How Long Do Yorkies Live For? (And How To Increase Their Lifespan)

Yorkies live for 13 to 16 years. The Yorkshire terrier is known for its longevity. They’re small, energetic, and curious. Yorkies are generally healthy dogs with few medical concerns. They make the list of the top 10 dogs with the longest lifespans.

This article contains information regarding Yorkies and how to care for them. Keep reading to find out how you can spend the most time with your Yorkie.

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Yorkie?

Yorkies are number 5 on the list of dog breeds that live the longest. On average, they live about 13 to 16 years. That’s about 3 years more than the average lifespan of dogs overall.

The oldest Yorkie on record was thought to be about 28 years old. Her name was Bonny, and she lived in the UK. Before Bonny, a Yorkie named Lucy held the record for oldest dog in the world.

What Are the Different Stages of a Yorkie’s Life?

Dog breed specialists study the development and growth stages of different breeds. Yorkies have five stages of development–embryonic, suckling, puppies, youngster, and young dog. These stages are categorized into four periods of life, also.

Embryonic (Intrauterine)

The embryonic stage is before birth. Yorkie puppies are in the womb for about 58 to 65 days. They’re usually part of a litter with four puppies total. The range for a litter can be from one to five, however. Ideally, a Yorkie mother won’t give birth to more than five babies. Large pregnancies result in defects or stillborn pups.

First Period: Suckling

The suckling stage lasts from birth to a month or a month and a half. It’s part of the first period where puppies are experiencing unconditioned reflex adaptation.

During this time, Yorkie puppies are blind and deaf. Their eyes and ear canals have not opened. They cannot live independently at this stage.

Suckling puppies can scoot around enough to find a teat for suckling. The mother’s milk is crucial to the strengthening and further development of a suckling Yorkie.

Somewhere around day 5 of the first period, the ear canals will start to open. Day 8 is when the eyes begin to open. The eyes and ears of most Yorkies will be completely open by 2 weeks.

The Yorkies aren’t capable of relieving themselves yet. The mother helps the process by gently licking and massaging her babies to encourage necessary muscle contraction.

Second Period: Suckling and Puppies

The suckling stage carries over into the second period at 3 weeks old. The puppies will begin to experience primary conditioned reflex adaptation.

Yorkie puppies put on a lot of weight during the second period. They start looking more like puppies and less like rodents. Their brains continue to develop rapidly, making their senses keener.

Yorkies start developing defensive skills and reflexes, allowing for reactions to stimulants. They have to practice using these skills and sensibilities to use them correctly, though.

The puppies’ stage of life lasts from around a month old up to about 6 months old. Puppies in this stage grow a lot physically and mentally. Their muscles experience a lot of development, as does the brain.

Third Period: Puppies and Youngster

The third period begins around day 35 of life. The physical growth seen in the previous period starts slowing down. This opens the door for the brain to work harder. It’s a great time for mother dogs to educate their babies on social behaviors, defensive skills, and proper dog reactions.

While mom’s supervision is no longer needed, she still has a lot she can pass down to her children before they leave her. The puppies can move around and eat food. This is when they start to show their curiosity. The puppies begin to investigate their surroundings much more.

You’ll notice Yorkies behaving more brazenly as time progresses. Rather than simply looking at someone or something, they now smell things, touch things, and lick things to learn more about those items.

Yorkie puppies in this period and stage of life should be taken outside for walks daily. They need exercise to promote healthy development. But they also need exposure to sounds, smells, sights, and items they will encounter throughout life. Exposure to the outside world makes Yorkie puppies more well-rounded and better socialized.

Fourth Period: Youngster

Yorkies develop unique personalities during the fourth period. The nervous system experiences a lot of growth when pups are about 4 to 7 months old. Yorkies develop typological features that begin to shape their reactions to outside stimulants. This is when you’ll notice Yorkies emerging as individuals in the litter.

Over the course of the fourth period, the expression of behaviors will change from one puppy to the next. There will be differences in temperament, bashfulness, confidence, and more. Puppy personalities will start to shine.

(Curious about how to keep your Yorky’s ears floppy or help them stand up?)

How Can You Help Your Yorkie Live as Long as Possible?

We want our dogs to live as long as possible. That means we must care for them well. There are some things you can do to help keep your Yorkie alive and healthy for longer. Here are five useful tips.

1. Maintain a Healthy Yorkie Weight Level

Yorkies are meant to weigh around 7 pounds when fully grown. Their bodies are small. Overfeeding a Yorkie can lead to obesity quickly. Feed your dog according to the recommendations of your vet.

Don’t feed your Yorkie leftovers and other human foods. Just as fatty human foods aren’t good for you, they’re not good for dogs either. Stick to offering only dog food. Some vegetables are ok if your dog will eat them. Maintain a regular mealtime schedule, also.

2. Let Your Yorkie Get Plenty of Exercise

Regular exercise can help to maintain a Yorkie’s weight. Give your dog at least an hour of exercise every day. Take your dog for a walk or two, let him run in the backyard, or take him to a dog park to play with other dogs.

