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Why is My Yorkie’s Hair Turning White? 

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As a dog parent, every day you learn something new about your fur baby. Just when you think you know everything, boom! Your Yorkie’s hair starts turning grey.

When it happened to my first Yorkie, I was so shocked. I didn’t know what was happening, and to say I was worried would be an understatement. 

Luckily, from my research, I now have all the possible scenarios that could cause your Yorkie’s hair to turn grey or white. And I’ll be sharing them with you so you don’t have to spend hours researching.

Reasons Your Yorkie’s Hair is Turning Grey

There are many reasons why your Yorkie’s hair may be turning white. However, not all cases are a call for medical attention; it may be just a stage your Yorkie is going through. Here are the common reasons your Yorkie is turning grey. 

1. They’re Aging

This is one of the most common reasons why your dog’s hair may be turning grey. As dogs age, their hair starts turning white just like human beings do. However, the explanation is obviously different.

This is one of the most common reasons why your dog’s hair may be turning grey. As dogs age, their hair starts turning white just like human beings do. However, the explanation is obviously different.

Most dogs will start showing white hair at five years, but there have been a few instances when dogs start showing grey hairs in the first year. 

In most cases, dogs reach their golden years at seven years. This is when you start noticing the white hair, mainly on their muzzle. It can be very hard to see the grey hairs for dogs with a grey coat, but it doesn’t mean the dog doesn’t have them.  

If your dog’s cause of the white hair is aging, then you don’t have to worry about it. It just means you need to make sure they are getting enough nutrition.

2. Genetics

If your Yorkie isn’t in their prime years yet, and they’re already showing some grey hairs, chances are genetics have something to do with it. I’m sure you also have that one friend whose hair is started turning grey before 30. This is exactly what’s happening to your Yorkie. 

While there is no solid research that genetics can cause white or gray hair in dogs, some studies show that it’s a huge possibility. 

Some dogs have what we call a “graying gene,” which causes premature graying. Among the breed with this gene are poodles, so if you have a Yorkie poo, this might be the reason they’re turning white. 

3. Stress and anxiety

In most cases, people who live a very stressful lifestyle end up being victims of premature aging. Unfortunately, this applies to your lovely Yorkie too. If your Yorkie starts to show white hair between 1-4 years, they may be stressed. 

Anxiety, stress, and impulsivity are prevalent among Yorkies who may have been in shelters or neglected for a long time. 

Luckily, this is among the causes of premature graying that you have control over as a Yorkie parent. For example, if loud noises make them anxious, you can start exposing them to noise at low volumes and keep increasing the volume as they adjust until they get used to it.

Similarly, if they’re struggling with separation anxiety, you can create a routine so that they know you’ll come back to them. If you’re not sure how a Yorkie with anxiety displays it, here are some signs. 

  • Cringes and hides behind people 
  • Being very jumpy 
  • Difficulty in focusing on anything 
  • Hyperactivity even after intense exercise 
  • Jumping on people 
  • Fear of animals, people, and loud noises 

If you cannot control your dog’s anxiety at home, you can talk to your veterinarian and see if they can prescribe some anxiety meds. 

4. Vitiligo

Although this isn’t very common, it is still possible, especially on pure breeds since it’s mostly hereditary. There are no clear reasons yet on what causes vitiligo, but it has something to do with melanin-production cells. 

Vitiligo affects dogs differently – in some cases, the depigmentation will only show in a few places, while the entire coat will turn white for some dogs. The good news is that vitiligo doesn’t cause your Yorkie any pain. It can only cause skin lesions and dandruff, which can be controlled. 

5. Health issues

While premature aging can result from genetics or age, your pooch may also be fighting some health problems. As your Yorkie grows old, you expect some changes, such as decreased energy, stiff joints, thinning hair, arthritis, and decreased appetite, among others. 

However, if you notice that all this is happening in a very short span, the symptoms are most likely something bigger than aging, and gray hair is just a symptom. Some health conditions that may be triggering premature graying include: 

  • Liver disease 
  • Cushing’s disease 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney function problems

The good news is that if the illness is causing premature graying, it can be reversed by treating the health condition.  

6-Your Dog’s Coloring

If your dog is still relatively young, they may be growing into their natural colors. Yorkies come in lots of colors nowadays but there used to be a few traditional color combinations.

The traditional coloring usually starts out as all black and changes color as they get older. Typically the colors are black or blue and gold or tan. Blue is more of a steely blackish-grey color that can look like some of the hairs are turning white. The same with the gold color.

Final Thoughts

Yorkies are beautiful dogs, and their long hair is their main beauty signature, so if anything is happening to it, it’s normal to worry. I hope my blog post gave you an idea of why your Yorkie’s hair is turning grey.

Remember that although your Yorkie may be jumping up and down now, it doesn’t mean they’ll have that energy forever. Utilize this time, play fetch, go for hikes and make memories. Before you realize they’ll be too old and too lazy to run around. 

That being said, in case your Yorkie starts to show premature graying, talk to the vet to confirm they don’t have any health issues. 

Is your Yorkie’s hair turning white? If yes, did you find a reason for why it’s happening from our blog? Please share with us in the comment section. 

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing
female veterinarian holding light fluffy dog

Dr. Sara Ochoa


This article has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM. You can read more about her on our About page.

Dorene Mulcahy

Thursday 29th of June 2023

My puppy is only 10 weeks old. I thought her hair was super thin and that she was going bald on top. But it is actually pure white hair coming in on top. This was slightly noticeable prior to her first shots, but now at 10 weeks, really noticeable. Could it be Vitiligo?

Cathy Bendzunas

Thursday 29th of June 2023

Yes, it could be Vitiligo. Ask your vet if they think that's what it is at your next appointment.

Larry Wilson

Sunday 19th of March 2023

We have two Yorkies,one has the typical colors and the other one has all silver (gray) color. While the latter on was born with mostly short black hair it changed in vary short period of time. Her hair long and mostly straight and just like human hair. What would the reason for so much differents?


Sunday 19th of March 2023

I have noticed you can sometimes get very different colors in the same litter. I'm not sure why though.