Few things on earth are cuter than a Yorkie puppy.
The only thing I can think of that’s cuter is many Yorkie puppies!
And if your Yorkie gets pregnant, that’s what awaits you. Many puppies!
But how many puppies do Yorkies have exactly?
Keep reading to find out. We’ll also cover important information you need about breeding your Yorkie and what you can expect during pregnancy.
- 1 How Many Puppies Can A Yorkie Have?
- 1.1 Things To Consider When Breeding Yorkies
- 1.2 Factors That Affect A Yorkshire Terrier Pregnancy
- 1.3 What To Expect During Pregnancy
- 2 Yorkie Litter Size: Conclusion
How Many Puppies Can A Yorkie Have?
The average litter size of the Yorkshire terrier is 3.3, according to a study cited by the American Kennel Club. Yorkie moms generally have from two to five puppies.
The number of puppies a Yorkie has depends on the ages and sizes of the parents. A smaller and inexperienced mother tends to have a smaller litter (2 to 3 puppies), while a larger or more experienced mothers generally has more (up to 5 or 6 puppies).
Age plays a role with the male as well. The sperm from an older male tends to inseminate a larger number of eggs than the sperm of a younger male.
In larger litters, which generally means more than 5 puppies, there is a much greater risk that some of the puppies will be stillborn. We also have an article that explains how many litters a Yorkshire terrier can have in a lifetime.
Things To Consider When Breeding Yorkies
If you are planning to breed your yorkie, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. We will cover the most important here.
Before mating your dog, you must make sure that your dog is healthy and free of any contagious and bone diseases such as osteoarthritis. Often, these diseases can be dormant in the parent and only become fully developed in the offspring.
You want the two dogs you mate to be as unrelated as possible. The closer related they are, the higher the chance of genetic defects.
That said, purebred Yorkies are all somewhat related, so it is impossible to avoid this altogether. You can use an inbreeding calculator to see how much relation there is between the two parents.
Being a Yorkshire terrier owner takes a lot of responsibility, because they’re quite high-maintenance. If there is a chance you won’t be able to look after the puppies and give them the attention they need, it’s better not to breed them.
Factors That Affect A Yorkshire Terrier Pregnancy
Yorkshire terriers get pregnant quite easily. Like other dogs, there are a number of factors that influence how likely a dog is to get pregnant and how many puppies it ends up having.
Age Of The Female Yorkie
A female Yorkie can go into heat at 4 months of age, but most don’t do so until 10 to 12 months. It can take as long as 18 months.
The age and physical size of the female plays a role in the chance of a successful pregnancy and in the number of puppies she can have. It also affects how long they stay in heat. Read “How Long Do Yorkies Stay In Heat?” for more.
In contrast to the females, male Yorkies begin producing sperm at 6 months, but shouldn’t breed until about 2 years.
A dog’s pregnancy is just as complicated as a human pregnancy. It takes a ton of a dog’s energy and body nutrients to feed the puppies inside her.
Another determiner of the number of puppies is previous pregnancies. If a dog has previously given birth to a litter of 5 puppies, there is higher chance for it to have another similarly sized litter.
The famous line “You are what you eat” is also applicable to dogs. What you feed the mother influences both the quality of her life and the development of her puppies.
For example, if you feed your dog grains, it is likely to become fat and be unhealthy. This will make it more difficult for the dog to get through the pregnancy period and produce more puppies.
You need to feed your dog foods that are rich in protein, in order to sustain her through a pregnancy. Protein provides the energy the mother needs to sustain her own life and that of her unborn puppies.
What To Expect During Pregnancy
Dogs have many similarities with humans during pregnancy. For one, they also tend to have mood swings, due to physical and chemical changes in their body. There are a number of other Yorkie pregnancy signs.
A pregnant Yorkie loves to spend much more time snuggling in bed than you see during a Yorkie’s usual active routine. She’ll eventually start nesting, where she’ll gather comfortable items for her delivery.
During the early period of pregnancy, her stomach will be firmer and her nipples will grow larger.
Interestingly, a Yorkie female can sometimes be insecure about her physical appearance, so she will groom herself more often to hide her insecurity.
She will gain about 30% of her body weight, if you feed her correctly during pregnancy. Her abdomen will also get bigger, and, naturally, her appetite will increase.
Stages Of Yorkie Pregnancy
Here is some basic information you need to know about the different stages of a Yorkie’s pregnancy. In total, the average Yorkie gestation period ranges from 58 to 68 days.
During the first 4 weeks your Yorkie will prepare for pregnancy, and will gather items for herself. Although she might be less energetic during this period, she will use what energy she has to gather items, which is a fairly strenuous activity.
She will likely become very clingy, and her eating moods will shift from time to time. Her stomach expands and firms and her nipples will also appear.
Mid To Late Pregnancy
During the 5th to 9th week, you must take your Yorkie to a vet, so they can check up on your dog and her puppies. By this point, the vet can identify the puppies’ heartbeats and tell you how many there are.
As early as week 5, she will need more food. You need to increase how much you feed her. She needs quality dog food rich in protein and calories.
Since the puppies are developed in the stomach, you should also make sure your dog avoids activities that can strain and stress the stomach.
The Actual Delivery
This is the most emotional part for you and your dog. She will experience tremendous pain. First, her temperature will drop, as she begins to cry and vomit when her water breaks.
Once the water breaks, her puppies will be pushed out. It can take more than 2 hours for her to deliver all of them. It’s a dog’s instinct that after giving birth to her little ones, she will clean them by eating the umbilical cord attached to them, along with her placenta.
What happens after that? Read our article entitled “When Do Yorkie Puppies Start Walking?” for more insight into the first weeks of a new Yorkie’s life.
Yorkie Litter Size: Conclusion
Yorkies give birth to 2 to 5 puppies, with the average being 3 or 4. The most important thing to remember is to get professional advice from a vet if you have a pregnant dog, or you are thinking of breeding your Yorkie.
A vet will help you take care of your dog before, during, and after pregnancy. That said, you don’t need any advice to provide the number on thing your Yorkie needs: the warmth of your love and loyalty.