Yorkie Age Equivalent

Yorkie Age Equivalent

Yorkie Age EquivalentYou’ve probably heard many times about “dog years,” or that 1 year in a dog’s life is equal to 7 in a human’s. Well, this isn’t quite true. As nice as a concept of “dog years” may be, in reality dogs will age very differently from one another, dependent on their breed and their size. You also can’t compare dog years to human years strictly as dogs tend to age much faster in their first few years. As a rule of thumb, smaller toy breeds like Yorkshire Terriers will live longer than larger dogs. This also affects this age equivalency.

Here’s how your Yorkie’s age compares to a human and to larger dog breeds.

How Long Do Yorkies Live?

Yorkie Age EquivalentThe average life expectancy of the Yorkshire Terrier sits at between 12 and 15 years of age. The median life expectancy is 13.5 years, and on average, female Yorkies can be expected to live on average 1.5 years longer than males.

This may not seem like a long life expectancy but consider the average life expectancy of all domesticated dogs of just 12.6 years in the U.S. and 11 years in the U.K. Yorkies have the potential to live even longer, however, especially if their health is maintained and they don’t succumb to an accidental death.

The reason for the breed’s longer-than-average life expectancy comes down to two reasons:

#1: The Yorkshire Terrier is actually quite a healthy breed of dog. While Yorkies are prone to many health issues, they typically aren’t fatal and can be well managed. For example, collapsed trachea can be prevented by using a soft dog harness. Hypoglycemia can be managed with the right diet for Yorkies.

#2: Smaller breeds of dog – and toy breeds especially – simply live longer than medium to large breeds. Yorkie life expectancy may exceed large breeds because they grow faster and age quicker. With most creatures in the animal kingdom, however, larger animals tend to live longer than small animals.

Teacup Yorkie Lifespan

Peanut – Courtesy of Mary Drew

While your average Yorkshire Terrier can be expected to live to around 12 to 15 years of age, a Teacup Yorkie will not. Teacup Yorkies can be expected to live to be around 7 to 9 as a result of their diminished size and higher risk of health issues.

Teacup Yorkies are susceptible to a whole host of diseases and other health problems, much more so than the regular Yorkshire Terrier. Teacup Yorkies can face problems such as:

  • Collapsed Trachea: A disease affecting the cartilage in the trachea. With all Yorkies, but especially Teacup Yorkies, always use a soft dog harness instead of a collar!
  • An increased risk of bone fractures: Due to their diminished stature, the structure and strength of the bones is smaller and weaker.
  • Hypoglycemia: As a result of their lack of muscle mass, the Teacup’s body is less able to store glucose. It’s important with Teacup Yorkies to supplement their diet with dog dietary supplement and offer frequent snacks.
  • Hip dysplasia: This happens when the socket and ball joint of the hip become displaced.
  • Luxating patella: This occurs when the kneecap becomes displaced (or “luxated”).
  • Heart diseases: This is the number one cause for the shorter lifespan found in Teacup Yorkies.
  • Hydrocephalus: A condition referring to an excess of fluid in the brain, leading to swelling, brain damage, and possibly death.
  • Legg – Perthes Disease: A condition involving the spontaneous deterioration of the femur bone in the Yorkie’s hind leg.
  • Gum disease: All Yorkies are very prone to dental problems. Learn more about Yorkie dental care
  • Small kidneys: This happens as a result of congenital defects.
  • Open fontanels: These are soft spots located at the top of the skull. 

How Old Is the Oldest Yorkie?

Let’s take a minute to talk about Jack. Jack was no ordinary Yorkshire Terrier – he was in fact the oldest Yorkshire Terrier in the world and thought to be the oldest dog of any breed of all in Great Britain.

Reaching the grand old age of 26 in 2015, Jack had lived a whole decade longer than the average Yorkie. Converting this to human years, this would be equivalent to you or I living to 117.

Unfortunately, Jack succumbed to an attack from another dog — a fairly common end for many toy breeds and a common cause of death at any age. With the oldest dog in the Guinness Book of Records reaching 29 years of age, who’s to say that Jack might not have eventually taken his or her place?

Yorkie Age Equivalency to Humans

Dogs age differently depending on their size. Since a Yorkie is such a small dog, let’s look at a timetable of their own aging process.

