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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Shorkie

Shorkies might be one of the smaller designer crossbreeds, but their big personality offers the perfect counterbalance to their diminutive stature. While more common in the US, it is slowly growing in popularity around the world due to their ability to adapt to different households. The breeds that make up the Shorkie are the Shih Tzu and the Yorkshire Terrier.

The Shorkie can be a first cross (with one Shih Tzu and one Yorkshire Terrier parent), be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Shorkies bred together. This means there are varieties in size, shape, colours and coat types, but in all cases, this is a very small companion dog.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Height: The usual height of a Shorkie is between 20-28cms and it depends on the size of the parents.
Shih Tzu - not exceeding 27cms
Yorkshire Terrier - 18-20cms
Colours: The usual colours of a Shorkie can be any mixtures of their parents’ colours, with or without white markings.
Shih Tzu: All colours permissible apart from merle. White blaze on forehead and white tip highly desirable in particolours.
Yorkshire Terrier: Steel blue and tan
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility (Shih Tzu) and Toy (Yorkshire Terrier)

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 2/5
small dog sticking out his tongue

Personality

Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Shorkie depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared. But both parents are affectionate dogs who bond closely to their owners.

The Shih Tzu is an extraverted, confident, affectionate dog who can be quite independent and aloof with strangers. Although quite intelligent, sometimes they can give the impression that training is optional for Shih Tzu dogs!

The Yorkshire Terrier is intelligent, lively and affectionate with their owner, but has no idea that they are a small dog! They are fearless, tenacious and protective - both of their home and their people. They will enjoy games and are constantly on the go and will want to be a part of everything their owner does.

The Shorkie is a small companion dog who inherits the love of life from the parents. But depending on how the breeds mix in each individual, they can turn out to be more or less independent.

The personality of a Shorkie seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Shih Tzu or the terrier personalities) or be bred to another Shorkie - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Shorkie should be outgoing and confident, not nervous, shy or fearful.

small fluffy dog running in high grass

History and Origins

Like many of the designer crossbreeds, the Shorkie originated in the United States in a quest to find a small companion dog that didn’t shed and that would fit into any family’s lifestyle, no matter how small their home and garden.

To understand more about the origin of the breed we need to look at the two breeds that go into the formation of the Shorkie.

Shih Tzu

Country of Origin: China

The Shih Tzu we know and love today is itself an ancient crossbreed having been created within the walls of the Forbidden City in the 17th century from crossing the Lhasa Apso from the monasteries of Tibet with an early form of the Pekinese.

The resulting dogs, called Lhasa Lion Dogs, remained hidden away from the eyes of the West until the 20th century when the Peking Kennel Club was formed and the Lhasa Lion Dogs were shown for the first time alongside the Lhasa Apso.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that these dogs found their way to England. The types that had the rounder skull and short muzzle became known as the Shih Tzu and a breed in their own right.

Yorkshire Terrier

Country of Origin: England and Scotland

It is believed that Scottish weavers brought a small terrier with them during a period of immigration from Scotland to Yorkshire and Lancashire during the 1850s. These 'Broken-Haired Scotch Terriers,' interbred with local small terriers to provide a working dog who quickly become popular as a very effective factory and mining vermin-killer, and that was of a small enough size that could be carried in their owner’s pocket.

Further breeds were used to perfect this Northern ratter including possibly the Manchester Terrier, the Maltese, the Skye Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont terrier, and the now extinct Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers. Shown as the Scotch Terrier in 1861, the dog later became known as the Yorkshire Terrier and was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1886.

While the breed was a working ratter, the Yorkshire Terrier soon became popular with wealthy ladies as a companion and this popularity lead to selective breeding to make them even smaller. Interestingly while the dog got smaller, their coat length stayed virtually the same - hence the long coats that can still be seen on show dogs.

The Shorkie can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Shih Tzu - they are also prone to luxating patellas, and are prone to dental problems and eye conditions. They also are a brachycephalic breed and so can have the health problems and breathing difficulties associated with a shortened skull and flattened face.

Yorkshire Terriers - this is a fairly healthy long-lived breeds but like many small dogs can have issues with luxating patella and there are other health issues that require owners to ensure they get puppies form a reputable source

Information on health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website or find out more about brachycephalic breeds here.

Exercise Needs

The Shorkie will be happy with half an hour to an hour of walking each day, as long as they have plenty of games and owner interaction.

Space Requirements

This is a small dog who can live in a flat or a smaller property as long as they have access to the outdoors for toileting and walks.

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism which makes them burn energy at a high rate. This means that that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the dog feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Shorkies

Shorkie coats are likely to be long and silky, with or without a thick undercoat, and can mat. They are unlikely to shed much but they will require a lot of coat care (especially if kept in full coat) and will need grooming every day.

Find a good local groomer who can either look after your Shorkie’s coat or teach you how to do it yourself as their coat develops.

Training the Shorkie

The Shorkie can be a clever dog, always up for learning tricks and games. They should be trained to walk on a lead and harness as well as come back when called. While this may look like a cute fluffy dog, the Shorkie can be surprisingly game when out and can chase squirrels and even the neighbour’s cat!

This is a breed that needs early and ongoing socialisation so they gain confidence with people and other dogs.

Family Friendly Dog Breeds

The Shorkie makes a fun companion but as they are small and rather delicate, especially as puppies, they suit families with older sensible children. As they bond strongly to their owner, they are often a one-person dog, even if they get on with other members of the family.

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