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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Shorkie
Average Cost to keep/care for a Shorkie
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Shorkie is a newcomer to the world of dogs and has been developed by crossing a Shih Tzu with a Yorkshire Terrier. Since they first appeared on the scene they have proved to be a great choice for families with children, older people and as companions because they boast having loyal, loving, kind and playful natures. For the moment and because the breed is so new, Shorkies are not recognised by The Kennel Club or other international dog associations (March 2018).
However, local breed clubs have been established with an end goal being to standardise the Shorkie and to ensure that responsible breeders continue to produce healthy little puppies bred from health tested parent dogs. Shorkies are highly adaptable and although they can be stubborn at times, in the right hands and environment, they are generally easy to train, bearing in mind that they have “terrier” in them.
The Shorkie is one of the newest hybrid dogs to appear on the scene having been first developed in the United States where these little dogs quickly found a big fan base. Breeders decided to create a little dog that boasted a kind and intelligent nature and one that would make a lovely family pet and companion. Their endeavours have proved to be just that with the added bonus being that Shorkies are not only friendly and smart, but they are adorable looking too.
Because the breed is so new, the Shorkie is not recognised as a breed by any of the major international breed clubs which includes The Kennel Club. However, these little dogs are recognised by other associations which includes the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Dog Registry of America, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club and the International Designer Canine Registry among others. Shorkies have also found a big fan base in the UK with more breeders now producing healthy examples of these charming little dogs with the end goal being to eventually have the Shorkie recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club, although this may take quite a few years of responsible breeding to achieve.
Height at the withers: Males 15 - 35 cm, Females 15 - 35 cm
Average weight: Males 3 - 7 kg, Females 3 - 7 kg
The Shorkie can inherit the looks of either parent breed with some puppies looking more like a Shih Tzu whereas others may look more like a Yorkshire Terrier. Some puppies inherit a little of both parents when it comes to their looks which can make an interesting mix. The one thing all Shorkies have in common is that they have a cute "teddy bear" appearance and tend to be on the small side with short bodies and moderately short legs.
Shorkies are compact little dogs that are well proportioned and nicely balanced much like their parent breeds. Their heads are quite small with dogs boasting a nice black nose at the tip of a shortish muzzle. Their eyes are medium in size, dark in colour and they always have a sparkle in them. Shorkies have a quick intelligent albeit cheeky look about their eyes.
Their ears are V-shaped and small being covered in short hair. They have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long boasting a nice length, falling smoothly down to well laid-back shoulders. Shorkies have nice straight legs and neat paws. They have compact bodies with a moderate spring in their ribs and nice level backs. Their back legs are moderately straight and fine boned. Tails are nicely covered in hair and moderately long tapering slightly at the tip. Shorkies carry their tails higher than the level of their backs when excited which adds to their balanced look.
Both Shorkie’s parent breeds boast having silky, long coats. A Shih Tzu’s coat consists of a denser top coat and a softer undercoat. With this said, some Shih Tzu can often have a little bit of a wave in their coats which they can pass on to their offspring. The Yorkie on the other hand boasts having a single, straight coat and as such, Shorkies can have either or a mixture of both with puppies in the same litter having a quite different look too. However, much like their parent breeds, the Shorkie sheds little hair which makes them a good choice for people who are very house proud.
When it comes to their coats, the Shorkie can inherit the colouring of both their parent breeds with most dogs having the following coloured coats:
Some Shorkie have two or more colours in their coats so it really does depend on which of their parent breeds they throw to.
When a Shorkie moves, they do so with a jaunty, active gait always on the alert and ready.
Prospective Shorkie 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 and conformation and would avoid breeding extra small dogs for these reasons. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Shorkie has quickly found a big fan base outside of America which includes the UK thanks to their charming looks and affectionate, loyal natures. These little dogs are known to think they are much larger dogs and being a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier, they have inherited many lovely traits of their parent breeds. They are energetic without being too demanding and love nothing more than to play interactive games with older people and children making them a great choice as a family pet.
Shorkies much like their parent breeds, are quick to let an owner know when there are strangers around although thanks to their size, they aren't the ideal guard dog. They tend to be friendly towards everyone they meet and become extremely attached to their owners which is why they are best suited to families and homes where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out. If left to their own devices for any length of time, Shorkies are known to develop a condition known as separation anxiety which can lead to dogs becoming depressed and destructive around the home which is their way of relieving stress.
It's important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation should include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Shorkie is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle. Although, they love to please their owners, Shorkies are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak which means they need to be handled with a gentle, but firm hand.
Shorkies 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 better suited to households where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs.
Although Shorkies are very social by nature, they have “terrier” in them which means they have a high prey drive and will happily chase anything that moves or tries to run away which includes the cat from next door should they venture into a garden. As such care should always be taken as to where and when a Shorkie can run off the lead especially if there is livestock or wildlife close by.
