What Do Yorkies Usually Die From? (Statistics)

Diminutive, playful, and oh-so-adorable, Yorkshire Terriers are teeny dogs with big personalities. Their flowy, steel, and golden coat and perky ears make them a favorite in many US households, especially those with space constraints like apartment-dwellers. 

Yorkshire Terriers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world, and it’s easy to see why. These small, affectionate dogs are perfect for people who want all the joys of owning a dog without having to deal with too much hair or needing too much maintenance. 

what do Yorkies usually die from
What do Yorkies usually die from? (Statistics)

Interestingly, Yorkshire Terriers were not originally bred in Yorkshire at all. In fact, they were first developed in Scotland in the 19th century and were used for hunting rats and other vermin. It wasn’t until the 1870s that they were brought to England and called “Yorkshire Terriers.”

Since then, Yorkshire Terriers have become one of the most popular breeds of dogs in both the UK and the US. They are known for their loyalty and their hypoallergenic coats and are often considered to be the perfect lapdog. 

However, like any dog, the one major flaw that they have is that they live way too short

The Average Lifespan Of Yorkies

As a general rule, the littler the dog, the longer the lifespan, and Yorkies are no different. Yorkies have a relatively long lifespan of 13 to 16 years, and many have been known to live past 20. The oldest Yorkie on record is a female named Bonny, who was reported to live an astonishing 28 years! 

This is in stark contrast to the bigger breeds like German Shepherds who live 10 to 13 years and Great Danes who live 8 to 10. 

What Do Yorkies Commonly Die From? 

Like all young animals, Yorkie pups are more likely to die of sickness in their first year than they are in the next four. While adult Yorkies have fully developed immune systems, they too can fall prey to disease and illness

Yorkshire puppy sleeps
Yorkshire puppy is sleeping.

Dangers for Yorkie Puppies 

Many infectious diseases can plague dogs of all ages, but weaned puppies are especially vulnerable, as they no longer get antibodies from their mother’s milk but have yet to fully develop an immune system to stave off infections, which is why vaccination schedules have to be kept up-to-date with pinpoint accuracy. 

Yorkie puppies cute
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

Some of the diseases that can plague Yorkies include: 


  • The spirochete bacterium that causes leptospirosis is common in the environment, especially in wet locations with standing water or mud. It is typically spread by wildlife such as rats, raccoons, and even domestic animals.
  • Dogs can become sick by drinking polluted water or coming into touch with the urine of diseased animals. When exposed to this bacterium, unvaccinated dogs can become seriously ill, and the condition is most severe in unvaccinated puppies under 6 months old.
  • Puppies do not receive regular leptospirosis vaccinations. If your Yorkie is frequently exposed to areas of water where wildlife lives, you should discuss this immunization with your veterinarian.


  • Parvovirus is one of the deadly infections that pups are prone to between the ages 6 weeks and 6 months. Parvo is mainly spread by direct contact with an infected dog or through contaminated animal feces. 
  • While 68% to 92% of pups survive with medical help, the symptoms are unpleasant: severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, discomfort, weight loss, and irritated tissue of the eyes and mouth.
  • This condition generally affects puppies under the age of six months and can be fatal. Few occurrences occur in dogs above the age of two. There is an effective vaccine that is given at 6, 8, and 12 weeks. 


  • Canine distemper is another infectious and dangerous illness. It’s caused by a virus that targets pups’ and dogs’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems, and it’s quite similar to rabies.
  • Infected dogs or wild animals often transfer the virus by coughing or sneezing, but it can also be carried through sharing food and water bowls.
  • Vomiting, nasal discharge, coughing, fever, lethargy, convulsions, seizures, and paralysis are all symptoms. Distemper survivors frequently have lifelong nervous system impairment.


  • Unfortunately, trauma is a significant cause of mortality in Yorkie puppies. Children frequently find Yorkie pups incredibly attractive, yet they are unaware of the puppy’s fragility when playing. It’s simple to inadvertently hurt a Yorkie puppy by being overly rough.
  • Because of their small, frail bodies, a drop, a trip down the stairs, or being trodden on can be lethal. Yorkies may easily find their way underfoot without your knowledge, and they can also be injured if you slam on the brakes or have a vehicle accident.

