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How Many Puppies Can A Yorkie Have? What Determines The Litter Size?

How Many Puppies Can A Yorkie Have? What Determines The Litter Size?

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Dogs are truly man’s best friend and can be a blessing to any family. No matter the size, small dogs and big dogs can equally bring joy to whoever chooses to introduce them into their lives.

However, some dogs may want to have a family of their own at some point in their lives and spread even more joy in the world by birthing some of the cutest balls of fur in the animal kingdom.

The Yorkshire terriers are no exception. This dog breed is one of the cutest you will ever set your eyes on. No wonder they are the second most common breed of small dogs in the world.

They are easy to manage, extremely friendly, and cute as a button. They are often referred to as therapy dogs and can be really helpful to senior citizens or people going through hard times in their lives.

But, they are also a wonderful addition to any individual or family who is willing to provide a home for a Yorkie. However, there are slight differences in the amount of care you have to provide between male and female Yorkies.

When it comes to breeding, males tend to have a little less work cut out for them. Females, on the other hand, need a bit more care and consideration.

If you are the owner of a female Yorkie and are thinking of breeding her, there are certain things you should know.

Yorkies are small, and sometimes their bodies find handling pregnancy difficult. But do not be alarmed by this.

By reading this article, you will learn everything you need to know about a Yorkie pregnancy and all the things you should and should not do.

First, let’s take a look at all the things that can influence the number of puppies in a Yorkshire terrier litter.

Factors that can influence Yorkshire terriers and pregnancy

pregnant yorkshire pet placed inside a basket with knitted cloth on pink background

Age of the female Yorkie

No matter how big or small a dog is, age is one of the most determining factors in how many puppies there will be in a litter.

If a dog has signs of maturity but is still a puppy, she is likely to have a single puppy in her litter. This is often also the case for older dogs of five years and above.

However, a youthful Yorkie in her prime can have as many as three to five puppies in one litter. This is because, in its prime mature youth, a Yorkie’s body can handle a larger number of puppies without any complications.

Overall physical state

Another important factor in determining the size of a litter is the dog’s physical condition. If your Yorkie is healthy and her vital signs are in check, she is more likely to have a healthy number of pups.

This is attributed to her having the stamina and sufficient nutrients to carry out the pregnancy and sustain as many puppies as her body allows.

However, if your Yorkie is suffering from illnesses such as mammary or ovarian cancer, she may not be in the best medical condition to deal with a large number of puppies.

Even a pregnancy with one or two pups can be an impossible challenge for a Yorkie with these conditions.

Your dog’s physical fitness also plays a big role in how her pregnancy and labor will go. If your Yorkie had plenty of exercise and afternoon walks, you could expect things to go smoothly and that her body will be capable of carrying more puppies.

On the other hand, if she hasn’t seen much of the outdoors and was mostly found on the couch, she will be physically exhausted by carrying four or five puppies.

One more thing to note is that Yorkies tend to suffer from a condition called patellar luxation. This condition can cause the dog’s kneecaps to move out of place. If your dog suffers from this condition, pregnancy is not recommended.

Previous pregnancies

Pregnancy can be a tiresome event for both humans as well as dogs. This process takes a toll on your dog physically and on its energy, physique, proteins, and minerals, especially when carrying a larger number of offspring.

Generally, by looking at a previous pregnancy, you can make an educated guess on how many puppies the next pregnancy will have.

Regardless of whether we are talking about a small breed or a large one, if the previous pregnancy resulted in a large litter, the next one might be just one or two.

Yorkie pregnancy

Photo from: @yorkiesbythebay

This also works in reverse. Meaning that if your dog had a small number of puppies last time, the next pregnancy might include a bunch of them.


The type of food you give to your Yorkie will greatly affect the quality of her life and her ability to carry more puppies at a time. If you feed your dog mostly foods with grains and foods full of starch, the only effect it will have is her getting fat.

