Move over, poodle mixes, because here comes the Morkie! A mix of two of the world’s most popular toy breeds, the Morkie has style, sass, and offers so much love.
If you’re on the hunt for a small, family oriented dog, then you’ll surely want to take a moment to read about the Morkie.
So let’s get started!
What Is A Morkie?
A Morkie is a crossbreed known for his small size, hypoallergenic coat and sweet disposition.
A Morkie is a cross between the purebred Maltese and the purebred Yorkshire Terrier. Morkies, sometimes known as Morkshire Terriers, are not purebred dogs. In fact, they are what is known as crossbreeds, designer dogs, mixed breeds or hybrids.
Have you ever heard any of these terms? Chances are you have, especially considering how popular crossbreeds like Labradoodles, Maltipoos and other designer dogs have become over the last two decades.
However, in spite of their popularity, the buying and selling of newer generation crossbreed dogs is still somewhat controversial.
For one, there’s the price. Many crossbreeds like the Morkie are being sold by breeders for top dollar even though their appearance, temperament and health issues are considered less predictable than purebred dogs.
However, there are supporters of the practice who insist that crossbreed dogs like the Morkie are actually more likely to be healthier than their purebred counterparts thanks to the widening of their genepool.
While no side has yet to win the debate, it’s still a debate worth looking into, especially if you’re interested in investing in a crossbreed at some point.
But for the sake of this article and for learning about the Morkie, we’re going to move on. Let’s take a closer look at the Morkie’s parent breeds – The Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Maltese dogs are bred companion dogs hailing from the Island Malta.
The Maltese is an ancient dog hailing from the Malta Islands. All white, compact, and bred specifically for companionship, the Maltese was a coveted lap dog for generations before it was finally discovered by travelers.
Today, the Maltese is one of America’s most popular dog breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, Maltese dogs sit at number 37 out of 197 on their list of America’s Most Popular Dogs.
So what makes them so great?
Many feel that the Maltese’s temperament is what wins skeptics over. These dogs are naturally sweet-natured, affectionate and friendly. They get along well with people of all ages and even enjoy other dogs and household pets.
However, Maltese dogs are quite small and can be easily injured, especially if handled or played with too roughly.
Still, they are not known to be aggressive and become very bonded with their people. They are also hypoallergenic, meaning they are excellent dogs for allergy sufferers.
The Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier dogs are small terrier breeds originally bred for ratting and vermin control.
The spunky and spirited Yorkshire Terrier makes up the other half of the Morkie mix. Unlike the Maltese, the Yorkshire Terrier was a bred working dog, built small and athletic to help rid ships and warehouses of vermin.
Yorkshire Terriers are true terriers at heart, and while they are affectionate and playful, they don’t enjoy children as much as their Maltese counterparts. Yorkshire Terriers can also be bossy and prone to nipping, especially if handled too roughly.
However, in the right home and when properly trained and socialized, the Yorkie makes an excellent companion for seniors, singles, and families with older children. They will also enjoy playing with other, smaller dogs and cats.
However, due to their history as ratting dogs, Yorkies have a high prey drive and will chase after anything smaller than them.
This trait could be passed on to their Morkie offspring, along with potential health issues and other traits.
Let’s learn more.
What Is The Average Morkie Appearance?
A Morkie dog’s appearance can vary depending on genetics and the generation of crossbreed you get.
The purebred Yorkie and the purebred Maltese are two fairly different looking dogs. However, they are both small and have similar coats, which are long, wavy and hypoallergenic. That said, their coloring differs from one another, as do other traits.
Depending on the generation of your Morkie dog, his physical appearance could vary and he could look more like one parent over the other, or he could look like a perfect mix.
On average, though, there is an estimated appearance overview of the Morkie we should cover. Take a look.
Morkie Height: 4.9 – 12 Inches
Morkie Weight: 8.8 – 13 Pounds
Morkie Coat Color: Black, brown, white, or a combination
Morkie Type: Long, wavy, silky
Hypoallergenic Coat: Yes
Overview of The Morkie Appearance:
Due to the size of his parent breeds, it’s clear that the Morkie is going to be a smaller dog. His ears are usually floppy but can be shorter and more triangular like his Yorkie parent. The tail can be docked or left long, and his eyes are big, round and often dark brown.
