Shorkie dogs (a hybrid mix of the shih tzu and the Yorkshire terrier) are a pint-sized pooch and new kid on the block, and it's easy to see why interest in them is growing. Combining the Yorkie's small size with the shih tzu's sturdier build, the shorkie is a bright, affectionate, spunky dog that's considered nearly hypoallergenic.
Loyal and loving, shorkies adore their families—but decidedly do not enjoy being left alone. Snuggly but playful, shorkies don't need a huge yard or hours of activity. They do, however, require considerable grooming to keep their low-dander coats free of tangles.
With toy group parents like the shih tzu and Yorkshire terrier, it's no surprise that the full-grown, full-size shorkie (also known as a "shorkie tzu" or "Yorkie tzu") is a wee one, weighing somewhere in the realm of 5–12 pounds and reaching a height of just 6–11 inches.
Strawberry blond shorkie lays on bed
It's easy to see why the "teddy bear cut" is a popular shorkie style. When she sports this 'do, she looks like a real-life stuffed animal!
| Credit: aliyah giudice / Shutterstock
With any new crossbreed like the shorkie, it's tough to know how much each parent breed will affect the puppies' appearance. But, because both the shih tzu and the Yorkshire terrier have long, silky, low-shedding coats that feel more like human hair than traditional dog fur, owners can count on that consistency—and count on needing to either brush it daily to avoid tangles or keep it in a "teddy bear" cut. Although the shorkie's grooming needs are high, this type of fur tends to have less dander, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers (though no dog can be deemed 100-percent hypoallergenic).
What's less certain is the coat's color, which can come in any combination of blue, red, black, brown, fawn, or white, and her face is often darker than her body. Generally, the shorkie is a tiny but muscular dog with thin legs, a round face, and short muzzle. Her little tail is likely to curl over her back, possibly with a long plume of hair, and her adorable little triangular ears add to her alert look.
Small but mighty, the shorkie is a charming pup with a sweet but spirited nature. She makes a wonderful family pet and devoted lap dog for just about any owner who's ready to spend lots of time together.
The shorkie does not appreciate being left alone for long, which makes her a great companion for seniors, too. While shorkies (especially shorkie puppies) make active play pals, you can also expect plenty of snuggle time once her physical and mental needs are met.
Left: As with all breeds, shorkie puppies need to be trained and socialized at an early age. She can be prone to anxiety and fearful behaviors, but with proper stimulation she'll be a brave little pup. | Credit: Jeanette Buffalo / Shutterstock
Right: Though shorkies can look very different, one thing is almost certain: That long, silky fur. If you choose to keep your pup's hair lengthy and luscious, daily grooming is a must. | Credit: tomm.jpeg / Shutterstock
She's alert, sensitive, and quick to bark at just about anything that startles her, whether that's a person, an animal, or one of those dastardly floating leaves that come out of nowhere. Training and socialization in puppyhood will go a long way toward keeping your shorkie healthy, happy, and less likely to engage in some of the less cute qualities they can sometimes exhibit, like that barking, digging, or chasing.
The shorkie's slight size can make her feel like she needs to stand up for herself in order to be seen. It's up to her owners to help her feel secure and teach her quieter methods of self-expression through consistent positive reinforcement training.
"Fearful behaviors are really common, and having a little dog you can't touch in your home is a really challenging situation!" says Dr. Jill Sackman, DVM, PhD, owner of Animal Behavior Consultants of Michigan. "Handling and touch is really important. You want [a puppy] who's outgoing, who's interested in interacting and exploring their environment."
White and brown shorkie looks up at camera
Pretty much any space your shorkie shares with you will do, whether that's a studio apartment or a home with a sizable fenced-in yard. You need to provide your shorkie with enough physical activity and mental stimulation to keep her happy and healthy. Otherwise, she's going to entertain herself—and probably not in ways that are very entertaining to you.
Because she doesn't like being left alone, she'll love to join you for social outings. But remember: Just because your pup can fit in your purse, that doesn't mean she should stay there.
