One of the most common questions we receive from our readers is:
How long do Yorkies live?
Actually we receive different questions about the Yorkie lifespan from both
Yorkie owners and also people who are still in the decision making phase to become owners of this wonderful breed.
We also think that this is one of the most important topic about our lovely dogs.
This is why we have spent a lot of time and energy to research and write this long but helpful (hopefully) material.
In this article we will answer the questions:
How long do Yorkshire terriers live?
What are the most common reasons for death?
How to increase your Yorkie life expectancy?
Different ways you are shortening your Yorkshire terrier lifespan without even knowing..
And more about the lifespan of Yorkshire terriers
No matter how old your puppy is and how well you treat it, it is always a good idea to be prepared for everything –
including a fatal end and its time, as well as for all those factors that make this moment closer or on the contrary – more faraway.
In other words, as a pet owner you definitely need to be aware of your canine fellow’s lifespan.
The thing is different dog breed have different expected lifespan.
Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the verge literally as any individual dog’s organism comes with its own personal immune system and etc.
Yet, we should be aware of the proven scientific statements as to the dog’s lifespan, including when it comes to a Yorkie Terrier.
Here is what you need to know about the lifespan of Yorkies.
Yorkie Lifespan: How long do Yorkies Live?
Let’s begin with the fact that dogs have different expected lifespan basically according to their breeds. This criterion divides the dogs into two groups – big dog breeds and small or toy dog breeds.
You might not believe, but the second group of dog breeds – those with smaller size – have longer lifespan.
The two main reasons for the Yorkies to have a longer life than other breeds are because they are toy breed and they always live longer than the medium and large size breeds,
and the second reason is that the Yorkshire Terrier is healthy breed in general and most of their health issues are not fatal.
There is one more factor we need to consider and it is the sex of the dog.
Like with people, female dogs live longer.
And as to the Yorkie Terrier breed, experts conclude that the Yorkshire terrier life expectancy is between 12 to 15 years or 13.5 years on average.
Female Yorkshire terriers usually live about 1.5 years longer than male dogs from the same breed.
We have to say that these figures are for death from natural causes, not by trauma or anything else that is classified as unnatural cause.
On the other side, the fatal end by trauma or some other causes are included in the number goes down to about 11 years on average.
What are the most common causes of death
The data we are discussing here is conducted to the latest researches in the sphere and to be more specific we are talking about a research that embraces Yorkie Terriers grown in the US.
Yet, it doesn’t mean that those Yorkies from Europe will live longer or less with a significant difference.
The study we were talking about gives us information for both: the particular number of years we can expect our dog will live, as well as the main factors that can shorten or increase this “deadline”.
Scientists from the University of Georgia – the main participants in the research – work about 20 years to observe dogs (many different breeds and sizes, but not only Yorkies).
They eventually succeed to name the basic reasons for a dog death and among them we find a lot of death causes that are specific for Yorkies.
They documented 82 dog breeds (purebred) and also mixed dog breeds.
In this study there were 74,556 dogs and several hundreds of them were Yorkshire Terriers.
The research provides us with the big picture and understanding of what Yorkies die of and the results are separated in two groups.
The first group covers puppies under 1 year of age.
And the second group covers older puppies and mainly adults – in other words those dogs that are older than 1 year.
The most popular reasons for a Yorkie’s death before an age of 1 year old
Two are the main reasons a Yorkie under age of 1 year old can die. We are going to talk about the two of these factors in order to make it more understanding for you so you can protect your canine fellow in future.
This is the most possible and often reason for a death of a Yorkshire Terrier under one year.
When we speak of an infection, we mean all types of infections your dog can get.
What is more important to say here is that the infection, itself, isn’t the exact reason for a death,
but the reason for many diseases it leads to if not properly controlled, prevented and cured.
Here are the diseases we are talking about.
Parvo is the other names of the parvovirus, which comes as a result of an infection.
This is a very serious disease and unfortunately it is a quite often for puppies.
What makes this disease is to attack the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the puppy’s immune system.