Morkies are also known for their wonderful coats. Both the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier have long, flowing coats that can either be kept short or grown out. While they do shed lightly, they shed much less than many other types of dogs and produce less allergy inducing dandar in their fur. Therefore, Morkie dogs are considered hypoallergenic by many.
What Is The Morkie Temperament Like?
Morkies are friendly and affectionate, but they also enjoy playtime.
One of the issues with crossbreeding, according to skeptics, is that crossbreed dogs are unpredictable in temperament, and this is something to consider when considering a Morkie dog.
The word ‘unpredictable’ sounds scary but it is not meant to imply that Morkies could potentially be aggressive or difficult.
What we mean by unpredictable is that your Morkie could behave more like their Maltese parent, who is affectionate, gentle and obedient, or he could behave like his Yorkie parent who is more outgoing, athletic and mischievous.
Either way, both dogs have their pros and cons and it’s also likely your Morkie will have a temperament that falls somewhere between.
On average, most experts agree that Morkies are wonderfully sweet. They are loyal, loving, and affectionate companions who do well with older children and households with other pets.
Morkie dogs also become very bonded with their family, and this should be considered before you invest in one. Because they are so people-oriented, it’s not uncommon for Morkie dogs to struggle with separation anxiety and destructive behavior when left alone during the day.
That said, the ideal owner for a Morkie will be an owner who is home often. For the most part, Morkies tend to be easy-going lap dogs who prefer to snuggle and follow their humans around the room.
They also make playful companions for children or smaller sibling dogs and will enjoy playing tug of war with a soft toy and romping through the yard with supervision.
However, remember that Morkies may also have a high prey drive, so it’s important not to let them outside without a leash and harness. Otherwise they may take off after a smaller animal and put themselves in danger.
While Morkie dogs can do well with children, they can be prone to serious injury if handled or played with too roughly.
Morkies are best suited for families with older children or children who are especially gentle and calm.
As with all dogs, it’s important to properly train and socialize your Morkie to help them get used to youngsters. Raising a Morkie alongside a child is the best way to do this. It will also be wise to teach children how to properly interact with their family dog to ensure they are treating their Morkie gently.
Teach children basic canine body language and facial expressions, and allow your Morkie to have a space in the home that is his where he can go to for a break. A crate, dog bed, or even separate room designated for your Morkie will help teach him boundaries and prevent behavioral issues or fear-based aggression around youngsters.
How To Train and Socialize A Morkie
Morkies are people-pleasers who are easy and fun to train.
Training and socializing a Morkie goes hand-in-hand with raising a happy and healthy dog. Because these dogs are so eager to please, they should be easy and fun to train. Morkies are food motivated but they also respond well to praise.
With that in mind, keep training fun and gamelike, and avoid scolding your Morkie if he does something wrong during training. This could harm the relationship between you and your Morkie and even slow down the rate at which he learns from you.
Instead, use treats and praise to motivate your Morkie and allow him to take breaks often.
We should note that, like many toy breeds, Morkies can be difficult to housetrain. Try using repetition and taking your Morkie out to the bathroom spot often in the first few weeks to help him learn where it is appropriate to do his business.
Along with training, you can also begin socializing your Morkie during puppyhood. Properly socializing your dog will help reduce anxiety and stress, thus reducing destructive or anxious behaviors.
You can ensure your Morkie grows up happy and well-rounded by introducing him to as many new experiences as possible at an early age. Do your best to ensure these experiences feel safe and positive for your Morkie, and avoid forcing him to do something he is clearly afraid of doing.
Gently encouraging your Morkie to explore the world at his pace will help build confidence and a tight bond of trust between the two of you down the road.
Morkie Grooming Requirements
Morkies are relatively easy to groom, especially if their coats are kept shorter.
Both the Yorkie and the Maltese have hair as opposed to fur, and this can make for easier grooming…most of the time. If left long, Morkie dogs require much more routine grooming and brushing as their wispy coats can become tangled and matted.
However, if you keep your Morkie’s coat cut in a puppy cut, grooming is relatively simple. Depending on your Morkie’s coloring, you may need to deal with tear stains. Toy dogs and especially white dogs or lighter colored toy dogs may struggle more with tear stains, and while these stains are not damaging to your dog’s skin or coat, they are unsightly.
Furthermore, excessive tear stains could be a sign of a medical problem like eye issues, ingrown eyelashes, PH issues or infections.
