recognized the Yorkshire Terrier breed in 1885.
  • Yorkies are very loyal dogs and make great companions.
  • Yorkies require regular grooming to maintain their long coat.
  • Yorkies are prone to separation anxiety and need to be with their owner as much as possible.
  • Yorkies are one of the most expensive dog breeds to purchase.
  • Yorkies have a lot of energy and need daily exercise.
  • Yorkies are not recommended for families with small children.
  • Yorkies can be difficult to potty train.

Treatments for Allergies

If you do have an allergic reaction, there are some possible treatments outlined below (obviously if you have a serious reaction you’ll want to consult a physician).

  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines can be used to relieve the symptoms of allergies. There are many different types of antihistamines, and they are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
  • Decongestants: Decongestants can be used to relieve nasal congestion caused by allergies. They are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids can be used to relieve inflammation caused by allergies. They are available in topical, oral, and inhaled forms.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a treatment that helps the body build up immunity to allergens. It is usually given in the form of shots, but it can also be given as a tablet or liquid.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding contact with allergens is the best way to prevent allergic reactions. If you are allergic to pollen, for example, you should stay indoors on days when the pollen count is high. You should also avoid trigger foods if you have food allergies.

Sources:

Dr. Stephen Dreskin MD, PHD from UC Health has a great overview of dealing with pet allergies as well if you’re having issues there:

Tips from Our Vets

The idea of a hypoallergenic dog or cat is a myth.

There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog (or cat). Hypoallergenic implies that the dog will not cause a human to have an allergic reaction. Many mistakenly believe that humans’ allergies to cats and dogs are caused by hair shedding.

Though hairs that fall off of the dogs and cats may increase the risk of allergies, humans are allergic to proteins that dogs and cats shed in their saliva, urine, and dander.

Allergic reactions in humans to dogs and cats vary widely from human to human, and some dogs will trigger allergies in a human while others will not.

In my experience as a veterinarian, dogs and cats that children grow up with when they are young, and dogs that are brought into the household as puppies tend to cause the fewest allergy issues. It is likely that constant exposure to your personal dog desensitizes your immune system to that dog’s specific proteins.

If you have a dog or cat allergy and a dog or cat, there are some things you can do to help decrease your allergic reaction.

Keep in mind that it is the proteins the dog produces that cause the allergy. However specific actions like controlling loose hair, or obtaining a non-shedding breed, can decrease the protein-containing dander that causes your allergies in your home.

Dog Breeds with Hair & Not Fur

A number of breeds have hair, as opposed to fur, and therefore do not shed. These include:

  • Poodles
  • Shih Tzus
  • Schnauzers
  • Scottish, Yorkshire, and Bedlington terriers
  • Maltese

Cat Breeds with Hair & Not Fur

Similarly there are a number of cat breeds with hair and no fur:

  • Sphynx
  • Devon Rex
  • Cornish Rex
  • Peterbald
  • Siamese
  • Manx
  • Birman
  • Burmese
  • Himalayan
  • Persian
  • Russian Blue

Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies

  1. Non-Shedding Breed – As mentioned above, some humans with allergies find that they tolerate non-shedding breeds better than those with fur, as this reduces the amount of dander in the air.
  2. Brushing, Bathing, and Grooming – Regardless of hair coat, frequent brushing, bathing, and grooming will decrease the dander present in your environment. For home brushing, the procedure should be done outside to avoid aerosolizing the dander into your home. Baths should be administered no more often than every other week to decrease the likelihood of drying out the dog or cat’s skin. Professional grooming frequency will depend on the cat or dog’s coat, but to reduce allergies will likely need to be done at least monthly.
  3. Clean Home – If you or a family member suffers from dog or cat allergies, it is essential to clean your home often. Frequent vacuuming, dusting, as well as cleaning fabric furniture, will keep the cat or dog dander in your home under control.
    1. Vacuuming – You should vacuum with a high-quality vacuum that has a HEPA filter installed.
    2. Moist Cleaning – Sweeping with a dry broom is not recommended. This method tends to stir up the dust and dander into the air. Swiffers and wet mopping are preferred for floors. Moist cloths are preferred to feather dusters for dusting.
    3. Air filters – Replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioning units. Always buy high-quality, preferably HEPA rated, filters. It may also be helpful to purchase individual room air purifiers/filters.
  4. Flooring – Carpeting will hold on to dander and other allergens. If you or a family member suffers from dog allergies, it may help to replace carpeting with hardwood, linoleum, or tile flooring. These types of flooring are easier to clean and will reduce the allergen load in your home.
  5. Accessories – Your dog or cat will deposit allergenic proteins where they sleep and also on toys and other objects that they get saliva on. Ensure you regularly wash all beds, pillows, and toys frequently.

Final Thoughts: Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Yorkie?

No, a Yorkie is not hypoallergenic. Additionally:

  • There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.
  • There is always a chance that they can cause an allergic reaction, even if it’s a slim chance.
  • Yorkies are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction than most other dogs.
  • Yorkies do not shed very much.
  • Yorkies should be brushed daily and see a groomer every 4-6 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources & Additional Resources

If you’re looking for even more information about pets being hypoallergenic this is just one in a series of guides:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.