How Long Do Yorkies Live? (Solved + 9 Life Extension Tips!)

What’s the average lifespan of a Yorkie? What are some things you can do to help your Yorkie live a longer life? These are just some of the questions people often have about Yorkies. In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more! So if you’re curious about how long your Yorkie can expect to live, keep reading.

So how long do Yorkies Live? You can expect your Yorkshire Terrier, or the Yorkie, to live between 13 and 16 years. The median life expectancy is 13.5 years. Male Yorkies tend to die a bit younger than females. The national average canine’s longevity in the United States is 12.6 years. That makes the Yorkie have a life expectancy greater than the national average.

There are a few reasons why the Yorkies (aka Yorkshire Terriers) live longer than other breeds. The first is that it’s a toy size. This size of pup lives longer than most medium and large breeds.

yorkshire yorkie terrier sitting on kitchen floor. How Long Do Yorkies Live?

One of the reasons why toy breeds live longer than larger breeds may have to do with the rate of development. According to some studies, it was indicated that because larger dogs grow faster, they’re also more at risk of developing genetic errors. Those errors may eventually lead to cancer or other life-threatening conditions.

Research still needs to be done, however, on determining why certain growth genes accelerate in the first place.

Another reason Yorkies tend to outlive larger breeds is because of their genetic background. When purebreds are created, there are often a lot of diseases and genetic problems that are passed into the gene pool. This is because breeders are attempting to achieve a certain look with the dog. They’re not breeding for its health.

The Yorkie is lucky in that it doesn’t inherently have any genetic problems or diseases that can be passed on to its offspring. The biggest threat to their livelihood is infections.

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How Long Do Yorkies Live in Human Years?

On average Yorkies live for 14.4 years, so they are the same as a 75-year-old in human years.

Leading Causes of Death in Yorkie Puppies

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One of the most common fatal diseases that affect this breed is distemper, which strikes underdeveloped and weakened immune systems. Unfortunately, there is no cure for distemper and treatment is expensive. Prevention strategies like vaccinations enforced quarantine of sick animals, and properly socializing pups are some of the best ways to keep your Yorkie healthy so that distemper does not impact your pet’s life.


Parvovirus affects puppies when their immunity is still developing and their small size can make them even more susceptible. It spreads rapidly through contact with other animals or contaminated objects, making strict sanitary practices crucial for preventing its spread. Symptoms of parvovirus in Yorkie puppies include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, dehydration, and lack of appetite. Without swift medical intervention and aggressive supportive care, death from this virus can occur within a matter of days. Fortunately, vaccinations for parvovirus are available and recommended as the best way to protect Yorkies from this potentially fatal illness.


Yorkie puppies are also susceptible to a bacterial infection known as Leptospirosis. Commonly spread through contact with infected rats, raccoons, and rodents, this deadly disease targets the liver and kidneys of affected pups. In addition to transmitting the bacteria through urine, this infection can be passed through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated water sources like kennels, ponds, and lakes. Early diagnosis is essential for the successful treatment of this potentially fatal condition in Yorkies; if left untreated, it can lead to severe organ damage, jaundice, and other serious medical issues that often result in death. Consequently, Yorkie owners need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Leptospirosis so they may take action at the first sign of infection.

Congenital Disease

Lastly, congenital diseases can be another cause of death in Yorkie puppies. Congenital diseases refer to any malady that is present at birth or develops shortly thereafter.

Some of these conditions may include heart defects, kidney diseases, neurological disorders, and metabolic diseases.

To reduce the risk of passing on these ailments, Yorkie owners should invest in a good breeding program with strict health checks and genetic testing for potential mothers and fathers of the litter.

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Unfortunately, even with a careful selection of parents, some congenital diseases may still affect puppies. To ensure that your pup has the best chance at a full life, it is important to monitor their health closely, have them checked regularly by a vet, and address any signs of illness as soon as possible.

Overall, Yorkie puppies are prone to certain fatal diseases that can reduce their life expectancy significantly if left untreated. By being aware of the symptoms and causes of these conditions, owners can help protect their pup from untimely death and enjoy many years of companionship with their Yorkie.

