The Morkie is a small breed dog that is a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese. These dogs are intelligent and loyal, and are best suited to an individual or a couple living in a small home or apartment. Although they are playful and friendly they need a lot of attention and can become emotionally dependant on their owner. They don’t require a lot of exercise but they get along with other small dogs and are adaptable to a number of different situations. A Morkie can also be known to be full-confidence, despite their tiny hand-bag size.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Morkie breed and whether they’d be the right doggie for you, read on below.
History Of The Morkie – Maltese Yorkie Mix
By breeding two popular breeds of dogs, a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese, breeders can pick the best characteristics of each breed. Both the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese breeds are popular breeds in the United States today and they both rank favorably in the purebred categories on American Kennel Club. However, a Morkie is not recognized by the AKC.
The Morkie was first bred in the 1990s and they originated from the United States. Since then, they have become one of the most popular crossbred dogs to date. They particularly rose to fame in 2007 when Britney Spears was known for buying Yorkies.
Because of this, they reached their popularity peak in 2008 as being a designer lapdog. Originally known as a Yorktese, they have also been called a Morkshire Terrier and a Maltese Yorkie Mix. They were bred to be an affectionate, confident and low-shedding dog, but read on below to learn more about their characteristics and the Morkie temperament.
Morkies are normally born into litters of about three or four, but some litters have only two pups. Because of their small, designer status, a Morkie puppy can set you back anywhere between $1,500 to $3,000.
With both parent breeds very small (less than 10 lbs), it is no surprise the Morkie is also a very small dog. With many cross breeds, the male dog cannot be bigger than the female, because this can cause problems with breeding. However, because both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are small dogs, it does not matter which parent is which gender when breeding.
With each breed of Morkies you are not always sure what characteristics you are going to get. Morkies can range in size from 4lbs or 10lbs and they can look more like their Yorkshire Terrier parent of their Maltese parent — it varies from litter to litter. This is one of the reasons a Morkie is not recognized by the AKC, because they are not purebred and have inconsistent breeding patterns.
The most common sizes and weights for a Morkie is 7 to 10” and 6 to 12 pounds for a male, and 6 to 8” and 4 to 8 pounds for a female.
Despite inconsistencies in breeding, one thing both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are known for are their coats. Yorkies are known for having long hair, while Maltese are known for their white fur and hypoallergenic coat. It is most likely that your Morkie will have a long and soft single-coat made from hair not fur.
Their coat is hypoallergenic, making them perfect for those with allergies. They do not shed their hair (not fur), so you won’t find dog hair all over the house!
Morkies can vary the color of their coat. The most common colors for Morkies are black, black and tan (from their Yorkshire Terrier parent), brown, tan and solid white (from their Maltese parent).
You never know what color coat a Morkie might have, which is why they are so desirable and known as designer dogs. As your dog ages, it is very likely their coloration will become a silver gray.
Although they are a small dog, a Morkie has a big personality and lots of character. They are usually unaware of their small and fragile size, and have a lot of energy with a friendly and loving personality. They are a very excitable and curious dog, too.
The Morkie will attach to one person and form a bond very quickly. This only causes problems as they are a true lapdog — and love to be on your lap! If you do not train them properly from a puppy, then this can cause problems as they will be overly clingy and want to be by your side all the time. They will suffer from separation anxiety that can, in turn, cause behavioral issues. We will go into more detail about training your Morkie below.
Because Morkies have a lot of energy, they love to play and run around, especially indoors. Their temperament is strong, meaning they have a lot of confidence and they are fearless, so they will get along well with other pets, especially smiler sized cats and dogs. It is best that they are not paired in a home with dogs much larger than them. Although they will get on fine, the larger dog may accidentally harm your fragile Morkie.
It is worth mentioning that your Morkie will love to bark. This barking will be a sign of attention when they feel like you are ignoring them. If you do not train them from a young age and tell them that barking is undesirable, this can become a big behavioral issue.
Morkies have an exceptionally long life expectancy, with some living past 15 years old. That is over 76 years old in human years. The normally lifespan range for Morkies is 10 to 15 years.
Known Health Issues
Because the Morkie is a cross breed, it is difficult to know whether they will inherit health problems or whether breeding will get rid of some known to their parents. As we mentioned above, they have an excellent lifespan which they inherit from their Yorkshire Terrier parent. However, this life expectancy can be impacted by their diet, exercise and mental health.
The biggest concern for your Morkie is their fragility. Because they are so small, it is important that you are gentle with your Morkie. This can mean that a household with young children may not be the best environment for your Morkie to grow up in.
Other health problems that they can inherit mainly relate to their eyes, ears and mouth. They will very likely inherit tear stains, dark brown or black marks, around their eyes from their Maltese parent. They can also suffer with tracheal collapse, cataracts, glaucoma and reverse sneezing.
Tracheal collapse is a progressive disease of your dog’s trachea which typically occurs in smaller dogs and causes respiratory issues, frequent coughing and difficulty eating. Cataracts can cause vision impairment and glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerves of the eye. Reverse sneezing is not harmful but can be distressing for your dog as it causes gagging and forced rapid breathing.
