Yorkie Lifespan: How Long Do Yorkies Live? (Stats)

Yorkies are one of the most popular breeds of dogs, and it’s easy to see why. They’re small, but they have a big personality. They’re also very loyal, and they make great companion animals if you’re in the market for a furry, four-legged friend. 

However, before you start shopping around at local shelters and breeders, you might want to take a Yorkie’s lifespan into consideration. More specifically, how long do Yorkies live? And, what kind of health problems can affect the Yorkie’s lifespan? 

Yorkie lifespan
Yorkie Lifespan: How long do Yorkies live? (Stats)

Below, we’ll take a deep dive into everything you need to know about Yorkies’ lifespan and what you can do to help sustain a healthy pup. 

Yorkie Overview

The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie for short, is a small breed of dog that was originally bred in England. Yorkies were originally bred to catch rats in textile mills, but they quickly became popular as companions for Victorian ladies. Today, Yorkies are still prized for their affectionate, playful nature and their elegant appearance. 

Yorkies typically weigh between three and seven pounds, and they have long, silky coats that range in variations of black and tan or blue and gold. While Yorkies require special care to keep their coats looking their best, they are generally low-maintenance dogs that are easy to train and make good companions for people of all ages.

a Yorkie dog outside
A Yorkie dog standing outside.

How Long Do Yorkies Live?

While Yorkies make ideal companion animals, potential owners may wonder how long they can expect their furry friend to stick around. In short, the average lifespan of a Yorkie is 12-15 years. 

What Factors Might Affect a Yorkie’s Lifespan?

Some factors, such as diet and lifestyle, can influence a Yorkie’s lifespan. For example, Yorkies who eat a nutritious diet and receive regular exercise tend to live longer than those who do not. Additionally, some health conditions can shorten a Yorkie’s life span.

Therefore, I always recommend you consult with a veterinarian to help ensure your Yorkie lives a long and healthy life.

Yorkie puppies cute
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

Common Yorkie Health Complications

Unfortunately, like all dogs, Yorkies aren’t invincible. While they may live longer than some breeds, they still have some health complications that owners should be aware of, including pancreatitis, heart disease, collapsed trachea, obesity, and more.


Pancreatitis is a relatively common condition in dogs, and Yorkies are no exception. The pancreas is a small organ that produces enzymes that help the body to break down food. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed and can lead to a build-up of these enzymes in the body

Pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain and vomiting and can be potentially life-threatening. There are many possible causes of pancreatitis, including:

  • Obesity 
  • Certain infections
  • Certain medications 

Fortunately, there are also many treatment options available. If your Yorkie has pancreatitis, your veterinarian will likely recommend a special diet and medication to help manage the condition. With proper treatment, most dogs with pancreatitis can make a full recovery.

Yorkiepoo puppy feels tired
Yorkiepoos can have different color patterns.

Collapsed Trachea

The trachea is the tube that carries air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. In a healthy dog it is supported by a series of cartilage rings. However, in a dog with a collapsed trachea, the cartilage rings are weakened or flattened, causing the trachea to collapse. 

This condition can lead to difficulty breathing, coughing, and even respiratory failure. Treatment for a collapsed trachea typically involves weight loss, exercise restriction, and medication. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the trachea. 

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

Heart Disease

There are several different types of heart disease that can affect Yorkies, and the most common is congenital heart disease. Congenital heart disease is a condition that is present at birth, and it can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. While treatment options are available for congenital heart disease, it is often fatal in dogs.

Yorkies with this condition typically live only a few years. 

Another type of heart disease that can affect Yorkies is valvular heart disease. Valvular heart disease occurs when one or more valves in the heart become damaged or diseased. If left untreated, valvular heart disease can be fatal.

Fortunately, you can prevent both congenital and valvular heart disease through responsible breeding practices.

adult Yorkie Poo
An adult Yorkie Poo mix with a distinguished face.

Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)

Portosystemic shunt (PSS) is a condition that affects the liver and can be found in Yorkshire Terriers. PSS occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the portal vein and the systemic circulation. This results in blood bypassing the liver, and nutrients not being properly metabolized. 