Leading Causes of Death in Adult and Older Yorkies

sick yorkie terrier

Obesity (the Easiest Cause to Prevent)

Obese Yorkies are not only at greater risk for a variety of medical issues but are also at a greater risk of dying early. Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in adults and older Yorkies and it is one of the easiest causes to prevent.

To avoid this deadly side effect, proper diet and exercise need to be maintained. Exercise should include daily walks or visits to a dog park where your pup can run around; however, all activities must be suitable for the particular Yorkie’s age and size.

Feeding amounts should also be moderate according to local veterinarian advice. If obesity goes unchecked, numerous health problems will result such as cardiovascular diseases and joint conditions like arthritis.

To ensure that an adult or older Yorkie has an enjoyable life with their family, take necessary precautions like proper nutrition and exercise to prevent obesity and its potentially fatal consequences.


One of the leading causes of death in adults and older Yorkies is infection. These infections can arise from numerous sources, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Many infections are zoonotic, meaning they have the potential to spread between animals and humans.

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To prevent these infections, it is important for pet owners to practice good hygiene when handling their pets by washing their hands, disposing of poop properly, keeping updated on vaccine regimes, and regularly cleaning or replacing bedding or other non-toy items that can harbor bacteria.

Proper attention to veterinarian appointments and blood tests can also help identify any underlying issues before they turn into full-blown infection.


Trauma is another leading cause of death in adults and older Yorkies. Examples of trauma include falling from a high place, being hit by a car, or getting into a fight with another animal.

To reduce the risk of trauma-related death in Yorkies, pet owners should always keep an eye on their pets when outside to ensure they are not engaging in any potentially dangerous behavior.

In addition, owners should be aware of their pup’s limitations and make sure they are not overexerting themselves beyond what is safe for the breed.

Finally, it is important to keep Yorkies away from unknown animals and potential hazards like busy roads or areas with large amounts of traffic.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases are another common cause of death in adults and older Yorkies. These diseases can be caused by several factors, including viruses, bacteria, allergens, and other environmental irritants.

Certain respiratory ailments may also be exacerbated by genetic disorders or even excessive barking. To reduce the risk of respiratory disease-related fatalities, pet owners should keep their pet’s environment as clean and clear of allergens or irritants as possible.

In addition, owners should be aware of the signs and symptoms of respiratory diseases, such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. If these signs are noted, then an immediate visit to a veterinarian is advised.

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Finally, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of infection as this can quickly escalate into more serious respiratory issues if not addressed promptly.


Cancer is a leading cause of death in adults and older Yorkies. Cancer can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, environmental conditions, or even lifestyle choices.

Luckily for Yorkie owners, small dogs tend to get cancer less than large dogs (source).

To reduce the risk of cancer-related mortality, regular visits for preventive care with your veterinarian is important. Additionally, pet owners should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, such as bumps or lumps under the skin or loss of appetite.

Proper nutrition is also key in helping to reduce the risk of cancer, as this can help support a strong immune system which can help to ward off any potential malignancies.

How Does Neutering or Spaying a Yorkie Affect How Long They Live?

Neutering or spaying a Yorkie can have a positive effect on how long they live. This is because these procedures can reduce the risk of certain cancers, like testicular and ovarian cancer, that are common in unaltered dogs (source). Additionally, neutered and spayed pets tend to live longer as they lessen the risk of certain types of diseases and infections, such as prostate cancer and uterine infections. Ultimately, neutering or spaying a Yorkie can help to extend its lifespan by reducing the risk of any potentially fatal illnesses.

Can A Yorkie Live 20 Years?

It is always possible that a Yorkie may live as long as 20 years. It’s not likely, but it is possible. Helping your dog live a healthy lifestyle and taking the necessary precautions can help extend the lifespan of your Yorkie.

old yorkie terrier

9 Ways To Make Your Yorkie Live Longer

Here are a few ways you can help your Yorkie live as long as possible.

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1. Give Them Vaccinations

There are a few vaccines that your dog should always receive. These vaccines can ensure your dog doesn’t receive a life-threatening disease that can end its life prematurely.