"Make sure you're taking them on walks out in public and not just carrying them around," says Erin Askeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, Animal Health and Behavior Consultant at Camp Bow Wow. "You want them to get out on their own four feet." If you do carry her on occasion, make sure she's secure and doesn't jump from up high, which could end in injury.
Brown and blonde shorkie pokes head out of coral and navy striped tote bag on woman's arm
Shorkies don't like being left alone for long. But because they're so small, it's easy to take them with you almost anywhere!
| Credit: Robert D. Barnes / Getty
With a crossbreed like this, a wide variety of traits can be inherited from either parent breed. So while some shorkies will be lively little dogs who love to zoom around, others will be more content spending quality time on the couch. Pay attention to what your shorkie seems to enjoy most, and when it comes to games and training, look for fun activities that engage her natural instincts in a safe and secure way.
"If they want something to chase, give them something to chase!" Askeland says. "I love using interactive mechanical toys ... something like a fish on a string, kind of like a flirt pole, can be really fun to play with, especially inside."
She's also a fan of indoor games like hide and seek, which engages her terrier desire to search. And if you've got a big chaser, Askeland suggests finding a local lure chasing group.
The shih tzu tends to tolerate other pets easily, while Yorkies sometimes prefer to be the star of the show, so it can be difficult to predict how your shorkie will do with a four-legged sibling. But as long as your pup is well-socialized when she's young, she should be fine with canine or kitty roommates.
Profile shot of blonde and brown shorkie
Credit: juergenhu / Shutterstock
The shorkie's coat may be considered high maintenance, but the fact that it's low-dander more than makes up for the daily brushing it requires to stay knot- and tangle-free. Along with regular brushing, you should plan on taking her to the groomer every six weeks or so.
Many owners keep their shorkies in a puppy or "teddy bear" cut to reduce daily grooming time—plus, there's no denying it's super adorable. It's vital that you get your shorkie used to being handled and groomed from an early age so your regular sessions are a fun bonding opportunity, not a chore you both dread.
In addition to grooming your shorkie's coat, her nails should also be trimmed monthly, she'll need her ears cleaned on occasion, and she's going to need a little help keeping her pretty little face clean with warm water and a soft cloth—between getting food in her fur and having teary eyes, she's been known to get a little messy.
With two intelligent, companionable parent breeds, the shorkie should be exposed to regular, positive reinforcement-based training from puppyhood. Patience may be necessary, as the Yorkie side of this hybrid brings an independent spirit. Remain consistent and shower her with praise (and perhaps her favorite squeaky toys) in training sessions, and your hard work will pay off. But be careful about rewarding her with too many treats—she's so small that even a slight weight gain can have a major negative impact on her overall health.
Adult black and tan shorkie plays with toys in yard
Shorkies are active pups who'll love to run around in a fenced-in yard. But, because of their small size, they also thrive in apartments and will be satisfied with daily walkies around the block.
| Credit: kraeker / Shutterstock
Even if your shorkie has lots of energy, that doesn't make her an appropriate running or hiking buddy. A couple short, daily walks will be enough to meet her needs, especially if she's provided with toys and games for mental stimulation when she's inside. And because of their smooshed faces, shorkies don't tolerate heat or cold well. You'll need to tailor your activities to her rather than the other way around.
Just like her appearance and temperament, it can be difficult to predict exactly what health conditions will be prevalent in a new crossbreed such as the shorkie mix.
"This is a mixed-breed dog that there is not a lot of long term experience with, [so] we aren't aware of the ramifications regarding longterm health,"says Ryan Llera, DVM. But, based on the parent breeds and the diminutive shorkie size, they can live between 12–15 years. Llera says there are some potential health conditions owners should be aware of:
The shorkie may inherit a short, flat face from her shih tzu parent. This means they can have obstructed airways and experience heat and exercise intolerance, so keep an eye (or ear, rather) out for labored breathing, especially during exercise.
While it's likely that plenty of unintentional shih tzu and Yorkshire terrier pairings have happened throughout history, the shorkie as a designer crossbreed is a relative newcomer. Believed to have originated in the 2000s, it's easy to understand why breeders would see potential in this mix; both breeds boast an allergy-friendly coat and affectionate nature, while the shih tzu adds loyalty and the Yorkie brings the spunk.
