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How Long Do Yorkie Dogs Live?

Yorkie dogs are a popular breed known for their small size and long life expectancy.

Yorkies can live and average of 16 years. Their lifespan can range anywhere from 12 to 20 years, making them a great pet choice for those who want a dog they can count on to be by their side for a long time.

While many factors contribute to how long they will live, taking care of your dog and providing proper nutrition and exercise are key. Keep reading to learn more about how to help your Yorkie live a long, healthy life.

How long yorkies live.

Yorkie Dog Life Expectancy

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small and feisty dog that originated in England in the mid-19th century. 

Originally an attempt at breeding a working dog, the Yorkie quickly became a popular companion, thanks to its friendly personality and compact size. Today, these dogs are treasured by families for their affectionate nature and stern loyalty. 

The Yorkshire Terrier is among the longest-living dogs, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Their longevity is partially due to their small size. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than their larger counterparts.

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Major Cause of Death in Young Yorkies

The following are the most common causes of death in Yorkies under the age of 1:


Although Leptospirosis is a fatal disease in dogs. This disease is spread by infected urine from woodland animals like skunks and raccoons. What’s more, the bacteria that cause leptospirosis can survive in water and soil for months (source). Despite all of this, leptospirosis is not currently a required immunization. Make sure your Yorkie is getting a leptospirosis vaccine!


Distemper is highly contagious and cannot be cured (it can be treated, but there’s no guarantee the dog will survive). Early symptoms include coughing, diarrhea, and weakness. The infection will later spread to the puppy’s brain and spinal cord, leading to death.

Unlike leptospirosis, distemper vaccines are a required immunization. It should be administered by a professional veterinarian everyone 1-2 years (source).


Parvo is also very contagious and cannot be cured. Parvovirus attacks the immune system and the gastrointestinal tract. Severe diarrhea and vomiting usually occur, which leads to drastic dehydration. Parvo is a required immunization and should be administered every three years (source).

Major Cause of Death in Older Yorkies

The following are the most common causes of death in Yorkies over the age of 1:

Respiratory Problems

About 16% of adult Yorkies will lose their lives due to respiratory illness. The risk of tracheal collapse and Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome are higher in Yorkies than in most animals. The aging lungs of dogs are more vulnerable to airborne viruses and pollutants.

Some respiratory issues, like tracheal collapse, can be lived with for years. However, these issues cannot be cured if they do occur. The best thing you can do is have your veterinarian prescribe treatment to ease their discomfort.


Cancer is the second major cause of death in Yorkies. Bone sarcomas and soft tissue are prevalent in Yorkshire Terriers. Most malignant growths can be addressed if detected on time.


Unfortunately, several Yorkies die as a result of abuse or neglect. These dogs are tiny and vulnerable and can be killed if kicked, trampled, stepped on, hit by vehicles, or preyed on by a hawk or other outdoor predator.

How To Extend Your Yorkie’s Lifespan

Keeping good care of your Yorkie is the best way to ensure that they live a long and healthy life.

Keep Up With Vaccinations

As mentioned earlier, infections are the leading cause of death in Yorkie puppies and are a major issue in older dogs. So, make sure to keep up with your Yorkie’s vaccines. 

If your yard is open to entry by other animals, carefully supervise your pet and keep them away from any excrement or urine, whether from other dogs or not. Make sure that your Yorkie is vaccinated for leptospirosis, especially if you live in a wooded area.

Avoid Potential Hazards in Your Home

Yorkies only weigh 4-7 pounds, so relatively small amounts of toxic food can seriously harm them. They are also more fragile than larger dogs. Keep an eye out for:

  • Pieces of food like grapes, raisins, chocolate, candy, gums, etc.
  • Open balconies, stairways, or platforms
  • Choking hazards like loose buttons

Keep Them On a Proper Diet Plan

The quality and quantity of food you give your Yorkie will impact its lifespan.

Maintain Good Dental Care

Dental care is often overlooked. Periodontal disease results from bad dental hygiene and can lead to organ damage and heart disease in Yorkies. 

Ensuring you brush your pet’s teeth 3-4 times weekly and giving it proper chew toys is enough to prevent most dental issues.


A well-balanced diet alongside regular exercise can prolong the lifespan of your Yorkie. 

Regular exercise makes your Yorkie’s heart muscles pump more effectively, reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, exercise reduces stress, elevates endorphins, and balances mood.

Final Thoughts

We’ve been able to cover the major causes of death in Yorkshire Terriers, both young and old, and the best ways to extend the lifespan of these adorable pets. 

With the above information, you should be able to ensure that you and your pet spend as much time together as possible.

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