Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Morkie
Average Cost to keep/care for a Morkie
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Morkies are a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese. They are a toy breed that was first developed in Canada and the USA during the nineties. Morkies may be small in stature, but they have big personalities and they thrive on human company. However, they are better suited to households where the children are older rather than toddlers.
Morkies are playful and full of character making them a perfect companion for the elderly. Although very sweet natured, they do have a bit of stubborn streak, but with this said, Morkies are intelligent and therefore easy to train and unlike many other toy and small breeds, they are not known to suffer from “small dog syndrome”.
Yorkshire Terriers have a long history having been develop by using many other breeds which includes the Dandie Dinmont, Maltese, Manchester, Paisley and Skye Terriers. The Maltese is thought to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. There are records of similar looking dogs that date back some 8,000 years.
Morkies were developed in the USA and Canada by crossing the two breeds during the 1990’s, as such they are a relatively new cross breed to have arrived on the scene. Over the following years, Morkies became a firm favourite companion and family pet both in the United States and Canada. It was not long before Morkies found their way into the hearts and homes of many dog lovers in the UK too.
With such an illustrious lineage having both Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese in their ancestry, Morkies have inherited the intelligence, loyalty and devotion to their families that both parent breeds are renowned for having. The first crosses prove very successful, but subsequent crosses between two Morkies were even more successful when it comes to a dog’s temperament and appearance.
For the moment, Morkies are not recognised by the Kennel Club (June 2018) or any other international breed associations, but it is early days and with careful, selective breeding to ensure Morkies remain healthy and that a standard can be drawn up, the breed could be recognised further down the line.
Height at the withers: Males 15.24 – 25.4 cm, Females 15.24 - 25.4 cm
Average weight: Males 1.81 – 5.44 kg, Females 1.81 – 5.44 kg
Morkies resemble small teddy bears with their neat, compact bodies and silky coats. They can inherit the looks of a Yorkie or the looks of a Maltese, but they can also look like a combination of their two parent breeds. They are small boned dogs with cute faces and lovely almond shaped, deep set eyes. Morkies have a mischievous yet intelligent look about their eyes.
Muzzles are short, small and a Morkie’s nose is button shaped being black in colour. Their ears can either fold over or erect with some dogs having one drop ear and the other standing up.
Morkies much like the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese, have compact bodies with a moderate spring in their ribs and nice level backs. Their back legs are moderately straight and covered in rich golden tan hair which again is lighter at the tips than it is at the roots. Their feet are neat and round with black nails. Tails are covered in lots of hair and a darker colour than the rest of the body. Morkies carry their tails higher than the level of their backs which adds to their balanced look.
When it comes to their coat, a Morkies typically have fine, straight, long and silky coats or they can have more wiry coats. They come in a variety of colours depending on which of their parent breeds they throw to. The most common colours are as follows:
When a Morkie moves, they take short, quick steps moving energetically when they do and they are always on the alert.
Prospective Morkie 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 dogs 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 with good conformation and would avoid breeding extra small dogs for these reasons. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
Morkies are incredibly loving and devoted little dogs by nature. They have inherited the intelligence of both parent breeds and therefore they are quick to learn new things. The bad news is they pick up bad habits just as fast as they do the good ones. Morkies thrive on being around people and are never happy when they are left to their own devices for any length of time which leads to them suffering from separation anxiety.
Morkies get on with everyone and everything although they are better suited to households with older children rather than toddlers because they are such small dogs that could easily be hurt if manhandled too roughly. Although incredibly loving, Morkies are known to have a bit of a stubborn and wilful streak in them, but the good news is that unlike many other toy breeds, Morkies are not generally known to suffer from “Small Dog Syndrome”.
Like many other toy breeds, house training a Morkie can take time and patience, but with perseverance and gentle coaxing, they can be taught to do their business outside although to begin with a Morkie puppy may have a few accidents around the house.
Morkies are the perfect choice for first time dog owners because they are so people-oriented and eager to please. However, Morkies are quite demanding which means owners must have the time to dedicated to their pets.
Morkies, like the Yorkshire Terrier like chasing things which includes any animals they come across having no idea of how small they actually are. As such care must always be taken when they are around any pets and other animals they don’t already know.
Morkies are incredibly playful by nature and love nothing more than to play interactive games with the people they love and being so intelligent, they quickly learn new things.
Morkies are highly adaptable and would be just as happy living in an apartment in town as they would be living in a house in the country, providing they are given the right amount of mental stimulation and not left to their own devices for any great length of time.
