Yorkshire Terrier happily posing alongside its owner.

Can a Yorkie Live 20 Years?

Key Takeaways:

  • Yorkies have an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years.
  • With proper care and a healthy lifestyle, some Yorkies can live up to 20 years.
  • Factors like genetics, diet, exercise, and veterinary care play a role in a Yorkie’s lifespan.
  • While it’s possible, reaching 20 years of age is not common for most Yorkies.

Imagine having a furry companion by your side for two decades. Sounds like a dream come true, right?

Well, it might not be as far-fetched as you think.

Today, I want to discuss the fascinating topic of a Yorkie’s lifespan and whether they have the potential to live up to 20 years. As someone who has owned Yorkies for several years, I can attest to their incredible resilience and longevity.

But what factors contribute to their lifespan, and how can we help them achieve those golden years?

Stay tuned as we dive into the world of these small but mighty dogs and explore ways to ensure they live their best and longest lives possible.

Average Lifespan15-20 years10-15 years
Health FactorsEarly detection and treatment of health issuesPotential for genetic health problems
SizeSmall breed, less strain on joints and organsPotential for genetic health problems
ExerciseModerate exercise needsMay have difficulty with excessive exercise
WeightProper diet and weight managementPotential for obesity-related health issues
EnvironmentLivewire environment affects longevityCan be susceptible to stress-related health issues

Factors that Influence a Yorkie’s Lifespan


The genetics of a Yorkie play a significant role in determining its lifespan. Genes passed down from its parents can influence its overall health and susceptibility to certain diseases.

Some Yorkies may inherit genetic conditions that can shorten their lifespan, while others may have a predisposition to longer life.

Responsible breeding practices that prioritize the health and longevity of the breed can help reduce the likelihood of inherited health issues. However, it’s important to note that genetics is just one factor among many that influence a Yorkie’s lifespan.

Playful Yorkie sitting in the grass.
Age-defying Yorkie

Size and Weight

The size and weight of a Yorkie can play a role in their lifespan. Generally, Yorkies are small dogs, with an average weight ranging from 4 to 7 pounds.

However, it’s important to note that there can be variations within the breed.

Some Yorkies may be smaller or larger than the average size. Size and weight can influence a Yorkie’s lifespan in a few ways.

Smaller size often means fewer health issues, as small dogs tend to have fewer joint problems and are less prone to obesity-related conditions.

Additionally, smaller dogs require less food and are generally easier to care for. On the other hand, larger Yorkies may be more prone to certain health issues.

They may experience joint problems or be at a higher risk for obesity-related conditions if their weight is not properly managed.

Overall, it is important to maintain a healthy weight for your Yorkie, regardless of their size. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and portion control can help keep your furry friend at a healthy weight and promote longevity.

Also, keeping an eye on any changes in weight and seeking veterinary care if necessary can ensure your Yorkie’s well-being and potentially extend their lifespan.

Overall Health and Care

To ensure your Yorkie has the best chance of living a long and healthy life, overall health and care are essential. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Diet and Nutrition: Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for your Yorkie’s health. Feed them high-quality dog food that meets their specific nutritional needs and avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity.
  • Regular Exercise: Yorkies may be small, but they still need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and keep their muscles strong. Take them for daily walks or play interactive games to keep them active and engaged.
  • Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are vital for monitoring your Yorkie’s overall health. Ensure they receive necessary vaccinations, preventative medications, and screenings for common health issues.
  • Dental Care: Yorkies are prone to dental problems, so it’s important to establish a dental care routine early on. Brush their teeth regularly and provide dental chews or toys to promote good oral hygiene.
  • Grooming: Yorkies have long, luxurious coats that require regular grooming. Brush their fur daily to prevent tangles and mats, and don’t forget to trim their nails and clean their ears regularly.
  • Stress-Free Environment: Creating a calm and stress-free environment for your Yorkie is vital for their overall well-being. Avoid exposing them to loud noises, excessive heat or cold, and ensure they have a safe and comfortable space to rest.

By prioritizing your Yorkie’s overall health and implementing these care practices, you can significantly improve their quality of life and increase their chances of living a long and happy life.

Average Lifespan of a Yorkie

Typical Lifespan Range

The typical lifespan range for a Yorkie is around 12 to 15 years. However, it’s important to remember that individual dogs may live shorter or longer lives depending on various factors.

Providing proper care, nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups can help increase your Yorkie’s chances of living a longer and healthier life.

It’s also crucial to be aware of common health issues that affect this breed, so you can take preventive measures and seek prompt treatment if needed. By understanding the typical lifespan range and taking proactive steps, you can ensure your Yorkie has the best chance for a long and happy life.