Shorkies are known to 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 being so clever they quickly learn how to get their own way when they want something.
Shorkies are highly adaptable dogs and 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 a flat in town as they would be living in a house in the country.
Shorkies 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 which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained and this often includes incessant barking.
Shorkies are known to 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 which could make them timid and shy.
Most Shorkies love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. 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 Shorkie off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap, or they fall in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Shorkies may be small in stature, but they are always quick off the mark when it comes to letting an owner know when there are strangers about or when something they don’t like is going on in their environment. However, rarely would a Shorkie show any sort of aggressive behaviour preferring to keep their distance and bark.
Shorkies are intelligent, energetic little dogs and they like playing interactive games which includes things like fetch and will happily play for as long as anyone is willing to throw a toy for them. The key to successfully training a Shorkie is to start their education early and not to spoil puppies which is easily done thanks to the fact they are so cute. If a puppy gets away with too much, it can lead to them developing a condition known as "small dog syndrome" which in short sees them grow up to be quite demanding and therefore harder to manage and live with.
Shorkies can be a little harder to house train than other dogs, but with patience and perseverance, they can be taught to do their “business” outside and not around the home. As previously mentioned, it's important for Shorkies to be well socialised from a young enough age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs no matter what situation they find themselves in.
Shorkies are quite sensitive by nature and as such, they do not respond well to any sort of heavy handed treatment or harsh correction. As such, their training should start early, and it must be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life, so they understand what's expected of them. Shorkies respond well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted little dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved. With this said, it’s important not to give too many food rewards because like many other small breeds, they are prone to putting on weight far too easily which could have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
Like all other puppies, Shorkie puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, cute puppies grow up into adult dogs very fast which means that as soon as a puppy is nicely settled in, owners must start out as they mean to go on. This means laying down rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them and what is acceptable behaviour. This helps establish a pecking order and who is alpha dog in a household. It also prevents a Shorkie from developing small dog syndrome which can make them unruly and harder to live with.
Shorkies are known to be good around children thanks to their outgoing, playful natures. However, any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt, especially when these little dogs are still very young.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together too. However, care must be taken when a Shorkie first meets a larger dog because they really don't know just how small they are and will happily take on a big dog with disastrous consequences, especially if they have not been socialised well enough at a young age. Care should also be taken when Shorkies are around any smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Shorkie is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Because the breed is still so new, more time is needed to know about the health issues that might affect them. However, they could develop some of the hereditary disorders that are known to affect both of their parent breeds which could include the following genetic health issues:
Shorkie 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 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.
As with other breeds, some Shorkies 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 dogs 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 which could prove fatal.
Shorkies 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:
There is a huge selection of pet food on the market with some being a far superior quality than others. It is important to choose better known brands and to avoid feeding any commercial dog food that contains the following because they could trigger an allergic reaction:
All responsible Shorkie 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:
There are several BVA/KC health schemes available for Yorkshire Terriers which are as follows:
Shorkies are not a Kennel Club recognised breed, as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place, but all breeders should follow the Kennel Club’s breeding guidelines to ensure that only health tested parent dogs are used in breeding programmes.
For the moment, Shorkies are not a Kennel Club recognised breed and as such, there are not Assured Breeder requirements, but all breeders should breed their dogs responsibly and have them health tested for known hereditary and congenital issues that are known to affect parent breeds.
As with any other breed, Shorkies 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.
Shorkie puppies like all 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 pick a puppy up when people 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 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 Shorkie 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 making them withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Shorkie 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 fully up to date.
Older Shorkies need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Shorkie in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking 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 Shorkies 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 dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Shorkies 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.
Shorkies can have short to medium length coats and ideally, they need to be brushed every day to prevent tangles and knots from forming. They also need to be professionally groomed at least every six weeks, so their coats can be trimmed and kept in top condition. Shorkies shed a little hair steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat.
Some Shorkies develop tear stains under their eyes so it's a good idea to wipe them whenever necessary to keep things nice and clean. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Shorkie is an energetic, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. With this said, Shorkies are never overly demanding on the exercise front although if they are not given at least 20 minutes a day, these clever little dogs would quickly get bored. This could lead to them developing destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden to really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Shorkie puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get an Shorkie 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 eaters, but this does not mean they can be given 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 which allows them to 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 Shorkie 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 puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Shorkie should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Shorkie can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Shorkie, you would need to pay anything from £200 to over £300 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Shorkie in northern England would be £19.22 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.18 a month (quote as of March 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 amongst other things.
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 Shorkie 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 Shorkie 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 Shorkie 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.
Shorkies have fast become an extremely popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Shorkies there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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