This is not a good kind of fat, though, and instead and she will have a fewer number of puppies as her body will lack the physical energy needed for multiple pregnancies.

Keep in mind that pregnancy is a crucial stage in a dog’s life. During this time, your dog is taking care of more than two lives, and that is why it’s important to feed her plenty of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and salts.

Proteins are vital for building mass, while salts and minerals are needed to strengthen the bones, and vitamins are necessary for immune protection. Try to feed your dog foods rich in these nutrients and any other nutrients your veterinarian suggests.

Size of the dog

Looking at the dog’s size can help you figure out how many puppies will be in an average litter. If the dog is a large breed like a Bernese mountain dog or similar, she will likely have around twenty puppies.

On the other hand, in a best-case scenario, a small breed like a Yorkie will have five youngsters. For middle-sized pooches, the number may vary between the two.

Even though it is highly unusual, your terrier might surprise you with even more than five puppies in her belly, so make sure you give her all the care and love she needs.

Additional advice

Even though using the previous factors can roughly determine the size of the litter, it is not precise. The best way to do this is to take your Yorkie to the vet.

The vet can feel for babies in her belly at a certain stage in her gestation period. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t touch her womb or belly yourself as you might end up injuring the mother or her babies.

Furthermore, the vet has the necessary equipment and knowledge to conduct an ultrasound scan on your doggie. These scans are often the most precise way of determining the number of pups you can expect.

What to expect during a multiple pregnancy term

female yorkshire dressed with orange dress inside the house

After seeing all the factors that influence your canine bestie’s litter number, another thing to know is what you can expect from her during pregnancy.

A Yorkie’s pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in her life since she is preparing to be a mother. However, this period doesn’t last long, and knowing how far your dog is in her pregnancy will help you prepare for smooth and safe delivery.

How fertile are Yorkshire terriers?

Most dog breeds are very fertile, and Yorkies are no exception. These little dogs can even get pregnant the first time they mate.

So, if you don’t plan to have little Yorkies running around, it is recommended that you get your dog spayed. Spaying your dog goes a lot further than just preventing pregnancy. By doing this, you significantly reduce the risk of your pooch contracting ovarian cancer.

It is best to spay your dog before her first heat because otherwise, it will be a tough task keeping male Yorkies off your loved one.

How long does a Yorkie’s multiple-pregnancy last?

All dogs take around sixty-three days on average to reach full term. But, anything between fifty-eight and sixty-eight days is considered normal for a small dog breed.

Be that as it may, if sixty-seven days pass and your Yorkie still hasn’t delivered, be sure to contact your vet.

Signs of a multiple-pregnancy in your Yorkie

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when a dog is pregnant. Perhaps your Yorkie sneaked out, or a stray dog wandered into your yard when she was on heat.

In these cases, it is hard for a Yorkie owner to know the exact time the mating occurred and whether their dog is indeed pregnant.

To clear all of this up, one option is to take your dog to the vet, which will result in an x-ray scan or an ultrasound. However, these scans only work in telling if your dog is pregnant when she is far enough in her first trimester.

Because this might be later than you may think, the other option is to perform a blood test. This test will clearly tell you if your Yorkie is in her third week of pregnancy or later.

All of this being said, some early indicators can help you figure out if your dog is likely to be pregnant with a high number of puppies. These indicators include:

•  Sleeping most of the time with less activity than usual.

•  Her stomach becomes firm.

•  Your Yorkie’s nipples become larger in a short period of time.

•  The hidden nipples on your dog become more visible with each passing day or week.

•  Your pooch may begin grooming herself more than usual.

•  Also, she may start nesting. This means she will gather items that make her comfortable to get ready for delivery.

Later indicators of pregnancy may include:

•  Your dog’s abdomen will get bigger as she transitions from week three to four.

•  The appetite of your Yorkie will greatly increase as she will be eating for two or more.

•  She may gain up to thirty percent of her ideal body weight.

