Welcome To Your Complete Guide To The Shorkie.
From temperament to health, care to coat.
We’ll help you to spot the best Shorkie breeders and decide whether a Shorkie puppy is the right choice for you and your family.
What Is A Shorkie?
As you might’ve guessed, the “Shorkie” is the result of breeding two of the most popular breeds of smaller dogs: the Shih Tzu and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
To better understand a Shorkie, it would make sense to better understand the breeds it originated from.
The Yorkshire Terrier
The second most popular breed in the world, the “Yorkie” was one of the first 25 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club.
They descended from Great Britain (hence the name), where they were originally used to chase away rodents in people’s homes.
As a result, they have a personality to where they love to work for their owner and prove their mettle.
The Shih Tzu
Rumored to be over 2,000 years old, the Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dogs on record.
They’re believed to originate from somewhere in Tibet or ancient China and became very popular in the courts of Chinese nobility.
The common perception is that Shih Tzu’s were “Chinese guard dogs,” which is true to a certain extent.
While they’re very keen and aware of their surroundings, they’re also much more likely to walk right up to a stranger, introduce themselves, and make a new friend.
How Big Do Shorkies Get?
Given the two breeds of dogs they originated from, it makes sense that Shorkies are rather small dogs, even when fully grown.
As puppies, Shorkie weight can be as little as two pounds by the time they’re ready to be brought home from the breeder (at about eight-to-ten weeks old).
Shorkie full grown
By the time they’re full grown, a Shorkie dog can range anywhere from seven pounds to a little over 15 or 16lbs.
From the moment you bring your Shorkie into your home, they’re quickly going to become a part of the family.
Both the breeds that make up the Shorkie are well-known for being extremely attached to their owners and family members, and eager to please them.
Yorkies are the type of dog that enjoys being part of its family so much so that they’ll be visibly disappointed if you happen to go anywhere without them.
Shih Tzu’s are happiest when they’re right by their owner’s side, whether it’s sitting in their owner’s lap during the day, or sleeping by their feet at night.
Training your Shorkie can be a very rewarding experience if you’re patient enough to stick with the process.
Both dogs are extremely intelligent, and as mentioned before, have strong personalities that can lead to bouts of stubbornness.
So, you have to be willing and able to engage your Shorkie in a way that keeps them focused and motivated; otherwise, they’re going to focus on whatever they want to do.
With the right training, they can learn and follow commands very quickly.
As a mixed breed, the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix can be a variety of colors.
And you won’t be able to predict the colors of a litter before they are born.
Your Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix could have their mother or father’s coat color, or something in betwee.
Shorkies are famous for their fur, which is actually made up of two different coats.
Their undercoat feels more like fleece, while the top coat has that flowy, silky fur that we usually associate with this breed.
But, as you’d expect with that type of fur, Shorkies need to be brushed regularly. Weekly, if not daily.
This will ensure their fur doesn’t start matting and probably need to be groomed a bit more often than the typical dog.
It’s recommended that you get your Shorkie groomed at least every four-to-six weeks, depending on how fast their fur grows. This will also be affected by the climate you and your Shorkie live in.
The warmer the climate, the more often you should probably get your Yorkshire Terrier Shih Tzu mix groomed.
Many owners love to have groomers give their Shorkie a “puppy cut” or a “teddy bear cut,”. This not only trims the fur on their body but also accentuates the Shorkie’s super-cute face. Making them look like a tiny version of Chewbacca (the popular characters from the Star Wars franchise).
From a practical standpoint, one of the benefits of getting this type of cut is that it helps ensure that any food or debris that they stick their nose in, doesn’t stick to their face.
Are Shorkies hypoallergenic?
While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, the Shorkie is considered to be a hypoallergenic and non-shedding dog.
It’s the fur that holds the dander that irritates people with allergies and gets stuck on all your furniture and clothing.
Generally speaking, the Shorkie isn’t as prone to health issues as many other dogs. However, they are still susceptible to the issue faced by dogs in this size range.
