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How Long Do Yorkies Live? The Ultimate Guide to Yorkshire Terrier Lifespan (2024)

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how long do yorkies liveWith a median lifespan of 14.5 years, Yorkshire Terriers are relatively long-lived toy breeds.

Proper care plays a vital role in extending their lives. Provide high-quality, wholesome nutrition, routine grooming, exercise, and socialization.

Be vigilant for common issues like dental disease, infections, obesity, and parasites.

Though generally healthy, Yorkies are predisposed to certain conditions like Cushing’s disease, eye problems, liver issues, heart diseases, and bone/joint disorders.

Spaying or neutering offers health benefits.

By understanding their needs and potential risks, you’ll learn to maximize your Yorkie’s longevity and quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  • Yorkshire Terriers have a median lifespan of 14.5 years, making them relatively long-lived toy breeds.
  • The leading causes of death for Yorkies include cancer, cardiac disease, respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, and neurological disorders.
  • Proper care, such as a healthy diet, routine grooming, exercise, and socialization, plays a vital role in extending a Yorkie’s life.
  • Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to certain health conditions like Cushing’s disease, eye problems, liver issues, heart diseases, and bone/joint disorders, which require vigilant monitoring and management.

How Long Do Yorkies Live?

On average, Yorkshire Terriers live 12 to 15 years. Their lifespan can be influenced by factors like diet, exercise, and genetics, with some Yorkies living as long as 18 years.

Yorkshire Terrier Life Expectancy

Yorkshire Terrier Life Expectancy
According to veterinary sources, Yorkshire Terriers typically live between 13 and 16 years, with a median life expectancy of around 14.5 years. The leading causes of death for Yorkies include cancer, cardiac disease, respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, and neurological disorders.

Longevity and Life Expectancy

Yorkshire Terriers have an impressive life expectancy.

Females live 1.5 years longer than males on average.

At 13-16 years (median 14.5), Yorkies outlive the typical canine by nearly 2 years.

Their longevity is comparable to other toy breeds like Pomeranians and Papillons.

Though slightly exceeding Maltese, Poodles, Pugs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Proper care and environment can greatly impact a Yorkie’s lifespan and quality of life.

Leading Causes of Death

As a Yorkshire Terrier owner, it’s important to be aware of the leading causes of death in this breed. The top culprits are cancer (23%), cardiac disease (14%), respiratory disease (10%), gastrointestinal disease (9%), and neurological disease (7%). Staying vigilant about your Yorkie’s health can help extend their lifespan.

Healthy Diet for Yorkshire Terriers

Healthy Diet for Yorkshire Terriers
To keep your Yorkie healthy and happy, it’s essential to provide a custom-designed diet that meets their small size and high energy demands.

Steer clear of artificial ingredients, fillers, and poor-quality meats that could cause allergies or skin sensitivities.

Instead, choose all-natural, wholesome foods like Wellness Core for Small Dogs.

Filtered or bottled spring water is recommended, as tap water may contain toxins.

Homemade meals can also be a great choice, but be aware of possible food allergies.

Proper nutrition is paramount for managing your Yorkie’s weight and supporting their overall health.

Routine Care and Exercise

Routine Care and Exercise
To keep your Yorkie happy and healthy, establish a consistent routine.

This should include daily grooming, mental stimulation, and exercise.

Brush their silky coat regularly to prevent matting and tangles.

Provide plenty of playtime and interactive toys to satisfy their lively spirit.

Socialize your Yorkie from a young age to build confidence and prevent behavioral issues.

Crate train them for safety.

Dental care is essential – brush their teeth 3 times a week to prevent painful infections.

A balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups will also support your Yorkie’s longevity.

Genetic Predispositions

Genetic Predispositions
Yorkshire Terriers are genetically predisposed to several health conditions.

This includes Cushing’s disease (overproduction of steroid hormones), eye problems like cataracts and dry eye, liver issues such as portosystemic shunts, heart diseases like patent ductus arteriosus and heart failure, as well as bone and joint problems like patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and intervertebral disc disease.

Being aware of these genetic predispositions allows you to take proactive measures for your Yorkie’s well-being through regular veterinary checkups and appropriate care.

Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s)

Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is a genetic predisposition in Yorkshire Terriers. This condition causes the overproduction of the steroid hormone cortisol, leading to symptoms like increased thirst, appetite, and abdominal swelling. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are imperative to manage this condition and prevent complications like:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Low blood sugar
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Liver problems

Eye Problems

As a Yorkshire Terrier owner, you’ll want to be vigilant for common eye ailments like tear stains, corneal ulcers, and eyelid infections. These issues can stem from allergies, retained baby teeth, or even glaucoma. Timely veterinary attention is paramount to prevent vision impairment and maintain the health and radiance of your Yorkie’s eyes.

  1. Monitor for excessive eye discharge or tearing.
  2. Observe for redness, swelling, or irritation around the eyes.
  3. Be watchful for signs of eye discomfort, such as squinting or pawing at the face.
  4. Schedule regular eye exams to identify any issues promptly.

