How Long Do Yorkies Stay in Heat? Learn All About Cycles, Symptoms, and More!

🦴 Updated on July 16th, 2023


If you have a female Yorkie, you probably wonder how long it’ll be before she’s in heat. How long do Yorkies stay in heat? Is it uncomfortable, and what should you do to make it easier on your pup? 

To keep your Yorkshire pup comfortable and safe during heat, you need to know the signs and symptoms of heat. If you aren’t planning on breeding your Yorkie, it will be safer and easier for you to get her spayed before her first heat. This is best for the long-term health of your Yorkie. 

However, if you’re planning on having Yorkie puppies eventually, you’ll want to keep your Yorkie safe while she’s in heat. Here are the details on a Yorkie’s heat cycle, how to care for your Yorkie while she’s in heat, and the best practice for Yorkie heat. Hopefully, you’ll learn something! 

How Long Do Yorkies Stay in Heat? 

Yorkies are in heat for two to four weeks. They are susceptible to pregnancies during this time, and they need extra protection against the male dogs around them. Dogs in heat put off a strong smell, and male dogs will come from blocks around to try to mate with your dog. 

Keep your Yorkshire Terrier away from unneutered male dogs while it’s in heat. Unless you’re planning on breeding your dog, you don’t want a litter of puppies. If your dog is very young or older than four years old, avoid male dogs. It’s dangerous for a small dog to give birth outside of the prime littering age. 

Although Yorkies stay in heat anywhere from two to four weeks, they don’t always have discharge this whole time. The discharge is usually strongest before the peak fertility, so don’t let your pup loose just because you’re not cleaning up blood anymore. Generally, it’s safe to let your dog socialize after a full four weeks. 

You’ll know if you allow your Yorkie around male dogs, and she’s still in heat. Even fixed male dogs will seem to go crazy around a dog in heat, yapping and showing off and trying to get near her. Protect your pup from too many advances by keeping her safe with you until she finishes. 

How Often Do Yorkies Go Into Heat? 

When do Yorkies go into heat? Yorkies go into heat every 5-8 months. This varies, depending on the age and health of the dog. Even 10- and 15-year-old dogs can get pregnant and give birth, even though it’s too much stress on their body and unhealthy. However, dogs don’t go through menopause the same way humans do.

If your dog is unspayed, she will go into heat about twice a year from when she’s a new puppy (between 6 and 14 months) until she dies. While it’s not comfortable for a dog to be in heat, they usually don’t mind and will go about their normal business. The mess is the biggest hassle of a dog in heat. 

While a healthy dog will go into heat every six months or so, your dog might have some health issues if she’s more irregular than that. Check with a veterinarian if you’re worried about your pup’s fertility. It’s crucial to have a professional familiar with your dog’s cycles.

What is the Yorkie Heat Cycle? 

The heat cycle of a Yorkie is different from that of a human woman. The cycle begins with 6-8 months of regular health when the dog can’t conceive and takes part in normal life. Because Yorkshire Terriers are fertile during their bleeding time, it’s easy to tell when the best time for conception is. 

However, as the hormone levels rise, a Yorkie’s body gets ready to conceive. The vagina and vulva will start to swell, and the dog will begin bleeding a little. The dog might become more aggressive or protective over her spaces and toys during this shift. 

The fertile part of a Yorkie’s cycle is generally from 10-14 days after the bleeding starts. During this time, the dog becomes more docile and willing to let other dogs (especially males) come closer to her to mate. Her vulva is less swollen and lighter pink. The discharge might be light pink or clear. 

After the fertility window closes, the entire process starts again. If the Yorkie mating doesn’t happen or the dog doesn’t get pregnant, she’ll live life as usual for 5-8 months until the next heat cycle. A pregnant Yorkie will give birth in about six weeks and continue until her next heat. 

How Can I Tell When My Yorkie is in Heat? 

If you aren’t sure whether your dog is in heat, there are a few ways to find out for sure. Some dead giveaway signs are the bloody discharge that will follow your pup around (usually drops on the floor behind her) and the behavior of other dogs around her. These are clear signs that your Yorkie is in heat. 

Yorkshire Terriers don’t gush blood–usually, the discharge consists of occasional drops. It might be hard to notice at first, but you’ll eventually see a spot on the floor and realize what’s happening. Other signs of heat include a swollen, dark vulva and the dog’s behavior. 

