Yorkie Lifespan
Teacup Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on June 24, 2019
Fact Checked

The odds are that you’ve encountered a Yorkie at some point in your life.

Yorkshire Terriers are one of the most popular breeds in the world, proving a big hit with families and senior people.

Their small size makes them ideal for pet parents who live in small apartments in the cities or small houses in the suburbs.

They’re sociable pets that like to be in the company of humans, although they don’t do well if left alone for too long.

Yorkies are popular with people who suffer with an allergy to animals because their hair is more human-like.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how long Yorkies can live, what’s the average age of a Yorkshire Terrier and health problems associated with the breed.

Where do Yorkies come from?

The Yorkshire Terrier, usually shortened to Yorkie, originated in Yorkshire (as their name suggests). These little dogs arrived in northern England with Scottish workers who were looking to find jobs at cotton and wool mills.

Their initial purpose was to hunt small vermin, such as mice and rats, in the factories where their owners worked. Their small frames meant they were ideal for getting into tight corners and spaces in pursuit of rodents.

However, their stock started to rise towards the end of the 19th century when the Yorkshire Terrier started to become popular with Victorian ladies as ideal lap dogs.

Yorkies didn’t arrive in the United States until the 1880s, before the American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1885.

While their popularity suffered a dip around the time of World War II, Yorkies were back in vogue towards the end of the 20th century.

As of 2018, the Yorkshire Terrier is the ninth most popular dog in the USA.

Yorkie lifespan

Yorkshire Terriers have a reputation for living a long life. These small dogs don’t suffer from too many health problems, which allows most Yorkies to reach double figures with ease.

Indeed, Yorkshire Terriers tend to live between 13 and 16, while these English dogs have an average age of 15. Some can even live the ripe age of 20 thanks to a balanced and healthy lifestyle with their families.

That’s quite a bit longer than the lifespan of most dogs, which tends to be in the 10 to 13 year range.

Small dogs do tend to live longer than large and medium breeds. But like we mentioned above, Yorkshire Terriers are thought of as a healthy breed that don’t suffer from too many health conditions.

Let’s take a look at some of more prominent health problems that can affect dogs.

Yorkie health problems

While Yorkshire Terriers have a reputation for being a breed free from too many issues, these tiny dogs can suffer from some health problems.

Hypoglycemia occurs when a dog has low amounts of glucose in the blood. Small breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier can suffer from hypoglycemia. Low energy can be one common symptom, but this condition can also result in dizziness and fainting in Yorkies.

Luxating Patellas is a condition that we’ve spoken about before. The problem occurs when knee cap becomes dislocated. Symptoms can include difficulty walking. Given Yorkshire Terrier are prone to fluctuating weight, additional pounds can put extra pressure on their knees and/or knee ligaments.

Skin problems Yorkshire Terriers are prone to suffering from a variety of different skin problems. The trigger for a skin allergy could be something as a simple as a chemical or fleas. If your dog is itching or scratching a lot, it could be a sign that a Yorke is suffering from some skin problems.

Legg-Perthes Disease A condition commonly associated with Yorkshire Terriers is the Legg-Perthes disease. It is a genetic problem that affects the hipbone. PetMD describe the condition as the spontaneous degeneration of the head on the femur bone, located in the dog’s hind leg. Usually this condition affects puppies ranging from five to eight months in age.

Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a condition that affects the eyes of Yorkshire Terriers. It is the bilateral degeneration of the retina in the eye. The condition can lead to partial loss of vision or eventually to blindness. Yorkies can suffer from Retinal Dysplasia from the age of two months, while if the problem worsens, some Yorkshire Terriers could be blind by the age of 1.

Collapsed Trachea This occurs when a Yorkie has what appears to be an abnormally small trachea or windpipe. While it is still unclear what causes a Collapsed Trachea, the symptoms can include persistent coughing. Such coughing can appear worse when a Yorkie is exercising, excited, stressed, eating, drinking – all examples of times when pressure is applied to the trachea.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) If you spot blood in your dog’s vomit or stool, there is a good chance that it could be suffering from Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). It is often the result of a food borne illness. Given it can be fatal in extreme cases, you should contact your vet immediately if you notice blood in your dog’s vomit or stool. Other symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, as well as a loss of appetite.

Pancreatitis If you’re a dog owner, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard about Pancreatitis. It is usually a condition that can affect older dogs. Pancreatitis occurs when it become very inflamed, which may be the result of your dog ingesting a toxic substance, eating some particularly fatty foods or quite simply a poor diet. If you suspect your dog has Pancreatitis, you should call the vet immediately. Christmas and Easter can be particularly dangerous times of the year for a Yorkie – or any dog – with lots of rich foods in the household.

Dental care Yorkshire Terriers can have issues with dental hygiene. Experts recommend brushing a Yorkie’s teeth regularly, as well as checking for any food stuck in and around the teeth. If some puppy teeth don’t fall out when the adult teeth come through, there is a risk for gum disease. It’s a good idea to consult with your vet regularly to maintain their healthy state of a Yorkie’s gums.

In conclusion

Yorkshire Terriers Taco and Minnie (Photo: taco_minnie / Instagram)
Yorkshire Terriers Taco and Minnie (Photo: taco_minnie / Instagram)

Yorkshire Terriers are a healthy breed of dog that can live long, happy lives. However, owners must take steps to ensure that they’re given their dog the best chance of balanced lifestyle. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are key.

Given they’re a small dog, Yorkshire Terriers do live long than large and medium sized dogs. They usually reach an age of 13 to 16 years old, although some can life past 16.

While Yorkies aren’t predisposed to many health conditions, there are a number to keep in mind so you’re able to spot potential symptoms.