A mix of two terrier breeds from England, Yorkie Russell or Jorkie is a small dog with a big spirit. These designer dogs are energetic, curious, playful and exceptionally affectionate. A Jorkie will love to explore and will always be up for a challenge- with the right person by their side, these hybrids can prove to be excellent at dog sports. Their intelligence and eagerness to learn things that they’re fun for them could be a winning combo for training. Of course, the storied stubbornness of terriers will be present in the Jorkie, so these designer dogs might be a better match for the more experienced dog owner.
In addition to being lively and inquisitive, the Jorkiel is a big softie at heart- they’ll be very loving and shower their pawrents with affection. These dogs love to cuddle and to spend time with their owners, and all the better if that time is spent adventuring. Don’t forget, these pint-sized pooches might love to snuggle with you, but only after their energy was spent on fun activities.
A mix of Yorkshire Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier, the Jorkie is a relatively recent designer dog breed. Needless to say, the unique combination of parental breeds results in a one of a kind dog that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. To make sure you’re choosing the right four-legged companion for your family, read on!
Bright, bubbly, and cheerful, the Jorkie will never fail to put a smile on your face.
Not many designer dogs can boast a well-documented history. Those early hybrids, such as the Bernedoodle or the Labradoodle, have a long tradition and we might even know the original breeders who started developing each mix. On the other hand, the rare or more recent hybrids such as the Jorkie remain a mystery. The reason for this is the labeling of mixed breed dogs as new breeds is a recent phenomenon.
It’s possible that there have been Yorkie and Jack Russell Terrier mixes throughout history, but it would have been unplanned or accidental. Those ‘surprise’ babies were thought of as mutts rather than designer dogs– the moment this perception changes is the crucial one. From that moment on, hybrids were a product of intentional breeding, with a clear goal and certain standards to uphold. While we can’t say with certainty when this happened for the Jorkie, it’s highly likely it was the same way as with most other hybrids. This would mean that the breed originated in the United States, sometime in the last 20 to 30 years.
As the name give away, the Jorkie is the mixed breed offspring of a purebred Yorkshire Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier. This is a first generation or F1 hybrid, with 50-50 percent of both parents genes. While this is undoubtedly the most common type of Jorkie, it’s also the most variable type of mixed breed dogs. With two purebred parents, puppies can end up favoring one over the other or be a unique combination of both. The point is that you can never know what way they’ll turn out and each litter will be a surprise- especially with parental breeds as different as the ones in the Jorkie mix.
The first generation crossbreeding is just the first step breeders make towards creating a new breed. The Jorkie is still a breed in development which is why most mixes are first generation ones, but it’s looking to change. In an effort to create a new breed in its own right, breeders turn to multigenerational breeding. In this case, this would mean that a Jorkie is to be bred to another unrelated Jorkie, or, if the goal is to make one breed’s traits more prevalent, with a Yorkie or a Jack Russell Terrier. This creates a more uniform appearance and makes it possible for puppies to adhere to a certain breed standard.
All dogs need quality nutrition to stay happy and healthy, but not all dogs have the same dietary demands. In general, most dogs do well on high-quality dry food for dogs, but it will have to be tailored to their individual needs. Each pooch has a unique lifestyle and traits that will dictate their preferences and requirements when it comes to their food.
For the Jorkie, the two most important things to consider are their size and activity level. To thrive and stay fit, these hybrids will need premium kibble that’s made from high grade, natural ingredients. They are petite, so a small breed formula is a good choice, but a one for active dogs- these energetic canines will need fuel for their perky lifestyle. Additionally, pay attention that the kibble formula you chose is appropriate for your dog’s age. Puppies will have different needs than adults or senior dogs!
Once you choose the right kibble, another question poses itself: how much food should you give to your Jorkie? These dogs tend to have a healthy appetite, but you shouldn’t indulge them. Their small frame makes them prone to obesity issues, as they don’t handle extra fluff all that well. Stick to the amount of dry food the manufacturer recommends for their size and activity- it’s usually about a cup of kibble a day. Split this into two meals to make sure they savor it and not simply snarf everything down in seconds and get a tummy ache in the process.
The Jorkie might not be the best match for a first-time dog owner.
Eager to please, intelligent and quite clever- a person would think that a dog like this is a breeze to train. However, Jorkie is not always a stellar student. While the potential is there and these dogs are fast learners when they want to be, it’s important to note that they are usually very stubborn. Those terrier genes truly shine through in this mix and you’ll get to experience it first hand. For this reason, the Jorkie might not be the best match for a first-time dog owner. They can be difficult to potty train owing to their Yorkshire Terrier dad and have a stubborn streak owing to both parents.
