When it comes to designer dogs, the small but feisty Shrokie (cross breed of the Shih Tzu and Yorkie) is one of the most coveted. Beloved for it’s teddy-bear-like appearance, sweet disposition, and comedic sense of humor, the Shorkie is a family favorite through and through.
Are you looking to add a playful and cuddly addition to your household? Then the Shorkie just might be the dog for you. Join us today as we go over 15 things you should know before getting a Shorkie.
1. The Shorkie Mix Is Considered A Designer Dog
The Shorkie is a purposefully bred dog who is a mix between two purebred parents.
Despite his cute name, the Shorkie is actually not a purebred dog breed but is instead considered a crossbreed. Also known as a designer dog, hybrid, or mixed dog breed, the Shorkie is the specifically “designed” offspring of two purebred parents.
Though crossbreeding is nothing new in the canine kingdom, it has been met with a bit of controversy over the last few decades. This is because the trend has become more and more popular amongst breeders and the public, who are buying crossbreed dogs at the same rate they are purchasing show-quality purebreds.
For some, this is a concern and something you should certainly consider before you invest in a crossbreed dog like the Shorkie.
You see, it takes generations of perfecting before a crossbreed dog is considered a purebred, as first and second generations of mixed dogs are generally deemed unpredictable as far as genetics, health, temperament and appearance.
However, supporters of crossbreeding are quick to point out that, due to the rate of overbreeding that has gone on in purebred dogs, cross breeds might actually be healthier. Unfortunately, this has yet to be proven and many experts are still on the fence about the pros and cons of breeding and selling first and second generation hybrid dogs.
So, what’s so special about the Shorkie? Keep reading to find out.
2. The Shorkie Is A Mix Between the Shih Tzu and The Yorkshire Terrier
The Shorkie is a mix between the Shih Tzu and the Yorkie, which are two very popular and beloved toy breeds. As far as crossbreeding goes, the Shorkie is still relatively new to the scene, so he has yet to build his own history and origin.
In order to find out more about the Shorkie, it’s important to take a look at the origins of his parent breeds and the traits they possess to see what could potentially be passed along to their Shorkie offspring.
Let’s begin with the Shih Tzu.
The Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are ancient dogs bred in imperial china over 2,000 years ago.
Bred as a companion dog, the Shih Tzu hails from Imperial China, where he was bred and perfected nearly 2,000 years ago. This dog was a beloved companion of nobles and spent his days being adored and spoiled.
Over time, the Shih Tzu became a popular dog for show, with fanciers fussing over his luxuriously long coat and bright, sparkling eyes.
Friendly, affectionate, and endearing, the Shih Tzu is wonderful with children and continues to be a fan favorite in the toy dog world. In fact, he currently ranks in at number 20 out of 196 on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds.
Height: 9 – 10.5 inches
Weight: 9 – 16 lbs
Coat: Long, soft, multi-color, hypoallergenic
Life Span: 10 – 18 years
Personality: Affectionate, good natured, playful
The Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkie’s were bred as ratting dogs but quickly made their way to the laps of luxury.
Also known as the Yorkie, the Yorkshire Terrier is a true terrier dog beloved for his spirited disposition and adorable features. Proportionate and full of pep, the Yorkie originated in Scotland where he was bred as a ratting dog. However, his luxurious coat and adoring temperament also made him the perfect lap dog, first for noble women in England and soon for families all around the globe.
Though small, the Yorkie is tough and agile, with an athletic flair and sassy, terrier-like temperament. The Yorkshire Terrier is a sprightly, rough and tumble little dog who enjoys families with older children and gets on well with other household dogs and cats.
Height: 7 – 8 inches
Weight: 7 lbs
Coat: Long, soft, brown, blue, black and silver
Life Span: 11 – 15 years
Personality: Playful, spirited, loving, funny
3. Shorkie Dogs Can Be Both Affectionate and Mischievous
Shorkie’s are playful and fun loving dogs.
The Shorkie is a mix between two affectionate and playful purebreds. While he will enjoy cuddling on your lap and following you around the house, he will also enjoy exploring, going on adventures, and learning new tricks.
His curiosity could get him into trouble, so it’s important to watch this little terrier mix. Due to his Yorkie parentage, the Shorkie could also be prone to taking off after smaller critters outside like birds and rodents, so he should always be walked on a harness and leash.
