What Is The Average Lifespan of a Yorkie?

what is the average lifespan of a Yorkie

As Yorkie parents we all want to know: ‘what is the average lifespan of a Yorkie?’

In most cases, Yorkshire terriers live up to 16 or 17 years. The average estimated lifespan or the median lifespan for yorkies is about 13.5 years.

In this guide, we will discuss:

  • What is the average lifespan of a Yorkie?
  • Factors that affect a Yorkie’s lifespan
  • Different life-stages of the Yorkshire terrier breed with nutrition and care for each stage
  • What age is considered old or senior for Yorkies?
  • Some tips to extend the lifespan of your Yorkie
  • FAQs

Also Read: What Do Yorkies Usually Die From

What is the Average Lifespan of a Yorkie?

what is the average lifespan of a Yorkie

There is an interesting observation about the comparison of life expectancy of animals belonging to different species:

Man lives longer than a cat who lives longer than a rat who lives longer than a fly.

In short, we can safely say that the larger the animal, the longer its lifespan.

However, the same is not applicable to two animals belonging to the same species.

What this means is that a man weighing 120 lbs. will probably live longer than one weighing 300 lbs.

Similarly, we cannot compare the lifespans of a small Dachshund with the Lifespan of a Great Dane. The latter has a life expectancy of about 7 years while the former little guy lives up to nearly 16 years!

Coming back to the question, what is the lifespan of a Yorkie, the answer is between 13 to 16 years with the average or median lifespan for the breed being 13.5 years.

Let us now move on to different factors that affect a Yorkshire terrier’s lifespan.

Also Read: Do Yorkies Get Attached to One Person?

Factors Affecting a Yorkshire Terrier’s Lifespan?

Below are some factors that can impact the life expectancy or average lifespan of a Yorkshire terrier:

A. Nutrition and overall care

This is the most important factor impacting the lifespan of any dog breed and not just Yorkies.

A pet that receives the best care including healthy food, daily exercise, and regular health care is more likely to live longer than the one that doesn’t receive these things

A Yorkie owner must know his yorkshire terrier puppy so well so he can properly take care of him and extend his life.

A dog’s lifespan can be determined by how you address its needs. If you want to exceed your Yorkie life expectancy, ensure he lives healthy and stress-free!

How does this relate to the average lifespan of a Yorkshire terrier?

We will later discuss in detail how to extend your pet Yorkie’s lifespan with proper nourishment and overall care.

B. Size

As stated earlier, the smaller the dog, longer is its life expectancy. So if you’re looking for long-life companion, go for a tiny dog or small breed dog!

An exception to the rule is the teacup Yorkie’s lifespan which is just 7 to 9 years. It is a lot less, nearly half of the average Yorkie age, or 13 to 16 years of a standard Yorkie.

This could be because of the fact that teacup yorkies are more prone to injuries and trauma.

If you want to consider a longer Yorkie lifespan, get a Yorkshire terrier instead of teacup puppies if you find it hard to overcome the separation or death of your most-loved Yorkie pup.

C. Gene pool

Yorkies are purebred dogs and it is very important that you purchase yours from a reputed breeder.

Good breeders will not breed Yorkies having any health conditions. They would only select healthy Yorkies that can produce healthy litters.

Therefore, the chances of your Yorkie puppy developing any breed-specific illness is greatly minimized. This way, you can maximize your Yorkshire terrier life span average.

Always make sure you go in for reputed Yorkie breeders who are also willing to show you records of genetic tests their dogs have undergone. These rule out hereditary diseases and genetic health issues in the offspring.

D. De-sexing operation

Another factor that could impact a Yorkie’s longevity is whether or not it has had its desexing surgery.

Most Yorkies that are spayed or neutered before 6 months of age tend to have lower risk of developing certain cancers.

This, in turn, increases their lifespan. If you think of having this done on your pet, you may predict what is the life expectancy of a Yorkie and what to do to take care of them.

While more research is needed on this, most vets recommend neutering/spaying a Yorkie before it reaches sexual maturity for its other health benefits as well.

