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How Long Do Yorkies Live: Life Expectancy of a Yorkshire Terrier

How long do Yorkies live? It’s not necessarily the easiest question to ponder, but all responsible owners need to be aware of the potential life span their pet pup has!

Knowing how long your dog is expected to live helps you to decide if it’s wise to raise a puppy in the first place or better to bring home an older rescue dog. Knowing your Yorkie’s life span and the most common terminal health issues may help you better care for your Yorkshire Terrier.

In this article, we explain how long Yorkshire Terriers live for, known Yorkie health issues and significant causes of death, and how you can extend the life span of your Terrier. Keep reading to find out more!

The average life span of a dog, and, most importantly, Yorkies

An average Yorkshire Terrier life span is around 12- 15 years. A median figure for a Yorkie life span is 13.5 years, then. Yorkies are one of the healthiest dog breeds, and so their average life span is slightly higher than other popular breeds.

So, how long do dogs live? In general, all dog breeds’ average life span is lower than that of a Yorkie, sitting around the 12-year mark. 

How long do small dogs live? On average, smaller dogs live longer than large dogs! Because the Yorkie is a small dog breed, they will generally live longer than their taller and heavier counterparts. 

What’s the oldest age Yorkie can live to be?

Realistically, the average life span isn’t going to be the exact age your young Yorkie grows to be! They could, unfortunately, pass away sooner than 13.5 years, or they could continue living for longer than this.

As small dogs, individual Yorkies have the potential to live as long as 18 years. A smaller Toy Yorkie is more likely to hit this mark than a standard-sized Yorkshire Terrier. 

If you want your Yorkie to reach its full life expectancy, then they not only need some luck on their side but lots of care from their owners and veterinary attention when needed. 

Common terminal health issues for Yorkies

To heighten their chances of reaching the ripe old doggie age of 18 years, owners need to be aware of the most common causes of death in Yorkies. By staying aware of common issues, you can head them off before the issue becomes too severe! 

As always, we recommend regular visits to the vet for the best outcome of any health concern you might encounter. 

While Yorkies do have longer lives than larger breeds, they can still be susceptible to particular medical conditions. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent every accident or illness; you can only minimize the chance of early death through tragedy by becoming an astute and responsible owner. 

The significant causes of death in Yorkshire Terriers are the following:

  • Trauma - a major cause of early, unexpected death. Trauma involves accidents and fatal injuries, most notably car accidents, fighting other dogs, or injuries caused by falling. Because they are smaller, they can’t jump from high places as well. 
  • Infectious Diseases - including the likes of Canine Flu, Parvovirus, or bacterial infections. Vets can treat these diseases, but it can be fatal if severe, left unchecked, or if your dog is simply too old to fight the disease. 
  • Distemper - a severe viral infection that damages the nervous system. This virus can be fatal and is incredibly contagious. 
  • Leptospirosis - a bacterial infection that transmits through dirty water. However, your Yorkie can receive the vaccination against this bacterial infection as a puppy.
  • Cancer - can occur at any age, anywhere in the body, although most likely in older dogs. Certain types of cancer react well to treatment if caught early enough. 
  • Congenital Diseases - genetic or hereditary diseases. Most common in Yorkies is liver shunts. With this dog liver disease, life expectancy varies depending on severity.  

Extend the life span of your Yorkie

Just like with any fur baby, you can improve the life expectancy of a Yorkie by taking great care of your pet pup throughout their life. 

We aren’t just talking about showering them with love and affection (although this helps!), but taking care of their mental and physical health. 

Six major points to consider:

  • Train your dog well
  • Feed them a healthy diet
  • Keep them well exercised
  • Ensure their safety when out in public
  • Watch out for signs of disease and injury
  • Attend an annual check-up with the vet
  • Keep them happy!

Yorkies are small, and they can suffer from mobility issues after a life spent jumping up and down from the furniture. You can help avoid long-term injuries by training your Yorkie to use a bed ramp for dogs around the home. 

Ensure your Yorkie is appropriately vaccinated as a puppy, consider neutering or spaying, and take them for annual health check-ups at the vet, even if there is nothing visibly wrong with them

You can extend a Yorkie’s life span simply through a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Ensure that you’re feeding your dog well, from a puppy, right through into old age, and ensure that they go for a walk at least once a day, whenever possible. 

While it’s impossible to avoid all accidents, you can seriously limit the opportunity for them to occur by keeping your dog well trained (teach them to wait at crossings and not go into the road, for example) and keep them on an appropriate length leash. Doggie proof your garden so they can’t escape, and keep an eye out for any dangerous stray food items they might want to taste test!

And most importantly, always contact your vet if you believe your Yorkie is suffering from an illness or injury. Acting quickly and efficiently to combat degenerative diseases or potentially fatal conditions is key to a long and happy life span. 

Our final say on Yorkie life span

Yorkies can live for as long as 18 years if they are adequately cared for and avoid serious accidents or illnesses. Ultimately, though, no Yorkie can live forever!

Given their potentially long life span, a Yorkie is an excellent choice of dog for young families, as the children will be able to grow up safe in the knowledge that their pet pup is still going to be there for many more years to come. 

With the proper care and attention, annual medical check-ups, and a little luck, then your Yorkie may reach their full life span! If you’re considering raising a Yorkshire Terrier from a pup, then why not bookmark our guide to Yorkie life spans for future reference?

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