How Many Puppies Can a Yorkie Have?

Yorkies (Yorkshire Terriers) are famously cute dogs. If you have a Yorkie or two, maybe you’re thinking about getting into breeding. If so, do your research. This isn’t something to undertake lightly. 

One thing you probably want to know is how many puppies your Yorkie is likely to have in a litter. That’s exactly what we’ll talk about here. 

how many puppies can a Yorkie have
How many puppies can a Yorkie have?

How Big Is an Average Yorkie Litter? 

Every Yorkie litter varies. One litter may be smaller while another is bigger. On average, a Yorkie will have between three and four puppies.

The official number is 3.3. 

Generally, Yorkies will have between two and five puppies in a litter. Compared to other breeds, Yorkies don’t have as many puppies per litter. The average litter size for most dog breeds is from five to six. 

There have been some instances where other dog breeds have had twelve puppies in a litter! But that doesn’t happen with the Yorkie. 

It’s even possible for your Yorkie to have just one puppy. We refer to this as a singleton birth event. 

Yorkie puppies cute
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

Tips To Figure Out How Many Puppies Your Yorkie Will Have 

There are certain factors to consider when trying to determine the probable size of your Yorkie’s litter. 

Yorkie Size 

Because Yorkshire Terriers are so small, they will have a smaller number of puppies per litter than other breeds. It’s just common sense when you think about it. A tiny dog doesn’t have as much room inside as a large dog

are Yorkies hypoallergenic
Are Yorkies hypoallergenic? (Allergy and Yorkshire Terrier Guide)

Parent Age 

The ages of the mother (especially the mother) and the father play a part in how big or small the litter will be. Of course, a female Yorkie getting a high-nutrition diet may have a better chance of having a larger and healthier litter than it would otherwise. 

red yorkie and golden yorkie
Differentiating between red, tan, and golden Yorkies is… difficult.

Earlier Pregnancies 

Many dogs tend to fluctuate in their litter sizes. So, if your Yorkie’s most recent litter was small, you might find its latest one is large. Or even more likely, if the previous litter was large, the subsequent one will probably be small.

That is because growing and giving birth to puppies is taxing on your dog’s body.

Yorkiepoo puppy feels tired
Yorkiepoos can have different color patterns.

How Many Puppies Does a First-Time Yorkie Mother Have? 

Most Yorkies will have smaller than average litters their first time around. Generally speaking, it ranges from one to three puppies

You must wait until your Yorkie is fully mature and old enough to deal with being pregnant. If you try to breed a Yorkie too early, it will lead to health problems for both mother and puppies. 

Yorkie breeds recommend that you wait until your Yorkie has gone through two heat cycles before you try to breed her. It should also be younger than five years old. 

Never try to breed a Yorkie younger than two years old. 

newborn Yorkie puppy
A newborn Yorkie puppy with roses background!

How Many Litters Can a Yorkie Have Each Year? 

If your Yorkie is over two years old, is in heat, and is healthy, she may be able to have two litters in a year. However, you shouldn’t do this every year. That would be unethical as it would be too much of a strain on your Yorkie’s body. 

Overall, you shouldn’t expect your Yorkie dams to have more than three or maybe four litters in their entire lives. 

Yorkie being checked up
Yorkie having check up in a vet clinic.

How To Tell if Your Yorkie is Pregnant?

If you’re an animal breeder, you’ll probably already have a good idea that your Yorkie might be pregnant before any signs appear. After all, you’re in charge of managing your dog’s breeding. However, if the pregnancy has happened by accident, you might not be aware your dog is pregnant. 

Here are some signs that your Yorkie might be pregnant. 

Nipple Changes

A pregnant dog will develop what appear to be additional nipples. These nipples aren’t new, though. They just weren’t visible before.

It’s during pregnancy that they become larger and change their color

Changes in Behavior 

Yorkies in behavior are another potential sign of pregnancy. Pregnant Yorkshire Terriers might seem more anxious and eager to spend time with you. On the other hand, sometimes she may want to be alone. 

golden yorkie
A truly Golden Yorkie coat. So beautiful!


Yorkshire Terriers tend to sleep a lot when they’re pregnant. This symptom is because of hormonal changes. You’ll notice that your Yorkie wants to sleep much more often

Yorkshire Terrier lying in bed
Yorkshire Terrier lying in bed under a blanket.