Things to keep a note of:

•  The best way to determine a Yorkie’s multiple-pregnancy is at the vet through a blood test that should be accurate by her third week.

•  The best time to check for any abnormalities within the fetus is by getting an ultrasound by day twenty-two of her pregnancy.

•  The best way to figure out how many puppies your Yorkie is likely to have is to do an x-ray on day forty-five. This will give the most precise results.

A Yorkie’s Pregnancy Stages

female yorkshire terrier walking outdoors with green grasses and plants

Canine pregnancies move at a much faster pace than humans. It takes only sixty-three days on average for a dog to deliver her babies, compared to the nine months of a human.

You need to know that each week of a Yorkie’s pregnancy will develop many new symptoms. Remember to take extra care during this time as she prepares for delivery.

They are a delicate and small breed and will need all the love and attention you can give them, including trips to the vet.

Here is some guidance on what to expect during a Yorkie’s pregnancy.

Early pregnancy – week one to four

During this period of her pregnancy, you can expect the following:

•  Rapid growth will occur, and previously hidden nipples will appear.

•  Periods of varying moods.

•  She will seem much less energetic.

•  She will be clingy during the first weeks.

•  Her stomach will probably expand.

•  Her stomach might appear more firm than usual.

•  She will exhibit nesting behavior.

It is recommended that you provide your pooch with plenty of exercise, but keep a close eye on her.

Mid to late pregnancy – week five to nine

During this period, more accurately around the twenty-eighth day of gestation, the vet can check the heart rates to see if the puppies are formed in the belly. This can be determined more accurately using an ultrasound.

When she enters week five, it is recommended that you increase the amount of food your dog eats. Apart from giving her more food, you should also try to give her food rich in calories, so she has the necessary energy.

At this stage, you should lower her exercise time and avoid rough play or jumping as her puppies are already developed.

During the seventh week of her term, the puppies will begin to move inside her womb. This will be a thrilling experience for you and your dog, although she might be a little confused.

As the due date approaches, it is time to begin final preparations. If you plan on having the puppies at your home, stick with this article, and we will provide all the necessary information you need.

Due date

This is the last stop – the delivery of her puppies. Unless you are an experienced dog breeder, it is recommended that the delivery (whelping) occurs at a clinic, but it isn’t necessary.

The first sign of labor is that your Yorkie’s temperature drops below 37.77 degrees Celsius. When this happens, the birth is likely to happen within twenty-four hours. In this period, the future mother might begin to cry or vomit, so be prepared to comfort her.

Once the dog’s water breaks, each puppy will be pushed out in its own gestational sac consecutively within two hours. The mother will burst each sac so she can clean up her young.

You should be prepared to see your dog eat the umbilical cord. This is her instincts kicking in, and don’t forget about the placenta that will emerge after the delivery of all the pups.

If you decide to deliver at home, and after your dog’s temperature drops and she still hasn’t started vomiting or showing signs of delivery, it is best to contact your vet immediately.

Complications may happen in a matter of seconds if the mother or the pups don’t get proper care at the right time.

What are the signs of labor?

The most common signs by which you can detect if your dog is going into labor are the following:

•  The pregnancy should not exceed the seventy-day mark. If this happens, you should rush your dog to the vet.

•  Your canine’s temperature should drop slightly below the normal level one week before delivery.

•  A dog’s normal temperature varies between 38.3 and 39.17 degrees Celsius. When your pet’s temperature drops below 37.77 degrees, you can expect delivery within twenty-four hours.

•  Normally, a dog’s mood swings increase just before she is due to give birth. During these mood swings, she might try to hide and withdraw from you. But, don’t let that get to you. This is the time she needs you the most.

•  The most common and the easiest symptoms to detect are crying, vomiting, and refusing to eat. As the contractions increase during labor, so will the amount of crying and whining. So be prepared to tough it out with her.