Of course, if you know which approach to use with your dog and you have previous experience with training small breed dogs, you’ll soon find out that the Jorkie can be a joy to teach. They are smart and curious and once you find their ‘weak spot’ in terms of which treat to use to motivate them, things tend to go much faster. With positive reinforcement training, a firm and confident attitude, and a bit of effort and patience, your dog will be the best behaved one on the block. To boot, these dogs are often very successful at various competitions, so training them for agility, flyball or some other dog sport could be a great idea.
The average weight of a Jorkie will vary greatly. Their mom and dad are quite different size wise, so you can expect these mixed breed dog to weigh anywhere between 5 and 18 pounds. If the Yorkie is more influential in the mix or the puppy is a female, they’ll be smaller and vice versa.
Bright, bubbly, and cheerful, the Jorkie will never fail to put a smile on your face. Their energy and exuberance are infectious, and their energetic and sweet nature will make this designer dogs ideal companions for humans of similar personalities. These are not couch potatoes that will do well in a family that is quiet and not too active- Yorkie Russels need pawrents that can keep up with their lively, spirited ways.
In addition to being sparky and spunky, the Jorkie can also be gentle, cuddly, and sweet once he gets the exercise he needs. After a day of adventuring, he’ll love nothing more than to curl up in your lap. Although their size and terrier parentage don’t make them a good match for young kids, with proper socialization, these designer dogs can fit in any family. They are not yappy or aggressive, but they do have a high prey drive- so make sure not to let them off leash in places where a squirrel or a bird could entice them to bolt.
Common Health Problems
The Jorkie is a relatively healthy dog. Provided that he comes from healthy parents, he will not have any major issues that could lower his quality of life. However, there are always health problems that are common for certain breeds and the mixed breed parentage doesn’t excuse the Jorkie from them. Even though many people believe that hybrids are somewhat healthier than purebred dogs, the truth is that they are at risk for the same issues their parents are- only good breeding can guarantee good health.
Some of the common health problems that affect Jorkie’s parents, and, in turn, these designer dogs as well, include portacaval shunt, tracheal collapse, canine glaucoma, cataracts, cerebellar ataxia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, myasthenia gravis, patellar luxation, and von Willebrand disease. To boot, as a small breed dog, he will be prone to plaque build up and obesity, so make sure their lifestyle is not putting them at risk for further health issues.
The life expectancy for these designer dogs is between 13 and 15 years.
The Jorkie is full of energy and has a curious nature- they will need daily exercise to stay content and fit. They might not be as demanding as some large, athletic breed, but their activity needs do surpass those of an average small dog. It might seem like your new pooch runs on batteries sometimes, and you can count on them needing a few long walks each day, coupled with a game of fetch, tug of wars, or a round of zoomies in the dog park. They are better suited to life in a house with a securely fenced backyard where they can play all they like, but they do well in apartments if their owner provides enough exercise. Circa 60 minutes of daily activity will keep a Jorkie happy and healthy.
They are problem solvers and very intelligent, so they easily get bored. This is never a good thing for a dog- boredom leads straight to depression and/or destructive behaviors. To prevent this, make sure your four-legged brainiac always has a fun challenge to solve. In addition to engaging playtime and dog sports, puzzle toys are a good way to provide mental stimulation to your Jorkie.
Circa 60 minutes of daily activity will keep a Jorkie happy and healthy.
The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize designer dogs, and neither do other major canine organizations. That’s not to say that there are no clubs that recognize the Jorkie. American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry all recognize the Yorkie and Jack Russell mix as a breed in its own right.
The coat of these dogs is their most unpredictable trait. The Yorkie has fine long fur and the Jack Russell sports closely cropped coat in distinct tri-color pattern. Their mixed breed baby can be anything in between the two opposites! Usually, these designer dogs have a medium length coat that sheds moderately and is not difficult to maintain. Regular brushing will do the trick and keep their hair tangle free!
Jorkie puppies are a rowdy bunch. A litter of these cuties will be all over the place, as they are even more energetic and mischievous when they are young! Needless to say, you’ll have to have a lot of patience and energy to keep up with them. Start training and socialization early on for best results- Jorkie dogs can have behavioral issues if you neglect their upbringing.
Photo credit: JohnatAPW/Shutterstock
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.
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