Because of the compact nature of smaller dogs, many of them suffer from some type of obstruction to their trachea (their windpipe).
Shih Tzu Yorkie cross dogs have tiny noses.
This can result in anything from having a Pharyngeal gag reflex (often called a reverse sneeze) that causes them to “snort” for a few seconds, to various levels of obstructions that cause the dog to cough and make hacking sounds (almost like they’re dry heaving).
Depending on the severity of the breathing troubles or tracheal obstructions. This could result in your Shorkie needing medications to help them with excessively labored breathing or coughing.
Shih Tzus are also a brachycephalic breed. This means that they have a shortened muzzle, potentially causing them problems with breathing and temperature regulation.
Along similar lines, the tiny Shorkie has tiny bones and joints.
A lot of toy breeds face issues with luxating patellas, which essentially means the kneecap moves out its normal location.
This is often the result of the dog taking a sudden impact to its legs.
If it jumps from somewhere high up and onto the ground, causing a sudden, hard impact to its hind legs.
Most of the time, the dog will limp or avoid walking on that leg for a few moments, and shake the patella back in place while doing so. But issues around this, or too many instances of this happening, could force the need for surgery to fix the issue.
Both the Yorkie and Shih Tzu are small dogs with lifespans of around 13 years
And mixed breed dogs in general tend to live a little longer than their purebred counterparts.
It’s therefore safe to assume a Shih Tzu Yorkie mix life expectancy of at least 13 years for a healthy well bred Yorkshire Shih Tzu.
A relatively new cross-breed, many breeders are looking to continue breeding Shorkies. This is because of the demeanor, intelligence, and visual appeal of these dogs. But for some it’s also about money.
It’s very important to find a breeder who is invested in improving the breed and producing wonderful Shorkie puppies as great family pets and companions.
A good breeder will ensure that both parents are fully health tested, and only breed from dogs with excellent temperaments.
Before they let you take home on their Shih Tzu Yorkie puppies they will ask you lots of questions, and expect the same in return.
If you have any concerns about a breeder, then walk away.
There are a growing number of instances where you can find “purebred” Shorkies — i.e., a dog born of two Shorkie parents — as breeders are trying to make the Shorkie an official breed recognized by the top dog breed registries. So you should be able to find one who is reputable, treats their dogs well and produces just the right kind of Shih Tzu cross Yorkie puppies.
Shorkie puppies should be confident and friendly.
When you go to visit them for the first time at around six weeks old they should be alert and playful. Keen to say hello to you, with happy wagging tails.
The breeder should have had their puppies wormed and flea treated regularly, and have had them checked by a veterinarian and microchipped.
Good breeders do not let new owners take their puppy home before 8 weeks of age.
Shorkies are a designer dog breed, and therefore can come with a hefty price tag.
This will vary depending upon where you are based, and you shoulnd’t just pick the cheapest puppy.
Finding the right breeder might be more expensive, but can save you a lot in terms of vets’ bills and heartache further down the line.
What’s The Ideal Home For A Shorkie?
While Shorkies make wonderful family pets, we don’t recommend adding a Shorkie puppy to homes with very small children.
For one, children often look at these cute dogs as “live toys” or stuffed animals, resulting in them feeling the urge to pick them up and carry them around.
Because children don’t necessarily understand their own strength, or how to be gentle in certain instances, this can lead to internal injuries to your Shorkie if they’re held or squeezed in the wrong way.
Also, because a Shorkie’s sometimes stubborn and independent nature, they can get a little feisty around children who don’t understand when it’s time to not bother the dog and leave him alone.
That being said, Shorkies are wonderful additions to families with children who are old enough to understand how to properly care for this breed.
They’re especially great for seniors looking for the perfect companion who wants nothing more than to stay by someone’s side.
Choosing The Perfect Puppy
Having trouble deciding on the best breed of puppy for you? Then you should check out Choosing The Perfect Puppy.
A complete guide to finding the right pup for your family.
- O’Neill, DG et al 2013 Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal.
- The Shih Tzu Breed
- The Yorkshire Terrier