We also suggest that Shorkie parents dog proof their home and yard. Depending on the genes he inherits from his parent breeds, your Shorkie could be very small and even inclined to squeeze behind and through furniture, appliances, and even fencing.
4. Shorkie Dogs Are Excellent Dogs For Allergy Sufferers
Shorkies are hypoallergenic and shed less than many other dog breeds or mixes.
If you suffer from allergies then you’ll be happy to learn that the Shorkie is considered a hypoallergenic dog. While there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, and while even the Shorkie still sheds, he sheds much less than many of his other canine counterparts.
He also produces less allergy inducing dandar, therefore being ideal in homes with those who suffer from asthma, chronic allergies, or even just hay fever.
5. The Shorkie Dog’s Appearance Could Vary
The Shorkie’s appearance will vary depending on the traits he inherits from his parent breeds.
The Shih Tzu and the Yorkie are both hypoallergenic and known for their flowing fur, but they also look quite differently from one another.
For this reason, your Shorkie’s appearance will vary, especially if you have a first or second generation Shorkie. To clarify, a first generation Shorkie is going to be the direct offspring of a purebred Shih Tzu and a purebred Yorkie. A second generation Shorkie is the offspring of two first generation Shorkie dogs.
So, what might your Shorkie look like? Let’s see the range of options.
Shorkie Height: 7 – 10.5 inches
Shorkie Weight: 7 – 16 Lbs
Shorkie Coat Color: Black, white, liver, brindle, brown, blue, gold, black, blue, tan or a combination
Shorkie Coat Type: Smooth, wavy, hypoallergenic
Shorkie Eye Color: Brown
6. The Shorkie Makes A Great Addition To Families With Older Children
Shorkies are smaller dogs and do best in homes with older, more gentle children.
Shorkie dogs are friendly and outgoing, and they do well with families and children of all ages. However, Shorkie dogs would do best in homes with older, more respectful children due to their small size.
If handled too roughly, Shorkie dogs are susceptible to accidental injury including broken bones and tracheal collapse. For that reason, we suggest supervising young children and other pets around your Shorkie, especially during puppyhood.
It’s also a good idea to teach children how to respectfully interact with a Shorkie to ensure the two get along happily and safely.
Last, while Shorkie’s are generally pleasant and affectionate dogs, they can nip or bite if they are scared. The Yorkie especially does not enjoy being handled or played with too roughly, and this could be inherited by his Shorkie offspring.
7. Shorkies Are Wonderful Apartment Dogs, Though They Can Be Vocal
Shorkies make great apartment dogs, though they can be vocal from time to time.
Because of their compact size and the fact that they are hypoallergenic, Shorkie dogs make wonderful and low-maintenance apartment dogs. They do not require large yards to run and play and will get most of their energy out by simply following their favorite human from room to room.
However, the Shorkie can be a vocal little dog. While this makes him an excellent watchdog, it can also make him a problematic addition to apartments with tight spaces and thin walls.
8. The Shorkie Can Be Prone To A Number of Health Issues
Shorkies can be prone to a number of health issues that you should be aware of.
Both the Shih Tzu and the Yorkie are robust and healthy dogs in general, but they are also prone to some potentially serious health conditions that could be passed on to their Shorkie puppy.
On average, a Shorkie’s lifespan is between 11 – 18 years. The health issues he should be screened for include:
- Liver Shunt
- Legg-Perthes disease
- Retinal Dysplasia
- Collapsed Trachea
- Periodontal Disease
- Eye Infections
- Luxating Patella
- Dental Disease
- Ear Infections
- And Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (Due to their flat-faced Shih Tzu parent breed)
All dogs are susceptible to suffering from certain health conditions, but you can combat potential health problems in your Shorkie by ensuring you get him from a reputable source such as a responsible breeder or trusted shelter.
You can also maintain your Shorkie’s overall health and quality of life by keeping him on a well balanced diet and making sure he is properly exercised each and every day.
9. Shorkies Are Prone to Suffering From Separation Anxiety
Shorkies become very bonded with their owners.
The Shorkie comes from two parent breeds who were primarily bred as companion dogs, so it’s likely this crossbreed will become tightly bonded to his human family. For this reason, the Shorkie can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety if he is left alone for long periods of time.
