How Long Do Yorkies Live? And How To Help Them Live Longer?

How Long Do Yorkies Live? And How To Help Them Live Longer?

How long do Yorkies live? If you’re asking this question, then you must have just bought your new puppy or are in the process of purchasing a Yorkie.

Because whenever we are close to adding a puppy to our family, one concern is how long he will be with us and what we need to do to keep him healthy and prolong his life as much as possible. Losing a loving pet is a truly heart-wrenching experience that all pet owners inevitably must endure.

One piece of good news is that the Yorkie is a toy breed, and they tend to have a longer lifespan than most other breeds.

While it’s impossible to predict any dog’s exact lifespan, including the Yorkie, there is more than enough evidence to give a broad age range. A Yorkie without any inherited genetic diseases and fed a nutritious, healthy diet, given the appropriate exercise and generally well taken care of, will live from 12 to 15 years. Females do live a little longer than males, not by much, perhaps just over a year.

When you consider that other dog breeds live shorter lives than Yorkies, up to 15 years isn’t that bad. And I’m positive some readers will know of Yorkies that lived longer than even 15 years.

The average lifespan of most other breeds is only about 12 years in the US and just over 11 years in the UK. These numbers are averages and only refer to dogs that had a full life, died from natural causes, and did not die of accidents or life-threatening diseases.

Why Yorkies Have A Longer Lifespan

The two stand out reasons why a Yorkie lives longer than the average lifespan are:

  • As we spoke about earlier, the Yorkie is a toy breed, and toy breeds seem to have a more prolonged lifespan than other breeds.
  • Overall, the Yorkie is a pretty hardy little guy; we know they can be feisty, which seems to extend to their health. They do have some health disorders, but none have them have fatal outcomes.
Why Yorkies have a longer lifespan

Again, we are speaking broadly. Many reprehensible breeders in this world breed dogs for profit and not because they have a love for dogs. It’s common they do not want health checks or screen their breeding dogs for any genetic disorders that can pass to their puppies. Once sold, they couldn’t care less.

In the following parts of this article, we will speak about the main reasons Yorkies die young and how you can do your part in prolonging your Yorkie’s lifespan.

What Do Yorkies Die Young?

In 2011 a report published by the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine about the dog mortality rate in the US from 1984 to 2004 found that 16% of Yorkshire Terriers died of respiratory disease. The same report spoke about only two other dogs having a worse result than the Yorkie, the Bulldog, and the Borzoi.

What do Yorkies die young

1. Respiratory Disease

The three types of respiratory disease that afflict the Yorkie are:

  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
  • Collapsed Trachea

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Older dogs and terrier breeds, in general, can suffer from this progressive disease, where scar tissue replaces healthy lung tissue. The lungs grow stiff and are unable to move oxygen to the bloodstream efficiently. The cause may be from a previous lung issue that didn’t heal properly, although that doesn’t account for why it might be more prevalent in terriers. The disease might probably be genetic.

Yorkshire Terrier diseases

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

This syndrome is the name given to upper airway and soft palate abnormalities. Once diagnosed, if there’s no treatment, it can lead to the airways becoming inflamed. Many short muzzle or brachycephalic dogs suffer from this issue. The Yorkshire Terrier has a short muzzle, so he is a prime candidate for the disease. If your Yorkie has these symptoms, help him cope with them by not allowing him to overeat, not over-exercise him and keep him cool in sweltering weather.

Collapsed Trachea

Smaller breeds tend to succumb to this illness more than larger dog breeds. The disease is the progressive weakening of the tracheal rings causing them to narrow. It might not have fatal consequences, but it makes life uncomfortable for the dog. One reason why vets and animal experts recommend small and toy breeds use a harness and not a typical collar.

2. Cancer

Veterinary experts disagree with the actual percentage of deaths to Yorkies by cancer; however, the figure is still too high. It’s worth noting at least half of all cancers are now curable if diagnosed in time. So many deaths from cancer are preventable, so the owner should undertake regular screening. One suggestion is female Yorkies should be spayed to prevent mammary cancer.

