Cramming all of the attitude of a giant breed dog into a spunky little package, the Shorkie has no clue that he is a small guy. A mix of Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier, he is a dedicated, loyal, and loving companion that will bark his head off to let his owners know that someone is approaching. Although he will never be a guard dog, the Shorkie makes an excellent watchdog and will never fail to alert his owners when strange things are afoot. Sleeping around a Shorkie might be difficult as a result, but at least you’ll be well aware of any minor intrusion on your home, even a particularly strong gust of wind.
Both of the breeds that were combined to create this adorable cross are known for their great personalities and adorable looks. The unwavering loyalty and the instinct to watch over their families is something Shorkie gets from its Shih Tzu parent, while the lively spirit and big personality are traits this doggo can thank their Yorkie genes for. Naturally since this is a designer dog breed, there are no set standards that guarantee either uniform looks or a personality: each pooch is a unique mix. Across one litter, puppies can turn out to be entirely different one from another, both when it comes to their appearance and character traits they display. It’s a grab-bag anytime you get one of these pups, but at least you know that no matter how the genes rearrange themselves, your Shorkie will be undeniably lovable.
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However, there are common traits that are typical for the breeds used in the cross that Shorkies tend to inherit more than others, so you can still count on knowing what kind of pooch are you getting. Playful and energetic, the Shorkie is great with kids and adults. He will readily play with the kids and be watchful to ensure that they are safe outdoors. These doggos are practically designed to bring joy to any family.
These are smart canines and thankfully quite easily trainable. Granted, that depends onf the particular Shorkie puppy in question not turning out to be stubborn- a trait both Shih Tzus and Yorkies are known for. While these are small dogs, they are still fairly active and will need to have daily walks and quality playtime to burn off any excess energy. Of course, at the end of the day, the Shorkie will more than happy to snuggle up to you and curl up in your lap, ready to get his well-deserved belly rubs and ear scratches.
With the attitude of a giant breed dog, the Shorkie has no clue that he is a small guy.
So where did this unique and beloved breed of dog come from? Why through selective breeding, of course! The Shorkie is just one of the many designer dog breeds that are currently being developed in the United States. While these crossbreeds are incredibly popular and sought-after, there are still very new to the world of canine breeding. Apart from the occasional, unplanned mixes, these adorable doggies have been around for only a decade. This is a brand new style of pup that wouldn’t have been an option to bring into your home until very recently.
The reason why breeders started crossing these two small dog breeds for the last ten years is their desire to create an intelligent, friendly and good-looking lapdog. Some might argue that we already have those, but creating new breeds such as Shorkie is not only important for the sake of diversity, but also to allow responsible breeders to improve upon the inherent genetic issues of the breeds. By “diluting” the gene pool, they can weed out known issues and strive for more desirable traits. All of that thought and effort packed into one incredibly cute little pooch! Regardless, the breeders seem to be doing a great job as the Shorkie is increasing in popularity, offering an energetic and kid-friendly family companion to so many homes across the country.
The Shorkie breed is still in its developmental stages. As we’ve previously mentioned, this designer breed has been around for the last 10 to 15 years, so there is still a lot of work before it will be considered a bona fide, recognized dog breed. The Shorkie we know today is merely a crossbreed between a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier.
Breeders eventually plan to breed 1st generation Shorkies and continue this breeding program to create an actual purebred dog over time. This is not something that can be done overnight. It will take at least 7 generations of stringent breeding for this dog to potentially be recognized by the prestigious breed registries. By breeding Shorkies with Shorkies, breeders will eventually be able to develop a true set of breed standards. Plus all of the puppies will be more uniform, both in terms of looks and temperament. However, for now, F2 (second generation) Shorkies are still quite rare. Most Shorkie puppies for sale are direct descendants of a Shih Tzu and Yorkie. So, if you encounter a breeder who claims they are selling purebred Shorkies, chances are they are fibbing. Be careful out there!