If left unchecked, separation anxiety can lead to a number of behavioral issues including bathroom accidents, incessant barking, chewing and more.
It’s very important not to punish your Shorkie for anxiety-based behaviors as this could make the anxiety worse and lead to further problems. Instead, work on solutions to fix the anxiety like hiring dog sitters or dog walkers to come by while you are away, investing in puzzle toys to keep your Shorkie busy and distracted, and working on conditioning your Shorkie to alone time.
10. Shorkies Must Be Properly Socialized and Trained To Avoid Behavioral Issues
Shorkies should be introduced to new situations and experiences as often as possible.
On the subject of training and behavioral issues in Shorkie dogs, it’s important to properly train and socialize your Shorkie from an early age. To properly socialize your Shorkie, try and introduce him to as many new experiences, people, places, sounds and sights as possible, Make sure these experiences are positive for him to help him build trust and confidence.
Doing this can reduce anxious behaviors in your Shorkie and help him live a happier, healthier life in the long run.
Training your Shorkie is also very important so your Shorkie understands what you want of him. Training also helps to build a bond between you and your dog and provides your Shorkie with plenty of mental stimulation, which he needs to thrive.
Like all dogs, Shorkies respond best to positive reinforcement training using treats and praise. Shorkie dogs are very eager to please, so punishing your Shorkie during training sessions could result in your Shorkie shutting down, especially if he feels he has disappointed you.
11. Shorkie Dogs Need To Eat A Quality Dog Food Specified For Their Age, Weight and Activity Level
Maintaining a balanced diet for your Shorkie is important to his overall health and vitality.
Small dogs have different dietary needs than large breed dogs, and generally have a higher metabolism. For this reason, your Shorkie should be on a high quality dog food that is free of preservatives, additives, byproducts, fillers, dyes and other artificial ingredients.
He will also do best on dog food that is specified for his age, weight and activity level, and that is designed for smaller breed dogs. Small breed dog food is generally high in protein and higher in calories to help maintain your small dog’s energy level, metabolism and immune system.
You have many options when it comes to the type of dog food you feed your Shorkie, including wet food, dry food and raw food. Since Shorkie dogs are so prone to dental disease, we recommend doing a combination of dry food and any other food of your choice.
Dry dog food can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup in your Shorkie dog’s teeth and keep his teeth and gums healthy for longer. If you’re not sure which brand of dog food would be best for your Shorkie, you can always discuss it with your veterinarian.
12. Though Small, Shorkies Need Plenty Of Exercise
Like all dogs, Shorkies need consistent exercise to stay happy and healthy.
Along with eating a good, quality diet, Shorkie dogs need plenty of exercise. These small dogs are highly energetic and are terrier mixes, which means they are active and athletic. Your Shorkie will thrive on a good, brisk walk once or twice a day and plenty of play time inside or outside of your house.
If you’re strapped for time, your Shorkie could also get adequate exercise simply running back and forth with you indoors or playing a small game of fetch for about thirty minutes.
13. Shorkies Do Well With Dogs and Cats, But Watch Them Around Smaller Pets Like Rodents and Birds
Shorkies do well with other dogs and cats but may have a high prey drive and chase smaller pets.
When properly trained and socialized, Shorkie dogs can get along very well with other household pets. The Shorkie will do especially well with cats and other small dogs, as larger, more playful dogs could accidentally injure him.
However, remember that the Shorkie’s Yorkshire parent breed was a bred ratting dog, so your Shorkie could have a high prey drive and be tempted to chase smaller pets like guinea pigs and hamsters. For this reason, it would be best to avoid putting your Shorkie and small rodent pets together.
14. Your Shorkie Might Need Consistent Grooming
The longer you let your Shorkie’s hair grow the more maintenance he’ll need when it comes to grooming.
The Yorkshire Terrier and the Shih Tzu have long, flowing coats that are often compared to human hair. If left to grow out long, your Shorkie may also have a long coat. While this is lovely, it will require more maintenance and brushing.
If you wish to cut back on the grooming time with your Shorkie, we suggest keeping his hair trimmed in a puppy cut. Even then, you should plan on brushing your Shorkie once a week and pathing him at least every two to three weeks with a dog-safe shampoo.
