How Long do Yorkies Live? Average Yorkie Lifespan

As pet owners, we want our dogs to live as long as possible. Yorkies, like many other healthy dog breeds, can be one of the most long-living breeds as long as they are properly fed and well cared for.

Unfortunately, nowadays, it is not uncommon for Yorkies to live much shorter than they used to, often due to bad breeding or not being properly looked after.

To specify a couple of ways by which we can extend our dog’s life expectancy, let us first determine how long do Yorkies live and everything there is to know on the subject of Yorkie lifespan.

How Long Do Yorkies Live? Average Yorkie Lifespan

The average Yorkie lifespan ranges from 13 to 16 years of age. That is around 68 to 80 years if calculated into human years.

What You Need To Know About Yorkie Lifespan

Even though Yorkies most usually live 13 to 16 years (with a median of around 14.5 years), some Yorkshire Terriers live up to 18 years, and, in some cases, even 20. Female Yorkies are known to often live slightly longer than male Yorkies.

brown and gray yorkshire terrier

However, it is also important to have in mind that if you are considering getting a Teacup Yorkie, these have a much shorter life expectancy than their miniature counterparts. The Teacup Yorkie life expectancy is only 5 to 7 years (sometimes up to 9, which still isn’t a lot).

Why is the Teacup Yorkie life expectancy so short then? It is because Teacup Yorkies suffer from much more health problems than a standard miniature Yorkie. This in turn leads to more life complications and earlier death.

Factors That Determine The Lifespan Of Your Yorkshire Terrier

Here are some main factors that determine the lifespan of your Yorkshire Terrier. 


A reputable breeder will ensure to test their dogs for common health problems before breeding. This will result in healthy genes that will extend their lifespan and minimize any health complications that Yorkies may be prone to. 

So always choose a reputable breeder before buying a Yorkie.

Nonetheless, many breeders breed solely for appearance, as is the case with Teacup Yorkies. These puppies are often sought by celebrities and even regular people for their cute looks and ability to fit and be carried anywhere.

Teacup Yorkies are the result of breedings runts of Yorkie litters together to achieve the smallest versions of the breed possible. This leads to health problems that cause a Teacup Yorkie lifespan to be very short for a toy dog breed.

Some health problems associated with bad breeding include heart conditions, weakened immune system, and respiratory diseases.


A dog’s diet will also affect his health and life expectancy. Yorkies that are not fed nutritious, balanced food may end up with many health issues such as obesity.

Unfortunately, many dog owners aren’t too keen on checking and researching the ingredients on the back of their pet’s food prior to purchase. Many dog foods nowadays are of poor quality and contain ingredients that are of little nutritional value and can be very unhealthy for your dog.

In terms of treats, you should avoid giving too many unhealthy treats to your pet because it can cause serious health problems. You can only give them healthy treats occasionally, or even better, try to provide them fruits and vegetables as an alternative to dog treats.


Yorkies that are not given enough exercise will have a shorter lifespan. Yorkie breeders recommend at least 30 minutes of daily exercising for your Yorkshire Terrier to keep it in shape.

This can include long walks or jogs in the park, swimming, playing with other dogs, and doing tricks such as fetching balls.

Adequate Healthcare

It is always a good idea to keep up to date and be regular with our Yorkie’s vet check-ups. Yorkies that undergo regular veterinarian checkups and are given proper medical care will live longer. 

A vet can diagnose an illness or disease long before it becomes severe, and this could potentially extend your dog’s life by many years. One disease that should be treated early on is cancer (a leading death cause in Yorkies).

Yorkies should also be updated on their vaccinations regularly to prevent other health issues from arising.

What Health Problems Do Yorkies Have?

Yorkies are susceptible to several diseases that can significantly shorten their lifespan.

brown yorkie lying on bed

Respiratory Diseases

Yorkies are more likely to contract respiratory problems than other dog breeds. They have long hair that covers their nostrils, which makes it hard for them to breathe properly. 

Respiratory diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, collapsed trachea (which could then lead to chronic bronchitis), as well as brachycephalic airway syndrome are common in Yorkies.


Cancer is one of the biggest health problems that Yorkies face. As with humans, cancer in dogs can be treated and managed successfully through chemotherapy or radiation therapy if diagnosed early enough.

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to various types of cancers such as cell or mammary gland tumors, as well as lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas, and bone cancer.

As a preventive measure that significantly reduces the risk of cancer, many breeders suggest spaying/neutering your Yorkie.