As a Yorkie owner, you must be already aware that your puppy has a very weak stomach, which is why Parvo could lead to a fatal end.
What causes the fatal end, itself, is the strongly dehydrating combination between vomiting and diarrhea.
What makes the condition extremely risky is the fact that at this age a Yorkie might not be vaccinated yet and the virus is easy to be developed in the body.
On the other side, Parvo is typical for moments when the puppy’s immune system is weak.
Such moments, for instance, are those in flu seasons or during the window vulnerability which happens when the antibodies from mom’s milk have waned and the vaccine hasn’t acted yet.
Meanwhile, the communication with other dogs, which are exposed to the risk of the virus, is even more dangerous.
This is why it is important for any Yorkie owner to let his or her puppy contact only with puppies that have been already vaccinated.
This is another dangerous and deadly disease, but there is a vaccine for it too.
Keep in mind that it is highly contagious and it infects the respiratory or/and the gastrointestinal tract.
If you want to catch it at early stage watch out for the early symptoms – weakness and coughing. Then the disease progresses to diarrhea and dehydrates the puppy.
The fatal phase can occur when the virus spread to the brain and the spinal cord of the pup.
You can protect your Yorkie from this disease with regular vaccinations and not bringing it outside until it receives every essential vaccine shot.
Last, but not least we will mention Leptospirosis.
This is deadly canine disease, but in many places the vaccine for it is voluntary.
There are many strains, but the lethal one can cause kidney and liver damage. It can infect puppies via the urine of wild life.
For that reason, you might want to protect your dog only if it at risk, e.g. if the Yorkie puppy lives on a property with wild life, including raccoons and skunks.
Another very possible reason for a Yorkie under age of 1 year old to die.
Of course, following the example medical experts give us, we believe that prevention is the best cure.
Yet, what is this dog owner that can provide a 100% prevention against traumas?
It is hard to keep your dog away of any injuries, especially when it is young and full of energy to spend in games.
What is left for you as a Yorkie owner is to be close to your dogs during activity and react as soon as possible if a trauma occurs.
Many of the trauma cases are pretty much preventable, so see the information below.
Leading causes of death for adult Yorkies
It is logical that once the puppy gets older, the risks of and for a death get more.
This is why we can list you more reasons for an adult Yorkie’s death. Below we are going to discuss the most typical among them.
Please, note that the list represents the reasons in a chronological row depending on their frequencies among Yorkies Terriers.
So we are going to begin with the most common reason for a death of an adult Yorkie and we will finish with the least popular one.
The study showed that 16.1% of the adult Yorkies died from this one.
Only two breeds had more death cases from respiratory disease – Bulldog with 18.2% and Borzoi with 16.3%.
The diseases that cause respiratory illness to the adult Yorkies are Pulmonary fibrosis, Brachycephalic airway syndrome and collapsed trachea.
When taking adult dogs, the gradual degenerative changes, which can disrupt the normal function of the lungs can cause them to be a lot vulnerable to toxins and airborne pathogens.
Have in mind that the tracheal collapse is not uncommon with the small breed dogs.
For some of them it might be fatal because some cases of the injury can lead to chronic bronchitis and other health issues.
One of the main causes of the collapsed trachea can be an injury to the neck due to the collar which is connected to the leash.
For that reason it is better to walk your Yorkie with a harness.
You could check our article for the best Yorkie harnesses here.
The second top cause of death to the adult Yorkies is cancer.
11.2% of the Yorkshire Terriers died from cancer. The cancer is not amongst the leading causes of death for many small breed dogs, but it is for the Yorkies.
An adult dog can die prematurely due to different cancers, which include lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, bone cancer, mast cell tumor and mammary gland tumor.
But we have to mention that half of all cancers can be cured if you can find them at early stage. So in some cases death is preventable.
The third top death cause for the adult Yorkies is Trauma.
Now is the moment to remind that this is also the second top cause for death for the Yorkie puppies.
10.7% of the adult dogs died from a trauma but this is preventable.
The trauma death can include fatal injuries to different body parts, mostly the head and the body of the Yorkie.