Morkies form very strong ties with their families and as such, they 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 always have company around. When left alone, Morkies can suffer from separation anxiety which can result in them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Morkies will bark when someone comes to the door or when they hear a strange sound outside. They can be a little “yappy” when the mood takes them which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a Morkie is still very young and before it becomes a real problem. Even then, there is no guarantee that a Morkie won’t voice an opinion when they feel like it.
Because Morkies are so small, care must be taken when they are around water and when they are, owners should always make sure their pets are well supervised.
Although tiny in stature, Morkies are good watchdogs and are always quick off the mark when there are strangers about or when something they don’t like is going on in their surroundings.
Morkies are intelligent little dogs but training them takes time and patience thanks to the stubborn streak they have in them. However, because they love to please and providing their education starts early enough, they quickly understand the rules which helps a Morkie mature into a more relaxed and obedient character.
Training must be consistent and always fair throughout a Morkie's life so they understand their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household. Some owners have found it hard to house train their Morkies, but with patience and the right sort of guidance, they can be taught to do their business outside, it can just take a little longer than with other breeds.
Morkie puppies must be well socialised from a young age which should involve introducing them to as many new situations, people and other animals as soon as they have been fully vaccinated bearing in mind that a puppy would only be fully protected 2 weeks after their second vaccination. This is the best way to instil good behaviour and manners in these feisty little dogs.
It's also important to teach basic commands to Morkies as early as possible which should include the following:
Morkies are good around older children rather than toddlers but this is because of their small size. Younger children are often just too boisterous around dogs and could easily hurt a Morkie by mistake. As with any other breed, playtime between children and their pets should always be well supervised at all times.
Morkies generally get on with a family cat they have grown up with but will happily chase anything else that moves or which tries to run away from them and this includes the cat from next door. Care should also be taken when a Morkie is around bigger dogs because they truly do not know how small they are and will not think twice about going after a larger dog which could end in disaster.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Morkie is between 10 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages. Morkies can suffer from the same health issues that affect their parent breeds, namely the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese. They are also known to suffer from reverse sneezing.
Yorkie health issues:
Yorkshire coat issues:
Maltese health issues
Morkie puppies would have been given their first vaccinations before being sold by the breeder. It's essential for a puppy to have their follow up vaccinations at the right time for them to be fully protected. The vaccination schedule is 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 Morkie should continue to have annual vaccinations.
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 and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
It is very important for a Morkie to be fed the correct amount of food every day and to make sure they are given enough daily exercise to prevent them from putting on too much weight. Carrying a lot of weight can seriously impact a Morkie's health and wellbeing and obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. Spayed, neutered and older Morkies are more at risk of putting on too much weight so it's important to keep an eye on their waistlines and to adjust a dog's food intake accordingly.
As previously mentioned some Morkies can suffer from allergies and other skin issues which can be hard to clear up because it takes a lot of time, trial and error to figure out the triggers. Allergies can be caused by many things and this includes the following:
It's a good idea to keep a record of when a dog's allergies flare up and the time of the year this happens. The more information a vet has about a Morkie's allergy, the better because it all helps when it comes to figuring out the causes.
Health tests recommended for Yorkshire Terriers
Health tests recommended for Maltese
Currently there are no breed specific restrictions in place for Morkies because they are not a Kennel Club recognised breed, but breeders should make potential owners aware of any health issues the breed is known to suffer from and should follow KC breeding guidelines and advice to ensure Morkies are bred responsibly.
There are currently no DNA tests available for Morkies under the Assured Breeder Scheme because the breed is not recognised by the Kennel Club, but all potential owners should ask breeders about any health problems Morkies are known to suffer from.
As with any other breed, a Morkie must 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.
Morkie puppies are extremely small, delicate and fragile which means great care must be taken to make sure they don't get injured or stepped on. It's very important to puppy-proof a home well in advance of bringing a small Morkie home. It's a good idea to set up a playpen in a warm room for them to go in so that they remain safe when they are awake and wanting to play. Puppies need to sleep a lot during the day and can do so for up to 21 hours. They need to sleep to build up their forces and to develop properly.
It's very important for Morkie puppies to be kept warm which means setting up their dog beds out of drafts and direct sunlight. It's also important to feed them several times a day which makes sure their blood sugar levels never fall too low which could end up with such a small dog developing hypoglycaemia.