If you regularly walk your dog near other dogs, you’ll be able to tell that she’s in heat by how the male dogs react. Even fixed male dogs will smell her hormones and do their best to get to her. It’s in their genes–just prepare to go on walks with lots of howling and barking neighbors for a few weeks. 

There are other behavioral and physical symptoms to look out for, which we’ll list below. However, the signature traits of a dog’s heat are how other dogs react to your Yorkie and the drops of blood she’s leaving behind. 

Yorkies In Heat Symptoms

Small dogs like Yorkies don’t bleed nearly as much as bigger dogs do, but they still have obvious symptoms of being in heat. If your pet Yorkie is acting strangely and you don’t know why then look for these signs in your dog: 

  • Enlarged, purple, swollen looking vulva
  • Discharge (especially blood)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased appetite
  • Licking her vulva area
  • Male dogs going wild around her
  • Increased moodiness or irritability
  • Nesting or hoarding behaviors

If your Yorkshire Terrier starts to make a nest of her favorite toys, pillows, or blankets, she is likely becoming fertile. Even calm pups will become territorial over their belongings; it’s a natural and temporary shift. Her mothering instinct is kicking in, and there’s nothing to do about it but wait it out! 

How to Take Care of a Yorkie in Heat

If your Yorkie is in heat and you’ve never experienced it before, it can be a bit alarming. Your dog is suddenly bleeding and acting very tired, and you might not be sure what to do. Well, don’t worry. It’s simple to take care of a Yorkie in heat. Here’s how! 

First of all, you want to make sure that your dog is comfortable. If she’s in pain or discomfort, it’s not going to be a pleasant two weeks for anyone in the house. However, being in heat shouldn’t hurt dogs too much.

If you don’t want to follow your dog around catching drops of blood, you can invest in doggy diapers. They are usually for dogs in heat, older dogs, and sick dogs who struggle with bowel control. These diapers might look silly, but they will save your carpet a great deal of washing (they’re also machine washable).

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The key thing to do while your dog is in heat is to make sure she’s safe. As we’ve said before, male dogs will do their best to mate with your pup, even if she’s a different breed or size than them. It’s your job to ensure that the breeding is either done responsibly and intentionally or not at all. 

As long as your dog is safe, comfortable, and relatively mess-free, you will get through her period without any problem. Once you’ve done it once, it becomes much easier. Every consecutive time will become part of your pet care routine. 

Should I Spay My Yorkie? 

If you aren’t planning on breeding your dog, you should spay her before her first heat. It will save you a lot of time and energy cleaning up her mess and be healthier for your dog in the long run. 

Leaving your dog unspayed carries more than the risk of unwanted puppies. It also causes an increased chance of ovarian cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and repeated urinary tract infections in your pet. If you want your pup to live a long and healthy life with no pups, it’s best to spay her as soon as possible. 

Once you spay or neuter a dog, the hormone levels change drastically. You won’t see as much nesting behavior, but your Yorkie might be a little more clingy and protective of you. However, the general aggression levels decrease after spaying surgery. 

Vets recommend spaying your dogs at about 6 months of age to prevent unwanted pregnancies and health complications later on. If you decide you want to breed your Yorkshire Terrier, you should spay her after her last litter to prevent ovarian cancer and early death. 

How Old Can Yorkies Have Heats? 

Yorkies can have heats and give birth up until they die. Unlike humans, they don’t have any sort of menopause. This is why spaying at a young age or once the pup is done being a momma is so important. The health risks are too great for an advanced pregnancy, especially in such a small dog. 

Dogs should only have litters between the ages of 1 and 4 (and they shouldn’t have more than 4 litters maximum). A responsible breeder will follow this maxim with all of the pets in their care. Puppies with older parents can have birth defects, a higher risk of death, and congenital issues. 

If you are planning to breed your dog, make sure that your breeder or an advisor runs the system ethically and well. Breeding is not an inherently bad thing – there are many responsible breeders in America. However, pets and pet owners lose out when animals are bred abusively. 

Final Thoughts

Yorkies have heats twice a year, and the heats last up to four weeks. While you should spay or neuter your pets if you don’t want puppies, knowing about the heat cycle is a great way to keep your terrier safe from other dogs and unwanted pregnancies. 

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Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.