The traumas can occur due to many reasons, some of them including the dog being stepped on, being knocked down from a staircase, being dropped, being hit by a vehicle and so on.
These can easily be avoided if you are more careful with your dog.
10.5% of the adult Yorkies in the study died. In this category there are included all of the conditions and diseases that are present at birth.
The most notable are the liver shunts and the Yorkies are prone to them.
Actually, in the United States the Yorkshire Terriers have the whooping 36 time greater change to develop liver shunts than all of the other purebred dogs put together.
This condition might be fatal sometimes because the disease prevent the adequate blood flow into the liver of the dog.
If a Yorkie is born with this condition, the dog might not show signs of it until the age on one year and even older.
For many of the Yorkies the symptoms appear most visible from one to three hours after a meal because the toxins normally are filtered by the healthy liver, but at this case they are not and reach the brain of the dog instead.
The condition can be diagnosed with the help of an x-ray scanner, dye study, ultrasound waves and blood tests.
The treatment of the minor cases of the disease involves change to the diet and giving the Yorkie some medications that prevent buildup of toxins, causing liver malfunctioning.
Despite the fact that some dogs can live with this conditions and on medication, their life span is shortened a lot.
The moderate and severe cases of the disease are treated only with a surgery. If you decide not to give your dog a surgical procedure you might expect it to die in one year.
But the survival rate of the Yorkies after a surgery is very good – about 95%.
Another health conditions you should keep in mind
Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
The risky thing about this disease is that it has a lethal phase and it progresses quite slowly, sometimes, a dog owner can even miss the first signs it comes with.
What is the worst thing about the progressive retinal atrophy, as you can guess is the fact that it can lead to blindness.
Fragile bones syndrome is a condition that is quite typical for the Yorkie Terrier. If your puppy is predisposed to fractures if they experience trauma. There’s no cure for this problem.
Yorkie owners will be well advised to make alterations to the dog’s environment to cut the chance of accidents.
Luxating Patella is another thing you need to be careful about, when it comes to your dog’s legs.
The luxation usually affects the kneecaps. When already acquired such a disease, the puppy might refuse to put weight on his affected leg.
How to extend the Yorkie life expectancy?
If you want your Yorkie to live as long as possible, you can do many thing about that.
Most important is the care you take from the day one that you bring your puppy home to the senior years of the dog.
Let us explain some of the essential things you should do to expand the lifespan of your pet and its overall health.
So here are the top ideas and practical methods to extend your Yorkshire terrier lifespan:
After all many infections are the main reason for death amongst Yorkies and mostly to the puppies.
So keeping up with the vaccines is essential for the dogs’ wellbeing.
Putting all the vaccines your dog will need is a question you are supposed to discuss individually with your vet.
It is a well-known fact that different regions require different vaccines to be taken under considerations.
For example, there are geographical points where the risk of infections and viruses is higher for your puppy, which is why most of the vaccines are obligatory, but not recommended as in other areas.
Keep in mind that you should not take outside the property perimeters your dog.
You can do that after two weeks from the vaccination.
If other animals play on your property also, you should watch carefully the Yorkie and not allow it to sniff the feces and urine of the animals.
Being careful for accidents and traumas
Unfortunately, a trauma is yet one of the most serious reason for Yorkie’s death.
This is why being focused while your dog is playing and never getting distracted when it is around is extremely important.
To be careful for any accidents and injuries means not only for you to be concentrated for any fatal threaten, but also to teach everyone at home to be so.
If you have little kids teach them from the very arrival of your dog in your house to be careful, too. The sooner you teach them, the better.
However, guests and any other visits in your home are supposed to be instructed to be careful for the dog, as well.
We are saying these things with a highly strong emphasizing as sometimes, a trauma may occur accidentally – like stepping over the dog or even passing through a dark room, where the dog is hiding or even sleeping.
On the other side, playing with your dog is also a thing to consider in the safest way. Please, avoid swinging or bouncing the dog hardly.
Also, when you are holding your Yorkie Terrier be aware not to drop it or at least if there is such a risk, make sure the fall will be on a soft area.
