Morkie (Maltese Yorkie Mix): Breed Facts & Temperament
It is easy to see why Morkies are one of the most in-demand designer breeds today. The Maltese Yorkie Mix, otherwise known as Morkie, is a great lap dog for modern individuals and couples. It has the cheeky yet sweet personality of a Yorkshire Terrier. It also has the charming personality and elegant look of the Maltese. One look at the dark, button-shaped eyes of the Morkie and your heart will melt in an instant.
History of the Morkie
The main issue with designer dog breeds is that most breeders do not keep accurate records of their breeding activities. What is clear, however, is that Hollywood celebrities and other members of the social elite began showcasing ‘designer’ dogs in the late 1990s. As such, it is possible that the Morkie was created sometime in the early 1990s or as early as the mid-1980s.
Creating a Morkie always starts with a Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier. Their litter are F1 Morkies. They should have 50 percent of the Yorkie traits and 50 percent of the Maltese traits. They are the first-generation Morkies.
If you mate an F1 Morkie to either a purebred Yorkie or a purebred Maltese, then you will get an F1b Morkie. Breeders often backcross their F1 Morkies to intensify the trait that they want to see in their Morkie. If they want to highlight the spunkiness of the Yorkshire Terrier, then they must backcross their F1 Morkie to a Yorkshire Terrier. The resulting F1b Morkie will have 75% of the trait of the Yorkie and only 25% of the Maltese.
The mating of two F1 Morkies will result in a second-generation Maltese Yorkie Mix – the F2. It is also possible to backcross an F2 Morkie with an F1b Morkie. This will result in an F2b generation of Maltese Yorkie Mixes.
One of the problems inherent in designer dog breeds is that no one can be sure about the “generations” of Morkies used in the breeding process. Some breeders may utilize only purebred Yorkies and Malteses, while others may include F1 and F2 Morkies in the mix. This can produce varied characteristics of the dog.
Since the foundation breeds of the Morkie are the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese, it is best to understand these canine breeds. This will somehow help in determining the kind of Morkie you will get.
The Maltese is one of the world’s oldest breeds of dogs. Archeologists discovered ancient Greek amphoras in Vulci, a small town in what is now known as Tuscany in Italy. This puts the Maltese’s ancestors to be around since 500 BC.
Throughout the centuries, the Maltese was able to generate a good following because of its gentle yet playful demeanor. It is a favorite companion of many Mediterranean nobility. It has this glamorous white coat that gives the dog a haughty yet noble look. Despite the long and flowing silky coat of the Maltese, this is a dog breed that does not have an undercoat. As such, it is also one of those dog breeds that only shed a little.
The Maltese is an intelligent dog that has a sweet demeanor. It is small yet its affection and devotion to its people is incomparable. Despite its aristocratic and delicate look, this dog is full of energy. It uses its intelligence to learn tricks and provide companionship to its owners. There is never a dull moment whenever the Maltese is around. It is for this reason that the Maltese is no longer just a companion dog. It is a therapy dog and can excel in agility trials, too.
Like all dogs, the Maltese is also prone to a number of diseases. These can include hypoglycemia, progressive retinal atrophy, and patellar luxation. In some dogs, they may have portosystemic liver shunt, reverse sneezing, and collapsed trachea.
The Yorkie, as fans love to call the Yorkshire Terrier, has its roots in the prolific ratters of 19th century rural England. Their ancestors were the famed terriers of the Scots – the Paisley and the Clydesdale Terriers.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution, many Scots moved to the northern regions of England. They worked in Yorkshire’s textile mills, coal mines, and factories. They also brought with them their dogs which served as excellent ratters for controlling rodents and other vermin in the mills.
Millers crossbred the Clydesdale with the Skye Terrier and the Black and Tan English Toy Terrier. This resulted in a smaller ratter, capable of hunting rodents through small holes in factories and mills. Later on, millers introduced the Waterside Terrier to give the Yorkie its now-famous blue-gray coat.