Liver Problems

Yorkies can also be prone to liver problems, like a portosystemic shunt. This genetic condition affects the liver’s ability to filter toxins from the bloodstream. Signs include stunted growth, seizures, and neurological issues. Diagnosing a shunt often requires imaging tests like an ultrasound or liver biopsy. Treatment may involve dietary changes, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.

Heart Disease

As feisty and tenacious as Yorkshire Terriers are, their small size can make them vulnerable to certain heart conditions. Patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect, and congestive heart failure are two common issues Yorkies face. Regular veterinary checkups are paramount to catch these problems early and keep your affectionate companion dog healthy.

  1. Yorkies are prone to heart murmurs, which can indicate an underlying cardiac issue.
  2. Congestive heart failure is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention.
  3. Proper diet, exercise, and veterinary care are essential for maintaining your Yorkie’s cardiac health as a beloved travel companion.

Bone and Joint Problems

In addition to heart disease, Yorkshire Terriers are also prone to several bone and joint problems. These include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and intervertebral disc disease. As a toy breed, Yorkies are especially vulnerable to joint pain and limited mobility due to their small size and rapid bone growth. To minimize the chance of trauma, it’s vital to:

  • Provide a soft, cushioned environment
  • Limit high-impact activities
  • Monitor for signs of discomfort
  • Consult your veterinarian for preventative care
  • Consider supplements to support joint health

Common Health Issues

Common Health Issues
Yorkies are susceptible to several common health issues that owners should be aware of. Dental disease, infections, obesity, parasites, and the importance of spaying or neutering are key concerns that require proper care and management.

Dental Disease

As a Yorkshire Terrier owner, you know your pup’s luxurious coat requires high maintenance. But did you know dental care is just as vital? Yorkies are susceptible to dental disease, with 80% affected by age two. Brush those pearly whites 3 times a week to prevent tartar buildup, bad breath, and periodontal issues. Your Yorkie’s health and longevity hinge on it!


As a Yorkshire Terrier owner, you’ll want to stay vigilant against bacterial and viral infections. Regular dental care is essential, as poor oral hygiene can lead to serious infections. Vaccinations, proper grooming, and prompt veterinary attention can help prevent issues like kennel cough, parvovirus, and other contagious diseases. Stay proactive to keep your Yorkie happy and healthy!

  • Maintain a consistent dental care routine
  • Keep up with recommended vaccinations
  • Practice good hygiene and grooming
  • Monitor for signs of illness or infection
  • Seek prompt veterinary care when needed


Obesity can be a serious issue for Yorkshire Terriers, as their small size makes them prone to weight gain. To prevent obesity, make sure your Yorkie gets plenty of exercise, feeds on a high-quality diet, and enjoys healthy treats in moderation. Watch for signs of food allergies, and consult your vet about the best weight management plan.


As a Yorkshire Terrier owner, you’ll want to be vigilant about parasites. These pesky critters can cause real discomfort for your pup. Look out for symptoms like itching, diarrhea, or weight loss. To prevent parasites, use monthly preventatives, avoid contact with wildlife, and practice good hygiene. If you spot any issues, work with your vet on effective treatment.

Spaying or Neutering

Spaying or neutering your Yorkshire Terrier is highly recommended to reduce their risk of certain cancers and extend their lifespan. These procedures offer numerous health benefits, including:

  • Preventing unwanted litters
  • Reducing the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer in females
  • Eliminating the risk of testicular cancer in males
  • Curbing territorial and aggressive behaviors

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best time for these vital procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do Yorkies compare to other toy breeds in lifespan?

Imagine a lively, tiny pup full of zest. Yorkshire Terriers boast an impressive life expectancy among toy breeds, averaging 13-16 vibrant years, similar to the spunky Pomeranian.

What are the leading causes of death in Yorkies?

The main causes of death for Yorkies are cancer (23%), heart issues (14%), respiratory problems (10%), gastrointestinal diseases (9%), and neurological disorders (7%). Staying vigilant with vet care and preventive measures can help extend their lifespan.

How can I extend my Yorkies life expectancy?

To extend your Yorkie’s lifespan, provide regular exercise, a high-quality diet, dental care, and preventive veterinary care. Spaying/neutering, vaccination, and avoiding hazards also boost longevity. With proper care, your devoted companion can thrive into their teen years.

What are the best foods to feed a Yorkie?

As the adage goes, You’re what you eat – feed your Yorkie a high-quality, balanced diet. Look for premium dog foods with real meat as the first ingredient, no fillers or by-products. A mix of wet and dry food provides variety while meeting their nutritional needs.

How much exercise do Yorkies need to stay healthy?

Yorkies need around 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. A brisk walk, playtime indoors or at the dog park will keep them happy and healthy.


Ultimately, by prioritizing wholesome nutrition, regular exercise, grooming, and preventative care, you’ll maximize how long do yorkies live. Address risks like dental disease, obesity, and inherited conditions proactively. With vigilance and commitment to their wellbeing, Yorkshire Terriers can thrive for over a decade—cherished companions blessed with robust longevity under your devoted stewardship.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.