The Yorkshire Terrier is a British breed part of the terrier group. It is one of the smallest dog breeds in the terrier group and in the canine world in general. Yorkies weigh no more than 7 pounds. Originating in the 19th century in the English county of Yorkshire, they are energetic and playful puppies.
When it comes to their average lifespan, they live longer than most breeds. That might be because of their small size. Remember, small dog breeds live longer than large dog breeds. But Yorkies are among the healthiest dogs.
How Long Do Yorkies Live?
The average life expectancy of a Yorkshire terrier is between 12 and 15 years. However, they often exceed these numbers, living up to 17 or 18 years. That is, of course, if you provide enough care.
Yorkies are a healthy breed, and their small size contributes to fewer health issues and longer life span.
Their average lifespan of 13 to 16 years is impressive compared to other breeds. When mixed with some healthier breeds, they can live even longer. For example, a Yorkie Chihuahua mix will live even longer.
There are differences in range within the breed. For example, female Yorkshire terrier dogs live longer, and outlive their male counterparts by one to two years.
The one Yorkie that has a short lifespan is the Teacup Yorkie. But that is because Teacup Yorkshire Terrier is not a normal thing. Some breeders try to get an even smaller version, and that breeding results in a short lifespan. With that in mind, a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier lives between 7 and 9 years. The American Kennel Club makes a distinction between different types of Yorkies.
Fun fact, even the standard Yorkie terrier is a toy breed dog.
Almost Perfect Breed
One of the reasons why they live such a long life is their near-perfect health status. These canines have been bred to near perfection over centuries. They are among the healthiest dog breeds.
There are very few health risks and issues that can strike an average Yorkshire terrier. Their health problems are fewer and easy to deal with. More on this later on.
And another thing to mention. Small dog breeds like Yorkies have a more efficient clearance system. They can clear toxins easily, and suffer less DNA deterioration and toxin accumulation.
Factors That Influence Your Dog’s Lifespan
No matter if you have a Yorkshire terrier dog breed or any other breed, there are certain factors that play a role in your dog’s life expectancy. Here are those.
- Gender, with female dogs usually outliving their male Yorkies counterparts by 1 to 2 years
- Size, smaller dogs like Yorkies live longer
- Diet, a poor diet will result in health issues, while a balanced diet will provide your dog with all the nutrients it needs for a long and prosperous life
- Environment, where your dog lives is important. For example, city dogs have a shorter lifespan than those in rural areas
- Genetics, which is why you should get your dog from a reputable breeder, or if you get a rescue, check their health status
- Lifestyle, a less active lifestyle will result in a shorter lifespan
- Medical conditions that are not being treated properly
- Breed specificity, we mentioned that there are Teacup Yorkies, standard, and there is also the show-type. The American Kennel Club recognizes the different sizes. The teacup Yorkie lives a shorter life
Health Risks For A Yorkshire Terrier
Now let’s talk about the specific health issues that might determine how long Yorkies live. A study by the University of Georgia, conducted over two decades, found the most common causes of mortality in dogs.
With that in mind, they divided the causes by age, specifically for puppies and adults. We will not go that route. Instead, we will look at some of the health risks that can happen to most dogs, but also some breed-specific.
- Infection is a leading cause of mortality among puppies, including a variety of diseases like parvovirus. There are many deadly canine diseases, which is why you have to vaccinate your puppy
- Trauma, usually being hit by a car or similar, is another top cause of death. Many owners let their puppies off-leash without having proper manners. And that can be deadly
- Yorkshire terriers are prone to respiratory diseases, like collapsed trachea, which can lead to chronic bronchitis
- Cancer is another common cause of mortality among Yorkshire terrier dogs. The different types of cancer that can affect your Yorkie puppy include lymphoma, mast cell tumors, mammary gland tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, and bone cancer
- Last, but not least, congenital disease, is one of the top 5 leading causes of death in Yorkies one year and older. Among these diseases, the most common ones are liver shunts and heart abnormalities
How To Help Your Yorkie Live A Longer Life?
We mentioned some tips during our segment about health problem issues that Yorkies are prone to. But now let’s take a deeper look. If you want to have a dog that lives a long and prosperous life, you have to be a responsible dog owner. Here are some ideas on how to provide proper care for your small-breed dog.
Keep Up With Vaccinations
If you want to avoid diseases that can affect puppies, you have to keep up with vaccinations. It is important that your Yorkshire Terrier puppy gets the full round of puppy vaccinations, then keep up the regular annual schedule.
Consult with your veterinarian about possible booster shots for puppies at risk, like vaccines for kennel cough and Lyme disease, for example.
Proof Your House And Yard
You have to understand the nature and instincts of a Yorkshire terrier. These dogs were bred to chase vermin on farms. They have a tendency to run around the yard. So, make sure to proof your yard so that your dog cannot get out chasing an animal and be safe from traffic.
Have Your Yorkie On A Leash
The same thing applies outside. Unless you have a dog with impeccable manners and recall game, have your dog on a lead. You can use a longer lead if you like but have your dog secured in urban areas. This will prevent the dangers of a dog attack, escape, injury, or even poisoning.
Do you know many dogs can suffer from diseases originating in their mouth? Keep your puppy’s teeth clean and free of plaque by providing dental chews and toys.
A Healthy Diet
Yorkshire terriers do not eat a lot. But what they eat matters. So, make sure to provide high-quality food that will ensure your dog is getting enough nutrients. You can also add natural foods to your dog’s diet. Yes, canines benefit from wholesome and all-natural foods.
Provide Enough Exercise
As we said before, activity levels contribute to longer or shorter life span. Therefore, it is important that you walk your puppy regularly, but also play some games and provide mental stimulation.
Regular physical exercise improves the quality of life of your Yorkie pup. It also improves digestion, heart health, bowel movement, and more.
Should You Neuter Your Puppy?
There is a debate within the canine world about whether you should spray or neuter your Yorkie pup. The biggest advantage is that with neutering, you eliminate cancer problems, and increase your dog’s life span.
With that in mind, males neutered before the age of 6 months live 20% longer. Females live 25% longer than their unsprayed counterparts.