How Long Do Yorkshire Terriers Live?

Dog Breeds Recent September 27, 2023
How Long Do Yorkshire Terriers Live?
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How Long Do Yorkshire Terriers Live?

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The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, is a toy breed dog of the terrier type that was created in Yorkshire, England, during the 19th century.

This breed of dog is friendly and great for families with older children. But how long do Yorkshire Terriers live? 

In this article we discuss the Yorkshire Terrier’s lifespan, what can affect their livelihood as well as some tips to make sure they live long and healthy lives.

The Life Expectancy of the Yorkshire Terrier

Generally speaking, Yorkshire Terriers are strong, healthy dogs. The majority of the health issues that are frequently observed in this breed are treatable and not life-threatening. This is one of the factors contributing to the longer lifespan of this breed of dog. 

The Yorkshire Terrier has a lifespan of 13 to 16 years, with a median age of 14.5 years. On average, female Yorkshire Terriers live 1.5 years longer than males do.

The average lifespan of domesticated canines is 12.67 years in the US, 12.8 years in Canada, and 11.08 years in the UK. This lifespan is considered reasonably long and is slightly longer than the average.

It should be noted that the 12.67 years in the United States refer to deaths from natural causes however, when deaths from trauma are taken into account, the number drops to 11.1 years.

Female Yorkshire Terriers typically live longer than males at the rate of one to one and a half years.

Do Different Size Yorkshire Terriers Have Longer Lifespans?

The Yorkshire Terrier breed comes in three sizes to begin with. They come in teacup, standard, and giant sizes.

The standard Yorkie is also known as the toy Yorkie, whereas the teacup Yorkie is also referred to as a mini Yorkie. 

Let’s look at the lifespan of the various Yorkie sizes in more detail. 

Teacup Yorkie Lifespan

The smallest variety of the Yorkshire Terrier breed is called a teacup Yorkie. Small dogs typically live longer than larger dogs. However, this is not the case for teacup Yorkies. 

The teacup Yorkie only lives seven to nine years on average. Compared to giant and standard Yorkies, this is a few years shorter. 

Standard Yorkie Lifespan

The Yorkshire Terrier, a medium-sized breed, is the typical Yorkie. In terms of size, these dogs are the “original” Yorkshire Terrier. The life expectancy of standard Yorkies is between 12 and 15 years old.

Standard Yorkies live about the same amount of time as Poodles, Maltese, and Pomeranians. One of the world’s longest life spans for dogs belongs to these dogs!

Giant Yorkie Lifespan

The most significant varieties of Yorkshire terriers are giant ones. However, these “giants” are not at all that big. These dogs are only slightly larger and taller than standard Yorkies, weighing a few extra pounds. 

A giant Yorkie can live between 13 and 16 years, which is a little longer than a standard Yorkshire Terrier.

Leading Causes of Death in Adult Yorkie’s

Yorkshire Terrier

The University of Georgia conducted a sizable study that classified the causes of death for 74,556 dogs between 1984 and 2004.

They discovered that respiratory diseases claimed 16% of Yorkshire Terrier lives.

Here are a few common respiratory diseases that can prove fatal:

Pulmonary fibrosis – A disease called pulmonary fibrosis causes the lung tissue to scar. It is a disease that worsens over time and makes the lungs stiff and thick. The ability of the lungs to effectively transfer oxygen into the bloodstream eventually declines.

Dogs of all ages, especially terrier breeds, are typically affected, with the West Highland White Terrier being the most susceptible.

Collapsed TracheaSignificant breathing problems may result from the trachea’s cartilage rings narrowing. It is advised to use a Yorkie harness rather than their collar when attaching leashes to them because collapsed tracheas are common in small breeds.

Brachycephalic airway syndromeBrachycephalic airway syndrome, which is the collective name for the abnormalities in the upper airway of the nose or soft palate, is a different respiratory condition that is occasionally mentioned in literature.

As a brachycephalic dog breed, Yorkshire Terriers are also susceptible to this condition, which typically affects dogs with shortened facial bones that give the face a pushed-in appearance, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and Chinese Pugs.

The majority of the time, symptoms appear between one and four years of age. Due to increased effort to breathe properly, the syndrome frequently progresses to airway inflammation or heart strain.

