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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Chorkie
Average Cost to keep/care for a Chorkie
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Chorkies are a delightful cross between a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire Terrier with some dogs being tiny whereas others are small depending on the size of both parents. They first appeared on the scene back in the nineties and they very quickly gained popularity with people all over the world thanks to their small size and the cute characteristics they inherited from their parent breeds.
Chorkies are very adaptable being just as happy living in a house as they are in an apartment in town providing they are given lots of mental stimulation and daily physical exercise. Since they first appeared on the scene, they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people both in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to their lovely looks and personalities.
Chorkies came about when breeders crossed two pure breeds, namely a Yorkshire Terrier and a Chihuahua. These cute dogs first appeared on the scene in the nineties when they were an immediate hit with many people all over the world thanks to their small size and their kind, affectionate natures. Because they are considered "designer dogs", for the moment Chorkies are not a recognised pedigree breed and have not be accepted by The Kennel Club or other international breed clubs (September 2107).
However, breed clubs have now been established both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world with an end goal being to ensure that Chorkies are bred responsibly so that dogs are less likely to inherit health issues that affect their parent breeds. However, as with any other breed whether a cross or pedigree, no matter how well-bred a dog happens to be there is never any guarantee as to whether or not they would develop a congenital or hereditary disorder during the course of their lives. Today, Chorkies are just a popular as they were when these charming little dogs first appeared on the scene back in the nineties.
Height at the withers: Males 15.2 - 22. 9 cm, Females 15.2 - 22. 9 cm
Average weight: Males 3.6 - 4.5 kg, Females 3.6 - 4.5 kg
Because Chorkies are a cross between two pure breeds, there is never any real guarantee of how puppies will turn out. As such, these charming little dogs come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Some dogs are long-legged and rangy, whereas others are shorter and more compact. However, as a rule of thumb most Chorkies boast having an athletic look about them, a trait that both the Yorkie and the Chihuahua boast having.
When it comes to their coat, the Chorkie can have a fluffy or straight coat with the one consistency being they are considered to be low-shedding little dogs. They can also boast having many different coat colours, but the more commonly seen ones are as follows:
It is worth noting that a Chorkie's coat changes colour as they age with some dog's coats changing colour with the different seasons.
When Chorkies move, they do so with a jaunty, bouncy and energetic gait. They are always on the alert and quick to move when needed.
Prospective Chorkie owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or conformation and that extra-small Chorkies often come with many health issues so they are best avoided. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce are of a good size and conformation and would avoid breeding extra small dogs for these reasons. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
Chorkies have lovely temperaments which they have inherited from both their parent breeds. They love being pampered and spending time with their owners and families which is an adorable side to their natures. However, this does have a downside in that Chorkies don't like to be left on their own for any length of time. In short, these charming little dogs thrive on human company and therefore are not a good choice for people who spend most of their time out of the house. They are a great choice for families with older children where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out. They are the perfect companion dog for older people too.
They are not the best choice for first time owners because although intelligent little dogs, they can be challenging to train. However, in the right hands and with the correct amount of early socialisation and training, a Chorkie can be a pleasure to train. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of socialising these little dogs because if not, they can be quite timid and shy which often leads to dogs becoming aggressive. When a Chorkie has been well socialised, they are more outgoing and will show lots of affection even towards people they have never met before.
Reputable breeders only use healthy Kennel Club registered parent breeds namely the Yorkshire Terrier and the Chihuahua to produce Chorkies because mating Chorkies together has not proved successful.
Chorkies are the perfect choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. With this said, they are not the best choice for households with toddlers and very young children whereas they are wonderful companions for the elderly.
Chorkies are very social by nature, but they do like to chase things which is the "terrier" in them. As such, a Chorkie would not think twice about chasing the cat from next door or other small creatures that they come across.
Chorkies have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and they remain very puppy-like well into their senior years. With this said, care should always be taken when playing with a Chorkie because they are such small dogs.
Chorkies are highly adaptable dogs providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country.
Chorkies form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home and barking incessantly which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Chorkies like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them, but even then, there is never any guarantee that a Chorkie would not still bark for the sake of it. With this said when left to their own devices for too long, a Chorkie would start yapping incessantly to get someone's attention and to let the world know how unhappy they are about things.
Some Chorkies like swimming. however, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Chorkie off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing bearing in mind that because they are so small, they could quickly get themselves into trouble.