Your Shorkie will also need his nails trimmed regularly to keep them from cracking or splitting and his ears cleaned and checked often for moisture build up and debris.
It’s especially important to keep up on oral care with your Shorkie as well, as these dogs are very prone to dental disease. Along with routine vet cleanings, we suggest brushing your Shorkie’s teeth at least once a day with a dog safe toothpaste and toothbrush.
15. Shorkies Can Be More Expensive Than Some Other Crossbreed Dogs
Going through reputable sources to get your Shorkie are key to bringing home a healthy puppy or dog.
Some crossbreeds cost more than others and the Shorkie is one of the more sought after designer dogs. Still, he tends to be on the moderate side of cost, but can cost more when going through a reputable breeder.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when going through a breeder, and remember that responsible breeders should be able to provide you with health certificates stating that their Shorkie puppies were health screened and cleared of any potential health issues.
On average, a Shorkie can cost you between $300 and $1,000 depending on the quality of his parent breeds and the breeder you go through. While this price may be a bit steep, it’s very important not to cut corners and try and go through backyard breeders or online sellers in an effort to get a Shorkie puppy at a discounted price.
Doing this could make you an unwitting supporter of puppy mills or even lead you to wind up with a sick puppy.
On the flip side, you may also be able to find a Shorkie at a rescue. There are plenty of shelters that specialize in certain mixed breeds, so while it may take some time and research, it is possible to find the Shorkie of your dreams from a shelter.
The Top 5 Products Every Shorkie Parent Needs
You can help your Shorkie start off right by making sure you’re prepared for his arrival.
Preparation is key to raising a happy and healthy puppy, regardless of which type of puppy or dog you’ve decided to bring into your home. However, if you’ve read through the 15 things you should know about a Shorkie and decided that this is the dog for you, you’re in luck.
We are going to go over five products that every Shorkie parent needs to start their Shorkie off on the right foot.
Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
Investing in the right harness is important to the health and safety of your Shorkie, especially considering these little dogs are susceptible to tracheal collapse if pressure is put on their throats.
The above dog harness by Voyager is a step in harness that is choke-free and comfortable for small dogs to wear. It does not put pressure on their throats and reduces the chances of tracheal collapse. We also like that it is made of padded material and can be ordered in different sizes and colors depending on what you want or need.
Ruff’n Ruffus Grooming Kit
The above grooming kit by Ruff ‘n Ruffus comes with everything you need to keep your Shorkie in ship shape including a steel comb, nail trimmers and a slicker brush.
Whether you choose to let your Shorkie’s hair grow out long or you decide to keep him trimmed in a puppy cut, you’ll find the above tools useful for keeping him looking his best.
The products are made of stainless steel and the slicker brush is self cleaning. The clippers also come with a safety to help reduce the chances of you cutting your dog’s nails too short.
Ortz Dog Tooth Brushing Kit
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Since Shorkie dogs are especially prone to tooth and gum disease, you’ll certainly not want to waste any time getting a quality dog toothbrush and toothpaste. We suggest the Ortz Dog Tooth Brushing kit above.
It comes with a long, curved toothbrush and two different length finger toothbrushes to make the process easy and effective.
The toothpaste is also flavored to help make brushing more pleasant for your Shorkie and to encourage him to find the experience positive.
Small Breed Or Puppy KONG
The KONG is a world-famous dog toy that can help relieve chewing urges, anxiety, stress, and even boredom. This is a must-have for anyone considering bringing a Shorkie into their family as it can help ease separation anxiety and keep your Shorkie busy and distracted while you are away.
The above KONG toy is designed for puppies or smaller dogs and is made of squishy rubber for easier and more satisfying chewing. You can fill the KONG with dog treats, peanut butter, or even dog kibble to help keep your dog busy and entertained on those days when you must leave him alone.
Zuke’s Naturals Mini Training Treats
Last on our list of must-haves for a Shorkie are training treats. We like Zuke’s because these are small training treats that are highly palatable for dogs like Shorkies. They are also easy to chew, filled with vitamins and minerals, and made with all natural ingredients that are healthy for your pup. You can order them in different flavors as well including Chicken, peanut butter, duck, and more.
So, what do you think about the Shorkie dog? Is this the right dog for you and your family? Tell us why or why not in the comment section below.
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.