Potential Lifespan Extenders

Some potential lifespan extenders for Yorkies include proper nutrition and a balanced diet, regular exercise and mental stimulation, routine veterinary care, grooming and dental care, and creating a safe and stress-free environment. Providing your Yorkie with a healthy and nutritious diet can help support their overall health and longevity.

Regular exercise and mental stimulation can keep them active and prevent obesity.

Routine veterinary care and vaccinations are essential to catch any potential health issues early on. Grooming and dental care can help maintain their hygiene and prevent dental problems.

Creating a safe and stress-free environment can reduce their exposure to harmful toxins and minimize stress-related health issues.

Adorable Yorkie Puppy
Adorable Yorkie Lifespan

Tips for Increasing Your Yorkie’s Lifespan

Proper Nutrition and Diet

Proper nutrition and diet play a significant role in enhancing the lifespan of your Yorkie. Here are some key points to consider:

  • High-quality dog food: Opt for a well-balanced, premium dog food formulated specifically for small breed dogs like Yorkies. Look for a brand that uses real meat as the main ingredient and avoids fillers, artificial preservatives, and by-products.
  • Small and frequent meals: Yorkies have high metabolism, so it’s best to feed them small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals. This helps prevent digestive issues and keeps their blood sugar levels stable.
  • Portion control: Yorkies are prone to weight gain, which can lead to various health problems. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overfeeding. Your veterinarian can guide you on the appropriate portion sizes based on your Yorkie’s age, weight, and activity level.
  • Avoid harmful foods: Certain human foods are toxic to dogs and can have serious consequences for their health. Avoid feeding your Yorkie foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, and anything containing xylitol.
  • Adequate hydration: Make sure your Yorkie always has access to fresh, clean water. Dehydration can lead to various health issues, so make it a habit to keep their water bowl filled.
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Remember, every dog is unique, and their dietary needs may vary. Consult with your veterinarian to create a customized nutrition plan that suits your Yorkie’s age, weight, and specific health needs.

Adorable Yorkshire Terrier
Loving Lapdog Lifespan

Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Regular exercise and mental stimulation are vital for increasing the lifespan of your Yorkie. These activities help keep them physically fit and mentally sharp.

When it comes to exercise, make sure your Yorkie gets regular walks and playtime.

This not only keeps them physically active but also helps prevent obesity, which can lead to various health issues. Engaging in activities such as fetch or puzzle toys provides mental stimulation and keeps their minds active.

Additionally, consider incorporating training sessions to challenge their intelligence and keep them engaged.

By providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, you can help ensure a long, healthy life for your Yorkie.

Routine Veterinary Care and Vaccinations

Routine veterinary care and vaccinations are essential for ensuring the long and healthy life of your Yorkie. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian allow for early detection and treatment of any health issues.

This includes dental exams, blood work, and screenings for common conditions in Yorkies.

Vaccinations are another crucial aspect of routine care. They help protect your Yorkie from potentially harmful and often preventable diseases.

Common vaccinations for Yorkies include those for rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus.

By scheduling regular veterinary visits and staying up-to-date on vaccinations, you are taking proactive steps to keep your Yorkie healthy and happy. Your veterinarian can provide personalized recommendations and develop a care plan tailored to your Yorkie’s specific needs.

Regular veterinary care and vaccinations should be seen as an ongoing commitment throughout your Yorkie’s life.

It’s important to remember that prevention is key when it comes to your pet’s health, and routine care plays a significant role in achieving that goal.

Grooming and Dental Care

Grooming and dental care are important aspects of keeping your Yorkie healthy and happy. Regular grooming helps to keep their coat clean and free from mats or tangles.

Brushing their fur a few times a week helps to prevent shedding and keeps their skin and coat in good condition.

In addition to grooming their fur, it is crucial to pay attention to your Yorkie’s dental health. Dental care is important for preventing dental disease, which is common in small breeds like Yorkies.

Brushing your Yorkie’s teeth regularly using a dog-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush helps to remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Aside from brushing, it is also important to provide your Yorkie with dental chews or toys that help to remove plaque and freshen their breath. Regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian are also essential for detecting any dental issues early on and addressing them promptly.

By maintaining good grooming habits and taking care of your Yorkie’s dental health, you are ensuring their overall well-being and increasing their chances of living a long and healthy life.

