Our fun-loving Yorkshire Terriers are often our best friends. If you asked any Yorkshire Terrier owner about how old their Yorkie lived to be they will tell you that they wish they could have lived forever.
Thinking about the passing of your Yorkie can be heartbreaking so instead, it feels much better to think about how to help your Yorkshire Terrier live a long full healthy life. But it’s also important to know what to expect as your Yorkie ages as well.
Yorkshire Terriers and Teacup Yorkshire Terriers have an average life expectancy of 12–16 years. Some owners have reported their Yorkies living up to 19 years old. In human years that’s a range of 65-90+. The leading cause of premature death in Yorkshire Terrier is heart problems.
In general the smaller the dog the longer its lifespan. Studies have shown that small breeds tend to have longer lifespans than large breed dogs because large dogs age more quickly.
Yorkies that keep physically and mentally active can live on average 14-17 years.
The aging process for dogs is quite interesting. It was thought in years past that dog’s age 7 human years for every year that they are alive. That has since proven to be false.
For the first year of life, a dog will age 15 human years. The second year, 9 years, then 4 or 5 years for every year after that.
Life Span for Yorkshire Terrier Mixes
You may wonder how this changes for Yorkshire Terrier mixes. Generally, mixes are thought to live slightly longer. This is because they have a more diverse genetic pool to draw from which makes them less likely to get breed-specific diseases and ailments.
Most Yorkshire Terrier Mixes will have a similar lifespan to Standard Yorkshire Terriers which is 12-16 years. It may vary a year or two depending on the size of the dog that the Yorkshire Terrier was bred with, with large dogs having slightly shorter lifespans. The biggest determining factor is genetic health.
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There are not any conclusive studies to show that mixes live longer but vets and vet techs across the country have seen that mix-breed dogs tend to be healthier and more resilient. The exception to this is if you have a purebred Yorkshire Terrier from a very responsible breeder that does extensive genetic testing and only breeds from healthy lines.
In that case, a Fullbred Yorkie has the potential to live to be 19 or 20 years old. Some members of a Yorkie Facebook group have confirmed that their Yorkies did live to be that old.
A good breeder will by trial and error learn what genetic characteristics her dogs have and will stop breeding any that may produce a negative outcome.
A healthy Yorkie can not only be a good companion, but many owners have been able to train their Yorkie to be a service dog.
If you get your Yorkshire Terrier from a puppy mill this will not be the case. Puppy mills are only concerned with pumping out puppies as quickly as possible in order to increase their profit.
Here is a chart of the general lifespan for different Yorkshire Terrier Mixes:
Weight in Lbs
Australian Shepherd Mini & Yorkie (Mini Yorkshire Aussie)
Basset Hound & Yorkie (Basset Yorkie)
Beagle & Yorkie (Borkie)
Bichon & Yorkie Yorkychon
Border Collie & Yorkie (Collie Yorkie)
Boston Terrier & Yorkie (Boston Yorkie)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Yorkie (Yorkie Cav)
Chihuahua & Yorkie (Chorkie)
Cocker Spaniel & Yorkie (Corkie)
Corgi & Yorkie( Corgi Yorkie )
Dachshund & Yorkie (Dorkie)
French Bulldog & Yorkie (Frorkie)
Jack Russell & Yorkie (Jorky)
Maltese & Yorkie (Morkie)
Miniature Schnauzer & Yorkie (Snorkie)
Papillon & Yorkie (Yorkillon)
Pug Yorkie (pugshire)
Pomeranian & Yorkie (YorkiePom)
Poodle & Yorkie (Yorkiepoo)
Shih Tzu Yorkie (Shorkie)
What is the Miniture Yorkshire Terrier Lifespan
The teacup or mini Yorkshire Terrier lifespan is 12-17 years which is similar to regular size standard Yorkies. The biggest determining factor is the genetics and the health of the parents of the mini Yorkie which can be influenced by the experience and planning of the breeder.
Miniature Yorkshire Terriers are a relatively new breed. Mini Yorkies are created by breeding the smallest full-bred Yorkshire Terriers with each other in order to try and get their offspring to be even smaller.
This can be dangerous and often considered unethical as runts tend to be the smallest and weakest of litters and may develop more health problems. It may also cause some breeders to ignore other genetic health issues that may be continuing by breeding small Yorkies because smaller Yorkies are rarer and there is a smaller genetic pool to choose from.
