What Is The Lifespan Of A Yorkshire Terrier And How To Extend It

Last Updated on August 15, 2021 by Marco C.

Picking a dog based on its expected lifespan is a good idea which leads us to ask – what is the lifespan of a Yorkshire terrier and how to extend it? It’s a well-known fact that smaller dogs usually live longer than larger breeds. And that’s definitely through for our favorite Yorkies. However, there are still quite a few differences between Yorkies and other small dog breeds.

So, what is the average lifespan of a Yorkshire terrier?

What Is The Lifespan Of A Yorkshire Terrier?

Different sources cite different numbers but, as far as we can tell, the average seems to be between 13 and 16 years or 14.5 years. Do note that there seems to be a difference between male and female Yorkies as the ladies love 1.5 years longer on average.

All in all, those are very good numbers for a dog. Getting a Yorkie for a small child almost guarantees that your kid will have a canine companion until it reaches adulthood.

Also, keep in mind that those are just averages. This means that if you can avoid most of the common causes of death, your Yorkie can live even longer than that. We’ll cover those below but, given that most of them are avoidable, there’s no reason why your Yorkshire terrier can’t remain in your life for quite some time.

What Is The Oldest Known Yorkie?

There are a few Yorkies that seem to compete for the title of “Oldest known Yorkshire terrier”. These dogs are said to be so old, in fact, that they are some of the oldest dogs in the world.

One contender is Bonnie who was said to have lived to 28 years. Her owners said that they’ve had her for 25 years and they got her when she was 3-years-old. These numbers do sound quite impossible as they translate to 196 human years. We can’t confirm how accurate that claim is but there’s no denying that Bonnie was extraordinarily old.

Another contender is the male Yorkie named Jack. His owners claimed that he had reached 26 years of age back in 2015. Again, we can’t find a concrete confirmation of his exact age but even if it wasn’t 26, it seems like it was close to that number anyway.

A better-collaborated example is Billy, who lived to 22 years and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Yorkshire Terriers Life Expectancy Compared To Other Breeds

If you’re wondering between a Yorkshire terrier and some other small dog breeds, here are a few comparable breeds by age:

  • Maltese live up to 12-15 years on average
  • Toy Poodles’ average is also 12-15 years
  • Shih Tzu tend to grow to 10-16 years
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s average is 9 to 14 years
  • Papillions grow up to 13-15 years on average
  • Pomeranians are said to average 12-16 years
  • Chihuahuas average 14-18 years
  • Dachshunds usually live up to 12-14 years

So, while Yorkshire terriers don’t seem to be the oldest on average, they are definitely up there.

Main Causes Of Death?

 yorkshire terriers life expectancy

Now that we know what is the lifespan of a Yorkshire terrier, let’s see why it is what it is. The main causes of death for Yorkies include:

  • Physical trauma – especially for young pups but for adults as well. These are tiny and fragile dogs so you’ll need to keep them safe.
  • Infections – many conditions fall under this umbrella and they are especially dangerous for young pups.
  • Cancer – over 10% of Yorkies succumb to cancer at one point in their life.
  • Congenital disease – this is the 4th leading cause of death in adult Yorkies and it also hits over 10% of these dogs.
  • Respiratory disease – most people don’t realize that the Yorkshire terrier is a “moderately” brachycephalic breed. Only bulldogs and Borzoi dogs suffer from respiratory conditions more than the Yorkie.

Fortunately, all of these are either avoidable or can be managed. So, proper care can definitely extend your Yorkie’s life beyond the averages we mentioned above.

11 Ways To Go Beyond The Average Lifespan Of A Yorkshire Terrier

The key to having a healthy dog with a long lifespan lies in the three main things that are true for people as well – food, exercise, and regular doctor visits. If you hit those three boxes, chances are that you’ll have a happy and healthy Yorkie for a long time. But, to give you a bit more details, we’ve broken those into 11 more specifics tips:

  1. Make sure you find a reputable breeder from whom to get your future Yorkshire terrier
  2. Pet-proof your home to avoid accidents such as falls, knocks, choking, electrocution, poisoning, and so on
  3. Always walk your Yorkie on a leash to avoid attacks from other dogs, car accidents, or escapes
  4. Keep up with the recommended vaccinations and booster shots
  5. Don’t skip your Yorkie’s routine vet visits – preferably twice a year
  6. Don’t ignore your Yorkie’s dental care needs – a lot of infections and other health problems start with improper dental hygiene
  7. Pray or neuter your Yorkshire terrier as this brings a lot of health benefits
  8. Keep your pet well-hydrated with filtered/spring water – this is especially important in the summer
  9. Don’t skip the two mandatory daily walks – they don’t need to be too long but at least 2x 30 minutes a day are very important
  10. Provide plenty of indoor exercise too via toys and playtime – Yorkies are very energetic for their size
  11. Feed your Yorkshire terrier a well-balanced, vet-recommended, and natural diet

So, What Is The Lifespan Of A Yorkshire Terrier and What Does That Mean For You?

All in all, despite their occasional health issues, Yorkies are one of the longest-living dogs out there. With an average of around 15 years, Yorkies live twice as much as some of the giant dog breeds out there. And, with proper care and a bit of luck, Yorkshire terriers can even live up to and beyond 20 years which is more than impressive for a dog.


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