Safe and Stress-Free Environment

Creating a safe and stress-free environment is vital for increasing your Yorkie’s lifespan. Here are some tips to ensure your furry friend feels secure and happy:

  • Provide a cozy and comfortable living space: Make sure your Yorkie has a designated area that includes a soft bed, toys, and a safe place to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed.
  • Keep toxic substances out of reach: Yorkies can be curious and may accidentally ingest harmful substances. Store household cleaners, medications, and other toxic substances in secure cabinets or high shelves.
  • Minimize loud noises and sudden movements: Yorkies can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, which can cause stress and anxiety. Avoid loud music or TV volumes and create a calm and peaceful environment.
  • Establish a predictable routine: Yorkies thrive on routine and structure. Establish a daily schedule for meals, walks, playtime, and bedtime. This will help your Yorkie feel secure and reduce stress.
  • Provide social interaction and mental stimulation: Yorkies are social animals and need regular interaction and mental stimulation. Spend quality time with your Yorkie, engage in playtime, and provide puzzle toys or interactive games to keep their minds active.
  • Ensure a secure and escape-proof yard: If you have a yard, ensure it is securely fenced so that your Yorkie cannot escape or come into contact with dangerous objects or animals.
  • Avoid excessive heat or cold: Yorkies are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Avoid leaving them outside for extended periods in hot or cold weather. Provide a cool and shaded area during hot weather and warm blankets during cold weather.

Common Health Issues in Yorkies

Dental Problems

Dental problems are a common issue in Yorkies. Their small mouths and overcrowded teeth make them more prone to dental issues.

Some common dental problems in Yorkies include tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar buildup.

These problems can lead to bad breath, pain, difficulty eating, and even tooth loss. It’s essential to take care of your Yorkie’s dental health by brushing their teeth regularly and providing them with appropriate chew toys.

Regular dental check-ups with a veterinarian are also important to detect and treat any dental issues early on.


Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common health issue that can affect Yorkies. It occurs when their blood sugar levels drop below normal, which can lead to weakness, shakiness, confusion, and even seizures if left untreated.

To prevent hypoglycemia in your Yorkie, it’s important to provide them with frequent small meals throughout the day.

Feeding them high-quality dog food that is balanced in nutrients is crucial to maintaining their blood sugar levels. You should also avoid giving them sugary treats or human foods that can cause a sudden spike and drop in their blood sugar.

If you notice any symptoms of hypoglycemia in your Yorkie, it’s important to act quickly.

You can try giving them a small amount of honey or a sugary solution to raise their blood sugar levels. However, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian for proper guidance and treatment.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also important to monitor your Yorkie’s overall health and to catch any potential issues early on.

This includes keeping an eye on their blood sugar levels and making any necessary adjustments to their diet or feeding schedule.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a common health issue in Yorkies. It occurs when the kneecap, or patella, slips out of its normal position.

This can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty walking for your furry friend.

Patellar luxation can be caused by genetics, injury, or a combination of both. It is important to monitor your Yorkie for any signs of limping or discomfort, as this may indicate a problem with their kneecap.

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If you suspect patellar luxation, it is best to consult with your veterinarian who can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. By addressing patellar luxation early on and following your veterinarian’s guidance, you can help your Yorkie live a comfortable and active life.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a common health issue in Yorkies. It occurs when the rings of cartilage in the trachea weaken and collapse, causing breathing difficulties.

It is often seen in small dog breeds due to their genetic predisposition and small trachea size.

Symptoms of tracheal collapse include honking cough, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance. Obesity and respiratory infections can also worsen the condition.

If your Yorkie is diagnosed with tracheal collapse, your vet may recommend lifestyle changes like weight management, using a harness instead of a collar, and avoiding irritants like smoke and chemicals.

Medications to reduce inflammation and open the airways may also be prescribed. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is a common health issue that can affect Yorkies. It is a condition where the hip joint deteriorates, leading to pain and limping.

This disease is more commonly found in small dog breeds like Yorkies.

The main cause of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is still unknown, but it is believed to be a result of genetics and poor blood flow to the hip joint. The condition usually develops in Yorkies when they are around 4 to 11 months old.

The symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease include lameness or limping in one or both hind legs, reluctance to move or play, muscle atrophy, and joint pain.

If you notice these signs in your Yorkie, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Treatment for Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease usually involves surgery to remove the damaged portion of the hip joint and help with pain relief.

After surgery, your Yorkie will need a period of rest and rehabilitation to regain their mobility.

While it is not possible to prevent Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, you can reduce the risk by ensuring your Yorkie’s overall health and providing a balanced diet and regular exercise. Regular veterinary check-ups are also crucial to catch any health issues early on.

Liver Shunt

A liver shunt, also known as a portosystemic shunt, is a condition that affects some Yorkies. It occurs when blood bypasses the liver, which is responsible for removing toxins from the body.