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Shorkies need to be fed a well-balanced and high-quality diet of dry kibble. It should be specifically formulated for small dogs that are active as well as produced by trusted pet food brands. Look for kibble that is only made with high-grade ingredients, has a high percentage of lean meat, and is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. That type will provide your pup the nutrients that they need to live long and happy lives. Avoid cheap and no-name dry foods because they are usually full of filler, like unhealthy carbs and plant-based protein. These cheep dry foods might save you a few dollars, but they could be detrimental to your pet’s health in the long run. Additionally, you should take care that the food you chose is appropriate for your pet’s age. Puppies, adults and senior dogs all have different dietary needs. When in doubt, always consult with your vet to ensure that you have the right food to suit your pup’s belly.
While you can add other types of food occasionally, such as canned or cooked dog food, dry food is essential because Shorkies are predisposed to oral health issues such as tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. These problems can be prevented by feeding a healthy diet of dry kibble. Of course, you shouldn’t rely only on food to keep your dog’s smile sparkly and cavity-free: to ensure excellent oral health, you need to put that doggie toothbrush to good use. If your pup doesn’t like their doggie toothbrush, there are also toys that can improve their dental health through play.
Another food-related health issue you need to watch out for is obesity. As a small breed dog, the Shorkie is particularly at risk because it doesn’t take much for them to gain extra weight. Unfortunately, their small frame won’t handle extra fluff all that well. In no time, that extra padding on their bellies can lead to the development of joint issues or diabetes. To prevent the issues that come with having an overweight dog, make sure that you’re not overfeeding your doggo. Stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations for serving size (it’s usually a cup or a cup and a half) and split their daily dose of kibble into two separate meals. This will minimize the potential for bloating and digestive issues that come with fast eating. Shorkies can be greedy little gremlins. They’ll gobble up anything that’s put in front of their faces, so it’s best to spread their food out the best that you can.
Although Shorkies like to please their owners, they are quite stubborn when it comes to training.
Although Shorkies like to please their owners, they are quite stubborn when it comes to training. Their short attention spans can prove to be problematic, as they’ll appear to be focused on what you’re teaching them, only to start playing with your foot two minutes later. While their scatterbrained behavior can test anybody’s patience, it doesn’t mean you should resort to stricter techniques. Patience is important. Your pup will get their eventually. It just takes time and focus from their master. Trainers must keep in mind that Shorkies are sensitive and do not respond to physical or harsh training methods. Not only that it has been proven that these outdated methods are entirely counterproductive, but they’ll also cause the Shorkie to shut down and ignore the trainer. These are fickle little pups who respond best to a kind and patient hand.
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So, Training a Shorkie takes time and patience. The trainer should always maintain a calm and upbeat attitude. The use of exuberant praise and lots of delectable treats will help to keep the Shorkie’s attention and make him want to learn new things. After all, who has ever known a puppy immune to yummies and proud encouragement? They simply don’t exist. Your Shorkie will do anything for a treat and that should be your focus during training.
Training sessions should be relatively short, no more than 15 minutes at a time. These sessions should be done daily. Ideally a training regime that occurs twice daily would be most beneficial to the dog. Remember, teach one command at a time and do not move on until your Shorkie has mastered it. This will make training a happy and fun time for both the owner and dog alike. Additionally, it’s recommended to start with the basics and see where it takes you from there. Teaching your dog where to go potty, or basic commands such as sit or stay are the first things you want to do. You can’t expect your Shorkie puppy to start doing fun tricks or understand complex commands on their first try! That will take time. So make sure to instil your pup with the basics before you get ambitious in your training.
Generally, Shorkies weigh between 7 and 15 pounds and are from 6 to 14 inches tall at the withers. The difference between the minimum and maximum weight are due to the unpredictability of crossbreeds. In some cases, Shorkie puppies turn out to be tiny like Yorkies, or an average-sized small breed dog, like their Shih Tzu parent. It’s hard to tell which direction they’ll go until they start to grow. This new dog breed is simply too unpredictable to be sure right now.
