The Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie is a small but feisty terrier type known for its silky, floor-length coat and its tenacious, brave, and often bossy personality. If you’re considering breeding your Yorkie, there are certain things you need to take into consideration and prepare for. For instance, what is the average litter size for a Yorkie and how many litters can a Yorkie have?
But first, let’s get to know the Yorkshire Terrier.
What is a Yorkie?
Yorkies may be cute and dainty, but don’t let these adorable little nuggets fool you. Yorkshire Terriers have distinctly working-class beginnings as ratters in mills and mines, which is why they are usually overprotective, highly active, and hyper-alert.
It wasn’t until the Victorian times that Yorkies became popular beribboned lapdogs for aristocratic English ladies. Today, these dogs are a favorite of urbanites in many cities across the world.
According to the American Kennel Club, Yorkshire Terriers live an average of 11 to 15 years. These are generally healthy and long-lived dogs. However, like other breeds, they are prone to certain health issues such as eye disorders, allergies, bronchitis, digestive system disorders, and dislocated kneecaps.
Because of its hypoallergenic coat, the Yorkie is a popular choice for people with sensitivities to fur. The coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is more similar to human hair than it is to animal fur.
Because of their small size, the mating, pregnancy, and delivery of Yorkshire Terriers can be quite challenging. If you are thinking of breeding your Yorkie, you have to take special care of your pooch during these periods. Read on for more about the breeding and pregnancy stages of Yorkies.
- Female Yorkshire Terriers tend to be very fertile and conceive easily. They can become pregnant during their first mating period. If you don’t want to breed your female Yorkie, you should get her spayed as soon as possible.
- There are certain genetic medical concerns common to Yorkies. These include luxating patella (slipping kneecaps), hydrocephalus, retinal dysplasia, portosystemic shunt (malformation of the portal vein), tracheal collapse, distichiasis (abnormal growth of eyelashes), and bladder stones.
- You should only ever breed “to improve,” which means being diligent about preventing as many of these genetic disorders as possible. Before you breed your Yorkshire Terrier, you need to invest in the proper genetic testing to see if any genetic issues could result from the mating of a particular female and male Yorkie.
- The average gestation period for a Yorkie is 63 days. Yorkshire Terrier puppies can be born between the 58th and 68th days of gestation. If your Yorkie has not given birth by the 67th day, it is time to call the veterinarian.
- Yorkies can have multiple pregnancies, though not all the puppies may be born healthy. It’s not uncommon for newborn puppies to pass away within hours of delivery.
How many litters can a Yorkie have?
Many breeders will tell you that Yorkshire Terriers should only be bred when they are about two years old. This goes for both female and male Yorkies.
Waiting until the dogs are about two years of age ensures that they are already fully mature and that any genetic problem present in the dog would have already emerged. If you breed a Yorkie before this period, some genetic issues may not have had time to manifest.
Because they are small-breed dogs, female Yorkshire Terriers can have a hard time with the natural delivery of their puppies. Because of this, experts suggest that Yorkies should only be bred twice a year.
However, if you observe that your female Yorkie is not recovering well from the delivery of her puppies, it would be wise to limit the litters to just one a year. Meanwhile, male Yorkies can be bred up to four times a year.
You can breed a female Yorkie beginning from her second heat cycle to when she is 5 years old. Some Yorkies can give birth until they are 7 years old, but these are exceptions. Limiting the number of litters a year and the time period in which a female Yorkie can give birth helps prevent serious complications that can endanger the life of the mother and the puppies.
The average size of a litter for Yorkies is between three to five. The number can be high as 10 and will vary depending on several factors, including the size of your pet, the age and health of the mother, and previous pregnancies.
Different breeders will have different answers to the question “How many litters can a Yorkie have?” In the end, the answer will depend not just on the health of your Yorkie, but on your level of commitment and the amount of time you can dedicate to your pets. Yorkies require lots of human interaction to stay happy and healthy.