In the 19th century, people didn’t call these dogs Yorkshire Terriers yet. Instead, they are known as “broken-haired Scotch Terrier”. One of the most popular “Scotch Terrier” at the time was Huddersfield Ben. Because of the popularity of this dog, people began calling the breed as the Yorkshire Terrier. Huddersfield Ben fathered many Yorkies in its lifetime, making it the father of the modern Yorkie.
Yorkshire Terriers are the second smallest dog breed in the world. However, it doesn’t look at its size as a handicap. Instead, it has a self-assured demeanor. It also has the energetic and adventurous spirit of a terrier.
Some Yorkies are clingy, sometimes becoming miniature Velcro dogs. Some are outgoing and mischievous. They can handle almost anything that life throws at their paws. True to their terrier heritage, Yorkies can be very suspicious of strangers. They will bark, which can be very annoying to your neighbors.
While Yorkies are full of energy, they don’t mind spending some quality time with their human family. After all, this dog loves the attention it receives. Be careful, though, as this breed is quite prone to separation anxiety.
Despite its spunky personality, the Yorkshire Terrier is not without any health problem. This little dog is prone to patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and portosystemic shunt. Some can also have collapsed trachea, reverse sneezing, and hypoglycemia. Dental and oral problems can also occur.
Quick Facts About the Maltese Yorkie Mix
While we can never be certain about the origins of the Maltese Yorkie Mix, we are positive about the following.
They Are Small Designer Dogs
Morkies start out as very small puppies. Newborn puppies weigh only about 4 to 5 ounces. When they grow, the tallest they can ever get is about 15 inches. At the very minimum, Morkies should stand at least 6 inches. A fully-grown Maltese Yorkie Mix can weigh between 5 and 10 lbs. By comparison, Chihuahuas are never heavier than 5.9 lbs. This should give you an idea of how small the Morkie is.
They Are Cute
Because of their diminutive size, Morkies are super cute. Add to this their fluffy ears, short muzzles, and big, round eyes and you get a little Teddy Bear that you can hug all day long. They can have floppy or pointy ears, depending on which breed trait is more dominant. They have a straight, silky, and fine fur that can come in different colors.
They Can Be Expensive
Morkies are a designer dog breed. This already commands a respectable price tag. Since their litter is small – only about 2 to 3 puppies per litter – breeders often charge higher than other crossbreeds. Morkie puppies can sell for as low as $1,500; although some breeders can charge you up to $3,000 or more. It is a sought-after designer breed. As such, do not expect its price tag to go lower anytime soon.
They Are Low-Shedding Dogs
Both the Maltese and the Yorkie do not shed that much. Hence, you can also expect the Morkie to be a low-shedding dog. Do not confuse this with hypoallergenicity, however, because there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. What you only have are dog breeds that do not shed that much. This makes them good pets for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
Things You Should Know
This lapdog expects only the best care from its owners. From its healthcare needs to its nutrition, one has to be ready to take care of these little bundles of joy.
Morkies can live up to 15 years, although there are unverified reports of Maltese Yorkie mixes reaching up to 17 years. Many of them grow old without any significant health problems. This does not mean that they are not at risk for having health issues, however.
Tracheal collapse in Morkies is quite common. This can lead to difficulty eating, frequent coughing, and respiratory problems. There are also those that can develop cataract and glaucoma. These can impair the dog’s ability to see its surroundings and its beloved owner.
Some Maltese Yorkie Mixes can also develop abnormalities in their knee joints, a condition called patellar luxation. This can affect the dog’s mobility. Hypoglycemia is another concern. Because the dog is very energetic and playful, it tends to use up its glucose reserves very fast. Its metabolic rate is too fast for its small body.
Morkies are prone to develop what we call the small dog syndrome. They will bark a lot. This is one of their ways to get your attention. As such, Morkie pet owners should train them right from the very beginning.
Training the Morkie should be easy enough, given that its foundation parents are both intelligent. They also have a people-pleasing attitude that you can leverage during training. However, Morkies can be very stubborn, too. This is especially the case if you do not use the right dog training methods. They respond best to techniques that employ rewards, be it in the form of yummy treats or some other non-food items.
Start training the Morkie as early as 8 weeks of age. Be firm yet gentle in your approach. This dog is clever but it is also sensitive. It does not like getting punished or shouted at. This erodes the trust that it has with you.