Shorkie white and brindle puppy explores sidewalk
Some shorkies have the gold and gray fur of their Yorkie parent, while others skew more toward their shih tzu heritage. Because of their genes, it can be difficult to predict exactly how you'll pup will look.
| Credit: Plains Photography / Shutterstock
When it comes to this—and any hybrid breed—it's particularly important to research any shorkie breeder due to the prevalence of puppy mills in the designer dog market. Unscrupulous breeders take advantage of the increase in popularity of different breeds, including crossbreeds, and breed dogs in inhumane conditions without the kind of attention to their health and well-being that responsible breeders provide.
Make sure you don't fall for a puppy mill scheme by keeping an eye out for these red flags as you're on the lookout for your new best furry friend:
- There are multiple mixed breeds for sale from the same breeder.
- The website offers wait times for puppies.
- The breeder offers to ship puppies.
- It’s difficult to identify breeder contact information (no phone number, contact email, etc.).
- The shorkie is just too cute to stick to one name, so you may also see the crossbreed referred to as the "shorkie tzu," "Yorkie tzu," or, imaginatively, "the shih tzu Yorkie mix."
- While they're not acknowledged by the American Kennel Club, the shorkie tzu is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club.
- What's the difference between a shorkie and a shorkie poo? It's simple: a shorkie plus a poodle gives you a shorkie poo. All three parent breeds tend to be adored by allergy sufferers for their low-dander, low-shedding coats.
If you’re looking for a small dog that’s cute and cuddly, but thinks of itself as a Rottweiler, the Shorkie might just be the one for you. A hybrid that’s becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, it is the product of pedigree Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu parents, and its fluffy coat and large eyes belie its big-dog attitude. From the Yorkie, it inherits energy and enthusiasm, with the Shih Tzu giving it the instinct to watch and protect its people and property. As hybrids, Shorkies are not entirely uniform in terms of appearance or temperament, but as time goes by, and more Shorkie to Shorkie breeding continues, a more consistent population will emerge that may some day become a recognised breed in its own right.
While the idea behind creating a cross-breed is to combine the positive traits of both parents to create offspring that are in some way superior to the parent breeds, it is equally possible that cross-bred pups can inherit one or more of the problems recognised in the pedigree lines, and both Yorkshire Terriers and Shih Tzus suffer a variety of inherited disorders. For this reason, anyone considering the purchase of a Shorkie pup must carefully research the health of both parents so as not to fall victim to unscrupulous breeding practices. Although there is limited information available on this relatively new hybrid, based on the life expectancies of its parents, the Shorkie should live to the age of 12–14 years.
About & History
Apart from the occasional accidental mating, Shorkies have really only become available and popular in the last 10 years. As is the case for most hybrids, it was in the United States where the first efforts to firmly establish this as a new line were undertaken, but it appears to be in Britain and Ireland where it is most in demand. The intention in crossing the Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu, both devoted companion dogs was to create a small, friendly dog with an attractive appearance that was suited to living indoors. The fact that neither parent breed sheds very heavily is a very appealing characteristic, as many owners find the amount of hair left around the home by other breeds to be off-putting.
Almost all Shorkies that one sees for sale at the moment are first-generation crosses of two pedigrees, meaning that the pups will vary in appearance and temperament, with each taking more after one parent than the other. While the majority will have a reasonably equal mix of genes from both, others could potentially be confused for either parent breed. As time passes, and the Shorkie becomes more established, multigenerational breeding of Shorkies will ensure an even distribution of characteristics, and may allow this, and other hybrids, to become the new pedigree breeds of the future.
The Shorkie has a soft coat that can be either straight, as is the Yorkshire Terrier’s, or has a gentle wave. It comes in a range of different colours with the most common being:
- Black & Tan
- Brown & White
- Gold, Black, & White
- Particoloured (Mixture of Black, White, Chocolate & Gold)
There is often an appreciable facial mask of darker hair. The hair can be quite long, but is generally trimmed to make it easier to manage. The large eyes of the Shih Tzu carry through to a greater or lesser degree, but the eyes should ideally not protrude as they do in the parent, as this feature makes them easily injured and traumatised. The Shorkie has a rounded skull and a relatively short muzzle, and small, triangular ears set high on the side of the head. The body is compact, with ample muscling for its small size, while the legs are quite short and fine-boned. The tail is relatively thin, often curled over the back, and carries a long plume of hair. Shorkies range in height from 18 to 24 cm (7–9 in), and weigh 4.5–6.5 kg (10–14 lb).