Shorkies are loving and affectionate with their families. They will be happy to tag along to run errands or simply chill out on their human’s lap. In fact, they can be a little too happy to spend time with you, which leads to them becoming too clingy and needy. While having a velcro dog sounds cute in theory, allowing your dog to get overly attached to you can lead to various behavioral issues. This crossbreed is known for being attached to their people, and they do become upset and depressed when left alone for long periods of time. In turn, they tend to be affected by separation anxiety, which can lead to excessive barking and destructiveness in the home. So, that makes training a little tricky. You want to bond with the animal with allowing them to become too overly attached.
Crating this dog does not help with separation anxiety. The dog will scratch and claw to get out of the crate to find his people resulting in bloody paws and broken nails. The solution to this issue is working with your dog from a young age, teaching them to be independent and comfortable when left alone. While crating is not a solution to separation anxiety problem, it can prevent it if your puppy is crate trained on time. So pay careful attention to to how you handle the early years of your Shorkie. It will make all the difference.
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Energetic and playful, Shorkies love to play ball, fetch or just chew on squeaky toys. Interactive toys and puzzles are also a favorite of this pooch, as their smart little brains appreciate the exercise, too. Because he doesn’t need a lot of activity to stay happy and healthy, much of the exercise he needs is taken care of by himself and inside of his home. Even in an apartment, this dog will keep the kids occupied. He’ll have them tossing the ball and racing to see who can get to it first. Combined with regular short walks around the neighborhood, your furry bestie will surely burn off all that extra energy! It won’t take much. These little fluff balls will be burning off energy even without your guidance.
And if you decide on taking your dog for some outside playtime, make sure to be safe. Though small, the Shorkie is quick and should never be exercised outdoors without a securely fenced area. Even if let out to play in a securely fenced yard, the Shorkie shouldn’t be left unsupervised: this mischievous puppers will find a way to get themselves into trouble. So keep an eye on them to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Common Health Problems
There are some people who believe that mixed breed dogs are healthier than their purebred parents, but it’s not all black and white. The health of a Shorkie will depend on various factors. Essentially, it all boils down to two major ones: luck and responsible breeding.
As crossbreeds, Shorkies can develop genetic disorders inherent in either or both of their parents. Some of these health problems are oral health issues, tooth loss, kidney stones, liver disease, allergies to medications and anesthesia, progressive retinal apathy, patellar luxation, hypoglycemia and collapsed trachea.
However, by getting a Shorkie puppy from a reputable, responsible breeder, the chances of your puppy having serious hereditary issues are far lower. Unlike backyard breeders, they will make sure to weed out any genetic disorders from their lines and strive to produce a healthy puppy.
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The average Shorkie lives to be between 12 and 15 years. For such a small doggo, this is quite a considerable lifespan. This is especially obvious if we take into account that the maximum average lifespan of most dog breeds is around 15 years. Of course, all this is only true if you take good care of your Shorkie pet. This includes a proper and healthy diet, plenty of exercise and good living conditions, and regular vet checkups. Take care of this, and you are sure to spend many wonderful years together with your pet.
Just as you’d think, these tiny puppers have a lot of spirit and love to play and zoom about. They are active but not demanding, and will need several walks each day. A good rule of thumb is to commit to about 30 minutes of walking daily. If there is access to a fenced backyard or local dog park for the dog to play in, that’s even better. The Shorkie will run around like a maniac chasing balls or toys or just interacting with other canines. He is the perfect playmate for older kids and will happily keep them busy for hours.You should also throw in some regular family shenanigans throughout the day as well. This can be something simple as playing with toys, or playing chase, fetch, or any other fun activities.