Also Read: Can Yorkies Be Left Alone

Life-stages of Yorkies and Special Considerations for Each Stage

yorkie dog average lifespan

When it comes to caring for your Yorkie you must tailor nutrition, training, and exercise to suit specific needs at different life stages.

The following tips can help ensure that your Yorkie gets everything it needs for the best care at different life stages:

Puppyhood – 8 weeks to 1 year old

Your Yorkie is considered a puppy until it reaches 12 months of age.

We will assume that your breeder will only hand over your Yorkie to you once it is about 8 weeks old. This is the average age of Yorkie puppy.

Until then, it is completely dependent on its mother and littermates for nourishment, socialization, and early development.

Training and exercise

Your Yorkie puppy needs firm and consistent training right from day one – the day it comes to your house.

You can begin crate training at this time as well. Crate provides your puppy with a secure place and also minimizes indoor soiling or potty accidents.

We have discussed complete house training for Yorkie pups in our guide ‘Why Are Yorkies So Hard to Potty Train?’

Yorkie pups do not need special exercise other than the several short walks for potty breaks outdoors. Also, you can play with it indoors or provide some toys to your young pet.

Chewing and teething

As your pup grows up, it will develop its adult teeth. During this time, retained puppy teeth will fall out and it will want something to chew on. Provide your Yorkie with plenty of teething toys and dental treats.

This will ensure good oral health which is also linked to your pet’s heart health until he becomes an adult dog.

You must also brush your Yorkie’s teeth from the start and establish a daily brushing routine to maintain healthy teeth throughout life.

Vaccine schedule

A Yorkie puppy also needs vaccines and booster shots in its first year (average age of Yorkie for shots) to prevent deadly diseases like distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and hepatitis.

With vaccines, your beloved pet can exceed the average life of a Yorkie.

Check out our complete guide on Yorkie Vaccine Schedule to help understand which vaccine your pet needs based on its age.


A growing Yorkie needs food that is rich in protein, calories, DHA, calcium, phosphorus, and healthy fats.

There are many age-specific dog foods in the market. Based on your vet’s recommendations and feeding guidelines, you can feed 4-6 small meals to your growing Yorkie on a daily basis.

Do check out our guide on ‘Best Dog Food for Yorkie Puppies where we have discussed several top-rated puppy foods that meet all of the nutritional needs of Yorkie puppies.


It is a good idea to get your puppy neutered or spayed by the time it is 6-8 months old. Discuss this thoroughly with your vet so you can prepare for the surgery, its after-care, etc.

Adulthood – 1 to 8 years

Once your Yorkie is over a year old, it should have a fixed routine for feeding, daily exercise, naps, and play time.


By now, you must have switched to dog food for adult Yorkies.

 The main requirements of an adult yorkie nutrition are high protein with a balance of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

Check out our guide on the Best Dog Food for Yorkies where we have several top-rated, nutritionally balanced food for an adult Yorkie.


An adult Yorkie needs at least 2-3 short walks of 15 minutes each. You can also take your pet swimming since it is a great exercise with multiple health benefits.

Most Yorkies take to the water although some might hate it completely.

Also Read: Do Yorkies Like to Swim

Older or Senior Yorkies – 8+

Your Yorkshire terrier is considered a senior once it reaches the age of 8 years.


At this age, your pet needs moderate to low amounts of exercise. It is important to keep your older dog mentally stimulated otherwise they tend to get depressed at this age.


Since joint problems and cognitive decline begins at this age, speak to your vet about adding glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and omega supplements to your pet’s diet.

The average life of a Yorkie decreases when faced with life-threatening diseases or those that require major surgery.

Also Read: Best Luxating Patella Dog Supplements

Dietary changes

Senior Yorkies may also lose their teeth at this point and you might have to feed it soft or wet food.

You can also switch to dog food for senior dogs. This food is typically high in fiber, probiotics, lean protein, as well as omegas for better cognition and heart health.

Special beds

We also recommend using orthopedic dog beds to relieve pressure on the joints and give your aging Yorkie a comfortable night’s sleep.

Check out our guide on the Best Dog Beds for Yorkies where we have discussed many top-rated orthopedic beds for a Yorkie.

Increased vet visits

Be prepared to deal with more health issues as your Yorkie gets older. You must set aside time as well as money to deal with these problems.