Character & Temperament
The parent breeds offer quite different behavioural traits that usually combine to endow the Shorkie with an energetic and playful personality. This is a dog that is intensely loyal to its owners, from whom it cannot bear to be separated. Separation anxiety is a common problem in Shorkies, and excess barking can be the result of ignoring or abandoning the dog for more than a few minutes at a time.
It is a watchful and alert hybrid, and its terrier instinct to bark coupled with the Shih Tzu’s heritage as a watchdog mean that it makes a capable and noisy burglar alarm. Prospective owners need to be prepared for this fondness for barking, which can be an issue in the close confines of an apartment block, for example. Though it is generally a very gentle and sociable dog, it can be hurt relatively easily by young children, and will snap if it feels threatened or abused. For this reason, it is not an ideal children’s pet, at least not for the very young.
Shorkies tend to be quite stubborn and may be a challenge to train. House-training can take time, and instituting crate training is a good idea for most Shorkie pups. This involves providing a good-sized cage, or “crate”, in which the pup can be fed and its toys and bed placed. This gives the pup a secure space of its own that it will be reluctant to soil.
Sleeping in this crate overnight greatly accelerates the house-training process in most pups. Socialisation training is extremely important for Shorkies, as Shih Tzus are naturally wary of strangers, something that can result in undesirable behaviours if this is not managed. Providing opportunities to mingle with other, sociable pups and patient adult dogs, as well as providing positive interactions with friends and family, will allow even reserved or suspicious pups to mature into well-balanced and outgoing adults.
Health problems are not uncommon in Shorkies. Both the Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu suffer from a range of inherited illnesses and anatomic defects that can be passed onto their pups, irrespective of whether or not the pups themselves are purebred.
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
A combination of narrow, underdeveloped nostrils and lower airways with an elongated soft palate and possible laryngeal deformities. Very common in Shih Tzus, this causes varying degrees of respiratory distress, particularly when the dog is stressed or excited, and may require surgical correction in severe cases. Obviously, dogs exhibiting marked respiratory distress should never be used for future breeding.
The short, narrow jaw of the Shorkie means that it can suffer from dental overcrowding and periodontal disease. Premature tooth loss is common in this and other small breeds.
Painful increase in the fluid pressure within the eye, often secondary to lens luxation in Yorkshire Terriers and their crosses.
Like many small breed puppies, Shorkies may suffer episodes of low blood glucose around the time of weaning. This is due to their very low reserves of this essential sugar in the liver and muscle tissues. Can cause dramatic signs of depression or even loss of consciousness that must be treated with emergency glucose infusion and regular force-feeding until the pup has grown considerably.
Degeneration of the network of fibres that suspend the eye’s lens in its normal position can allow the lens to fall into either chamber of the eye. This causes visual impairment and, potentially, glaucoma in middle-aged terriers of many breeds.
Inherited from both parent breeds, anatomic abnormalities of the hindlimb can allow the kneecap to “pop” out of position during exercise, causing a three-legged skipping gait that is usually intermittent in nature. May lead to the early onset of arthritis.
Presence of an abnormal blood vessel that bypasses the circulation within the liver, preventing detoxification of bodily waste products. Causes ill-thrift and signs of mental dullness in growing pups.
Exercise and Activity Levels
Shorkies are active dogs around the home, but their short legs do not demand much walking from their owners. Lead walking is always a beneficial, stimulating activity, and provides opportunities for socialisation, but around thirty-minutes per day should be sufficient for most individuals.