If you find you are consistently cleaning tear stains on your Morkie’s face or if tear stains are an unusual color or consistency, it’s a good idea to take a trip to the vet to ensure nothing else is going on.
Along with routine brushing and removing potential tear stains, Morkie dogs should also have their nails trimmed often to keep them from cracking and splitting. Their ears should be checked and cleaned often to keep ear infections from cropping up, and their teeth should be cared for daily using a dog safe toothbrush and toothpaste.
Morkies should also be bathed once every few weeks. It’s important not to overbathe your Morkie, as this could disrupt his natural PH balance. However, if you don’t bathe him enough he could produce an excess of oils in his skin and fur which can lead to other problems.
When bathing a Morkie, use a quality shampoo that is specified for dogs, like the one listed below.
Honeydew Natural Lavender Dog Shampoo
The above pet shampoo by Honeydew is made with natural ingredients like lavender and oatmeal, both of which help to soothe your dog’s skin and coat. The shampoo is designed to reduce doggy odor and clean your dog’s fur without disrupting their PH balance.
This shampoo is also tear-free, so it won’t sting your dog’s eyes during bathtime, making the experience much more pleasant for everyone. Best of all, the shampoo includes ingredients like jojoba oil and keratin to moisturize skin and leave the coat feeling silky.
PetPost Tear Stain Remover Wipes
And because Morkie dogs may be prone to tear stains, we suggest investing in good tear stain removal products like the wipes by PetPost listed above. These wipes are easy to use and you don’t have to only use them during bathtime.
They not only help remove and reduce tear stains but also get rid of gunk and crust around the eye. The wipes are free of bleach and other products that could harm your dog and use natural ingredients that won’t sting when used.
Lifespan and Health Issues of A Morkie Dog
Like all dogs, Morkies can be prone to serious health issues that a potential owner should be aware of.
Based on his parent breeds, it is estimated that the Morkie has a lifespan of between 10 and 16 years.
Although there is some debate regarding whether crossbreed dogs are healthier than purebreds, it’s still important to know and prepare for the potential health issues of your Morkie.
Like all dogs, the Morkie can be susceptible to any of the health issues of his purebred parents. He may also be prone to suffering any of the same health issues as other toy breeds suffer.
These health issues include:
- Tracheal Collapse
- Dental Disease
- Portosystemic Shunt
- And Hypoglycemia
You can help prevent certain health issues in your Morkie by ensuring you get him from a reputable source. You might also consider having your Morkie health screened at an early age for potential health issues down the road.
Along with screening, try and ensure your Morkie stays on a healthy diet, maintains proper and routine grooming, and visits his vet regularly.
And although Morkies are relatively healthy, it’s never a bad idea to begin a pet emergency fund for surprise vet expenses. You also have the option of investing in pet insurance.
Either way, being prepared is the best way to avoid heartache and financial stress when it comes to the health of your dog.
Understanding The Morkie Dog’s Diet Needs
Smaller dogs like Morkies have a faster metabolism, and they require dog food with more calories.
As we mentioned briefly above, ensuring your Morkie maintains a healthy diet is imperative to his overall health and vitality.
Like all dogs, Morkies should eat dog food that is specified for his age, weight and activity level. Small breed dogs especially have a higher metabolism than large breed dogs and are more prone to health issues if they are not on the right diet.
They require a dog food that is higher in calories, is rich in real meat protein, fatty acids, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and has a good source of water.
Wellness Canine Complete Health For Small Breeds
While we do like wet food and raw food options for the Morkie dog, we also know that chewing hard kibbles can help reduce tartar buildup and plaque, thus supporting overall dental health.
Since small breed dogs like the Morkie are more prone to dental disease, it’s a good idea to invest in a high quality kibble specified for their age, weight and activity level.
We like Wellness Canine Complete Health because it is made for small breeds like the Morkie. This means it is higher in calories to keep up with their active metabolism, which will help ensure they stay fuller longer
This dog food is also made with all natural ingredients and is designed to support a healthy immune system, skin and coat.
The Importance of Exercise and Mental Stimulation For A Morkie
Though bred for companionship, the Morkie is also an active little dog who will enjoy and thrive with routine exercise.
Many people assume that smaller dogs don’t require daily routine exercise, and this is not quite the truth. That said, Morkies do not need as much routine exercise as their larger and more athletic canine counterparts.