Yorkshire Terrier cancer

3. Trauma

Trauma causes the untimely death of Yorkie puppies more than anything else. Even when full-grown, a Yorkie is a tiny dog, they can be almost invisible as a puppy. If anyone owns a Yorkie puppy, they must take extra care and be vigilant at all times, especially if there are young children in the home. There’s nothing more heartbreaking when an utterly preventable death of a puppy results from carelessness.

4. Congenital Disease

Information from the same report we spoke about earlier suggests that the Yorkshire Terrier is in the top five dog breeds most likely to die from a congenital disease. Generally, Yorkies are not that susceptible to hereditary illness, but the prevalent one is Liver Shunt. This disease literally means the liver cannot function and detox toxic chemicals from the Yorkie’s body.

Extend The Life Expectancy Of Your Yorkie

1. Stay Up To Date With Vaccinations And Vet Visits

All puppies require vaccinating within their first few weeks. But you can prevent early death by continuing with vaccinations as per your vet’s guidelines. Don’t miss the essential jabs, and even if there’s no rabies in your neighborhood, vaccinate against rabies.

Yorkshire Terrier vaccination

Don’t forget the bi-annual or annual vet check-ups, either. They are ultra-important because they allow catching an illness in the early stages.

2. Eliminate The Opportunity Of Trauma

We spoke of this earlier; the number one cause of Yorkie puppy deaths is trauma. It’s incredible how a living, breathing puppy can be trodden on because they were almost invisible. The Yorkie will always be under your feet. He’s like any dog who loves his owner and wants to be close. Except he’s a lot more challenging to spot. So an immense amount of care needs to be taken to prevent the puppy from accidentally dying from trauma.

Suppose you have children teach them precisely how to handle tiny, fragile dogs. They need to learn to show the dog respect and realize they feel pain, and their bones can snap all too easily.

3. Yorkie Dental Care

Any tooth decay in the dog’s mouth can travel further into the body and reach crucial organs. If they suffer from a painful toothache, they cannot tell you what’s wrong, and the pain will stress their entire body because it’s relentless. Teeth that fall out because of decay also pose problems for dogs when eating their food.

Yorkshire Terrier dental care

Extend the life of your Yorkie by brushing his teeth at least 3-4 times each week. Cleaning will not remove the tartar on his teeth already there, but it will prevent more from forming. Pay a visit to your vet and get him to remove the tartar from your Yorkie’s teeth.

4. Feed Your Yorkie A Nutritious Diet

What food you feed your Yorkie will have a direct impact on his health and longevity. Your Yorkie must eat high-quality food. A good source of vitamins and minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates make up the balanced diet your Yorkie must have to stay fit and well.

Yorkshire Terrier diet

Quality dog food will have the labels to prove it. Ensure that at least the first four to five ingredients in the food are human-grade meat – no meat by-products in your Yorkie’s food that can literally mean almost anything.

Try not to feed him your leftover table food. There will be higher levels of ingredients his tiny body cannot take. Treats are another area to monitor carefully, they should not represent more than 10% of his daily calories, and that’s not in addition to his daily allowance. I’m sure you’re aware that obesity in dogs is a massive problem and can lead to all manner of serious illnesses.

5. Yorkie Exercise

Like Humans exercising your Yorkie is an essential part of his everyday routine. Combining a healthy, nutritious diet with the right kind of exercise are the two main cornerstones of his health regime. Even toy breeds like the Yorkie need to get their heart muscles pumping, and it doesn’t just help them physically, but emotionally as well. However small they may be, they are still a dog at heart. They need to let off steam and enjoy the sights and sounds outside their home environment.

Yorkshire Terrier exercise

Don’t forget exercise is something he must have all year round, not just in Spring and Summer. If the winter months where you live regularly have sub-zero temperatures, make sure he has some warm clothing suitable for a walk in that climate. He doesn’t need to be out for a long time, but he will still enjoy himself.


No loving dog owners enjoy having to face the reality that their loving pet is becoming a senior and in the later years of his life. But it will happen. The best you can do is make sure your Yorkie’s lifespan is as long and as happy as you can make it.

How long do Yorkies live is an excellent question, and now you know the answer, you can make subtle changes to his diet, exercise, and care needs as he goes through his life.