In rare cases, mini Yorkshire Terriers may be the result of a dwarfism gene. This gene limits the skeletal and cartilage growth of the dog making it impossible for them to grow to their normal size. If this is the case the dog will most likely have a lot of health problems and a much shorter lifespan.
Puppy mills and unethical breeders may use this tactic to breed very small Yorkshire Terriers but the dogs will be very unhealthy. Please always try to do your research to make sure you are getting your puppy from an ethical breeder.
An ethical breeder takes good care of their puppies making sure that they are healthy, well socialized, and that they have enough space to learn and grow.
Factors that Can Influence How Long Your Yorkshire Terrier Lives
If you are like me and most owners we want to do all that we can to help our furry friends live the longest healthiest lives possible. There are some things that are in our control and some that are out of our control.
Here is a list of things that may influence the lifespan of your Aussie and what you can do to help them have a long healthy life!
We already discussed how size can play a role in lifespan. Generally, the smaller the dog the longer its life expectancy will be unless there are genetic diseases or issues inherited because of poor breeding.
There’s not much we can do about the size of our pup. So this factor I would mark out of our control to influence.
Breeding and Genetics
Besides size, genetics and breeding may be the other most important factor. This isn’t something you can directly influence, but when you are choosing a Yorkshire Terrier puppy you will have the opportunity to find a breeder that is experienced, ethical, and understands how to breed puppies that are healthy and free of genetic abnormalities and problems.
Nutrition & Proper Weight Management
Nutrition can play a big role in how healthy our dog is and how long they live. The ingredients in our dog’s food can have a significant impact on whether they develop chronic diseases or terminal illnesses like cancer.
Obesity in Yorkshire Terriers is very dangerous. It is often a risk factor for many diseases and ailments. Keeping your dog at a proper weight by feeding them on a schedule as well as avoiding table scraps and other empty calories or junk food will go a long way in helping your Yorkshire Terrier to be healthy.
Exercise can help your dog live longer as it will increase flexibility and endurance, strengthen muscles around the joints, and can help stave off health problems caused by obesity. Exercise also aids bowel function, which is especially important in older dogs.
Proper exercise and mental stimulation for your Yorkshire Terrier can help prevent problems like obsessive licking, and anxiety behaviors.
Yorkshire Terriers are hound dogs breeds and need plenty of exercise and stimulation. You should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise a day.
Making sure your Yorkshire Terrier gets proper healthcare treatment can go a long way in preventing early death. Dogs who have been neglected tend to have an increased mortality rate.
Your adult Yorkshire Terrier should see a vet at least once a year, your Yorkshire Terrier puppy starting when you bring it home once every 3–4 weeks until they’re 16 weeks old, following a basic vaccine schedule.
Vaccinating your Yorkshire Terriers at the proper times will help to prevent diseases like Parvo and Kennel cough that if caught could drastically shorten your dog’s life.
Keep their coat brushed and washed properly. Brushing them at least once a week will help keep the mats away on your Yorkshire Terrier. Keeping them well-groomed gives you an opportunity to keep an eye out for parasites such as fleas and ticks.
By the age of two 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease. As your dog gets older this can progress to lead them down an unhealthy path and could potentially cause a gum infection bad enough to cause organ failure which would decrease their lifespan.
Tips to keep your Yorkshire Terrier’s Teeth Healthy:
- Brush their teeth (ideally daily, but weekly is still better than nothing)
- Dental Chews
- High Quality Dry Kibble
More Tips for Healthy Teeth: Yorkshire Terrier Teeth Complete Guide (Cleaning, Problems, and More)
You can work towards creating a healthy environment for your dog by:
- Keeping toxic chemicals out of reach
- Be aware of toxic foods and plants
- Don’t let them chew on or eat harmful things (If your Yorkshire Terrier eats things it shouldn’t, read this!)
- Consider getting a friend for your Yorkshire Terrier
- Don’t yell at or scold your dog
- Spend time training your dog. You never know when having good recall could save their life!
- Microchip your Yorkshire Terrier
- Provide a comfortable and safe place for your dog to sleep and rest
Keeping them young and Healthy requires a fit and active brain as well. Providing your dog with adequate mental stimulation is important. Especially for Yorkshire Terriers, since they were bred to be rat terriers. They have an instinctual desire to track and hunt. They need to be kept busy with good things to do.
Lots of Love
This one is the coolest! Love and affection from an owner have the potential to counteract other negative effects on their dog.
There was an experiment done in the 1970s to study the effect of diet on heart health.
Over several months, they fed a control group of rabbits a high-fat diet and monitored their blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol.