Symptoms of PSS include:

If left untreated, PSS can be fatal. Vets typically diagnose PSS through blood tests and imaging studies. Treatment involves surgically correcting the shunt or managing the symptoms with medications. 

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


Small breeds like Yorkies are especially susceptible to infections because of their small size and high metabolism. They are also more likely to be exposed to viruses and bacteria if they live in a multi-pet household or go to dog parks frequently. Some infections can include:

  • Parvovirus: A highly contagious virus that attacks the GI tract, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Rabies: A viral infection that impairs the dog’s nervous system. 
  • Distemper: A viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

All of the above infections are potentially fatal, especially to puppies. However, all three infections are preventable with the proper vaccinations.


Yorkies are a small breed of dog, and as such, they are susceptible to health problems associated with obesity. When a Yorkie is overweight, it puts strain on their joints and organs, which can lead to arthritis, diabetes, and respiratory problems. In addition, obese dogs often have a poor quality of life and a reduced lifespan. 

Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your Yorkie’s weight and make sure they are getting plenty of exercise. If you think your dog might be overweight, talk to your veterinarian about how to safely help them lose weight.

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

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a condition that can affect any dog, but it seems to be particularly common in Yorkshire Terriers. HGE is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea, which can sometimes be bloody. In severe cases, HGE can lead to dehydration and even death. 

Treatment for HGE typically includes fluids and antibiotics, and most dogs make a full recovery. However, if your dog is exhibiting signs of HGE, it’s essential to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Early treatment can make a big difference in the outcome.

Yorkshire puppy sleeps
Yorkshire puppy is sleeping.

How To Keep Your Yorkie Happy and Healthy?

Yorkies are active little dogs that need plenty of exercise, both mental and physical. A healthy diet is also essential to keeping your Yorkie happy and healthy. Here are a few tips to help you give your Yorkie the best possible life.


A daily walk is an effective way to keep your Yorkie fit. If that doesn’t seem to be enough, adding some playtime in the park or yard will help to wear them out. Yorkies also love to play fetch, so if you have a ball or toy that they can chase, they’ll be happy to burn off some energy that way.

If you live in an apartment or don’t have a lot of space for them to run around, consider getting a dog treadmill. This way, your Yorkie can get all the exercise they need without ever having to leave home. Whatever type of exercise you choose, just make sure that your Yorkie gets enough activity to stay healthy and happy.

Yorkshire Terrier running
Yorkshire Terrier running in the park.

Veterinary Care

As any dog owner knows, our furry friends need regular check-ups and vaccinations just like we do. Whether you’re a new pet parent or you’ve had your Yorkie for years, it’s important to find a qualified veterinarian that you and your pup can trust. 

Dogs need routine care just like humans – they need regular check-ups, vaccinations, and sometimes even dental work. When choosing a vet, be sure to tour the facility and meet the staff. You want to make sure that your vet is clean, well-organized, and has friendly and knowledgeable staff. 

Once you’ve found a good vet, be sure to keep up with your Yorkie’s routine care. This will help them live a long and healthy life – and it’ll help you avoid costly veterinary bills down the road.

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


As with any dog, it’s crucial to ensure they get the proper nutrition. A Yorkie’s diet should be high in protein and low in fat, and it should also include a variety of vitamins and minerals. While some people opt to feed their Yorkie commercial dog food, others choose to prepare homemade meals. 

A good way to start testing what food your Yorkie and you prefer is by feeding your Yorkie various foods, including both dry and wet food. You can also try adding some healthy toppings to their food, like finely chopped vegetables. 

Whichever route you decide to go, it’s vital to consult with your veterinarian first to ensure that your dog is getting all of the nutrients they need.

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

Final Thoughts

Yorkies are adorable, spunky dogs that can make great pets. They’re also known for being a bit on the short side, which is why many people may be surprised to learn that they can live 12-15 years if given proper care. Like all dogs, Yorkies need regular exercise and good nutrition in order to stay healthy. 

By following some simple tips and understanding a Yorkie’s lifespan, you can help keep your Yorkie healthy and extend its life.