Shorkie (Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix): Breed Facts & Temperament
The Shorkie (Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix) is a fluffy, adorable little doggo with a surprisingly feisty personality. These little dogs are friendly and protective companions which love running around and being active as much as they love cuddling with their owner. Since the breed is fairly new, they are still growing in popularity and will continue to do so in the future. Afterall, the Shorkie is a beautiful breed with a caring personality and requires low maintenance, who doesn’t want that?
If you’ve had your eye on a Shorkie and are looking to adopt or if you’ve never even heard of this breed before, we have some interesting facts in this article for you. We’re going to look at the brief history of this breed, what you might want to know before adopting and we’ll shed some light on the main aspects of Shorkie dog care. Let’s begin!
History of the Shorkie
The Shorkie dog has a short history spanning only a few decades as it was created around the turn of the millennium. As a result of its brief history, the Shorkie breed has only just become popular but that’s only likely to increase in the future. The dog was created by crossing the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier to create a designer hybrid, combining the best characteristics of both breeds. So, the Shorkie isn’t exactly a pure breed but it isn’t often crossed with any other dogs because the mix is so desirable. Because this is a cross (and a fairly recent one), its breeding isn’t regulated by a Kennel Club or Association meaning each Shorkie looks a little bit different. However, the Shorkie is registered by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club and the American Canine Hybrid Club, amongst many other hybrid clubs in America. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more known information on the Shorkie’s origins besides the rough estimation of when it was first bred and that it took place in the United States.
The Shorkie’s parents, however, have an incredibly rich and interesting history. The Shih Tzu is believed to date back around 2,000 years! It is generally accepted that this loyal little dog was a popular companion and lap dog for Chinese nobles as it originated in Tibet, a region in China. The dog would have been a caring companion, often found in the courts of the nobles and its confident personality would have made it perfect for meeting new friends.
The Yorkshire Terrier dates back to the 19th Century when it was created in Great Britain to be used to chase small rodents in family homes. The breed has an eagerness to learn and be trained, most likely caused by its original use as a working dog, and has a bubbly personality, keen to please its owner. By understanding a little more about the Shorkie’s parents, it’s clear to see why the breed was created. The lovable and affectionate qualities found in both breeds combine to make the perfect lap dog (or teddy bear dog, as they’re often called), and their shared tiny size makes them perfect canine companion.
Quick Facts About the Shorkie
Already we’ve learned a lot about this beautiful breed and why it’s becoming increasingly popular. While we can’t expect to tell you absolutely everything about this dog, here are some quick, interesting facts about the Shorkie.
- This perfect pup has a few names, the Shorkie, Shorkie Tzu and Yorkie Tzu.
- Shorkies can grow between 6 to 11 inches tall and weigh around 5 to 12 lbs. Since this is a cross, each pup will vary in size and weight but females will typically be smaller than males in this breed.
- The Yorkie Tzu has two coats! The bottom coat is a short, thick and fleece-like, while the upper coat grows into long, silky hair. Some Shorkie parents let the upper coat grow out to give their dog a long, flowing coat while others keep the coat short and thick. This really is a versatile pupper!
- The Shorkie dog breed comes in many colors! Shorkie Tzus can be any shade or combination of black, white, brown, tan, gold, or red. Most Shorkies have a darker muzzle compared to the rest of its coat color.
- Most healthy Shorkies live between 11 to 16 years while some can even live up to 20 years!
Things You Should Know
The Shorkie dog is a perfect choice for many owners because of its simple needs and intelligent and lovable personality. Although they love to exercise and play, they also love to lounge around so you can enjoy long walks and binge-watching films with this dog. Although some Shorkies can be stubborn and standoffish, this behavior can almost always be corrected through patient and enthusiastic training from their owner. Essentially, the more effort you put into training, socializing and playing with your Shorkie, the better their behavior will be. Since the Yorkie Tzu loves to relax as well as exercise, they don’t mind being left alone during the day while you work. Just make sure to leave them enough food, water and toys to keep them busy during the day and don’t leave them alone for any longer than 8 hours. So, if you’re looking for a playful canine companion that can fit into your schedule and lifestyle, you might have just found your match.
Unfortunately, there are a few medical conditions which Shorkies tend to develop either at birth or later in life. Some of these conditions are known to be hereditary so it could be worth investigating a pup’s background before adopting, if possible. If you know the pup’s parents had any hereditary conditions before adopting, you can prepare in advance or possibly find another Shorkie if you’re not able to provide the correct level of care for a poorly pup. It’s worth mentioning that some of these conditions aren’t as bad as others and, with the correct health care in place, it’s possible to look after these pups with minimal problems. It’s also important to remember that some pups might not have any medical conditions! The following list contains the more common medical conditions found in some Shorkies.
- Hypoglycemia and Hypomagnesemia – This condition typically affects dogs following the weaning stage and is caused by low levels of glucose or magnesium in the blood. These conditions can result in lethargy, overtiredness, behavioral changes or seizures. However, it can be controlled using supplements or injections and, if regulated well enough, it can cause minimal disturbance to normal life.
- Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – This condition is becoming increasingly common in dogs which are being bred with small bodies and flat faces (brachycephalic breeds). It results in respiratory problems caused by an abnormally formed upper respiratory system.
- Dental Problems – These problems can vary in degree and can occur for different reasons. While all dogs can develop problems like gum disease and tooth decay, the Shorkie can be at greater risk because of its shortened muzzle and small mouth which can result in overcrowding. Most oral diseases can be avoided through correct oral care, such as regular teeth cleaning and giving treats only on occasion.