Trauma – Since Yorkies are small even when fully grown, trauma is a major cause of death for adult Yorkshire Terriers as well as puppies.

CancerThere are conflicting findings in scientific studies regarding Yorkie cancer rates. The Yorkie breed has high incident rates, according to a 2017 study.

According to a 2013 analysis of the scientific literature, the actual percentage is probably closer to just 1.34%. In any case, it seems that many cancers are curable if discovered in a timely manner.

Congenital diseaseThe University of Georgia study places Yorkshire Terriers as the fourth breed most likely to perish from a congenital illness.

The study, which included all illnesses or conditions that are present at birth, discovered that 10.5% of Yorkies will pass away from a congenital disease. 

Of these congenital diseases, liver shunts are a prominent one among the Yorkie breed. In short, the Yorkshire Terrier’s blood is unable to reach the liver, resulting in the liver being unable to detoxify chemicals and waste from the body. This problem results in inadequate growth and development.

Leading Cause of Death in Yorkie Puppies 

Like puppies of all breeds, Yorkie puppies are more likely to pass away from illness in their first year than they are in the following four.

ParvovirusPuppies are more prone to several illnesses, such as parvovirus. Direct contact with an infected dog or infected animal waste are the two main ways that parvo is typically spread.

Even though 90% of puppies who receive medical care survive, the signs are unpleasant: severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, pain, weight loss, and swollen tissue around the eyes and mouth are just a few examples.

This disease typically affects puppies under 6 months of age and can lead to death. Few cases occur in dogs older than two. There is an effective vaccine that is given between 14 and 16 weeks of age.

The virus usually spreads through the sneezing or coughing of infected dogs or wild animals, but it can sporadically spread through shared water and food bowls.

A few of the symptoms include paralysis, convulsions, seizures, nasal discharge, vomiting, coughing, fever, and sluggishness. 

Hypoglycemia – Under 5 months old, Yorkie puppies are most susceptible to hypoglycemia. The puppy can quickly become upset when its blood sugar levels fall too low. It could endanger your life if it is not corrected right away.

LeptospirosisThe spirochete bacteria, which is common in the environment and is especially prevalent in damp areas with standing water or mud, is what causes leptospirosis. Usually, wild animals like rats, raccoons, or even domestic animals carry it.

Dogs can get sick by drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with infected animals’ urine. When exposed to this bacteria, not all unvaccinated dogs will become ill. In fact, the disease is most severe in unvaccinated puppies under 6 months old.

Leptospirosis vaccinations for puppies are not given on a regular basis. You might want to discuss this vaccination with your veterinarian if your Yorkie is frequently exposed to water areas that are home to wildlife.

Distemper – Canine distemper is a similarly dangerous and contagious illness. It is brought on by a virus similar to rabies that affects the nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems of puppies and dogs. Those who survive the distemper typically experience permanent nervous system damage.

TraumaUnfortunately, one of the main causes of death for Yorkie puppies is trauma. Children frequently find Yorkie puppies to be utterly adorable, but they are frequently unaware of the puppy’s vulnerability when playing. By being too rough, it is easy to unintentionally hurt a Yorkie puppy. 

A fall caused by being dropped, a trip down the stairs, or being stepped on can be fatal due to their small, delicate bodies.

Yorkies can hurt themselves if you slam on the brakes or collide with another vehicle in your car. They can also easily navigate their way underfoot without your knowledge.

How to Extend Your Yorkshire Terrier’s Life

While your Yorkshire Terrier’s lifespan is influenced by genetics and proper breeding practices, it is also influenced by the care he receives.

Examples of proper care are:

  • Feeding a high quality diet
  • Regularly grooming
  • Providing exercise daily
  • Providing shelter and keeping indoors
  • Arranging for regular preventative veterinary examinations and care. And if necessary, scheduling immediate veterinary care
  • Recognize when your dog is acting unusual, in order to quickly make arrangements for veterinary care
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular veterinary dental cleaning

Final Thoughts

One of the dog breeds with the longest life expectancies is the Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies are typically healthy dogs that require very little upkeep. Basically, if you want a dog that will be a lifelong companion, a Yorkie should be at the top of your list!

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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