Because the Shorkie’s coat is so fine and light, it tangles easily, and must be brushed and combed every day to prevent matts. For the same reason, baths are needed around once a month, but it is essential to use a specially formulated dog shampoo, as these little dogs have sensitive skin that is easily dried and irritated by human products. Routine dental care is another important responsibility, as most Shorkies will be prone to rapid plaque and tartar build-up and ensuing tooth loss without daily brushing and occasional descaling as recommended by a veterinary professional.
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Shorkie: A Definitive Review of the Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix (and Photos)
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The Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix is a cross of a purebred Shih Tzu and a purebred Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Shorkie. It’s a small dog breed at about 6 to 14 inches tall, weighing between 5 to 15 pounds. The lifespan of the Shorkie is around 11 to 16 years.
Shorkies are known to be great companions. They are small, affectionate, and playful. Keep reading to find out more about this lovable breed.
Contents & Quick Navigation
What is the Temperament of a Shorkie?
Your Shih Tzu Yorkie will be loving, loyal, playful, and intelligent. He will want to be with you constantly and will cuddle up in your lap at every chance he can. Early socialization is important for your Shorkie; he will get along with other animals and children as long as he is exposed to them at a young age.
Shorkie can become very attached to humans and can experience separation anxiety if left alone for an extended period of time. It is best not to leave him alone for more than a few hours at a time.
Get your cuteness for the day by checking out this video of a Shorkie puppy and a baby having a conversation!
What do Shih Tzu Yorkies look like?
Not to be confused with the Snorkie, Shorkies are small dogs with a medium length coat. Their legs and bodies are short, and they have floppy ears. They have shiny, silky hair and do not shed. Shorkie can come in various colors including black, white, chocolate, tan, red or any combo of these.
As mentioned above a full-grown Shorkie will be 5 to 15 lbs in weight and 6 to 14 inches in height.
What Care is Required for a Shorkie?
Due to their small size, Shorkies can easily live in apartments and a yard is not necessary. They require little exercise; 20 minutes of activity per day is enough for this breed.
Shih Tzu Yorkie mixes are sensitive to weather and will need to wear a sweater in cold temperatures. They also need to be brushed daily, and trim their coat every six weeks. They should be bathed once every two weeks.
Shorkies are predisposed to oral health issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease, so it is necessary to feed your furry friend dry dog food. A high-quality dry kibble that is specific for small dogs like a Shorkie is best. Recommended brands are:
- Iams Naturistic Adult Small Bites
- Simply Nourish Healthy Weight Small Breed Adult
- Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food
Are Shih Tzu Yorkies Easy to Train?
Shorkies are intelligent dogs and therefore are relatively easy to train. They do have a short attention span and can be stubborn, so you need to be patient with them. Keep training sessions short, and ensure that you remain upbeat and calm.
Shorkie mixes adapt quickly, and are well behaved. Your companion wants to please you and will work hard to do so. He will respond well to praise and treats during training.
It is also important to ensure that when training your Shorkie, you focus on one command at a time. Once he has mastered that command, you can move on.
Do Shorkies have any Health Risks?
As with any designer breed, Shorkies are at risk of developing any health conditions that are common for their parent breeds, Shih Tzus and Yorkies. Luckily, as mentioned in the first paragraph your Shorkie is a healthy breed with a life span of 11 to 16 years.
Health issues to watch for with your Shorkies include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Umbilical Hernia
- Eye problems
- Dental problems
- Kidney and Liver problems
- Ear infections
How Much Does a Shorkie Cost?
The initial cost of your Shih Tzu Yorkie mix will range from $375 to $1750. Shorkie’s yearly medical needs will cost $435 to $535; this includes check-ups, shots, flea prevention, and insurance. Other yearly costs, such as food, toys, treats, training and grooming a Shorkie, will range from $530 to $630.
Shorkies are sweet, loyal, affectionate and playful dogs. They are intelligent, easy to train, and have minimal health risks. They are also incredibly cute!
They are good with children and would be a great companion dog for a family, a single person or older people.
Inviting this adorable breed into your home will bring you years of joy, friendship, and love. Your Shih Tzu Yorkie mix will follow you around, play fetch, and settle into your lap for cuddles at the end of the day.
Please comment below and let us know if you have any questions, or share a story about your Shorkie!
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