Speaking of areas, you also need to provide a top secured area for your dog’s sleeping zone, as well as when you take it outside for a walk and for some play.
Experts say that dog hit by a car is yet a common reason for a fatal end your puppy might experience.
Don’t let your dog run around freely without your secured guard in areas that include traffic or completely unknown areas as the dog might even get lost and it will take a little bit of time for it to get hungry, injured and etc.
If you live in a house your yard should be safe, but yet don’t let your dog play and go outside without your guard.
It would be also a good idea to train your dog the basic commands such as “come” and “sit”.
That way if the dog is running to a danger you can call it and this might save its life.
Dental care is also a must
You might ask if teeth are that risky organs of the dog so you need to be careful about in order to avoid death.
Well, yes, they are as any teeth problem can lead to an infection and you already know how serious an infection can be for your Yorkie’s health and even life.
The infection from decayed teeth can travel into the body of the dog and reach the brain or the heart.
The dogs with decayed teeth can suffer from pain and this will stress their entire body and at old age when the teeth are missing, the dog will have problems eating.
For that reason, you should take proper care for the teeth of the dog, which will increase its lifespan.
Just brush the teeth of the Yorkie around five minutes each day and once a year take it to a professional checkup.
Spray and neuter
Think about spaying or neutering the dog because most veterinarians agree that this procedure can increase the life of the males with 20% and the females with 25%.
For that reason a male dog should be neutered before the age of six months and the females should be spayed before that age too.
If the female is spayed correctly this will eliminate the odds of ovarian cancer developing. This type of cancer is fatal in half of the cases. This will also reduce the risk of mammary cancer.
With the males, the neuter eliminates the chance of testicular cancer and decreases the risk of prostate cancer.
Establishing a proper and healthy nutrition
Not only humans are what they eat. Dogs get affected by the style of their nutrition, too, and health is what represents this affection at most.
What the Yorkie eats every day, year after year, will determine how well it would be and how long it would live.
So for that reason give your dog only high quality dog food and home cooked goods.
Teach the Yorkie in a strict regime and try to feed it in nearly same periods during the time.
Don’t forget that the breakfast is the most important food of the day and never get destructed when selecting dog food in the store. Read the labels and try to eliminate food types with preservatives or coloring agents.
Do not give it only straight tap water, you can filter it, just like you would if it is for you.
Give the dog plenty of water every day to make sure that it is fully hydrated.
Also, be careful with your dog’s physical activity
Being extremely diligent with the exercises you want to entertain and teach your dog is a must.
Just like balanced diet is important, regular physical activity will keep your Yorkie’s immune system and metabolism in top shape, so if the dog gets sick or even injured, treatment could be possible.
The heart of the dog will be a lot healthier, the muscles are going to be toned and the emotional condition will be improved as well.
Yet, there are people that are too ambitious for their dogs (like parents for their kids) and they can exhaust their puppies.
Indeed, a Yorkie is a playful and full of energy dog breed, but don’t forget it is small and fragile and pushing too hard might lead either to a trauma, or even to a faster fatal end.
Also, know that spring and summer aren’t the only seasons and days to take your dog out for some exercises.
First of all, physical activity is needed round the whole year and daily and second of all – getting some fresh air at the outdoors is something all living creatures need, right?
Yet, it is a good and risk-free idea to to stay at home during blizzard days when it’s very cold outside.
However, if you properly dress up your puppy it will be just fine to take it out for some fresh air and a 20 – minute (not more) play at the outdoors (some Yorkies love the snow by the way).
Never miss or postpone a visitation to your vet
Another thing that you should remember is never to delay the visits to the veterinarian.
Because every disease can be treated a lot easier and fast if it is caught at early stage. This is most relevant to cancers and shunts.
Make sure that you always have a budget for unexpected medical visits. This can cost the life of the dog or at least shorten it.
At first, during your dog’s “childhood” the visits will be more often – especially because of the vaccines.
Later, though, you might become the one with the initiative to appoint the visits – including when you observe any strange behavior in your dog.
