🦴 Updated on January 11th, 2023
It’s been a long and worthwhile two years to get my girl Nala pregnant with little to no success. Nala is a four-year-old pup who has had complications with getting pregnant. Finally, after two and a half months (gestational period), she gave birth to three beautiful Yorkie puppies.
As a veterinarian, I have experienced many dog pregnancies and understand how Yorkies pregnancy works and all the challenges that come with one. As a Yorkie owner and breeder, I have the knowledge behind what makes a successful pregnancy and litter as well.
I’m here to talk about Yorkie’s pregnancy and all the questions about what takes place before, during, and after the experience.
Although not you should always go to the vet, knowing what’s happening with your pup will save you a ton of stress and will provide you with enough tools to go through without any doubt or harm.
Yorkie Mating Period
Whether you want to breed your Yorkie or you’re a Yorkie owner who has just figured out your Yorkie is pregnant, the mating period is vital to know.
Female Yorkies become sexually mature around six months to a year. A female Yorkie is much too young to become pregnant before the age of five. The perfect time to have a female Yorkie mate is after her second heat, which should be around a year and three months of age.
Note: If your Yorkshire Terrier has not gone into heat by the age of eighteen months, this signifies health concerns and needs to go in for a checkup.
If you want to breed your Yorkie intentionally, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as:
- Weight – Ensure the female Yorkie is heavier than the male for best success at carrying her litter.
- Temperament – Puppies will inherit temperament and personalities from both parents.
- Financial Aid – Yorkie pregnancies can be expensive, as you’ll need to change diet exercise habits and ensure there are no complications during the process.
- Time – Anything can go wrong during Yorkie’s pregnancy and delivery. Ensure you have the time to dedicate to caring for your pregnant Yorkie.
- The overall health of the Yorkie parents – Any predisposition will be inherited by the puppies if the parents have health concerns such as dental issues and low blood sugar.
Yorkie mating is a fun experience; however, like any dog breeding process, you must take precautions.
Signs Your Yorkie is Ready to Mate
Like humans, each dog has their heat cycle. Generally, your dog will go into heat every six months, starting at six months old. Though, each dog is different.
Keep a schedule from the first time your Yorkie enters her first heat, and count twenty-one days after, which is the next time you’ll expect her to return to heat.
Signs that your Yorkie is in heat and ready to mate include:
- Leaking clear fluid
- Clear fluid gradually changes to cream substance a few days later
- Light pink blood leakage
- Swollen vulva
- Appetite change
When your Yorkshire Terrier begins her heat cycle, you have two to four weeks to begin the Yorkie mating process. Once your Yorkie has become successfully pregnant, You should not have her mate again until a year after she delivers her first litter of puppies.
Female Yorkies need to retire after seven years of age and should not have more than four pregnancies.
How to Know if Your Yorkie is Pregnant
Yorkie females can become pregnant the first time they mate, so if you do not want her to have puppies, it’s best to get her spayed before or after her first heat cycle. Most vets recommend having your Yorkie spayed at six months old. However, it’s safer to spay them at seven to eight months old.
A pregnant Yorkie will not show any signs of pregnancy in the first week or two; however, gradually, you’ll start to see differences in her behavior such as:
- Fatigued – sleeping more
- Decrease in appetite
- Enlarged nipples
- More grooming habits
- She’ll start making a nest for her litter – “nesting.”
As your Yorkie enters her fourth week, you’ll notice her abdomen has grown, and her appetite will increase. Nearing the delivery time, your Yorkie should be at least one pound heavier, with a maximum of 2.5 pounds heavier.
How Long Are Yorkies Pregnant?
Yorkshire Terriers are generally pregnant for sixty-three days (two months). You Yorkie will give birth from the start of the fifty-eighth day to the end of sixty-seven days. However, Yorkie pregnancy can take less or more days from the start of conception to their delivery day.
If your Yorkie is still pregnant past sixty-eight days, she is overdue and will need veterinary assistance.
It’s a good idea to bring your Yorkie in for a vet checkup about a week after you suspect Yorkie mating has taken place. The vet will be able to determine if and when she conceived, how far along she is, and when her due date will be.
Yorkie Litter Size
It is common for a Yorkie to have two to five puppies per litter. However, if your Yorkie is birthing more than five pups, there will be complications that could end in the death of a puppy or stillborn birth.
A Yorkie female should never get pregnant more than once a year, as you need to give them time for their hormones and cycle to restart after a litter.
A more experienced mother, Yorkie, will have five to six puppies. However, other factors play a significant role in the amount as well. For example, an older male Yorkie mate will inseminate more eggs than a young Yorkie.
Another factor depends on whether or not your Yorkie female has given birth before and how many puppies she had previously.
Generally speaking, if your female Yorkie had four puppies the last time, you could bet that she’ll have the same amount this time – depending on her male mate’s health and fertility.
Yorkie Pregnancy Stages
A Yorkies gestation period lasts no longer than nine weeks. Your Yorkie will develop changes quite quickly within the nine weeks of pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy stages, it’s best to take your pregnant Yorkshire Terrier to the vet every two weeks to ensure things run smoothly.
After three to four days of conception, your dog’s eggs are fertilized and lowered into the uterus at five to eleven days. No change in behavior is known at this early stage.
By day fourteen, implantation has occurred, and the first initial symptoms will show. Your dog may become moody and more affectionate during week two.