Chorkies are not natural watchdogs because of their small size, but this is not to say they are not quick to let an owner know when strangers are around and when there is someone at the door.
Chorkies are clever little dogs and they love to please which in short means they are easy to train. However, their training must start early and it has to be consistent for these little dogs to understand what is expected of them. The trouble is that because they are so adorably small and cute, Chorkies are often allowed to get away with things that larger dogs would never be allowed to get away with. This can lead to all sorts of behavioural issues which includes "small dog syndrome", a condition that sees little dogs turn into quite hard to live with and difficult to manage neurotic characters.
They respond very well to positive reinforcement, but do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy-handed training methods because they are sensitive little dogs which in short could well result in a dog becoming shy, withdrawn and timid. It’s important to offer high value treats when training a Chorkie and to limit the amount of rewards they are given to prevent them from putting on too much weight. It is far better to offer fewer good quality rewards rather than lots of cheaper, lower value ones when training any sort of very small dog.
Because Chorkie puppies are so cute, it is all too easy to spoil them which can lead to dogs developing a condition known as "small dog syndrome". This sees dogs being wilful and unruly which makes them harder to live with and handle. As such, owners need to start out as they mean to go on and to educate their pets right from the word go by teaching them the limits and boundaries so they understand what is expected of them. The first commands a Chorkie puppy should be taught are as follows:
Chorkies are not a good choice for people with toddlers or very young children because of their tiny size and the fact they may get injured albeit accidentally by a younger child. When frightened, a Chorkie might well snap at a younger child so contact is best avoided. They are a good choice for families with older children who know how to behave and handle such a tiny dog. With this said, any interaction between children and a Chorkie should be supervised by an adult to make sure things go smoothly.
They are very social little dogs by nature and as such they generally get on well with other dogs if they have been well socialised from a young age that is. However, because Chorkies are so small, care has to be taken when they are around any larger dogs just in case they get injured by accident through a bit of rough play. Chorkies still have terrier in them and as such, they will think nothing of chasing a small pet or animal and this includes cats although if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they do usually get on well together.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Chorkie is between 10 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other dogs, the Chorkie is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect their parent breeds which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these charming little dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
It is worth noting that not enough is done in the way of health testing for the Chihuahua in the UK, but prospective owners should be wary of purchasing a merle coated Chihuahua because of the health issues associated with the Merle gene which can seriously affect a dog's vision and hearing.
Chorkie puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old. Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless it is for medical reasons.
Some Chorkies gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older Chorkies too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart.
Chorkies are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Chorkie breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
The Chorkie is not a recognised Kennel Club breed as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place. However, prospective owners should make sure that breeders have had their stud dogs tested for hereditary conditions associated with parent breeds.
There are not Assured Breeder requirements for the Chorkie because they are not a Kennel Club registered breed.
As with any other breed, Chorkies need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Chorkie puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to arrange to pick puppy up when people in the home are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Chorkie puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Chorkie puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Chorkie puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Chorkies need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a Chorkie will start to have a greying muzzle, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Chorkie in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Chorkies need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older Chorkie is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Chorkies don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Chorkies are considered low-shedding little dogs, but they still need to be groomed regularly to keep their coats tidy and their skin in good condition. Regular brushing also helps reinforce the bond these little dogs form with their owners and they really love all the one-to-one attention they get during a grooming session.
Keeping an eye on a dog's nails and having them trimmed when necessary should be part of a grooming routine and because Chorkies are prone to dental issues, it's important for dogs to have their teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis so that if there is a problem brewing, it can be picked up quickly and dealt with as necessary.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to carefully and gently clean them if they are dirty or if there is too much wax building up in them which can lead to a painful infection taking hold and which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Chorkies are clever little dogs and therefore they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and healthy little dogs. As such a good 30-minutes daily exercise is essential. A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be secure to keep these lively little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Chorkie puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.
If you get a Chorkie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Chorkie puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a Chorkie is 10 months old they can be fed an adult food and given 2 or 3 meals a day evenly spread out throughout the day which makes sure a puppy's blood sugar levels don't drop too low.
Once fully mature, an adult Chorkie must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Chorkie can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Chorkie, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Chorkie in northern England would be £18.42 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.61 a month (quote as of October 2107). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £15 - £25 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Chorkie and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £500 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Chorkie would be between £35 to £70 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred healthy puppy that's been bred from health tested parent dogs.