On mandatory, visit the vet immediately in case the Yorkie has experienced a trauma and it should be as soon as possible.
In case of a sickness – especially when you don’t know the exact condition or the reason your dog is ill – hurry up and don’t delay the visit, either.
You should be aware of the following health conditions:
Last, but not least, we would like to warn you that any plans to save money from a visit to the vet could be both:
Pointless, because the later you treat a dog, the harder and more expensive it becomes, and dangerous, aka it can lead to a death you did not even expect.
You might also want to consider a pet insurance that will cover these kind of expenses.
The bottom line here is that you should never wonder to take your dog to the veterinarian or not.
Better go and visit for nothing or anything small than to not go and then small health issues to turn into larger and more serious ones.
Don’t close your eyes for your Yorkshire Terrier’s age
Last, but not least – learn to accept the age of your Yorkie.
Because time slips by and we cannot admit that our pets are getting old, but these are the facts.
At some point it would become such, so your efforts to expand the dog’s lifespan might not be possible to achieve a lot.
This is why the earlier your attempts to expand your dog’s lifespan begin, the more chances you’ve got.
When the age of the dog becomes close to the natural age of death you can only ease its weakness and pains.
But you need to be tranquil about it as this is the way life goes.
Yet, there are health problems that occur with your dog’s aging.
For instance, when it comes to your Yorkie, you need to be prepared for orthopedic problems.
They can be handles with specially tailored orthopedic beds, proper health diet and some herbal medications for the coat and for a dry skin your vet can prescribe you.
Take your senior Yorkie to the veterinarian two times a year instead of once for a regular checkup.
Giving proper supplements is a good idea to increase the lifespan of Yorkies.
Talk to your vet about the type of extra vitamins and minerals your Yorkie should take, because different organisms require different help and support to keep it regular and healthy.
Make some grooming changes, if needed
In other words, here we mean for you to add some more products for your dog, when aging:
like specially tailored leave-in conditioners for the dry and itching scalp, as well as professional grooming tools to keep the hairs on their right place and not to cause any pain to your dog, when brushing, washing and etc.
You might want to check our article about the best shampoo and conditioner for Yorkies.
And also What is the best brush for Yorkies
Also, make sure not to forget to add a little sunscreen to exposed areas if your dog will be outside for more than 20 minutes on a sunny day.
Better sleeping conditions
When the puppy’s body start weakening it will need not only more sleep, but healthier sleep at a full value.
This is why you need to provide your Yorkie perfect sleeping conditions – orthopedic mattress is the ideal thing for the purpose.
Like any adult, adult dogs might feel frustrated, when a change happens in their life.
Such a change might be the appearance of a new member in the family – not only a baby, for instance, but also and especially a new dog.
Also, if you don’t pay enough attention on your dog, it might get upset, which will additionally worsen its condition.
Try to be as kind as you can, and your buddy will feel much better.
How to act when the Yorkie is sick and death seems near?
No matter how hard you try at some point there will be nothing you can do to expand your Yorkie’s lifespan.
This is either when the end comes, or in case of a serious disease that can already not be handled.
Of course, making a decision for your next steps in the sake of the dog could be quite hard – especially if you take care of the puppy from its very first days.
What is also unfortunately is that only 25% of the Yorkies die naturally. In most cases, a previous disease predisposes the fatal end.
For the rest of the cases the dog owner faces the hard decision to perform euthanasia. Thanks to this medical procedure you will lose your dog, but at least you will save it a lot of pain and suffering.
Many Yorkie Terrier owners prefer the euthanasia as the suffering can be quite hard to see.
If a dog is struggling or feels a constant pain and all cares and treatment are ineffective and exhausted, usually it would be the best for the pet to allow it to go to a better place.
In lots of cases, owners have to take on the loss of their friend in order to relieve the pain.
There is something else you need to know about the moment when the end seems close.
When a Yorkie gets to about 10 years old he/she is a senior and it means that all the changes happen are with gradual and can be easily missed while we go about our busy lives.