However, even though these are not lazy lap dogs, they have the ability to adapt to your own routine and lifestyle. When their basic needs, such as daily walks, are met, the Shorkie will be perfectly happy to take your cue for additional exercise. If you live in an apartment, they won’t mind having that extra activity indoors- chasing a ball or playing tug of wars is just fine. You don’t have to have a huge backyard or be an outdoorsy type to be a match for the Shorkie. This adaptability and overall undemanding exercise requirements make these designer dogs a great pet for seniors, as well. This is a doggo for every owner!
Shorkies are loving and affectionate with their families.
Because he’s not a purebred dog, the Shorkie is not recognized by major registries such as the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club. This crossbreed is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, Inc., International Designer Canine Registry and the Designer Breed Registry.
Shorkies have soft and relatively long coats. They should be silky and never coarse. These are low-shedding dogs and can be somewhat hypoallergenic. Any color or combination is possible because this is a crossbreed. At this time, there is no standard dictating coat type or color. It’s simply too unpredictable at the moment.
Daily brushing is a must for the Shorkie. Without proper brushing, the coat can become snarled, tangled, and matted. Many people opt to have their dogs professionally groomed and trimmed every 6 weeks. This is a good idea to keep your dog in tiptop shape. Bathing should be done every other month or when the dog is dirty or begins to smell.
Remember that it is important to properly train and socialize your Shorkie at an early age. This ensures that they react well to handling, and enables you to bathe and brush them without any hassle. A spoiled and untrained Shorkie can become snappy and avoid being touched, and that becomes a big issue when you attempt to groom them. Early work is important.
Shorkie puppy litters are always different. The reason for this is that these are first generation hybrids. Some puppies might look more like one parent than the other, or they could be a perfect blend of both parents’ looks. You can never know! The mother is usually a Shih Tzu, as the Yorkie is the smaller breed of the two there could be problems with the delivery. The litters are usually fairly small, no more than 5 puppies.
Regardless of which parent your puppy looks like more, you can be sure it will be cute, tiny, and mischievous- like all puppies are, after all. However, despite the fact you’ll probably want to cuddle them all day long, these crossbreeds will need to be trained as soon as possible. Early socialization and Puppy Kindergarten classes are important for the Shorkie. The combination of both will help him to grow up to be a friendly and well-mannered member of the family, and eliminate potential behavioral issues before they even develop.
Additionally, you should be aware that Shorkie puppies are very small and, therefore, very fragile, so they will need to be handled very carefully. If you have kids, don’t leave them alone with the Shorkie puppy- they could inadvertently injure them in play or while trying to pick them up. These are delicate pups who need a soft touch. However, with all the love you get in return, that won’t be difficult at all. You’ll want to treat your Shorkie like the princes and princesses that they are!
Puppy stage is important for the proper development and upbringing of a Shorkie. Use this time to start that all-important socialization and establish some solid foundations for their future training. Remember that during this time, puppies will eagerly soak up all that they are taught, so use the time wisely – set down some ground rules that you want to see throughout your time together.
Shorkie Frequently Asked Questions
Are Shorkies hypoallergenic?
Due to their low-shedding coat, Shorkies are considered to be hypoallergenic designer dogs. The allergens that irritate people that are allergic to dogs are in pet hair and dander, and when a dog sheds minimally (or not at all), the chances for a reaction are significantly reduced. Still, keep in mind that Shorkies will shed – even if just a little bit. This will require regular brushing, and some grooming in between as well. Try to establish a regular routine – sometimes it takes just a few minutes of brushing per day to maintain your Shorkie’s dashing and tidy looks.
How much does a Shorkie cost?
The prices for a Shorkie puppy vary significantly when you’re buying from a reputable, responsible breeder. In this case, you would need to shell out anywhere from $1,500 to over $6,000. The price will depend on the pedigree of the puppy (e.g. if he or she comes from a famous bloodline), their looks (rare colors cost more), and if they are already trained or not. Of course, if you happen to adopt a Shorkie from a rescue or a shelter, you could be paying just a modest fee instead. Of course, $6,000 might seem excessive for a pet of any kind. But still, for a breeder to rear an all-round perfect Shorkie pup is quite the challenge. Ideal parents, with ideal lineages, are required for the perfect mix and the ensuing result. It is a challenging process that can be costly and last a number of years. In these cases, a hefty sum is justified for a first class Shorkie!