A puppy would have been wormed before being sold and it's essential for new owners to continue with a worming schedule to ensure their new pet remains healthy. A puppy would need worming again as follows:
Having set up a play area for a Morkie to be in where they are warm and out of harm's way, it's important to have everything needed to care for a Morkie puppy. The things needed are as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to loud noises and even older dogs can get anxious when music is played too loud. It's important not to have the television or other devices turned up too loud which could stress out a Morkie puppy at a time when they need to relax, feel safe and sleep.
A puppy would have been given their first vaccination before being rehomed, but it's very important for them to have their follow up vaccinations to ensure they are fully protected. Puppies would need to have their second vaccinations 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 needs to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Taking care of an older Morkie takes a bit more thought because there are certain changes not only in a dog's appearance, but in their natures too which need to be factored into their daily care. Older dogs might be suffering from arthritis, their vision and hearing might not be as good and they might be a little quieter too.
Older Morkies might get a bit picky about their food so it's important to rethink their diet and to discuss things with the vet to make sure a dog is getting all the right nutrients needed to keep them in good health. A lot of dogs when they reach their golden years can seem a little disoriented at times which can be put down to their cognitive function not being as sharp as when it was when a dog was in their prime.
Older Morkies might not be quite so eager to go out for walks and may start having a few "accidents" around the house because of this. It's important for older dogs to be given the right amount of daily exercise not only to keep them fitter, but it also helps sharpen their cognitive function too. The other thing to bear in mind is that an older Morkie's immune system might not protect them against infections and illness because it has been comprised with age. In short, an older Morkie would need to be kept warmer when the weather is cold and a close eye kept on their health and condition.
Morkies with long, silky coats do not shed in the same way as other breeds. Their hair grows continuously throughout the year rather than in short bursts after having shed their coats. As such, they are quite high maintenance when it comes to keeping things tidy. Their coats need to be brushed every day to prevent any tangles and matts from forming. Morkies with wirier coats are easier to groom than their silky coated counterparts.
It's also important to keep an eye on their back-ends and to make sure they are clean. Because the Morkie is prone to suffer dental issues, it's essential for their teeth to be checked and cleaned every day so that if there is a dental problem it can be dealt with sooner rather than later.
They also need to be professional groomed on a regularly basis and if a dog is not being shown, their coats can be clipped which makes it a lot easier to keep things tidy and looking good. Ears need to be checked on a regular basis and cleaned them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear problems.
Sharing a home with a Morkie means having all the right grooming tools which makes keeping their coats looking good and in great condition:
Only tiny in stature, the Morkie is an energetic little dog and they need to be given the correct amount of daily exercise to be happy, healthy and well-rounded dogs. A good 30-minutes exercise is ideal, but being terriers, Morkies love running around a back garden as often as possible to really let off steam bearing in mind that the fencing has to be extremely good to keep these little dogs in. The other thing to bear in mind is that Morkies do feel the cold and would need to wear a coat when outside during the colder winter months whether they are out on a walk or running around a back garden.
They are highly intelligent and as such Morkies must be given a lot of mental stimulation to be truly happy. If these little dogs are not given enough "to do", they will find their own ways of amusing themselves which can include being destructive around the home, excessive barking and they are prone to suffer from separation anxiety too.
With this said, young Morkie puppies should not be given too much exercise and this includes being allowed to jump up or down from furniture, running up and down stairs 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.
If you get a Morkie 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 can be fussy and finicky about their food, but it’s important not to pamper them too much and instead discuss things with a vet. 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.
Once a puppy arrives in a new home, it's important for them to be fed the same food they were given by the breeder who would give all new owners a feeding schedule for their puppy. It's important to keep to the same routine feeding the puppy the same type of food, the same amount and at the same times of the day which is typically 4 times a day until a puppy is around 6 months old when they can be fed 3 times a day. As a rough guide, the amount of food a Morkie puppy should be fed every day is as follows:
Once a Morkie 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.
A fully grown, mature Morkie would ideally need to be fed a good quality nutritious meal twice a day which should consist of the following, but it is important to factor in how many “food” treats a dog is given every day too. As a rough guide, a mature Morkie can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Morkie, you would need to pay anything from £450 to over £700 for a healthy, well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Morkie in northern England would be £16.85 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £38.33 a month (quote as of June 2018). 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 £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Morkie 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 a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Morkie would be between £50 to £80 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 Morkie puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Morkies are an extremely popular in the UK which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Morkies there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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