Preference for Soft Beds

You may notice your Yorkie becoming even more fond of soft textures and bedding when she’s pregnant. This is part of wanting to “nest.” Some Yorkies will even seek and find soft items to bring to a nesting area in a quiet area (especially a corner) of a room. 

dog with blanket
Dog in bed with blanket looking at her owner.

Abdomen Is Firmer

Gently stroke your Yorkie’s abdominal area and check its firmness. If you notice that it is firmer, your dog may be pregnant. 

More Frequent Self-Grooming 

This is another common sign of pregnancy in dogs. You may see your Yorkshire Terrier trying to groom herself more. In some cases, this will be extremely frequent and your dog will seem anxious. 

Yorkie playing outside
A happy Yorkie plays in the grass.

Putting on Weight 

Pregnant dogs usually gain weight. It’s usually later on in pregnancy that you see the abdominal area getting noticeably larger. 

light coated Yorkshire Terrier
A light coated Yorkshire Terrier with a blue background.

Appetite Fluctuations 

Changes in how hungry (or not) your Yorkshire Terrier seems may be another indication of pregnancy. Many dams end up having nausea during the early stages, so they might not be enthusiastic about their food. 

Later on in the pregnancy, you might notice that your dog has more appetite but it is pickier about exactly what she eats. 

Of course, you shouldn’t assume that your dog’s appetite changes result from pregnancy. Your dog might not be pregnant but have another health problem. Always consult a veterinarian about any changes in your dog’s behavior and appetite.   

Yorkshire Terrier eating
Yorkshire Terrier was given a reward after training with his owner.

How To Help Your Yorkie Whelp?

Whelping is the process of having puppies. Your Yorkie needs a lot of help and support getting ready for whelping and going through whelping itself. Make sure you have a veterinarian on-call in case there are any problems. 

If you notice anything that worries you, always contact a veterinarian immediately. 

Here are some things you should do to help your dog stay safe and comfortable when she’s whelping. 

You Should Give Her a Whelping Box 

A whelping box can be as simple as a cardboard box (ensure it’s big enough). You must fold down one side so your dog can get in and out. If you prefer, you can even find whelping boxes available to purchase.

Look at your local retail pet supplies store. 

Of course, you’ll need to line the box. You can even use a newspaper if you like. You need to be able to take out the layers of lining whenever you need to, to keep the space hygienic. 

mother Yorkie taking a nap comfortably
A mother Yorkie taking a nap comfortably.

Keep Track of Her Temperature

It’s critical to monitor your Yorkie’s internal temperature. You should do this two times a day. Begin doing this seven days before your dog’s due date.

Taking the temperature can help to determine when the puppies will be born. 

If you ever see your pregnant dog’s temperature go below normal, you can expect the puppies to be born soon. They’ll usually be born within one day from that point. 

a digital thermometer on the floor
What’s the normal dog body temperature?

Comfort Your Yorkie 

For obvious reasons, your dog will probably be pretty distressed. You should stay near her all through the labor. If you have any worries at all, contact a veterinarian. 

why is my Yorkie shaking
Why is my Yorkie shaking? (Common causes and fixes)

Understand There Are Gaps Between Puppies

This often confuses new dog breeders. While you can often expect the puppies to be born quickly, sometimes as many as two hours will pass between each puppy. You should contact a veterinarian immediately if you know there are more puppies and nothing has appeared for two hours. 

Ask Your Veterinarian

Don’t embark on the dog breeding process without close consultation with a veterinarian. They will tell you everything you need to know about dog breeding and how to keep your dog safe through the process. 

Keep the Puppies Safe and Clean 

Make sure the puppies have dry, clean, and hygienic bedding at all times. If you see any puppies that look weak or smaller than the others, you should intervene and ensure they get a good position for feeding. 

If a puppy doesn’t get enough milk, it may end up with the dangerous condition of hypoglycemia

Yorkshire Terriers in a basket
Two Yorkshire Terrier puppies in a basket.

Should You Spay or Neuter Your Yorkie? 

If you’re not interested in breeding your Yorkie, you should consider spaying or neutering them. Spaying refers to removing a female’s reproductive organs, while neutering makes a male unable to reproduce. 

Spaying and neutering can give you happier and healthier pets. Spaying your female Yorkshire Terrier will decrease the risk of specific health problems and make her more content overall. 

Final Thoughts

The only definite way to know how many puppies your Yorkie will have in a litter is by getting her examined by a veterinarian. However, as we’ve seen here, there are certainly methods for getting a general idea of how large a litter is likely to be.