Of course, it is always best to adopt whenever possible. Take a look at your local and regional shelters – see what dogs are in need of home, and if a Shorkie is amongst them. Adopting is ethical, kind, and beneficial in many ways. The rewards of adopting over buying are many and will stay with you for a long time.
Are Shorkies aggressive?
The Shorkie might be tiny, but don’t let looks fool you: this is one feisty dog. Like one of his parents, the Yorkie, it too can develop small dog syndrome if not trained and socialized on time. To avoid behavioral issues down the road, use positive reinforcement methods from an early age and be sure to work on socialization with kids, strangers, and other pets. Otherwise, expect to see a bit of a snappy attitude. A Shorkie that is not properly trained or socialized can dislike being held – a snappy response is guaranteed when you try to touch them. Such dogs will also growl a lot, and generally are too feisty. But, with a lot of affection and friendliness early on, they can tolerate strangers, new dogs, and be wonderful around kids. And without any negative attitude whatsoever!
Just remember to quickly try and fix this behavior with your pet. Don’t use force - rather be assertive, dominant, and confident. A raised tone of voice and a firm “No!” will send a clear message to your pet. Methods such as “timeout” can also work well. Once they get a hang of their mistake, and later refrain from lashing out, you can proceed to offer a reward. Keep in mind that positive reinforcement and reward for good behavior are a perfect motivator!
What is the personality of a shorkie?
Shorkies are sweet, affectionate, energetic and have a big attitude. These small dogs are very playful and can become bossy, but in general, it’s all in good spirit and they make fast friends with other pets and people. They are so loving and loyal that they can become clingy- they are often described as true “velcro” dogs! They also act well in a family. They become full fledged family members – shoulder to shoulder with everyone else. You’ll know that from their “big dog” attitude. Still, there won’t be enmity in their “bossy” attitude or teasing snappy growls. Affection is behind all of it, and rest assured – a Shorkie will adore its owner and its family. It’s the loyalty and affection of a standard sized breed, all packed into the tiny body of a Shorkie!
Are Shorkies smart?
Yes, Shorkies are intelligent dogs that will need to be challenged mentally through play and puzzles. Unless they develop a stubborn streak, these smart cookies will also be quite easy to train as they will easily pick up on everything you try to teach them. Tiny and full of spirit, Shorkies are energetic, agile, and curious. You’ll need ways to satisfy their inquisitive personality, otherwise they might grow bored and develop behavioral issues.
You’d be surprised to find out how quickly they catch on and grasp new tricks. Puzzles, new toys, and even obstacle courses can be a source of much fun for a Shorkie. So make sure to invest in some challenging toys and to establish a daily routine of some fun time – be it exercise, playtime, fetch in the park, toys, or anything in between. Without this mental stimulation, small and big issues can quickly arise.
Do Shorkies like to be held?
A lot will depend on the individual dog and their character- some Shorkies are so clingy that they will love hanging out in your purse just to be close to you, others dislike being held so much that they will growl when you attempt to pick them up. In any case, it is not recommended for children to pick up and hold these small dogs as they could inadvertently hurt them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the character of this breed can vary a lot, as is common with tiny breeds. In certain cases and with certain upbringing, the Shorkie can be an affectionate pet and a true lap dog. They will be clingy and bonded, and will need the attention and affection from their owner. In other cases, the Shorkie can be a feisty little tiny dog with a character of a large hound. They’ll have their attitude and stick by it – if they don’t like to be held, you’ll know about it. Still, a lot can depend on the environment and the way a dog is raised early on.
Photo credit: Leslie Swarty/Bigstock
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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