Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Carkie

8-12 inches
8-15 lb
12-15 years
Not applicable
Best Suited For
People who live in an apartment, seniors, couples, families with older children
Energetic, affectionate, smart, spirited, lively, stubborn, clingy, curious, playful
Comparable Breeds
Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier
Carkie Basics

A terrier mix with a lot of spunk, spirit and a huge heart- that’s the Carkie in a nutshell. These adorable small breed dogs might not be as well known and popular as their parents are, but they have a lot to offer to the right owner. Smart, vivacious, and loving as they come, Carkies make an all-around great pet for almost anyone. Thanks to their versatile personality and compact size, they do well in apartments as well as big homes with backyards. As long as they have a loving family, they’ll quickly adapt.

The Carkie is a designer dog breed developed by crossing a Cairn Terrier with a Yorkshire Terrier. The combination of the two purebreds makes for a feisty little pooch with cute looks, but it also gives these crossbreeds a certain degree of unpredictability. Every Carkie is unique- and that’s just one of the many reasons why people love them.

However, the same parents that are responsible for their charming scruffy appearance and lively temperament can pass on some traits that might not make Carkies a universally good choice for a pet. If you are curious to learn more about the Yorkie and Cairn Terrier mix and if these dogs are a match for your family- read on!

Smart, vivacious, and loving as they come, Carkies make an all-around great pet for almost anyone.


There’s not much information about the origin and the history of the individual designer dog breeds. No one can deny that hybrid breeds are only growing in popularity, but for now, only a small number of them has had a well-documented story. To make matters even more confusing, before the 1980s, designer dogs didn’t have that label. Crossbreeds were around for decades- even centuries- before we started attaching breed names to them. As a result, it’s impossible for people to know when a certain mix stopped being a product of accidental mating between purebreds and when the intentional breeding started. The same goes for Carkie.

There are no breeders that claim that they were the one to first create the breed. Without this information, the best guess we can have is that Carkie’s origin is no different than that of most designer dogs. It’s highly likely that they too had their start in the last 20 to 30 years somewhere in the United States.


The Carkie is a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Cairn Terrier. No one knows when or where this breed was first developed but the reasons for its creation are clear. By crossing the two terriers, breeds are able to create a dog that exemplifies the traits of the parents- and boasts a unique appearance to boot. Most Carkies are first generation mixes, or 50-50 percent crosses between the two purebreds. This type of crossbreeding has varying results, and you can never know which of the parents will be more influential in the mix. Puppies can look and behave more like one breed than the other, or be a perfect combo of both.

Multigenerational crossing produces dogs with a more uniform appearance and temperament. A Carkie would be bred to an unrelated Yorkshire Terrier or a Cairn Terrier, depending on which breed traits would the breeder want to make more pronounced. Carkie and Carkie mixes are also common when trying to make a standardized breed. Either way, both the first generation mixes and those rare multigenerational Carkies are not recognized by the American Kennel Club as a real breed.


Canine nutrition is far more complex than it would seem at first. Dogs are omnivores and usually have big appetites, so it’s easy to get fooled into thinking that your pet can and should eat almost anything. However, just because your doggo isn’t picky doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay attention to what they eat. Carkies, like all dogs, need to have a healthy and well-balanced diet. This includes meat-based proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs, complete with fiber and array vitamins and minerals. The easiest and safest way to meet your dog’s dietary needs is to feed them high-quality dry food.

Kibble offers all the essential nutrients in a convenient crunchy package. It’s important, though, to choose the right formula for your Carkie. Pick premium dry foods made from high-grade, natural ingredients. Their kibble should be suitable for their age (puppy, adult, or senior) and their size and activity level. Usually, a small breed formula does the trick.

Carkies are small dogs and they’re not usually fussy about their food- which can make them prone to obesity. Don’t free feed your pet or pamper them with too many treats and delicacies. Serve the amount manufacturer recommends (it’s usually a cup of food) split into two daily meals.

Carkie is a lovebug with a bossy attitude, but what sometimes makes them so endearing can evolve into behavioral issues.


As a rule of thumb, all terrier breeds are more suitable for experienced owners rather than newbies. These dogs are exceptionally smart and driven, but they also have a legendary stubborn streak and independent minds. The Carkie is true to his parentage in this aspect, as well. These smart little cookies will impress you with their intelligence but you won’t have it easy when it comes to training them- unless you have previous experience. This designer dog breed can be difficult to potty train and training them will require a bit more effort. Rely on positive reinforcement methods for best results. Using treats and praise as motivation is certain to make your stubborn terrier mix much more interested in training! Be firm and consistent with training sessions and results will come.