Exercise is good for a Yorkie’s body, as well as his mind. His mental and emotional health is just as important as his physical health. The chemicals and hormones in the body are better regulated when we get the proper amount of physical activity. The same is true for dogs.

3. Take Care of Their Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is important to care for too. Yorkies’ teeth decay. Their gums get infected. The infections in their mouths may spread to other parts of the body. Periodontal disease and other types of oral infections lead to more serious health problems. The heart and kidneys are at risk in this situation.

Brush your Yorkie’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for dogs. You will find these kits in pet stores or at your vet. Dog toothbrushes with two brush heads are best.

4. Allow Your Dog to Relax

Dogs get tired just as we do. Be mindful of allowing your dog to have time to rest. Your Yorkie will want to be with you and the family most of the time. They must also be allowed to rest on their own in between the activities of the day.

Pay close attention to times of high stress and anxiety for your Yorkie. That type of energy wears dogs out fast. It’s critical for their well-being that you bring them back down to a calm state so they can relax.

5. Take Your Yorkie for Checkups

Stay up-to-date with all of your dog’s vaccinations. Make sure to schedule regular visits with the vet, too. Puppies should have vet checks a few times a year, while adult dogs should go once a year.

What Can Shorten Your Yorkie’s Lifespan?

Several things can shorten the life of a Yorkie. Some of them are natural causes. Others stem from a lack of proper care.

Yorkies Can Suffer from Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease was found to be the number one cause of death in adult Yorkies. Only two other breeds have higher rates of death due to this cause. As Yorkies age, they become more vulnerable to various types of respiratory disease.

Yorkies Can Suffer from Cancer

Yorkies don’t have a high rate of vulnerability to cancer. Cancer is the second largest killer of Yorkies, though. Cancers Yorkies are most susceptible to include lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas, mammary gland tumors, skin cancer, and bone cancer.

Just over 11% of Yorkies will have a shortened lifespan due to cancer.

Trauma Can Shorten a Yorkie’s Lifespan

Trauma is the third leading cause of death in adult Yorkies and the second leading cause in Yorkie puppies. A sad fact is most Yorkie trauma is avoidable.

Yorkies are small dogs. They tend to get stepped on. This results in death sometimes. Yorkies also get tripped over, accidentally kicked down steps or into furniture, dropped, and hit by vehicles. All of which often result in death.

Improper Care Shortens a Yorkie’s Lifespan

Yorkie puppies need extra care before the age of one. The leading cause of death in Yorkie puppies is infection. Puppies are vulnerable to numerous kinds of infections. Here’s a list of some of them:

  • Parvo – Yorkie puppies with parvo throw up and suffer from severe diarrhea. It’s a gastrointestinal disease that quickly leads to dehydration. Parvo is highly contagious. It spreads easily from puppy to puppy through direct contact or feces. Proper vaccinations protect Yorkie puppies from Parvo.
  • Leptospirosis – Yorkie puppies get exposed to this infection by wildlife living nearby. It’s more likely to occur in areas where residential property bumps up to forests, plains, or other natural habitats. A vaccine is offered to protect against leptospirosis, but it’s only given to dogs labeled at risk.
  • Distemper – This affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Puppies with distemper develop a nasty cough and experience loss of strength. Severe diarrhea begins that drains the puppy of water and electrolytes needed in the body. The infection spreads to the brain and spine resulting in death.

You can protect your Yorkie from these infections and more by taking them for regular vet visits and having them immunized. Couple that with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, as well as the rest puppies need, and your Yorkie has the best chance at a long, happy life.

What Are Common Health Problems Yorkies Have?

Yorkies are generally healthy dogs. They are prone to a few common health problems, however.

Genetic Predispositions

Yorkies are genetically predisposed to having eye problems. Without treatment, some eye problems can lead to blindness or other serious conditions. Yorkies can develop cataracts. They also suffer from a dry eye syndrome known as KCS.

Cushing’s disease is a common problem for Yorkies. Their bodies make an overabundance of a steroid hormone. Essentially, the adrenal glands are too active. It causes dogs to eat more, drink more, and urinate more while also being less physically active. Hair loss, a potbelly, and thin skin are all signs of Cushing’s disease.

Yorkies are also prone to liver problems and heart disease. Taking your Yorkie for regular vet checkups makes it more likely your pup will be diagnosed early. Early diagnoses often result in better outcomes.

Bone and Joint Issues

Yorkies may experience patellar luxation. It’s a condition where the patella, or kneecap, slides out of position. It’s basically a dislocation. Watch for your pup to hop a leg up and kick it out sideways while running. It might mean he’s just experienced a patellar luxation and is putting his kneecap back in place. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Severe cases usually require surgery.

IVDD is a disease that affects the cushioning between discs in the back. The cushioning between the discs moves or ruptures. Then, the discs are left to push against the spinal cord causing excruciating and, sometimes debilitating pain. Yorkies with IVDD stop moving around as much. They tend to stop eating due to the pain. Severe cases can even cause temporary paralysis.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a hip condition that affects young Yorkies. It’s a degenerative disease that causes a lot of pain in the hip joints. You may notice your Yorkie favoring one or more of his legs. LCP causes the thigh bone to fracture at the top. Your dog will need surgery to repair the fracture. Yorkies are most vulnerable to this condition between 6 and 9 months.