Dangers For Adult Yorkies 

Even as your Yorkie approaches adulthood, they too can suffer from various ailments that if left untreated, can escalate into disastrous consequences. 

a Yorkie dog outside
A Yorkie dog standing outside.

Trachea Collapse

This constriction of the tracheal cartilage rings can cause serious breathing difficulties. Because a collapsed trachea is prevalent in tiny breeds, leashes should be attached to a Yorkie harness rather than their collar.

Respiratory Disease

Here are a few examples of common respiratory infections that might be fatal:

Fibrosis of the lungs – Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung illness that causes scarring. It is a chronic condition that causes the lungs to thicken and stiffen, impairing the ability of the lungs to properly transport oxygen into the circulatory system. It often affects middle-aged to elderly dogs, particularly in the Terrier group, with the West Highland White Terrier being the most susceptible.

Airway brachycephalic syndrome – Another respiratory condition that is occasionally described in the literature is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which is a grouping of anomalies in the upper airway of the nose or soft palate. This is more common in dogs with shorter facial bones, giving the face a pushed-in appearance, such as a Boxer, Bulldog, or Chinese Pug, but it can also affect Yorkshire Terriers because they are a moderately brachycephalic dog breed.

Symptoms usually appear between the ages of one and four. Often, the illness will progress to airway inflammation or heart strain as a result of the greater effort required to breathe adequately.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a condition that can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis are often sudden and severe and can include bloody stool, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. 

In some cases, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can also lead to death. The exact cause of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is unknown, but the condition is thought to be caused by a virus or bacteria. Treatment for hemorrhagic gastroenteritis typically includes rehydration and supportive care

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

Dental Problems

Dental problems in dogs can be serious, and they may even lead to death. Plaque buildup on teeth can lead to tartar, which can cause gum disease. If the gum disease progresses, it can lead to infection, which can be fatal, especially if the infection spreads to the brain and vital organs. 

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s is a condition that affects the adrenal glands. The most common symptom is an increase in thirst, followed by increased urination. Other symptoms include weight gain, hair loss, and lethargy.

Cushing’s disease is treatable, but it’s important to catch it early, so if you suspect your dog might have Cushing’s disease, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

How To Prolong Your Yorkie’s Lifespan?

Don’t fret! You’re likely to have many happy years with your Yorkie. And if you make a few changes in your lifestyle, you may be able to prolong your Yorkie’s lifespan to have even more years. 

Keep up with vet checkups and vaccines

By properly vaccinating your puppy according to your veterinarian’s instructions and avoiding gaps in the vaccination schedule, you may considerably minimize the likelihood of your puppy catching infections.

Soon after you bring your puppy home, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe the core vaccinations: parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Vaccinations against leptospira, bordetella, bronchiseptica, and borrelia burgdorferi may also be recommended by your veterinarian, depending on your dog’s risk of exposure.

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

Spay or Neuter 

Spaying or neutering your dog has been medically proven to lengthen his or her life. On average, a desexed dog lives one and a half years more than an unfixed dog. 

Both male and female dogs and cats have a significantly reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer when they are spayed or neutered. In addition, spaying helps to prevent uterine infections that can be deadly.

Yorkie in a bow tie
An adorable Yorkie with bow tie on, posing for a photo.

Feed A Top-Quality, Balanced Diet 

Giving your Yorkie what their body needs to fight off potentially lethal illnesses and diseases is most likely the most effective approach to lengthen their longevity. A healthy body can lessen, if not prevent, the occurrence of hazardous illnesses. 

Cheap, low-quality food often have fillers like grain, soy, and corn that dogs are often allergic to. 

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

Final Thoughts 

Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy dogs with relatively long lifespans. However, like all living things, they too must leave us at some point. 

We hope that this article has given you an idea of what to look out for and how you can help your Yorkie live longer. Good luck, and all the best to you and your pooch!