How Long Can You Expect a Yorkie to Live?

Pet Health


May 20, 2021

There aren’t many dogs that are as loved as the yorkie is. The yorkie, its official name being the Yorkshire Terrier, is a small dog that has a lot of variety despite being a purebred animal. As such, there’s a lot that you may not expect when you decide to take one into your life.

Yorkies can vary wildly in size, color, weight, and temperament. Some dogs are rather laid back, small, and easy to get along with while others are comparatively large, aggressive, and not always the best to get along with. Everyone’s experience with owning a yorkie can differ wildly because of this.

The one thing that remains consistent is that it will be up to you to make sure that you are able to give your yorkie the best life that you can. This includes having a sense of how long these designer breeds are going to live and what health problems they are more likely to encounter. Knowing what to expect will make it considerably easier for you to give your yorkie a long and comfortable life.

The Average Life Span and Health of the Yorkie

As mentioned earlier, yorkies have a lot of variation from dog to dog, so the averages for this breed may be a little bit more spread out than they would be for other breeds. With that being said, there are a few consistencies that you can expect from your canine companion. For one, if you are wondering how long do yorkies live, the answer is that they have a pretty average life span for a breed its size of 13 to 16 years.

One thing to note about this average is that it is compounded by the fact that yorkies aren’t really the healthiest breed around. There are a number of health conditions that the breed is known for and many of them will either impact the yorkie’s quality of life or shorten its life span. This creates an interesting discrepancy of having a slightly longer life span than other dogs while also not being a robust breed.

What this means for you is that as long as you have the resources to take care of your yorkie and the knowledge of what health signs to look for, and knowing what conditions they are at risk for developing, you will be able to ensure that your yorkie is able to live for the full extent of the average life span.

The Exception of Teacup Yorkies

Another thing to note is that teacup yorkies are a little bit different. While it is still, in theory, a yorkie because of its ancestry, a teacup yorkie is one who is bred to be substantially smaller than the average yorkie, which is already a fairly small dog. Teacup yorkies, because of this, tend to have much shorter life spans than the standard yorkie.

Teacup yorkies have a life span of seven to nine years, noticeably lower than the average of 13 years for a breed that size, and this is due to the number of issues that can develop during pregnancy of these dogs, due to their small size. When looking at the health of a yorkie, the teacup yorkie should be looked at as a separate category as they can develop conditions that other yorkies may not have as much of a problem with.

Yorkies, as a whole, are not a healthy breed of dog. They are at a higher risk than other dogs of the same size for developing conditions that can shorten their quality of life. This is taken to extremes when you look at teacup yorkies, who are even more prone to some of these conditions as well as other problems. This is something you need to take a long, hard look at when you are deciding if you have the financial means to commit to taking care of a teacup yorkie.

What Are the Biggest Problems with Yorkies?

The top two leading causes of death for adult yorkies are respiratory disease and cancer. Respiratory disease was the cause of death for 16% of the cases during the study and the yorkie has the third highest rate of death due to this problem. Cancer was the cause of death for just over 11% of the cases during the study and it was particularly high compared to other breeds of the same size.

What this shows is that yorkies are at least a little bit more susceptible to illnesses and picking up problems than many other dog breeds and even other dog breeds of the same size and weight. This puts yorkies at a fairly unhealthy status, as when you compare them to other dogs of the same size, they still have a high prevalence of conditions that other dogs don’t.

Some of these conditions are ones that can be caught early and treated, such as some of the joint problems that they can develop. Other conditions are chronic or congenital, meaning that they are present in your yorkie’s life for a good portion of it and they may or may not be treatable. These are some of the things you should be aware of when looking at the future health of your yorkie.

What Nonfatal Conditions Can Yorkies Develop?

There are other conditions that yorkies can develop over time that may not directly impact how long the dog can live, but can affect its life in other ways. For instance, it may not be a case of respiratory illness that causes trouble breathing that leads to an early death, but it may be that your dog is more prone to hypoglycemia or skin allergies. These affect the dog’s quality of life and how much you spend on medicine and other treatments.

Yorkies are not exclusive to being prone to hypoglycemia, as it seems to be more prevalent in all toy breeds. Hypoglycemia simply means that your dog’s blood sugar is too low and the treatment for this is to introduce some sugar into the dog’s body so it can get the blood sugar up. Because of how prone they are to this condition, it often requires a long-term dietary change, which may be more expensive than standard food.

Yorkies are also more prone to developing hip problems. These won’t be fatal, but it will mean that it will hurt for your yorkie to walk unless it is corrected through surgical means, which can be expensive and stressful for your dog. Likewise, they are more prone to skin allergies. For some dogs, this may mean that they need more washing and other dogs need to have special care taken if they have a life-threatening severe allergy.