The Shorkie isn’t a purebred dog, but a designer cross breed resulting from breeding a Shih Tzu with a Yorkshire Terrier. They are an extremely small dog, with an average height of 5 to 9”, but have a big personality and are known for being feisty and stubborn. They are a great little companion for you and thrive in being a lapdog. Shorkies are best suited to adult only homes because of their tiny size.
If you’re interested in learning more about this little doggie and what it’s like to own one, read on below and see whether they’re the right pup for you.
History Of The Shorkie – Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier Mix
Made by breeding Shih Tzu with a Yorkshire Terrier, the Shorkie terrier mix breed is known for being a designer or “celebrity” dog that thrives as a companion dog or lapdog. The Yorkshire Terrier is a popular breed to cross with and this has been done with a Maltese to breed a Morkie.
The Shorkie was originally bred as a companion and as both parents shed minimally, they are proving increasingly popular. With their tiny size, they’re also perfect for those who live in smaller houses or apartments but still want a loving companion. Because the Shorkie is a hybrid, they are not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but they but they are recognized by The Designer Breed Registry.
To understand this breeds origin, lets take a closer look at the breed parents — a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier.
A Shih Tzu was originally Chinese Royalty and were pampered by Emperors and spent their days as lap warmers. They are known for being very loyal to their owners but are also outgoing and stubborn dogs. Although they are a sociable breed, they love to be at home too.
The other parent — a Yorkshire Terrier — started out in pest control and was bred to be small enough to flush rats out of mines in Scotland and Northern England in the mid 1800s. They were recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1886 and soon became the companion of choice for English Ladies. Just like the Shih Tzu, these dogs are feisty and stubborn.
So, when we combine the characteristics and temperament of a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier, we get a Shorkie, that is also known for being feisty and stubborn, and are very small just like their parents. It is thought they started to be bred around the 2000s in the US. Read on below to find out more about this interesting dog.
Shorkies are normally bred in small litters, averaging between 1 to 5 puppies. Because they are a designer dog, you can pay anywhere between $300 to $1000 for a Shorkie puppy. Their small size means that they weigh between 5 to 11 pounds for a male or 4 to 8 pounds for a female and they are known for being loyal, energetic and protective.
Shorkies are a toy sized dog, with an average height of 5 to 9 inches. They will generally have either a straight coat like their Yorkie parents or a slightly wavy coat and, because both of their parents shed only minimally, they have a hypoallergenic coat and are a great pet for those who have allergies. They are known to be quite high-maintenance dogs and require frequent trips to the groomers, but we will discuss that further on.
As these dogs are a hybrid, they can come in a range of colors. The most common coat colors for a Shorkie are Black and Tan, Brown and White, Gold, Red and Gold, Black and White.
Shorkies are known for being a big dog in a small package. A high-energy lapdog, they love playing as much as they love cuddling but they have a short attention span and often act on impulse. They have a preying nature too, which means they can be prone to chase anything that moves, so they’ll certainly keep you on your toes!
This breed of dog is always alert and watchful, which means they can be prone to barking when the mailman turns up at the door. However, they are very loyal and can be sociable, although sometimes unsure about strangers. They need a lot of attention so may not be suited to a home with other dogs. This need for attention and their loyalty can also be the cause of separation anxiety when you need to leave the house. They would love nothing more than to be by your side for the whole day. Fortunately, proper training from a young age can correct any unwanted behavior.
Shorkies can be clingy and needy, but fortunately their high energy levels mean they can come out walking and hiking with you. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t want to cuddle up with you at the end of a long day.
Shorkies have a life expectancy of anywhere between 11 and 16 years. They are prone to a few health issues, will we go into more detail about below.
Known Health Issues
While Shorkies are generally healthy dogs, it is important to take them to the vets regularly to keep an eye on their health. They can be prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome, dental disease, glaucoma, hypoglycemia, patellar luxation and lens luxation.
Brachycephalic airway syndrome is where abnormalities within the upper respiratory system cause respiratory distress. Lens luxation is where the ligaments in the eye break down which allows the lens to dislocate from it’s normal location and it can cause glaucoma, although it can be treated with surgery.
The Shorkie is prone to some health problems that both their Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier parents are also prone to, too. These include congenital liver disease, spinal disc disease and respiratory problems. As long as you keep health checks on your pup up to date, you shouldn’t find that many of these issues become a big problem in your doggie’s life.
Shorkies are known for being a high-maintenance dog, but the love and attention you get from this small, cuddly pup is worth it. Read on below to see what everyday life with them is like.
Food And Diet
Whatever age your dog is at, you should be feeding them a well-rounded diet. You should buy a food formulated for a small dog breed, but this could be dry kibble, wet, dehydrated or raw food.
While your Shorkie is a puppy, they should be having four meals a day that is reduced to 2 meals a day for the rest of their life once they reach 6 months old. The amount you should be feeding them is generally 40 calories per pound of body weight. Therefore, if you Shorkie is weighing in at 9lbs, you should expect to feed him 360 calories per day.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell how big your Shorkie is going to be once they reach adulthood because they are a hybrid. Looking at the size of their parents is a good indication as to how big they are likely to get.