A dog owner may exhaust his savings when his beloved buddy needs hospital care.

What Age is Considered Old for Yorkies?

There is no rule that a yorkie gets old at a certain age. After all, like in humans, different dogs age differently based on their lifestyle, genes, and diet.

In general, and as with most toy breeds having an average lifespan of 13.5 years, yorkies are considered old after the age of 8 years.

As your pet comes up to this age, you must evaluate its health by regularly consulting your vet. Different dogs age differently and will show signs of aging differently as well.

Most Yorkies are still full of energy at 8, 9, and 10 years of age. Beyond 10 years, they might start slowing down a little. Your pet might walk slower or may not run as much as it once did.

Some yorkies even develop vision or hearing related problems at this stage. You can make your pet’s life more comfortable by rearranging furniture to prevent injury.

When you notice some lameness and you’re not fully aware of a dog’s lifespan, you may wonder and ask yourself, “What is the lifespan of a Yorkie?”. Some dog parents will only realize this not until their pet is showing some visible signs of aging.

5 Tips To Extend The Lifespan of Your Yorkie

Yorkshire_terrier_dog on sofa

We all want our beloved Yorkies to live long and healthy lives.

What is the lifespan of a Yorkie? 13- 17 years or more!

While the following tips may not guarantee results 100%, they can considerably improve your Yorkie’s quality of life.

1. Keep your pet’s weight in check

We want our Yorkies to eat well but that does not mean we should over-feed them.

It is very important to prevent a Yorkie from getting overweight or obese as this increases the risk of several diseases.

The maximum weight of a standard adult Yorkie is about 7 to 8 lb. Check your pet’s weight regularly and adjust its feeding accordingly.

2. Feed it high-quality nutritious meals

Some vets recommend home-cooked meals instead of commercial dog food to increase a pet’s lifespan. If this is not possible, you must at least feed a very high-quality diet.

Check with your vet about the best food to feed your Yorkie based on its health profile.

3. Provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation

Regular exercise along with mentally challenging games can keep your Yorkie young and happy.

Set up some obstacle courses, take your pet regularly to socialize with other dogs and humans, and invest in stimulating toys for dogs .

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Orange Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

4. Examine your pet regularly

When you groom and brush your pet, check its eyes, ears, and mouth. Also watch out for lumps or bumps, if any.

If you find any discrepancies, have them examined and treated by a vet right away.

Also Read: Best Brush for Yorkies

5. Brush your Yorkie’s teeth

Regularly brush your Yorkie’s teeth since oral health is linked to heart health.

Alternatively, use these brushless toothpaste dental chews to reduce plaque and tartar.

Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste, Dog Dental Chews for Mini Breeds, Vet Recommended for Plaque, Bacteria & Tartar Control, 1 Pack, Packaging May Vary

FAQs on What is the Average Lifespan of a Yorkie?

1. What do Yorkies usually die from?

Yorkies typically die from respiratory illnesses (16.1%), certain cancers (1.34%), infections (15.3%), and congenital diseases (10.5%).

The values in brackets indicate the percentage chances of yorkies dying from the condition.

2. Can a Yorkie live 20 years?

A Yorkshire terrier named Jack lived to the ripe old age of 24 or 25 years. However, most Yorkies live between 13 and 17 years.

3.  How do I know my Yorkie is dying?

When a dog is dying, its breathing will become slow and shallow. It might gasp for air or struggle to take its next breath. The time between inhalation and exhalation will also increase.

4. Do older Yorkies sleep a lot?

Most old or senior dogs, including Yorkies, sleep a lot. Some might sleep anywhere between 13 and 16 hours a day (including short naps) but might wake up frequently during the night.

Conclusion – What is the Average Lifespan of a Yorkie?

what is the average lifespan of a Yorkshire Terrier dog

What is the average lifespan of a Yorkie? The answer is between 13 and 16 years with a median or average lifespan of 13.5 years.

Many factors can impact a Yorkie’s lifespan: genetics, diet, lifestyle, and whether or not they are de-sexed.

We hope this guide helps you increase your Yorkie’s lifespan and improve its quality of life as well.

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