Since the evolution of medical technology allows for ever greater medicines, surgeries, and other life-extending treatments, the lifespan of the average Yorkie has shot up from around 7 years in the 1920s to as much as 15 years or even more today.

The following chart shows the age of a Yorkshire Terrier equivalent to human years:

Yorkie Years

Human Years

































Yorkie Age Equivalency to Other Dogs

As we mentioned before, the common rule of 1 dog year to 7 human years isn’t quite so sound. You will see this when you compare the Yorkie age equivalencies to humans and other dogs.

  • By 5, a Yorkie is equivalent to a 36-year-old human. A large dog has the same age equivalency to humans.
  • By 7, a Yorkie is equivalent to a 44-year old human. A large dog at 7 is equivalent to a 50-year-old human.
  • By 10, a Yorkie is equivalent to a 56-year-old human. A large dog at 10 is equivalent to a 66-year-old human. A medium-sized dog is between the two and the equivalent of 60 in human years.
  • By 13, a Yorkie is equivalent to a 68-year-old human. A large dog at 13 is equivalent to an 82-year-old human.
  • By 16, a Yorkie is equivalent to an 80-year-old human. A large dog at 16 would be equivalent to a 120-year-old human! Large breeds over 50 pounds rarely reach this age milestone. A medium-sized dog of the same age would be the equivalent of 87 in human years.



Important Yorkshire Terrier Growth Milestones

Let’s explore some important milestones your Yorkie will go through from early life through their senior years.

3 Weeks

At 3 weeks, a newborn Yorkie will be beginning to open his eyes. If your Yorkie’s tail was docked after birth, it will be fully healed.

4 Weeks

By now, your Yorkie puppy will have fully learned to walk, so you can expect them to be out there exploring the world. Also, weaning them off of a liquid diet and onto a solid diet will begin.

8 Weeks

A Yorkie puppy will be legally allowed to be given to a new owner at the age of 8 weeks and separated from his mother. If training hasn’t yet started, then now is the time. By now, your Yorkie pup should be on a fully solid diet of puppy food, and completely weaned from his mother.

At this stage and for the next several months, you will spend more hands-on time taking care of your puppy. That means it’s time to start buying appropriate soft puppy toys and you’ll be ready to get a puppy leash to help your Yorkie explore the world.

3 to 6 Months

You’ll notice your Yorkie’s ears begin to pop up during the 3 to 6 month period. The time this will happen can differ from pup to pup.

4 to 7 Months

At any point within the 4 to 7 months of age bracket, your Yorkie will begin teething. Make sure you have appropriate teething toys at home!

5 Months

While you may have seen the perfect bite come along by now, it’s not uncommon to see it go again around the 5 month point. Owners should be very aware of a Yorkie’s bite going awry, as a good bite is crucial to proper chewing and digestion, and overlapping teeth can be an ideal place for bacteria to grow.

5 to 9 Months

Around about now a female Yorkie will tend to enter her first heat. Spaying your Yorkie is highly recommended if you’re not looking to breed. Spaying will also greatly cut down any potential of developing mammary or ovarian cancer.

1 Year

At 1 year of age, your Yorkie has left puppydom and entered adulthood. You can now introduce your Yorkie to adult small-breed kibble.

8+ Years

Your Yorkie is now considered a senior. Care must be taken to change dog food to a senior variety, and lots of other changes should be made, such as increased visits to the vet and extra care around the house.

When Is a Yorkie Considered to be a Senior?

Yorkie age equivalency

Courtesy of Annette W

While there is no strict rule in place governing the age at which a Yorkie is considered a senior, toy breeds such as Yorkies, however, can generally expect it to be somewhere around age of 8 to 10 years. This is somewhat equivalent to 48-56 years of age in humans. Just remember, Yorkies are built differently than humans and have a shorter life expectancy: don’t let this Yorkie age equivalency fool you into thinking they can still do the things they used to at the equivalent age of their late 40s.

When reaching the 8-year mark, each dog will show their signs of aging differently. Many Yorkies will appear and act too young to be considered senior; many 8 to 10-year-old dogs will be just as spritely and active as any younger dog. Once your Yorkie passes the 10-year mark, however, you’ll start to really notice the signs of aging.

The most obvious sign of aging that indicates your Yorkie is a senior? They will start to slow down. You’ll notice that they’re not running as fast as they once were, if they even want to run anymore. They’re slow to rise and they may hesitate when jumping down from the sofa or even a short step.


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