Early training and socialization are essential. Carkie is a lovebug with a bossy attitude, but what sometimes makes them so endearing can evolve into behavioral issues. Their closeness to owners can become separation anxiety and their belief that they’re bigger than they actually are can contribute to small dog syndrome. Work with your dog on time to prevent these issues from surfacing in the first place!


Both the Cairn Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier are small breed dogs, so their crossbreed offspring will be petite, too. Usually, an adult Carkie weighs between 8 and 15 pounds.


The first thing that will make you fall in love with a Carkie is their adorable appearance. Scruffy coat, foxy face, and button-like eyes- it really is hard not to love them for their looks. However, it’s their ‘bigger than life’ behavior that will seal the deal. It’s their personality that wins over so many pet owners over the world and not just their charming furry face! The Cairn Terrier and Yorkie mix is an energetic, intelligent, affectionate dog that makes a great companion.

They are attuned to their owner’s moods and energy and will gladly adapt. In fact, their bond with their special hooman runs so deep that they hate the thought of spending a second away from them. This is why they are often seen trailing their owners, never leaving their side throughout the day. Their proneness to separation anxiety makes them a poor choice for a single working for the better part of the day. They need an owner that will be around for most of the time or have family members around when they’re not.

In addition to being a sweet, loving cuddle bug, Carkie is a playful, curious pooch that will have a lot of energy for daily adventures. They are always interested in exploring their surroundings and will love to accompany you on your own outdoor escapades or daily activities. These dogs are also very alert and protective- they make the cutest little watchdogs. Just be aware that Carkies can sometimes be a bit yappy, but it’s often nothing that would upset the neighbors.

Common Health Problems

Some people seem to believe that designer dogs are healthier than most. It’s the crossbreeding and the belief that the concept of hybrid vigor applies to dog breeds what makes this myth so popular. However, designer dogs, including Carkie, are not that different from most other canines. Even though Carkies are mixed breed dogs, there are still at risk for issues that affect their purebred parents. A lot will depend on their breeding and parents, as well as the care they get throughout life.

When it comes to the genetic issues, portosystemic shunt, collapsed trachea, ocular melanosis, hypothyroidism, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease are some of the possible diagnosis. As a small breed dog, the Carkie will also be prone to patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, early tooth loss, and diabetes.

To make sure your Carkie puppy is as healthy as possible, never buy them from dubious breeders or pet stores. Carkies from puppy mills are often bred without care for genetic issues and can end up being seriously sick. Not to mention that they are born and kept in horrific conditions. Adopt through a shelter or a rescue, or choose a reputable breeder that will offer you a health guarantee for his puppies.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of a Carkie is between 12 and 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

The little Carkie has a lot of energy! After a few days with these cutie pies, you’ll be wondering where those batteries go- and how long they last. With their curiosity, intelligence and notorious terrier drive, these designer dogs will always be up for some trouble. However, even though they need daily activity- both physical and mental- they are not a high-maintenance breed. After all, toy dogs such as Carkie are not hard to exercise, as they don’t require long walks and strenuous activities like large and athletic breeds. Circa 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise will keep your Carkie on his best behavior.

In addition to physical exercise, Carkie will also need regular mental stimulation. These intelligent and driven dogs need to be challenged- otherwise, they’ll grow bored and destructive. Puzzle toys or participation in dog sports are a great way to keep your pet engaged and entertained.

In addition to physical exercise, Carkie will also need regular mental stimulation.

Recognized Clubs

The American Kennel Club and other major organizations don’t recognize any of the designer dog breeds. However, there are many smaller canine clubs that accept hybrids. The Cairn Terrier and Yorkie mix is recognized as Carkie by American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and Dog Registry of America. The International Designer Canine Registry recognizes the breed under the name Carkie Terrier.


The Yorkshire Terrier has long, silky hair whereas the Cairn Terrier spots double coat with wiry outer coat and soft undercoat. Owing to such differences in the type of hair between the parents, their crossbreed offspring will have widely varying coats. Carkies can have longer softer fur, scruffy wiry hair or a coat that’s something in between the two. In general, they are not high-maintenance when it comes to grooming.

The color of Carkie’s coat vary as well: from bi-color (blue and black in combination with tan or gold) to red, black, wheaten, and brindle.


Carkie puppies are very fragile but very energetic as well. Make sure to be very careful when you play with them because they can get injured easily. Needless to say, you shouldn’t let children with them unless someone is supervising them.

As soon as your pet starts feeling comfortable in your home, start with training and socialization. This will prevent some behavioral issues common for the breed and make sure your Carkie puppy grows up to fulfill his potential.

Photo credit: Mali lucky/Shutterstock; juergenhu/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic