How Long Do Yorkies Live

Life Span of Yorkshire Terriers

Numerous owners of Yorkshire Terriers frequently ponder the life expectancy of their furry companions, posing inquiries such as “What’s the typical life span of Yorkies?” or “How many years does a Yorkshire Terrier usually live?” Hailing from Yorkshire, England in the 1800s and originally known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, the Yorkshire Terrier belongs to the terrier family and is distinguished by its small size. This breed is an excellent match for households with older children and is noted for its amiable disposition towards new people.

Let’s explore the answer to the query, how long do Yorkies live? We’re also going to talk about the leading causes of death in a Yorkshire Terrier that may influence the Yorkie life expectancy, the average life of a Yorkie, some ways that you can do to help provide your dog the longest, and best life possible, and other information you need to know about a Yorkie lifespan.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Yorkshire Terrier?

How long can a Yorkie live? The Yorkshire Terrier breed has a longer life expectancy than several other breeds. The average household dog in the United States lives about 12.67 years but Yorkies live on average of 12 to 15 years–with a female Yorkie dog typically having a longer lifespan than a male Yorkie.

Generally, Yorkshire Terriers are healthy and hardy dogs. The majority of health problems that are often seen in this breed are non-life-threatening and are treatable. This is one of the reasons why this type of dog has a higher than average lifespan. In general, toy breeds live longer than medium-large breed dogs too!

But, how long does a teacup Yorkie dog usually live? As mentioned, toy dog breeds have a higher life span than large dogs. In addition, one of the healthiest dog breeds is the Yorkshire Terrier breed of dog. Most of the common health problems known to confront Yorkies are not fatal. Still, a teacup Yorkie dog deserves extra consideration. Teacup Yorkies are not their own breed–they’re just a very small Yorkshire Terrier.

The average lifespan of a teacup Yorkie is just 7-9 years. That is far below the average Yorkie life expectancy since these toy breeds are at a high risk of death by injury, plus they are prone to more serious health problems.

So if you are planning on having a teacup Yorkie as a pet, you should be mindful of the safety of your dog when it is around other large breed dogs, and perhaps you could consider keeping your teacup Yorkie the only dog in the house.

What are the Leading Causes of Death in Yorkies?

Besides trying to answer the question what is the lifespan of a Yorkie or how long do Yorkies usually live, we also need to learn the health issues which can affect the length and quality of the Yorkie lifespan.

While Yorkies usually tend to live longer than many other breeds and are generally a healthy dog breed, there are some Yorkie health issues you need to be aware of. Although these health issues are typically treatable, they can become life-threatening if not addressed and monitored early.

Yorkshire terrier puppies under the age of 1 year to 2 typically die either due to trauma or infection. On the contrary, adult Yorkies are vulnerable to respiratory disease, trauma, cancer, and congenital disease.


Between the ages of 1 year and 2 years old, Yorkie puppies have two leading causes of death. The first leading cause of death is getting infected with a disease, and the second cause is trauma, which is a cause of death for adult Yorkies too. Unfortunately, the top cause of death that is known to confront Yorkshire Terrier puppies is infection together with a variety of diseases including:


Often referred to as Parvo disease, Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system–and a puppy is susceptible to this type of disease even Yorkie puppies.

An expert states that Parvo disease is commonly transmitted indirectly through infected animal waste or through direct contact with an infected dog. While 90% of young dogs survive with medical treatment, the symptoms are not pleasant: vomiting, severe diarrhea, pain, dehydration, inflamed tissue of the eyes and mouth, and weight loss are just a few.

This disease generally affects puppies under the age of 6 months and can lead to death. It scarcely occurs in adult dogs older than two. But, there is an effective vaccine that is given between the age of 14 to 16 weeks.


Another serious and contagious disease that can infect your Yorkie puppy is canine distemper. This disease is caused by a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal, nervous systems, and respiratory systems of puppies and dogs, and is closely similar to rabies.

Infected wild animals or dogs typically spread the virus by sneezing or coughing, but sometimes it can be transmitted through shared water and food bowls. Symptoms of this disease include nasal discharge, vomiting, fever, coughing, seizures, convulsions, and paralysis. Often, survivors of canine distemper have permanent damage to their nervous system.