Still, in order to stay happy and healthy, Morkie dogs should be exercised for at least 30 minutes each day. Routine exercise could include a quick walk around the block, backyard playtime, or even a game of fetch inside the house.
Because their exercise needs are so easy to meet, Morkies make great apartment dogs. They do well in smaller spaces and do not require a backyard in order to stay physically fit.
However, they can be yappy and may be prone to barking and destructive behaviors if not properly exercised or kept mentally stimulated.
And this leads us to our next point. Morkies are intelligent dogs who will get bored and anxious if left on their own for too long. While you are home, they will likely enjoy laying around on your lap or at your feet.
However, while you are gone they will need something to do to keep their minds busy. You can invest in puzzle toys, KONGS, or other interactive toys to help keep them busy.
It’s also best not to leave them alone for more than five hours at a time.
If you’re wondering which products can help keep your Morkie exercised and mentally stimulated, we have listed a few below.
BingPet Mesh Dog Harness
Because smaller dogs like Morkies are more susceptible to tracheal collapse, it’s important to refrain from walking them on a leash and collar alone. Instead, we recommend a harness designed to reduce choking, like the above no choke harness by BingPet.
This harness is made with soft mesh material that is safe and comfortable for your Morkie to wear. It comes in multiple sizes from extra small to large and is available in five color options.
Most importantly, it reduces choking and helps censure your dog’s walk is safe, productive, and fun.
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball
The Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is a great toy for smaller dogs who are left alone as it helps keep them active and engaged using treats or kibble. The toy is highly interactive and satisfying, and pulling it out before you leave to allow your Morkie to play can help reduce anxious behaviors while you’re away.
This ball comes in two different sizes and is available in multiple colors. It is also adjustable so you can make treats come out quicker or slower depending on our dog’s needs.
Raising A Morkie – Is The Morkie The Best Dog For You?
Morkie dogs require lots of commitment and love.
Morkies are wonderful, affectionate, and sweet-natured hybrids who are very capable of making an excellent companion to the right home and owner.
However, they are not ideal for everyone. Owners with very busy schedules or those who are looking for a more active, playful or energetic dog should look at other breeds or mixes.
The Morkie is much more relaxed and is designed primarily for companionship. He is ideal for apartment living and living in homes where he can be with his family as often as possible.
While the Morkie will enjoy routine exercise, he is also not the kind of dog you’ll want to take on intensive hikes or jogs.
That said, he is an adventurous and playful little dog who is hypoallergenic, low-maintenance, and family-friendly.
Tips On Choosing A Healthy Morkie From A Rescue or Breeder
It’s important to go through a reputable breeder or rescue when looking for a morkie dog.
If you’ve decided that the Morkie is the right dog for you, you’re in luck. These dogs are becoming increasingly popular, which means it isn’t too difficult to find puppies. Unfortunately, this also means that many unqualified people are attempting to sell these dogs to unwitting buyers.
In order to ensure you get the healthiest Morkie puppy possible when going through a breeder, make sure you do plenty of research. Go through a certified breeder who has a history of breeding Morkies. Make sure to read reviews, speak with prior customers, and even reach out directly to ask questions.
On average, a Morkie puppy from a reputable breeder costs between $870 to $3,700. This price can vary depending on the breeder you go through and the quality of the Morkie dog’s parent breeds.
While going through a reputable breeder can be costly, doing so may save you money down the road. Qualified breeders will be able to offer you certificates of health proving their puppies have been screened and cleared of any serious issues. You might also be able to meet the parent dogs to get a better idea of your Morkie’s future temperament and appearance.
Of course, you always have the option of going through a rescue to adopt a Morkie. However, finding one of these highly sought after hybrids in a shelter may require lots of research, time and patience.
Still, it’s not impossible and adopting from a shelter has plenty of benefits that can make the wait worth it. For example, the price of adopting is a fraction of what it costs to go through a breeder.
Furthermore, many shelters will have their dogs undergo behavioral testing and health screening before putting them up for adoption.
Regardless of where you go to get your Morkie, it’s important that you take your time to ensure you avoid going through backyard breeders or online sellers. Otherwise, you might end up with a sick dog down the road.
Now it’s your turn to share. What do you think about the Morkie hybrid? Is this the right dog for you? Leave us your thoughts about the Morkie in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.