General Health Problems

Yorkies often end up with a type of dental disease. They’re more likely to have teeth and other oral issues than other breeds of dogs. Maintain regular teeth cleaning to combat the onset of dental diseases.

Obesity affects numerous Yorkies. Because their bodies are so small, a little extra weight wreaks havoc on them. Joint pain becomes an issue. Heart disease is more likely. Obese Yorkies can suffer from digestive problems, too.

Yorkies are impacted by infections that spread through various regions. Your best course of action is to get your puppy immunized at the appropriate times to protect her against harmful infections.

Parasites cause problems for Yorkies both inside and outside the body. Make sure to protect your Yorkie from ticks, fleas, and mites. Ask your vet for a preventative treatment plan to stave off harmful worms and other parasites, as well.

Yorkies commonly develop kidney or bladder stones. Sometimes these will be minor and resolve on their own. Should you notice your furry family member struggling to urinate, not urinating, or urinating blood, take him to the vet as fast as possible. Some serious cases will require surgery to remove the stones.

Many Yorkies develop atopy, otherwise known as allergies. Atopy is caused by the same allergens that cause reactions in humans. Allergy symptoms present as itchy skin in dogs. Yorkies tend to be affected on their bellies, ears, feet, and in folds of skin around their bodies. Allergies get worse as dogs age. Treatment options are available from your vet.

Unspayed and unneutered dogs tend to have more health issues. Both male and female dogs are at greater risk for certain types of cancers when they’re not spayed or neutered. Other risks can be decreased or eliminated, also, with these surgical procedures. If you don’t intend to breed your Yorkie, consider one of these procedures for the sake of your pup’s health.

(Have you ever wondered whether your Yorkie would like to swim?)

What Do Yorkies Usually Die From?

A healthy Yorkie can live up to about 17 years and die of old age. There are four other leading causes of death for adult Yorkies.

#1 Respiratory Disease

Research shows 16% of Yorkies die of some form of respiratory disease. Common types resulting in Yorkie deaths include a collapsed trachea, brachycephalic airway syndrome, and pulmonary fibrosis. Aging Yorkies will become more susceptible to lung problems and respiratory issues.

#2 Cancer

About 11% of Yorkies die of cancer. Lymphoma is common in Yorkies. They sometimes develop tumors in their lymph nodes. Other types of cancer found in Yorkies include soft tissue sarcomas that eventually invade the liver and lungs, skin cancer, and mammary gland tumors. Bone cancer is also diagnosed sometimes.

Cancer isn’t always a death sentence for Yorkies, though. Many survive their cancer due to early detection. The sooner treatment begins, the better your Yorkie’s chances of survival are. This is another important reason why regularly scheduled vet checkups are critical.

#3 Trauma

Trauma that may not kill other breeds is of greater risk to Yorkies because of their size. Tiny dogs like Yorkies often get stepped on. That can be fatal. Yorkies are killed by incidents and accidents that would only startle or cause minor injuries to larger dogs.

#4 Congenital Disease

Congenital diseases are passed on to Yorkies while they’re in the womb. Yorkies are sometimes born with diseases that run in the family. For instance, many Yorkies must have liver shunts put in because of congenital liver disease passed down to them.

Yorkies are at a much higher rate of risk than other dog breeds for congenital liver disease. The symptoms don’t always show up right away. Though the disease is present at birth, signs and symptoms usually won’t present until the puppies are a year old. The vet looks for vomiting, diarrhea, lack of growth, physical weakness, increased thirst, seizures, and changes in behavior.

Some symptoms will show stronger signs a few hours after meals. This happens because there isn’t enough blood flowing to the Yorkie’s liver. The liver is what filters out toxins taken into the body. When the liver doesn’t function properly, the toxins can get pushed on to the brain. That results in odd behavior and decreased functionality.


How long do Yorkies live with diabetes?

Yorkies with diabetes will live just as long as a healthy Yorkie with the proper treatment. An early diagnosis and prescribed treatment plan are the keys to longevity for dogs with diabetes. Daily insulin shots are needed. Caring for a diabetic Yorkie requires extra effort on your part, but the work is worth the result.

How long do Yorkies live in dog years?

On average, Yorkies live 13 to 16 years. That equates to between 68 and 80 in dog years. The calculation for dog years is slightly different in small dogs. It starts the same early on. In the sixth year, the aging process for small dogs slows down. That’s part of why small dogs live longer than larger breeds.

How long do Yorkies live in human years?

Yorkies typically live 13 to 16 years. Give them proper care, feed them a healthy diet, and make sure they get plenty of exercises to give the best shot at a long life. Be mindful of their size and make sure they’re up-to-date on all immunizations.

Want To Train Your Yorkie With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Yorkie properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Yorkie completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

Final Thoughts

Yorkies usually live for up to 16 years. While they can suffer from some common health problems, they’re generally healthy dogs. Your Yorkie needs regular visits to the vet. He also needs to eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, get adequate rest, and exercise every day. Be the best advocate for your Yorkie’s well-being. Your due diligence will ensure good health for many years to come.