In addition to training, you should also socialize the Morkie early in its life. This is a designer breed that can get attached to one specific person. You do not want this to happen as it can lead to overdependence and other behavioral problems. It can also be very distrustful of strangers. The earlier you introduce the Morkie to different people and different animals, the better it will be in terms of sociability.
A Maltese Yorkie Mix also needs exercise to keep it physically fit. However, because this crossbreed has a very fast metabolism, you should be careful not to over-exercise it. Excessive exercise can deplete it of the dog’s energy reserves. This can predispose it to hypoglycemia, making the dog weak. Thirty minutes of brisk walking every day is enough.
Interactive dog toys can also help address the Morkie’s need for mental stimulation. This is a clever designer breed. Without adequate mental stimulation, it will look for other ways to be “creative”. It does not matter if this means turning your house inside out. As long as the designer breed can use its brain in doing something, then it will do it.
These dogs love outdoor adventures. You can bring them on short hikes. If you are going on longer treks, get ready for more frequent breaks. An alternative will be to carry the hound in a backpack dog carrier.
Morkies are rambunctious little punks. They have very fast metabolic rates that they tend to use up their glucose a lot faster than other breeds. They also love to eat. This is where correct nutrition can help. It is best to feed the Morkie smaller yet more frequent feedings. Feeding it once a day will deplete its energy reserves in a flash. Feeding it at least 3 times a day will supply it with the necessary energy it needs for many of its activities. Be mindful of the right amounts of calories, though.
Since Morkies are also prone to dental problems, it is a good idea to give them dry dog food. Kibbles have a rough texture that can remove food particles and other debris from their teeth and gum line. However, this should never be a substitute for daily brushing of the teeth or for regular visits to a veterinary dentist. Also, choose a dry dog food that has the right amounts of calories and proteins for your dog’s developmental needs.
The best dog food for Morkies, however, is wet dog food. This contains the right amounts of protein and nutrients that your pet needs. However, it does not have the abrasive texture of kibbles, making it a poor choice for cleaning your dog’s teeth. Nevertheless, if you can make it a habit to clean the Morkie’s teeth every day, then a high-quality wet dog food is best.
The fluffy, long coat of the Morkie requires frequent brushing unless you do not mind having a lapdog that looks like a Bergamasco or a Puli. The point is that the dog’s low-shedding potential should never be an excuse for not combing and brushing its coat. A trip to a professional groomer to have its coat trimmed can also keep it looking nice and healthy.
Bathing the Morkie is optional. If you adhere to a regular professional grooming session, then bathing the dog is no longer an issue. However, if you are grooming it yourself, then you should schedule a bath every month.
Clean the area around the dog’s eyes. This is often prone to forming tear stains. You should wipe it with a moist, clean cloth every day. You should also clean its ears once a week. The Morkie’s teeth need daily brushing, especially if you are feeding it wet dog food. If you are giving the Morkie kibbles, then brush its teeth once every 3-4 days. Clip the nails at least twice a month, too.
The Maltese Yorkie Mix is a bona-fide lapdog. Both of its foundation breeds are well-known for their people-oriented personality. They form very strong bonds with their owners, relishing the times that they get to cuddle and snuggle with their favorite person. They will play with the kids as well as other pets in the household. Their playful nature and high levels of energy make Morkies a wonderful companion for fun-loving families and individuals.
The tendency of the Morkie to form a strong bond with one particular member of the family can bring a number of problems. First, it can lead to separation anxiety in situations where the “treasured” person is not in the house for long periods of time. Second, it can foster a sense of overdependence on the dog. The Morkie’s existence revolves around this specific person.
Morkies are also fearless. They won’t hesitate to protect and defend their family. They don’t see their size as an obstacle. Their courage and determination is immeasurable. Their love and loyalty to their human family are unquestionable. This is a gutsy dog that is never shy to show its devotion to its owner and his family.
The Maltese Yorkie Mix is your quintessential four-legged bundle of joy. It is bursting with energy that is perfect for fun-loving families. Its devotion is undeniable and its affection for its human family is unparalleled.