Liver Shunts

One of the most common inherited (or congenital) diseases a Yorkie is prone to is a liver shunt. A liver shunt results when intestinal venous blood passes by the liver and can cause waste products to build up in the blood instead of being eliminated. This leads to toxicity which affects vital organs.


Trauma is also a common cause of death in Yorkies. Falls, getting hit by moving objects, and being involved in car accidents are just some examples of how trauma can affect your Yorkie’s life expectancy.

What Do Yorkies Usually Die From? Yorkies Leading Causes Of Death

Some of the leading causes of Yorkie death include:

  • Cancer – just as with a vast majority of other dogs, Yorkies too can succumb to cancer
  • Trauma due to being stepped on, attacked, or injured because of their small size
  • Congenital diseases (such as liver shunts)
  • Respiratory diseases (such as pulmonary fibrosis, collapsed trachea)
  • Viral infections (such as parvovirus)
  • Heart diseases

How Do I Know If My Yorkie Is Dying?

Death is always the hardest part of owning a pet and it will results in great grief for both you and your family. However, it is also important that we determine early on if our pet is dying, so we can provide our Yorkie with the best care and comfort during the last few weeks or days of his life. You can note if your Yorkie is dying if he:

  • Begins to lose mobility and has trouble standing up or walking.
  • Has little to no energy. He may also sleep for the majority of the day due to chronic fatigue.
  • Loses his appetite in the majority or in full. Perhaps he will only eat his food if it is made in a specific way, such as warmed up.
  • Little to no interest in what is going on around him.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Appears confused or dazed because of his loss of coordination.
  • May have difficulty breathing.
  • Trembling or twitching.
  • Loss of hearing or eyesight.
  • Gums turn very pale.
  • Either easily becomes irritated and wants to be left alone, or becomes very clingy and seeks comfort.

How To Extend Your Yorkie’s Life Span And Keep It Healthy – 5 Tips

tan yorkshire terrier

Choose A Good Quality Pet Food

Keeping your Yorkshire Terrier healthy and well-fed is the best way to ensure that it lives a long and fulfilling life. Watch out for ingredients such as added sugars, artificial colors or flavorings when choosing the right food for your dog!

Dog food should be based primarily on meat and vegetables and not sketchy contents that can be bad for your dog. Any unhealthy meal can lead to obesity or hypoglycemia.

Also, as a good rule of thumb, you should choose premium dog food from a reputable brand with at least 30% protein.

Include Supplements In Your Yorkie’s Diet

You should ensure that your Yorkie gets the nutrients and vitamins he needs by adding vital dog supplements to his diet. These can include omega fatty acids like fish oil, probiotics, and glucosamine to help with joint health and support its immune system.

Regular Vet Check-ups And Vaccinations

Always visit the vet regularly to ensure your Yorkie is healthy and has no underlying health issues.

Also, your Yorkie should be vaccinated against the common dog diseases. These include distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies among others.

Consider Spaying/Neutering Your Yorkie

Spaying and neutering your Yorkie is known to improve its health.

Sterilization is proven to significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer or suffering from several other infectious diseases later on in your pet’s life.

Daily Exercise

Daily walks with a leash, jogs or playing with other dogs will help to keep your Yorkshire Terrier healthy and happy. 

At least 30 to 40 minutes exercise every day for a Yorkie will help burn extra fat and ensure he is fit and in optimum health. It can also provide entertainment and mental stimulation.

Just make sure that the place where you go for a walk is not crowded so as not to cause any trauma to your Yorkie.

Don’t Leave Your Yorkie Out In The Cold

You should never leave your Yorkie outside when it’s cold or raining. This could increase the risk of frostbite and arthritis.

Also, give your Yorkie a blanket or provide a dog bed if your house doesn’t have a fitted carpet or rug for him to sleep on. Always ensure your Yorkie is warm with a safe and comfortable bedding.


So, how long do Yorkies live? In today’s article we’ve discussed the Yorkie life expectancy which is from 13 to 16 years.

Unfortunately, these dogs can suffer from a few health problems which can be the leading causes of death.

However, with proper care, they can live to be as old as 18 or sometimes even more than that. Such a long Yorkie lifespan will require from us to follow certain steps such as choosing good pet food, bringing to the vet, providing adequate healthcare, plenty of physical activity, and ensuring that our Yorkie is kept warm and comfortable.

So how are you determined to help extend your Yorkie’s lifespan? Tell us your experience with these magnificent dog breeds.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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