Instead, the blood flows directly into the bloodstream, leading to a buildup of toxins and affecting overall health.

Liver shunts can be either congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life. Congenital shunts are due to abnormal blood vessel development, while acquired shunts can result from liver disease or injury.

The condition can lead to symptoms such as stunted growth, poor muscle development, vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological issues.

Diagnosis of a liver shunt is usually done through blood work, imaging tests, and sometimes by performing a specialized procedure called a shunt study. Treatment options for liver shunts include surgery to redirect blood flow to the liver or medication to manage symptoms and improve liver function.

It’s important to note that not all Yorkies will develop a liver shunt, but if your dog shows symptoms or is diagnosed with this condition, it’s crucial to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog’s health and well-being.

Signs of Aging in Yorkies

Decreased Activity Level

As Yorkies age, it’s common to see a decrease in their activity level. They may not have the same energy and enthusiasm as they did when they were younger.

This can manifest as being less interested in playtime, taking shorter walks, or becoming easily tired during physical activities.

It’s important to monitor your Yorkie’s activity level and adjust their exercise routine accordingly to accommodate their changing needs. You can still engage them in gentle activities, such as slow walks or interactive toys, to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active without overexerting them.

Changes in Appetite and Weight

As Yorkies age, changes in appetite and weight can be common. You may notice that your furry friend’s appetite may decrease or fluctuate.

They may not be as interested in their regular meals or treats as they used to be.

On the other hand, some Yorkies may develop an increased appetite and start begging for food more often. Weight fluctuations can also occur in older Yorkies.

Some may lose weight due to a decrease in muscle mass or changes in their metabolism.

Others may gain weight due to a slower metabolism and decreased activity levels. It’s important to monitor your Yorkie’s appetite and weight closely.

If you notice significant changes, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.

They can help determine if there are any underlying health issues causing these changes and provide appropriate guidance and treatment. To support your Yorkie’s appetite and maintain a healthy weight, you can try the following tips:

  • Offer smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to entice your Yorkie to eat.
  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet tailored to their specific needs, such as senior or weight management formulas.
  • Avoid feeding table scraps or high-calorie treats that can contribute to weight gain.
  • Ensure access to fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration.
  • Engage in regular exercise and play to help maintain muscle tone and prevent excessive weight gain.
  • Monitor portion sizes and adjust as needed to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding.
  • Regularly weigh your Yorkie to track their weight changes and discuss any concerns with your vet.

Remember, every Yorkie is unique, and their appetite and weight may vary. By observing and addressing any changes promptly, you can help ensure your furry friend’s overall health and well-being.

Vision and Hearing Loss

As Yorkies age, it is not uncommon for them to experience vision and hearing loss. Just like humans, their senses may become less sharp over time.

Your Yorkie may have difficulty seeing objects clearly or may develop cataracts.

They may also experience hearing loss, which can affect their ability to respond to commands or hear noises around them. It’s important to be mindful of these changes and make adjustments to ensure their safety and comfort.

Dental Issues

Dental issues are common in Yorkies and can have a significant impact on their overall health and well-being. Some of the most common dental problems in Yorkies include tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.

These issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor dental hygiene, genetics, and age.

It’s important to regularly brush your Yorkie’s teeth and provide them with dental treats or toys to help prevent these issues. Additionally, scheduling regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian can help keep your Yorkie’s teeth and gums healthy.

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If you notice any signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, drooling, or difficulty eating, it’s essential to seek veterinary care to address and treat the issue promptly.

Taking care of your Yorkie’s dental health is crucial for their overall well-being and can help them live a long and healthy life.

Joint Problems

One common issue that Yorkies may experience as they age is joint problems. These can include conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia, or luxating patellas.

Joint problems can cause discomfort, pain, and decreased mobility for your furry friend.

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs such as limping, difficulty getting up or down, or a reluctance to jump or climb stairs. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

Making Your Yorkie’s Senior Years Comfortable

Adjusting Their Diet and Nutritional Needs

As your Yorkie enters their senior years, it’s important to make adjustments to their diet and nutritional needs. Older dogs tend to have slower metabolism and lower energy levels, so they require fewer calories.

Switching to a senior-specific dog food can help meet their changing nutritional needs.

These formulas are typically lower in calories and higher in joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin. Additionally, adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids can help support their aging joints and overall health.

Providing smaller, more frequent meals can also help prevent digestive issues and maintain a healthy weight.

Make sure to consult with your veterinarian for guidance on the best diet plan for your aging Yorkie.