2. Prevent Trauma-Related Injuries

Because of its small size, the Yorkie isn’t always easy to see. You can prevent trauma-related injuries and death by taking a few precautions. One of them should be to tell anyone who enters your home that there’s a small dog in the area. They need to tread carefully.

It may also be worth it to place bells or lights on your dog’s collar. This will make everyone immediately aware of where the dog is located.

Finally, you should organize your home to ensure heavy objects are unable to fall and hurt your dog should they play around with it.

3. Keep Their Teeth Clean

Oral care is more important for your dog than you may realize. When a tooth becomes infected and starts to decay, that infection can spread elsewhere through the Yorkie. It can quickly become sick and may even die.

Brushing your dog’s teeth or giving them certain dental chewies can help fight plaque and keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

grey yorkie licking clean teetch

4. Neuter Your Dogs

While there is some conflicting evidence, several studies suggest that neutering your dog can also increase its lifespan. You also won’t have to worry about unexpected puppies.

5. Keep Them on a Healthy Diet

Just like a human, Yorkies require a specific diet to maintain their health. To avoid cancer, you should always check that the food doesn’t contain preservatives that are carcinogens.

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Giving them the correct amount of food also helps prevent obesity which can also lead to diabetes and early death. Several studies have shown that keeping your Yorkie at its target weight or less will help them live longer (source).

6. Maintain Regular Exercise

Dogs require plenty of fresh air and exercise. Although toy breeds may require less exercise than larger breeds, you should still ensure that your Yorkie can run around and play. They should receive at least 20 minutes per day of exercise.

7. Keep Up With Vet Visits

Regular doctor visits can make you aware of certain preventative measures you can take to maintain your health. The same goes for your Yorkie. Visiting the vet can help you steer down the right path to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.

8. Be Aware of Your Dog’s Age

Dogs may not be too aware of their age, but you need to be. Older dogs may not be able to perform the same kind of activities that they did when they were younger. Scaling back certain activities as they grow older can prevent them from injuring themselves.

9. Offer Stimulating Games

The body isn’t the only thing that needs exercise. You should introduce puzzles and other mind games to your Yorkie. By keeping their mind sharp, you may be able to keep them living longer.

How Do I Know If My Yorkie Is Dying?

There are a few signs that your Yorkie is dying. The first is that their breathing may become more labored. You may notice that they breathe oddly or that it takes considerable effort to breathe.

Another sign is a total lack of energy or attention. They may no longer have an interest in chasing after their toys or playing. They may not even show any interest in food or water.

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Finally, they may be unable to stop their bladder or bowel movements. They’re unable to control when they need to use the bathroom.

6 Steps to Comfort a Dying Yorkie

It can be pretty heartbreaking when a beloved pet is nearing the end of its life. To help your Yorkie transition to the afterlife as peacefully and comfortably as possible, here are 6 steps you can take:

  1. Provide emotional support – Spend time with your pet and let them know that you are there to comfort them on their journey.
  2. Keep them comfortable – Make sure the temperature of their environment is comfortable and provide a comfortable bed for them to lie in.
  3. Offer supportive food – Provide your Yorkie with softer, easily digestible foods like plain cooked chicken and rice or canned dog food that is easy on their stomach.
  4. Allow them to rest – Don’t overstimulate them with activities or exercise and instead provide a quiet, peaceful environment.
  5. Talk to your vet – Let your vet know when you notice any changes in their behavior or health so that they can help determine the best course of action for your pet.
  6. Allow yourself to grieve – Remember to take care of yourself during this time and allow yourself the space to cope with your pet’s passing.

By following these steps, you can help make your Yorkie’s last days more comfortable and peaceful for both of you. With love and patience, you will be able to support them through their transition into the afterlife.

When, if Ever, Should You Euthanize Your Dog?

Euthanizing your dog is never an easy decision to make, but there are certain circumstances when you should consider it. You should contact your veterinarian if your pet is suffering from a terminal illness and their quality of life has diminished significantly, or if they have experienced a severe injury that causes them unmanageable pain. Additionally, if the cost of medical care is not feasible, then it may be best to euthanize your dog rather than leave them in pain.

Ultimately, the decision should be made in consultation with a veterinarian, and your family, and only when you are sure that this is the right choice for your pet.