This is a deadly canine disease, but in many areas the vaccine for it is voluntary. There are many tensions for this disease, but the poisonous one can cause liver and kidney disease. It can infect a puppy through a wild life’s urine. Thus, the Yorkie owner might need to protect his dog when it’s at risk, e.g. if the Yorkie puppy lives on a property with wildlife such as skunks and raccoons.


From what we’ve touched above, trauma is the second leading cause of death in a Yorkie puppy, and it is also the third leading cause in adult Yorkies. About 11% of Yorkie deaths are due to fatal injury to the body, head, or both.

It’s shocking that this is such a high cause of death in Yorkies–for a puppy and an adult dog– when most of the time, it can be avoided with simple safety precautions to establish. If it were not for incidents–like a puppy being dropped, stepped on, or hit by a car–the average Yorkshire Terrier life span would increase drastically.

You should always be aware of just how fragile toy dog breeds can be, including Yorkshire Terriers. Moreover, bear in mind that Yorkshire Terriers are also very prone to the collapsed trachea. However, there is something a Yorkie owner can do to prevent it. Instead of a collar, always use a soft no-pull dog harness on your Yorkie puppy.


Apart from the diseases that we’ve discussed above, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels is most common in Yorkie puppies under the age of 5 months old. When the blood sugar levels of the puppy drop too low, the puppy can rapidly become distressed. It can become life-threatening if the disease is not quickly corrected.

Life Expectancy for Yorkshire Terriers


The top four leading causes of death for Yorkies of 1 year and older are Respiratory disease, Congenital disease, Trauma, and Cancer.

Respiratory Disease

Adult Yorkies are commonly at risk of Pulmonary fibrosis, Collapsed trachea, and Brachycephalic airway syndrome. Collapsed trachea is highly common in toy breed dogs and it can be life-threatening. On the other hand, the most common causes of canine upper respiratory tract infections are viruses and bacteria.

These pathogens are extremely contagious, particularly when dogs gather in high-density situations such as animal shelters and pet stores, and even more so when those places are not disinfected or kept clean.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

A disease that produces scarring of lung tissue is Pulmonary fibrosis. It is a progressive disease that causes the lungs to become stiff and thicken. After some time the lungs lose their ability to efficiently move oxygen into the bloodstream. 

It commonly affects a middle-aged to an older dog, particularly the terrier breeds, with the West Highland White Terrier being the most prone to this disease.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is another respiratory disease for dogs which is a collective name for the abnormalities in the soft palate or in the upper airway of the nose. 

This commonly occurs in breeds with shortened facial bones giving the face a pushed-in appearance, like that of a Bulldog, a Boxer, or Chinese Pug, but it can also affect Yorkshire Terriers since, technically, they’re one of the brachycephalic dog breeds. Symptoms tend to be noticeable between the age of 1 year and four years. 

Usually, the syndrome will develop into a strain in the heart due to increased effort to breathe effectively or inflammation of the airway.

Congenital Disease

This is the fourth leading cause of death for Yorkies 1 year and older since 10.5% of Yorkies die due to congenital disease. This category involves all the diseases and conditions that are present at birth–and liver shunts are one of them. 

Also referred to as portosystemic shunts, liver shunts are something of a common occurrence in Yorkies. As stated, these diseases are present at birth. 

Hence, in the United States alone, with a factor of 36 developing liver shunts, Yorkshire Terriers have a greater chance to have this condition than all other purebred dogs put together. To avoid congenital disease, it is essential to find a reputable Yorkie breeder [1].


Aside from being one of the leading causes of death in Yorkie puppies, it is also the cause of death for 10.7% of adult Yorkies–but this is avoidable. Head injuries are the main causes of death with trauma whatever the case. But if you are more careful with your dog, these can easily be avoided.

Along with trauma, you should also be aware of the second-most prevalent cause of Yorkie deaths which is cancer. Despite being a leading cause of death in most toy dog breeds, cancer has accounted for 11% of all deaths. 

A variety of cancers, such as mammary gland tumors, mast cell tumors (a form of skin cancer), bone cancer, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcomas are all impartially common among Yorkshire Terriers.

Yorkie Life Expectancy for Male and Females

What You Can Do to Extend the Lifespan of a Yorkie?

Now that you know the answer to the question, how long do Yorkies live? And some health issues among Yorkies. It’s time to know what you can do to extend the lifespan of your Yorkie. 