Keep an eye out for these signs. Early treatment will be easier and less expensive and could save the life of your little friend.
Here is why you are going to guess that the fatal end is close, besides the age:
1.) No respond to commands and even slower motions.
This is the first sign you may see, but don’t worry – it should come with some other symptom, because sometimes, slowing down and weakening might be due to a sickness you can still overcome with the proper medical treatment.
2.) No reaction to your commands or even talking.
Of course, it does sound like the factor from above, but here we also mean that your dog gets destructed, lazier and sometimes, it would look to you as stubborn behavior, so make sure you don’t underestimate this reaction.
3.) Your Yorkie’s eyes will get cloudy. It might be also a sign of cataracts, which are a much serious issue.
4.) Lumps – they are definitely the puppy owner’s bigger fear, but you have to expect them to, when the end is close.
5.) Deteriorating Coat Condition – it means the scalp gets dry, flacky, itching and you will see lots of spots around the neck.
6.) Last, but not least a sign of a near death is the bad breath. Please note that sometimes, such a condition might be due to a tooth problem, so it isn’t on mandatory such a close end.
Information about the Geriatric Checkup
Don’t let yourself forget to check up your dog’s health problems and overall condition on mandatory and on a regular basis.
This is the top method to increase its lifespan. Here is what you can do for the geriatric checkup for your puppy.
1. Check out the eyes and what is more important, check out if they are cloudy.
When this happens the dog seems to see like through a grayish window, which can be very unpleasant.
2. Check out the heart during the visitation in the vet’s cabinet.
Some hear sound changes will disclose the availability of murmurs, which is a progressive heart disease you are supposed to handle.
3. Check out the kidneys and the liver thanks to the modern urine and blood tests Yorkies can be examined, too.
Here is good to know that sometimes, problems with the kidneys and the liver might not appear and be more of invisible type, so don’t underestimate the expert vet’s attitude towards the condition of these organs.
4. Last, but not least check out the joint muscles and the bones.
What you need to be careful about is the problems in performing regular movements.
If you prefer to rely on the vet for this check out, he or she might palpate all the joints, muscles, and bones and do a full range of motion tests flexing and extending the joints.
There will need to be X-rays if any potential problems are found.
Your vet will be able to recommend a treatment if there is arthritis.
Different ways you are shortening your Yorkshire terrier lifespan
In our last section of this material we will present some facts and things you might do without knowing and realizing they are bad for your dog and what is more important – they are shortening its life.
Here are some specific things you might do and shorten your Yorkie’s life.
1.) Allowing overweight
There is nothing worse than a small dog breed to get overweight.
It is due to bad nutrition and it prevents the regular physical activity your Yorkshire terrier is supposed to perform in order to keep up a good shape, aka a good health condition.
2.) Exposing your Yorkie to your bad habits
Mostly, we mean nicotine smoke.
Please, don’t forget that cigarettes aren’t harmful only to you, specifically, but also to people and pets around you.
According to the experts dogs that are exposed to cigarette smoke live with 25% less than the other dogs.
So if you smoke and cannot quit cigarettes, do your harmful things on the balcony or at least not around your delicate puppy.
3.) Letting parasites invade your dog
We mean forgetting about harmful organisms like heartworms, fleas and ticks.
These are easy to be overcome issues if you use professional products for both: prevention and treatment, if they are already available.
4.) No social contacts
Dogs are social, but not only people are. So forgetting about the proper dog’s socialization is a serious way you are actually shortening its life.
You should take your little puppy (after it is fully vaccinated by your veterinarian) to puppy meet-ups and training classes where he/she can play with other dogs and puppies.
And something else – let your Yorkie “communicate” with other dogs, but only if all the necessary vaccines are available and you are sure the other dog is healthy.
If you are patient with your Yorkie during its life and you do everything possible we have discussed above, be sure you will enjoy its company for longer time.
Yet, sometimes, accidents happen and we have to be always prepared for them.
Don’t feel shy to ask us for more additional information about the Yorkie lifespan and how to increase it properly!
We are here for you and for your puppy.
Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Last update on 2019-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API