How should you help your Yorkie deliver her puppies?

newboarn little puppy of yorkshire delivered and held by a veterinarian inside the house

Delivering (whelping) the pups at home is recommended for experienced breeders, but it can be done by anyone willing to learn a few things and stick to them.

Here are some things to know on how to help your doggie through the delivery:

•  The basics

You should provide your dog with a whelping box or a canine bed. A whelping box can be bought or made at home, but one side should be cut to allow it to “flap down.”

This makes it easier for your dog to get in and out. A canine bed is a regular bed for dogs lined with a soft cloth and cushions.

•  Before the delivery

Try to find a suitable corner in your home where the whelping can occur without any external interference. It goes without saying that if you have any other male dogs, they should be kept away from the delivery in another room.

We recommend putting a few layers of clean newspapers below the whelping box, and around the corner you chose for the delivery. Some older, comfortable clothing should also do the trick.

This can help your dog feel more comfortable, but the main purpose is to keep the area clean. The delivery will be messy, and blood, along with other bodily fluids, will be all over.

•  During the delivery

As your dog delivers, her puppies will come out one after the other. In some cases, the time it takes for one puppy to come out after the last one can take up to two hours. You need to be patient and comfort your Yorkie during this process.

As the pups come out, you are responsible for putting the older pups aside safely to make space for the incoming ones.

•  After the delivery

After the puppies come out, the Yorkie mother will eat the umbilical cord and lick the blood and mucus off her younglings, as we already mentioned.

Once they are all out of the womb, you have to nurse them because your dog will be too tired at that time.

Try to wrap them up in the clothes or towels you prepared to make them feel safe and warm. Also, keep the area clean, so they sleep in a soft and dry environment.

How to care for your Yorkie after she gives birth

yorkshire terrier enjoying a clean bath at the tub with pink head cap

•  Bathe your dog

Almost immediately after she finishes delivering her young, she should be given a bath to clean the mucus and blood away. Give her plenty of time to rest with her litter on soft and dry towels or clothing.

Good hygiene is crucial for both the puppies and their mother to prevent the possibility of infection and disease.

•  Give her everything she needs

After she delivers, she will be too tired for anything but sleeping and napping. This period differs from dog to dog, but she will exhibit her normal behavior after some time and will want to eat and drink.

You should feed the mother several times a day, and bowls containing food and water should be nearby for whenever she gets hungry.

Foods like scrambled eggs, raw cheese, and cottage cheese are recommended as a great source of protein.

•  Keep an eye on fluid discharge

Fluid discharge often accompanies the post-pregnancy period. In most cases, this is normal. The discharge will be pinkish-brown in color and odorless.

However, if there is pale, gray, and smelly fluid, you should immediately take your dog to the vet. This fluid is a sign of uterine infection or retained infected placenta, and it should be treated immediately.

•  Watch out for eclampsia

Eclampsia is one of the most common infections. It is also known as milk fever and can occur after delivery because of a decrease in the calcium levels in a dog’s body.

The symptoms of eclampsia include anxiety, muscle tremors, restlessness, dilated pupils, and others.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you must take your dog to a vet. If untreated, this infection can lead to collapse, convulsions, and in the worst case, death.

How to care for your Yorkie’s puppies

cute yorkshire puppies inside a basket with blurred nature as background

Nursing her puppies is as important as nursing the mother herself. Read on to learn how to do it.

•  The first three weeks

Once the mother regains her strength, she will take care of the puppies for the next three or four weeks. But, in some cases, it is up to you to bottle feed the pups if the mother is still weak and needs time to recover.

Taking good care of puppies in the first three weeks is essential to avoid hypoglycemia. The whelping box should be kept clean at all times. The newspapers and cloth you provide should also be replaced regularly.

During this period of their lives, Yorkie puppies should be given their first de-worming medicine. But you shouldn’t do this on your own, so be sure to consult your vet.