However, it is not certain that your dog will develop these health concerns and you can make sure you are buying from reputable breeders to reduce the risk.
Now you know about a Morkie’s characteristics and temperament, it is time to look at what taking care of them is like. This includes their diet, exercise, grooming and training.
Food And Diet
We have talked about how small a Morkie is, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have a good appetite! They could easily consume their own weight in kibble, but this certainly doesn’t mean you should allow them to.
You should always make sure to follow the recommended serving suggestions for the size of your dog on the back of the food packet. Of course, the amount of dog food you feed them is going to change depending on their age and their weight. Smaller dogs typically require 40 calories per pound of body weight, with a Morkie normally weighing between 4 to 8 pounds. This means they should eat anywhere between 200 to 300 calories a day, or 300 to 500 calories a day if they are a puppy. This includes their snacks too!
You should start your Morkie on four meals each day and over the first six months reduce this down to two meals a day. Their diet should always be balanced and the best for this breed is high-quality dry kibble. A dry kibble also helps your dog’s dental hygiene.
A Morkie doesn’t require a lot of physical exercise. This means that they are not the perfect pet if you wanted a dog to go hiking or running with you. Generally, Morkies only need about twenty minutes of physical exercise a day, which can be a gentle stroll around your local park. Because they are so small, it is best to keep your Morkie on a leash when you take them for a walk to avoid injury.
Morkie’s are best thought of as energetic rather than athletic. They love to play games inside with you, especially catching and throwing, but this is best done for 10 minutes at a time. You should never over-walk them because this can cause serious health issues within your pup.
Morkies are known for getting on well with other family dogs because they are very sociable and confident. However, because of their loyal nature and the way in which they will attach to one person, it is best that Morkies are kept by an individual or by a couple.
While they can make great family pets, it is not advised to own a Morkie in the same house where small children live. This is because Morkies are very delicate dogs that can get hurt easily and small children may be too rough with them. Likewise, because of this reason, they also shouldn’t be kept in the same house as dogs that are much larger than them.
Morkies are best suited to a small house or apartment where they have space to play with you. They do not need a lot of space outside because they do not require too much physical exercise every day.
Your Morkie will be intelligent but stubborn when it comes to training. This means that negative or repetitive training is not going to go down well with them. Training is very important for this dog so they do not show disruptive behavioral issues later on in life, especially separation anxiety. However, you need to go about training the right way.
Training with your Morkie should be based around positive reinforcement and play. They have high-attention requirements, so each member of your family who is going to be living with your Morkie should train them. You can use food, treats and praise as positive rewards.
Although training will be easier if you have experience training a small dog like a Morkie, training them for the first time will not be difficult. It will just require your patience and attention unit your Morkie understands.
Your Morkie will love nothing more than to be a lapdog their entire life, but this isn’t advised. This can lead to separation anxiety when you have to leave the home without your Morkie, and can cause a lot of behavioral problems. This is why early socialization for your pup is important.
You should socialize your Morkie with other people and dogs, as well as introducing them to different sounds, smells, places and animals. This will help them from becoming overly attached to you. They will also socialize well with other family dogs.
If you are struggling to socialize your Morkie or can’t, you can always take them to a puppy socializing class. This will also help with their barking.
We mentioned above that a Morkie has a hypoallergenic coat, meaning that they don’t shed and are perfect for those who have allergies. Their long hair will require brushing daily to prevent knots and tangles and they will need to be bathed monthly to keep their skin and coat healthy. Always remember to use a dog shampoo instead of a human shampoo. A trip to the groomer monthly is also advised for your Morkie.
When grooming your Morkie it is important to pay attention to the hair around their eyes, feet and legs to avoid any dirt build-up. You should also brush their teeth a couple of times a week to help keep dental decay and gum disease at bay.
Is a Morkie aggressive?
A Morkie is not known to be an aggressive dog. We mentioned above that they attach to one person and believe they are their master, and without proper training this can lead to behavioral issues brought on by separation anxiety when they are not with their “master”. Lack of training can also be the cause for barking within your Morkie, but this will be out of frustration and attention seeking.
Your Morkie will be energetic and want to play, but they will not be aggressive. Train them correctly and you will have a very loving, loyal dog.
Does a Morkie make a good family dog?
A Morkie can make a great family dog when introduced to the right environment. They will need to be socialized properly from a young age so they don’t attach to one person in the house more than another, which can result in undesirable behavior and separation anxiety.
Morkies get on very well with other dogs, particularly dogs of their own size who won’t be too rough with them. Because of their small size they are very fragile, so a house with very small children that may be too aggressive and playful with them is not advised as your pup may end up getting hurt. That being said, this doesn’t mean they don’t make a great family dog for families with older children.
A Morkie is a very small breed lapdog that is energetic, loyal and fun to be around. Although they don’t require a lot of exercise they love to play with you, especially indoors, so they are the perfect pooch for smaller houses or apartments. Training and socializing is a must to avoid unwanted behavior, but their intelligence makes this easy, even to those who have never trained a dog before. They get on great with other dogs and humans too, and are not known to have very many health issues. Remember to always purchase your Morkie from a reputable breeder to avoid dangerous breeding characteristics.