The Yorkies puppies start to grow rapidly by day 20. Although they are only 2mm in size, their essential organs such as the spine and nervous system begin to develop.
Your Yorkie may have a change in appetite during weeks three and four. The nipples and vulva changes occur leading into week four.
Your female Yorkie will have started to develop an early pregnant Yorkie belly. Her appetite will increase into week five, and her nipples will enlarge even further. Your Yorkie’s puppies will be seen on an ultrasound at this stage.
By week five, the puppies will begin to form facial structures and look like little puppies. Their sexual organs start to produce, and your Yorkie female will begin sleeping and grooming more.
Your Yorkie female’s nipples will begin to lactate as it produces milk for her young. The pups will have grown short hair needed for life outside of the womb.
By the sixth week, all fetuses will have developed their internal organs. It is essential to take your Yorkie for regular walks starting at 42 days to prepare her strength for labor and delivery.
During the sixth week, leading into the seventh week, you may notice a significant decrease in appetite as she becomes more uncomfortable and restless.
At this stage in the process, the puppies have almost grown to their full size, and your Yorkie female will have produced colostrum (puppies first milk) to prepare for after birth.
You may notice initial nesting behaviors during the seventh and eighth weeks as she prepares for her delivery.
The puppies begin to position themselves down the birth canal by day fifty-six. Your Yorkie female shows signs of early labor and more restless grooming and sleep patterns.
At this stage, the puppies can come any day.
The puppies are ready for birth. Look for signs of readiness in your pregnant Yorkshire Terrier as she’ll become anxious, restless, uncomfortable, and sometimes vocal.
Take regular temperatures – if the thermometer reads a drop in temperature from 101 F to 97 F, you can expect delivery to happen within twenty-four hours.
How to Care for Your Pregnant Yorkie
A pregnant Yorkie needs proper nutrition and a balanced exercise routine. Ensure that your Yorkie is getting good quality dog food. You don’t have to increase or decrease the amount of food she gets until week six, as it can be almost harmful to do so.
When it comes to other prenatal supplements, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids is essential to meet the increased nutrient needs. Iron, folic acid, and zinc in particular are necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Oxy Mate by Revival Animal Health provides your pup with iron, folic acid, zinc, and other micronutrients that are essential for your dog's health and the development of strong healthy newborns.
It’s never a good idea to make your pregnant Yorkie run or do any strenuous exercise during pregnancy, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Instead, take her for short walks three to four times a day.
Biweekly vet visits are recommended during the nine weeks of Yorkie pregnancy. Your vet will deworm the mother and check for intestinal parasites to ensure the puppies are healthy post-delivery.
How to Take Care of Your Yorkie During Labor
Labor will begin when there has been a drop in your Yorkie’s temperature. Signs of contractions may be whining, pacing, and decreased appetite. You can choose to have the puppies delivered at home or take them to the vet until the puppies are born.
If you choose to keep her at home, you’ll need:
- Clean towels
- Paper towels to clean the mess
- Surgical gloves
- Dental floss for tying off umbilical cords
- Sterilized scissors
- The vet’s phone number
Upon puppy arrival, you’ll notice your Yorkie panting heavily during contractions. After her water has broken, you can expect the first puppy within an hour. After each puppy, tye off or cut the umbilical cord.
What Complications To Expect During Yorkie Pregnancy and Delivery
Ensure you have your vet on call for 48 hours after the first temperature drop signifying early labor. In case of any complications, your vet will either come to your house or recommend you take them to get a caesarian. Red flags include:
- Twenty-four hours have gone by after a temperature drop, and there are no delivered puppies
- One puppy came out, but three hours later, no more has been delivered
- There is a significant amount of blood discharging from your Yorkie’s body
- A significant amount of stress symptoms, including vomiting and extreme weakness
- She is experiencing extreme pain.
Common questions about a Yorkie pregnancy include:
How Many Puppies Can a Yorkie Have?
There are a ton of factors that interfere with how many puppies do Yorkshire Terriers have. Age, health, size, weight, the number of previous litters, all influence the number of puppies. Normally, yorkies can breed between three to eight puppies.
How Many Times Can a Yorkie Get Pregnant?
A Yorkie can become pregnant about ten times in her lifetime, although this is not beneficial, and she should retire after her fourth litter. After each successful pregnancy, don’t let your Yorkie become pregnant again until after her second heat cycle.
Can a Yorkie Get Pregnant Right Away After Her First Litter?
Yes, your Yorkie will become pregnant again after her first litter of puppies. An immediate pregnancy is not beneficial to her health, so try to refrain from allowing her another mating experience.
How Long Does Delivery Take?
After the first puppy arrives, your Yorkie will deliver more puppies soon after. If you have visited the vet, you’ll likely know how many puppies are expected. Depending on the strength and energy of your Yorkie, the birthing process can take twelve to twenty-four hours to deliver all her puppies.
Bottom Line: Yorkie Pregnancy
Most of the time, a Yorkie pregnancy is smooth-sailing with little to no complications. As long as you provide your pregnant Yorkie with good quality food and light daily exercise, the pregnancy will have no complications.
Although, it’s best to keep a vet on-call throughout the nine weeks of her pregnancy as a just-in-case method. Ensure that your Yorkie trusts you, and you’ll both have a joyful experience.