There are many ways you can do to help your Yorkie live longer such as spaying or neutering, providing proper dental care, giving your Yorkie nutritious food, preventing trauma, keeping up with vet appointments, and making sure your Yorkie gets enough exercise. 

Regular Vet Visits

As a Yorkie owner, you have to make sure that you bring your Yorkie in for annual check-ups where the veterinarian can check something that you have missed. If anything seems abnormal with his appearance or behavior, do not hesitate to bring your puppy in for a sick visit. Early diagnosis can help extend Yorkies’ life expectancy. Yorkie dogs are also required to keep up with their vaccinations to prevent diseases.

Furthermore, since you’re already aware of how serious infection can be and how it can affect the Yorkie lifespan, you might want to provide them with proper dental care as there can be any teeth problem that can lead to an infection. 

The infection from decayed teeth can travel into the body of the dog and reach the heart or brain. Because of this, it’s crucial to take proper care of the teeth of the dog, which will increase its lifespan as well. Simply brush the Yorkie’s teeth around 5 minutes a day and take it to a professional checkup once a year.

Spay or Neuter

Most veterinarians claim that spaying or neutering the dog can increase Yorkshire Terriers’ life expectancy of the males by 20% and females by 25%. For this reason, both male and female Yorkies should be neutered before six months of age. 

This will eliminate the odds of ovarian cancer developing and the risk of mammary cancer if the female is spayed correctly. With males, neuter can also decrease the risk of prostate cancer and eliminate the chance of testicular cancer.

Healthy Diet

A healthy and well-balanced diet is definitely important for your dog. Feeding him nutritious food from the very beginning can literally extend a Yorkie Terrier life expectancy, plus save you money in vet bills. When picking a commercial dog food for your Yorkie, you need to choose wisely. But if you have time, you could also try making your own food to serve to your dog.


One important step to add life to a Yorkie average life span is exercise. Providing your dog with enough exercise with extreme diligence is a must. Just as how a balanced diet is essential, regular physical activity will keep your Yorkie’s metabolism and immune system in top shape. 

But if the dog gets injured or sick, treatment could be possible. The muscles of the dog are going to be toned, the heart will be a lot healthier and the emotional condition will be improved. Indeed, a Yorkie is full of energy and a playful dog breed, but also remember that it’s small and fragile, and pushing him too hard might either lead to trauma or even to a quick fatal end. 

However, if you appropriately dress up your puppy, it will be fine to take him out for a 20-minute (not more) play outdoors and for some fresh air.

How Long Yorkies Usually Live

Frequently Asked Questions

What Age Is Considered Old For A Yorkie?

There is no strict and exact rule governing the age which is considered old or senior for a Yorkie. However, toy dog breeds like Yorkies can generally be expected to be somewhere around 8 to 10 years of age. This is somewhat equivalent to the human age of 48 to 56 years old.

How Do I Know If My Yorkie Is Dying?

There are some signs to know if your Yorkie is dying. These include having slower motions and no response to commands due to sickness; giving a stubborn behavior; the Yorkie’s eyes will get cloudy due to some issues in eye cataracts; lumps (sometimes from mast cell tumors); the dog’s coat condition will deteriorate; breathing will become shallow which can cause difficulty in breathing, and finally, the last sign of near-death is bad breath.

Does A Yorkie Bark A Lot?

Yes, a Yorkie barks a lot. In fact, Yorkies are natural barking dogs. Whenever your doorbell chimes, your phone rings, or when someone knocks or speaks on your door, your Yorkshire Terrier will probably bark. External sounds are not even needed to snore some Yorkies. When your dog barks at you, it is probably trying to communicate something.


There you have it! We’ve established the concerns and answers around the question, how long do Yorkies live? Remember, the ultimate care you offer to your Yorkshire Terrier from day one until his senior years will have a wonderful and lasting impact on the health and lifespan of your Yorkie.

However, it’s also essential to make the right decisions. While 25% of pets die peacefully in their sleep, 75% rely on the owner’s decision for a ‘peaceful’ sleep.

The most painful thing to do is to let go of a loved one. It can be devastating to give the green light for putting it to bed forever. But before making a decision, it’s extremely important to keep the feelings of the dog first in mind. If the dog is struggling to breathe or is in constant pain and there is nothing that can be done, letting go can be the right decision.

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