- Eye Problems – There are a few eye problems which are common in Yorkie Tzus including Glaucoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Lens Luxation. The first two conditions can cause gradual blindness or pain around the eyes. Lens luxation can occur on its own or as a result of Glaucoma and involves the dislocation of the eye from its correct place due to the breakdown of ligaments. Regular eye appointments should be provided for Shorkies to catch any health conditions early and to provide the best chance for successful treatment and recovery.
One of the main reasons for the presence of these conditions stem from the Shorkie’s small size which causes complications in bone structure and organ growth and function. Another reason for these conditions is that they can be found in the breed’s parents. Both the Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu can be found with these conditions which mean they can appear in the crossbreed. However, if you adopt or buy a Shorkie from a responsible and reputable breeder, the likelihood of these conditions should be minimized through controlled breeding.
Thankfully, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent and obedient animals and their characteristics which make them willing to learn have been passed down to the Shorkie. Although, their stubbornness has also passed down so training might not be an easy ride! Training the Shorkie breed can be either simple or tricky depending on how much of the previous characteristics have been passed on. While some dogs will accept training and learn their lessons quickly, it might take some more time, patience, and treats to convince the others. However, there are a few things you can do to make your Shorkie pup learn essential skills and to make the whole process much easier for you both.
- Start the lessons early – If you can ‘potty train’ your Shorkie pup while they are young then you can begin to teach other skills like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Training a young pup has its own challenges but if you can put in the effort and patience, it’ll make everything much easier for you as the pup grows up. Just be sure to teach one lesson at a time – pups who are taught multiple ‘tricks’ at once can become confused and you might not make much process.
- Keep the lessons short – Training your Shorkie dog for any longer than 15 minutes will likely result in them ignoring you to play with something new and interesting they’ve just found. Short lessons with a positive and energetic attitude will make the training sessions fun and exciting for your dog and they’ll respond well to your enthusiastic teaching.
- Positive Reinforcement – This tactic works for training every dog and a Shorkie is no different. If your pup responds well and does as it is instructed then reward them with a treat. Each time they repeat this action you should reward them with treats in the form of tasty snacks or new toys. You could even combine this with a clicker if you want to increase the chances of good results. Strict or aggressive teaching methods should never be used as Shorkies (as well as every other dog) won’t respond well to this method and it will likely deter them from following instructions in the future. A happy dog that is treated with respect (and treats!) will want to learn and please its owner.
This fun-loving and active little dog breed loves spending time outdoors, playing and running around like a crazy canine. Because of their small stature they don’t require much exercise, a daily 30-minute walk should be enough but it could be a good idea to split this up into small walks dispersed throughout the day if your schedule allows it. If you have a fenced backyard or a dog park nearby, these are ideal for letting your dog loose to run around, chase a ball and play with new friends. The Shorkie’s excitable and loving personality makes it the perfect play mate for other dogs and older kids that know how to play with these playful pups. If you don’t have access to large fenced areas then you can always walk them outside on a leash and play indoors instead. This active animal loves to play with its owner so it might be a good idea to keep some time reserved for a little play session during the day. Just be careful not to overtire or exhaust your Shorkie if they have respiratory problems as this could exacerbate their condition. If you have any concerns, speak with your vet for advice on how to exercise a Shorkie with respiratory problems.
The Shorkie has fairly straightforward eating habits and doesn’t require much food to fuel them during their day. Generally speaking, Shorkies require 40 calories per pound of bodyweight. For the average Shorkie, this is around 200 to 300 calories per day but, of course, it can vary from dog to dog. For example, a Yorkie Tzu weighing 10lbs would require roughly 400 calories per day. For the first 6 to 8 months of their life, they should be fed 3 or 4 times per day, reducing this to only twice per day when they reach adulthood. Their food can be dry, wet, raw or dehydrated, so long as they food is high quality and has animal-based protein and is fortified with healthy nutrients and vitamins. While most types of food are suitable for the Shorkie, it’s recommended that at least some of the food they eat is dry to help prevent the many oral issues they are at risk from.
Since the breed is small and doesn’t require much exercise, you should monitor their weight carefully as obesity is common among small dog breeds. If you notice your Shorkie gaining a few pounds, their food might have too many calories, they might be getting too much food, not enough exercise or a combination of these factors. Try making little changes to their diet and increasing exercise to even out the problem. However, if you have concerns then it’s always best to seek professional medical advice from a vet.
The Shorkie is one of the easiest animals to groom thanks to the fact that it barely sheds – another positive characteristic inherited from its parents. Their coat needs brushed regularly (daily if possible or at least a few times weekly) and it will need trimmed roughly every 8 weeks. Like other dogs, you’ll need to clean their eyes and ears every other day to remove dirt, food and water and they’ll need their teeth brushed regularly, too. Regular checkups from the vet and occasional appointments with a dog groomer will also help to keep your perfect pup in perfect shape.
As we’ve learned, the Shorkie breed is fun-loving, excitable and affectionate. These adorable doggos love to play, learn new tricks and just hang out with their owner. However, some Shorkies can be more feisty and protective resulting in standoffish behavior, particularly towards strangers. While these characteristics can be minimized by training the pup while it is young, it could present a problem to some families. Some Shorkies don’t get on very well with children so if you want to bring a pup into your family with kids around, it’s important to socialize the dog at a very early age to prevent problems. Responsible training and thorough socialization will help this dog to get on well with almost anyone it meets.
So, if you’re looking to adopt a Shorkie or you’re just looking to learn some fascinating facts about an adorable doggo, we hope this article helps! The Shorkie is becoming increasingly popular and now you know why, it’s adorable, intelligent and makes the perfect companion for any loving owner.