It is worth mentioning that Shorkie dogs have a tendency to gain weight when overfed, so you should definitely monitor the amount you are feeding them. Giving them healthy treats is another way to ensure they stay healthy and at the correct weight.
Your Shorkie has a small body with small legs, so they don’t necessarily need long walks every day. However, they are very energetic and active dogs and will benefit from being outside playing every day for anywhere between 30 minutes to 60 minutes. They can also be great companions when walking or hiking.
That being said, it is important to remember that Shorkies can suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome because of their shortened muzzle like their Shih Tzu parent, which can cause respiratory problems. This should only be a concern in warmer weather, but may sure you understand the risks anyway.
Shorkies, although they have a high intelligence, are not interested in brain games. If you want to stimulate them mentally, you may need to use a treat to get them interested! Because of their small bladders, Shorkies may need to go the bathroom more often that other breeds of dog, too. If you do not have somewhere they can access outside by themselves, it is a good idea to keep puppy pads around the house.
A Shorkie is a loving dog who will get on with every family member, but they will be attached to their main caretaker more. Without proper training they can suffer from separation anxiety. This is why Shorkies are generally best kept in single or couple homes. Because of their small size and their happiness playing indoors, they thrive in a small home or apartment.
Their toy size means they are fragile, which can be an issue if you have small children in the house and it is generally not advised to keep a Shorkie with young kids. However, if your children are taught to be gentle with your Shorkie, a Shorkie can grow up very happy in a family home. They also do well in single pet households, because they require quite a bit of attention.
Shorkies can be loud, “yappy” and prone to barking, which can also make them great watchdogs and guard dogs for the family home, warning you when someone is at the door!
Just like their Yorkie parent, Shorkies can be very stubborn, which can mean they are a little difficult to train. However, the best way to go about training is through positive reinforcement and rewards such as verbal praise and treats.
Housebreaking can be difficult with a Shorkie, so it is important that you keep a routine with them. This includes feeding them at the same time everyday and letting them outside to go to the bathroom at the same time.
Socializing your Shorkie is important, especially if you have other pets or dogs in the house. This is best done from an early age, otherwise your Shorkie can feel like they are not getting enough attention. They do not realize how small they are and can get into confrontations with bigger dogs, so socializing is very beneficial.
Socializing with children from a young age is also important, especially if you have young children in the house. This is for both your dog and your children — they have to learn to be gentle with each other!
We have mentioned above that Shorkies can be quite high-maintenance dogs. This is due to their designer status. Shorkies have hypoallergenic coats and do not shed very much, making them perfect for allergy sufferers, but they do need regular trips to the groomers.
Most Shorkie owners will have their pup clipped every 8 weeks into a “teddy bear” clip. This is usually where the body is kept short which reduces knots and matts, but the face is trimmed into a round shape so they keep their cute look.
You will also need to ensure you check your Shorkies eyes and ears regularly to prevent any infections. Some Shorkies have overactive tear glands and may develop tear stains. If this happens, you should wipe around their eyes several times a day. It can make a big difference in helping to minimize the tear stains.
Clipping their nails is also important, as is keeping on top of their dental health. You should brush their teeth everyday as small breeds are known to suffer with dental issues more than larger breeds. You vet can instruct you on how to clean your dog’s teeth, or you can use a dental chew that may be easier.
Should I buy or adopt a Shorkie?
This is entirely up to you. If you want to raise your dog from a puppy, then you may wish to buy your Shorkie from a Shorkie breeder. However, this can set you back anywhere between $300 to $1000.
It is important to remember that there are many dogs in shelters that need a good home. Despite their designer and celebrity status, Shorkies often end up in shelters because of their high-maintenance needs, so check your local shelter if you’re willing to give a dog a new home. That being said, as long as you give your pup a good life, it doesn’t matter if you adopt or buy your Shorkie.
Are Shorkies good family dogs?
Shorkies are very loyal dogs which means they can make great family dogs in the right environment. They will attach to their main caretaker more, but this doesn’t mean they won’t get on with other humans. It is normally advised not to keep Shorkies in houses with very small children, as children can be rough with dogs and Shorkies are very delicate. That being said, if the children are taught to be gentle with their Shorkie, they can form a great bond!
Shorkies are also excellent watchdogs because they make a lot of noise. This is great for alerting you when someone is at the front door, or if you are worried about the safety of your home. Keep in mind that Shorkies demand a lot of attention and therefore may not thrive in a home with other pets.
Shorkies are the little dog with the big personality. Feisty and stubborn, these toy pups are active and energetic, but love playing outside just as much as they love snuggling down with you as a lapdog. Extremely loyal, they will build a great bond with you and want to be by your side the whole time. Although proper training is required to prevent separation anxiety and their grooming needs are high, they can make the perfect companion for an individual or a couple, or even a family with older children.