How Long Do Yorkies Live?

Developed in the 1800s, the Yorkshire Terrier (or Yorkie) has become a favorite among dog owners and competition enthusiasts. These tiny dogs have huge personalities and love being the center of attention in a family. 

how long do yorkies live
How long do Yorkies live?

But how long do Yorkies live? As a family dog, you’ll want these lovable pups around for as long as possible. In this article, we’ll break down Yorkie and Teacup Yorkie life expectancy. After that, we’ll give you some tips so your dog can stay healthy and happy for a long time!

Average Yorkie Lifespan

Yorkies, compared to other breeds, live a relatively long life for a dog. On average, Yorkies live for 11 to 15 years. It’s not uncommon to see Yorkies in their late teens, such as 17 or 18 years old. 

Let’s compare that to some other popular breeds. According to a study from researchers in Japan, the average lifespan of these popular dogs are:

As you can see, compared to other small breeds such as the Pug and French Bulldog, the Yorkie has a longer lifespan. The reason why Yorkies tend to live longer than other breeds is because of their relatively good health.

Pugs and other flat-nosed dogs suffer from breathing issues that can impact their health. Large dogs like Great Pyrenees or Bernese Mountain Dogs suffer from hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia isn’t a deadly disease, but it can lead to inactivity, which will impact your dog’s health negatively. 

Yorkies, on the other hand, don’t suffer from many of these conditions. Their main problems stem from their small, delicate digestive system. If Yorkies eat too much food or something out of their regular diet, they could be in serious trouble.

a yorkie puppy
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

What About Teacup Yorkies?

Teacup Yorkies are a smaller version of a Yorkie—but are there any actual differences between a regular Yorkie and a Teacup version? Not really. A Teacup Yorkie is a smaller version of the Yorkie. There’s no genetic difference between the two—one’s just smaller!

On average, a Yorkie is 7-inches tall and around 7 pounds. In contrast, a Teacup Yorkie is about 5-inches tall and weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. Teacup dog breeds tend to live fewer years than their regular-sized counterparts. A Teacup Yorkie has a life expectancy of 12 years. 

Leading Causes of Death for Yorkies

Most Yorkies die from natural causes, including cancer and infections. Other main causes of death include trauma, which can be severe due to the Yorkie’s small size. Let’s break down the leading causes of death for young and fully-grown Yorkies. 

Causes of Death for Yorkie Puppies

Specific diseases and circumstances mean that the first year of a dog’s life can be extremely dangerous. Here are the main causes of death in Yorkie puppies.


Canine parvovirus is a deadly disease that primarily affects puppies because they haven’t taken the appropriate vaccine yet. The disease attacks the digestive system and gets passed along through an infected dog’s excrement. 

The main signs of parvovirus are lethargy, loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in their stool. Death can occur in as little as 48 hours from the onset of symptoms. As long as you get treatment for the virus early, your dog has a high chance of survival. 


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects dogs, but even humans can catch it. You can find the bacteria in water or soil, and it affects regions across the planet. Most dogs catch the infection by drinking infected water.

The main symptoms of leptospirosis are fever, increased thirst, dehydration, jaundice, vomiting, and painful, inflamed-looking eyes. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, take them to the vet so they can treat your dog with antibiotics and other care.

Yorke playing outside
A happy Yorkie plays in the grass


Yorkies are small dogs, which means they’re more susceptible to trauma than other breeds. When they’re a puppy, they are even more susceptible to trauma that can lead to death. 

Sometimes children play too rough with Yorkie puppies. Something as simple as a fall from the second step of your stairs can be incredibly harmful to a Yorkie. Always ensure your Yorkie puppy plays in safe places with adult supervision. The risk of trauma doesn’t go away when a Yorkie reaches adulthood, but the chance of serious injury diminishes significantly. 


The Yorkie’s small body has another disadvantage—they are more likely than large dogs to suffer from hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, or dangerously low levels of blood sugar, occurs most often in puppies under the age of five months because they haven’t developed the means to control their blood sugar yet. If not treated correctly, hypoglycemia can lead to pain, distress, and death.

Causes of Death for Yorkie Adults

Compared to puppies, adult Yorkies don’t suffer from nearly as many trauma or infection-related deaths. Let’s go through the leading causes of death for Yorkie adults.


Cancer is the leading cause of death for most adult dogs. Other than feeding your dog a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and not allowing them near dangerous areas, you can’t do much to avoid your dog developing cancer.

Cancer will occur in almost half of all dogs over the age of 10. Treatment is the same for dogs as it is with humans—surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all used in treating canine cancer. 

Congenital Disease

Although most dogs have a chance of developing congenital diseases, Yorkies have a particular congenital disease that leads to death. Yorkies develop what is known as a “portosystemic shunt.” 

During the fetal phase of development, the liver has a shunt that carries blood quickly to the heart. In some cases, this shunt does not collapse after birth. The shunt then stays open, allowing blood to bypass the liver. 

You can treat dogs with this condition with food and lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, congenital portosystemic shunts have a high mortality rate. Over half of all diagnosed cases have to be put down within 10 months due to developing neurological conditions, such as seizures. 

Respiratory Diseases

Yorkies suffer from serious respiratory conditions when they age. One of the most common for small dogs is a collapsed trachea. Small dogs have a weaker trachea than larger breeds, so things like collars may cause a collapse. Try putting a harness on your Yorkie rather than a collar.

Another respiratory disease common among Yorkies is pulmonary fibrosis. Causing a massive increase in lung scar tissue, pulmonary fibrosis affects terrier breeds in particular. The lungs become thick and hard to move, making breathing increasingly difficult.

Best Food For Yorkies
Choosing the best food for Yorkies? Make the right choice

How to Keep Your Yorkie Happy and Healthy for a Long Life

The key to a healthy Yorkie is keeping up with routine tasks. The first step is ensuring you see a veterinarian regularly. When your Yorkie’s a puppy, you’ll want to take them more often than when they’re an adult. The main reason for this is vaccinations.

Puppies need vaccinations for various conditions, but the essential ones are the parvovirus, distemper, and rabies vaccines. When your dog has these shots, its chances of developing serious conditions are very small.

Visiting your vet for other needs can help increase your dog’s lifespan too. During check-ups, vets will look for any signs of cancer or infection and help you choose the best treatment.

Another way you can extend your dog’s lifespan is by spaying or neutering them. According to studies, both male and female dogs that have been fixed have longer lives than their unfixed counterparts. 

The other two ways to keep your dog healthy should be easy but are often overlooked. Keep your dog healthy by giving them regular exercise. For a Yorkie, that means at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Finally, by feeding your dog a healthy diet, you can increase its lifespan. When you’re looking at the ingredients, search for brands that use real foods and not additives or preservatives. But don’t feed your Yorkie too much. For small dogs, overfeeding can be a real issue. 

Wrapping Up

So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “how long do Yorkies live,” you have your answer! On average, Yorkies live between 11 and 15 years, but many Yorkies survive into their late teens. 

Their long lives paired with their good nature make the Yorkie a perfect family dog. Just make sure your kids don’t play too rough with the pup, and you’ll have a healthy, happy dog that will be around for years!