As expected, many of the rabbits showed a buildup of fatty deposits on the inside of their arteries, but the curious thing was although all of the rabbits had a buildup, one group surprisingly had as much as 60 percent less than the others. It appeared as though they were looking at two different groups of rabbits.
After spending a lot of time trying to figure out why the results were different even though the rabbits had been fed the exact same diet they discovered that one of the research staff members had been in charge of the group that that was significantly healthier.
She had been giving them affection cuddles and lots of pets. She had been giving them love and this made the rabbits healthier despite their diet!
Yorkshire Terrier Health Problems and What They Die From
The most common causes of pre-mature death for Yorkshire Terriers are heart problems, trauma, cancer, infections, and respiratory diseases. Because Yorkshire Terriers are so small they have higher rates of accidents causing death than other breeds.
Causes Of Premature Death in Yorkies.
– Trauma –
Yorkshire Terriers are very smart and curious. This can be great when it comes to training them because they catch on fast, but it can also put them more at risk for getting into trouble and getting hurt or dying at a young age.
When Yorkie owners talk about how old their dogs live to be there are always a handful of comments discussing how tragic accidents get the younger Yorkies into trouble.
Be sure to keep your Yorkie safe by always monitoring them and keeping them in a safe area. Teaching your dog not to door dash (run out the door whenever someone opens it) is also key to keeping them safe.
In the classes I teach to kids I go over a lot of safety tips and tricks to help them keep their dogs safe and healthy. We also talk about the proper ways to handle and hold our dogs in order to keep them safe and secure.
– Heart Problems–
A genetic condition that can affect Yorkies is called Patent Ductus Arteriosis
This is detected in puppies when the vet listens to its heart she will detect a heart murmur. This tells them that a small vessel that carries blood between two parts of the heart didn’t close properly.
This will make the blood travel to parts of the body that it shouldn’t be and puts extra strain on the heart.
How to tell: Heart murmur, coughing, tired during exercise, shortness of breath, weak legs.
What to do: Your vet will likely recommend surgery to close the blood vessel.
Yorkie puppies are very vulnerable to being infected with diseases such as distemper and parvovirus. Even though there are vaccinations for young Yorkies there is still a chance for a puppy to pick up a bad virus and get sick and die.
These viruses generally present with loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures.
– Cancer –
With lymphoma and Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) counting for over half of all cancer deaths.
HSA in Yorkshire Terriers is a highly aggressive malignant tumor of the cells that line blood vessels. It is much more common in large breed dogs but can be seen in smaller dogs as well. The primary site is usually the spleen but can include other sites such as the liver, heart, kidneys, bladder, muscle, and subcutaneous tissues.
The cause of HSA is unknown but breeding dogs which develop HSA are extremely likely to have offspring with HSA.
If a breeder is aware of any offspring or any dog connected to the bloodline of the dogs that they breed that has developed HSA they should stop breeding those dogs immediately.
Other Causes of Cancer in Dogs
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Ultraviolet exposure (Too much sunlight)
- Toxic chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides around your dog
- Internal factors of gene mutations
Other Yorkie Health Problems
– Hip and Elbow Dysplasia –
Another inherited disease, this one causes arthritis in the elbows and hips of our precious pooches. This disease will show up more as your dog matures and ages.
Watch for stiffness in your dog as he gets up and moves or walks. Obesity can cause this disease to be a lot worse and have an earlier onset.
This is another reason why it’s important to get your dog from a good breeder. A responsible breeder will check their dog for genetic conditions to make sure they don’t have them before they breed puppies.
What to do: Talk to your vet about getting medication to help alleviate the pain. They will take an x-ray to check for problems. Sometimes surgery will be recommended if it’s causing your dog severe limitations.
How to Prevent it: Again a good diet that keeps your dog at a healthy weight and appropriate exercise.
– Cataracts –
Cataracts are an opacity in the lens of the eye, and when mature can lead to loss of vision. These usually don’t develop until later in life.
How to tell: If you notice your dog having a difficult time seeing. You may notice your dog bumping into things like furniture, or developing a cloudy appearance to their eyes.
What to do: Your vet may prescribe a medicated eye drop (typically a topical anti-inflammatory or a steroid) to reduce inflammation of the eye. Surgery is usually the most effective way to help restore your dog’s vision.
Pro Tip: If you are not able to get a hold of a vet near you, or you want to avoid an unnecessary ER trip, there are online resources that you can turn to. Here is our best recommendation!
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While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.