•  Week four to week five

By this time, the pups should open their eyes and develop a sense of smell. They will become more active, and you should play with them as much as possible because socialization is an important part of their growth.

During this period, they should be given their second de-worming medicine but again, not before consulting your vet. Also, you should trim their nails regularly at this point.

•  Week six

In this time of their lives, puppies should be given more puppy food instead of only drinking their mother’s milk. Their teeth will start growing, and you need to provide them with soft toys to chew on.

Exploring the house is something you can’t prevent as puppies are eager to know their surroundings. However, you can puppy-proof your home to avoid any accidents.

•  Week seven

During this week, the puppies should receive their first vaccines. Vaccinations are essential as they keep the puppies safe from diseases like parainfluenza, hepatitis, and rabies.

How many litters can your Yorkie have?

cute adorned yorkie looking thru the door

Many respectable breeders state that both male and female Yorkies should only breed when they are two years or older.

Waiting until the dog is about two years of age ensures that any possible genetic problems would have already shown.

If you breed your dog before this period when it is not fully mature, some genetic or health problems that they might have in the future may not have had time to manifest.

Because of their small bodies, female Yorkies can have a tough time with the delivery of their puppies. This is the reason some experts suggest that this breed should only be bred twice a year.

This, however, should be limited to one litter per year if you notice that your dog had a hard time recovering from the previous delivery of her puppies.

While this goes for the females of this breed, males have no such problems and can be bred four times a year.

It is safe to breed a female Yorkie starting from her second heat cycle to when she is about five years old. In some cases, Yorkies can be bred until they are seven years old, but these cases are rather rare.

Limiting the number of litters your dog has per year can help prevent serious health issues that can come up in both the mother and her pups.

There are different answers to “how many litters can a Yorkie have?” and there are different experiences. At the end of the day, it depends on your dog’s health and how much time you can dedicate to your pet.

Yorkies are known to require lots of human affection and interaction to stay healthy and happy.

How many puppies can a Teacup Yorkie have?

teacup yorkshire puppy inside a big teacup adorned with blue stones and twigs

Even though Teacup Yorkies don’t fit the Yorkshire terrier breed standard of the American Kennel Club, they are still loved by many.

The AKC standard for Yorkshire terriers states that they must weigh at least four pounds in adulthood, but Teacup Yorkies usually weigh less.

Now, generally, the smaller the dog, the less of a litter it can have, but with Teacup Yorkies, breeding them might not be a good idea, as we will explain.

Teacup Yorkies are the result of breeding undersized or runt Yorkshire terriers. This leads to numerous health problems like fragile bones, collapsed tracheas, or hypoglycemia.

Because of this, responsible breeders do not create Teacup Yorkies deliberately.

That being said, there are Teacup Yorkies all around us, and we are here to inform you about their litter size.

Toy breeds like these have an average litter size of 3.3 pups. Because of their small size, their pups are also little which means they carry the same amount of pups on average as regular Yorkshire terriers.

This number ranges between two and five pups per litter.

Let’s review what we learned

Yorkshire terriers are a fascinating dog breed. They are charming, playful, and cute as dogs come.

When it comes to answering, “how many puppies can a Yorkie have?” We learned that it depends on multiple factors. Those factors can be:

•  The physical state of your Yorkie

•  Previous pregnancies

•  Overall health

And many more.

We also learned what you can expect from a Yorkie’s pregnancy term and the stages of pregnancy.

For the delivery itself, we now know that the best signs to look for are temperature drops as well as vomiting, crying, and visible behavioral changes.

You are now equipped with the knowledge of how to help your dog during delivery and how to care for her after she births her pups.

The necessary skills for taking care of the puppies are now also under your belt, and you should be ready for any challenge that may come along the way.

Remember that it is recommended that the delivery of your dog’s pups is done at a veterinary clinic, but even if you decide to do it at your home, you have all the knowledge it requires.

Best of luck to you and the future mom of healthy pups!

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