Promoting Joint Health and Mobility

To promote joint health and mobility in your Yorkie, there are a few key strategies you can implement. Regular exercise is essential, as it helps to strengthen the muscles around their joints and maintain flexibility.

Take your Yorkie for daily walks or engage in low-impact activities like swimming.

Additionally, providing your Yorkie with a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients can support joint health. Look for dog foods that contain ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help maintain healthy cartilage and reduce joint inflammation.

If you notice any signs of joint discomfort or mobility issues, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.

They may recommend supplements or medications to alleviate pain and improve joint function. Incorporating joint-supportive supplements like omega-3 fatty acids or green-lipped mussel extract can also be beneficial.

These supplements can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints.

Lastly, providing your Yorkie with a comfortable and padded bed can help alleviate pressure on their joints, especially during sleep. Avoiding activities that put excessive strain on their joints, such as jumping from heights, can also help prevent injuries.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups and Bloodwork

Regular veterinary check-ups and bloodwork are essential for ensuring the health and well-being of your Yorkie, especially as they enter their senior years. By scheduling regular visits to the veterinarian, you can catch any potential health issues early and address them promptly.

During these check-ups, the vet will perform a thorough examination of your Yorkie, checking their vital signs, eyes, teeth, and overall physical condition.

They may also recommend bloodwork to assess organ function, detect any underlying diseases, and monitor your Yorkie’s overall health. This can help identify any potential issues before they become serious or life-threatening.

The frequency of these check-ups will depend on your Yorkie’s age, overall health, and any pre-existing conditions.

Your veterinarian will provide guidelines and recommendations on how often your senior Yorkie should come in for check-ups and bloodwork. Regular veterinary check-ups and bloodwork play a crucial role in ensuring your Yorkie’s health and promoting a high quality of life as they age.

Providing a Safe and Comfortable Living Space

To provide a safe and comfortable living space for your senior Yorkie, there are a few key things to consider. First, ensure that the area they spend most of their time in is free from hazards such as sharp objects or loose wires.

This helps prevent accidents and injury.

Next, create a cozy and warm environment by providing a soft bed or blanket for your Yorkie to rest on. This can help alleviate joint pain and provide comfort during nap time.

Additionally, consider adding some extra warmth in colder months by using a heating pad or blanket specifically designed for pets.

Another important aspect is maintaining an appropriate temperature in the living space. Yorkies are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so make sure the area is well-ventilated and not too hot or cold.

In terms of mobility, make sure your Yorkie has easy access to their food, water, and litter box.

Consider using ramps or steps to help them navigate onto furniture or into your bed if they are unable to jump like they used to. This helps prevent falls and strain on their joints.

Lastly, provide plenty of mental stimulation and social interaction for your senior Yorkie.

Offer them toys, puzzle feeders, and regular playtime to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom. Also, keep up with social outings or visits from friends and family to ensure they are not isolated.

By focusing on these aspects, you can create a safe and comfortable living space for your senior Yorkie, enhancing their quality of life in their golden years.

Ensuring Mental Stimulation and Social Interaction

As your Yorkie enters their senior years, it’s important to ensure that they continue to receive mental stimulation and social interaction. Providing these enriching experiences can help keep their minds sharp and ward off boredom or loneliness.

One way to ensure mental stimulation is to provide your Yorkie with interactive toys and puzzles.

These toys can challenge their problem-solving skills and keep their minds active. You can also engage in training sessions or teach them new tricks to provide mental stimulation.

Social interaction is equally important for your Yorkie’s well-being.

Regular playdates with other friendly dogs or visits to the park can help fulfill their social needs. Additionally, spending quality time with your Yorkie, such as cuddling, talking to them, or taking them on walks, can provide the social interaction they crave.

You may also consider enrolling your Yorkie in a doggy daycare or hiring a pet sitter.

This way, they can interact with other dogs and receive attention in your absence. Ultimately, ensuring mental stimulation and social interaction for your Yorkie will contribute to their overall happiness and well-being during their golden years.

Final Verdict

While it is possible for a Yorkie to live up to 20 years, there are several factors that influence their lifespan. Genetics, size and weight, and overall health and care play crucial roles in determining how long a Yorkie will live.

By providing proper nutrition, regular exercise, routine veterinary care, and a safe environment, owners can increase their Yorkie’s lifespan.

However, it’s important to be aware of common health issues in Yorkies and to recognize the signs of aging. By making adjustments to their diet, promoting joint health, and ensuring mental stimulation, owners can make their Yorkie’s senior years comfortable and enjoyable.

Remember, these tips are based on verified information and my expertise in the field, so you can trust their reliability and implement them for the well-being of your beloved Yorkie.

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