The Shorkie is an adorable dog that is as cute and cuddly as a Teddy Bear but with the mindset of a Rottweiler. It’s a hybrid that boasts of a fluffy coat, lovely round eyes, and a playful personality that belie its unmistakable big-dog attitude. There’s no denying its dedication and loyalty to its family, but it can have a streak that doesn’t really bode well for the tiny mutt. It’s a venerable family companion, nonetheless; but only if you can manage its characteristic terrier attitude. Is this the right dog for you?
History of the Shorkie
We can only think of one very fundamental reason why the Shorkie was created – to temper the terrier in the Yorkie with the gentle, princely nature of the Shih Tzu. We don’t think it is to enhance the physical characteristics of either purebred because, honestly, these two are simply adorable. One is a Chinese Emperor’s member of the royal court while the other wows the crowd with its smooth-flowing coat.
The Yorkie may be small, but its attitude is way bigger than a Rottweiler’s. It is very bossy and doesn’t look at size as a standard of superiority. It doesn’t care if it’s face-to-face with a Mastiff. All it wants is to impose its will, terrier style. On the other hand, the Shih Tzu is as adorable as a little Teddy Bear. It is playful, but it is bred as a companion dog for the royalty. As such, it has a much gentler disposition in life. We believe this is the reason why somebody created the Shorkie.
But, of course, we could be wrong. How’s that?
The problem is that there isn’t any documentation to show that our assumptions are correct. Sadly, there aren’t any to disprove them either. We’re in limbo, so to speak.
Does it really matter? For us, yes. This is because it provides us a glimpse into the mindset of the person or group of persons who sought to create a dog as lovable and adorable as a Shorkie. After all, you don’t just get one dog and breed it with another dog of a different breed. There must be something in these breeds that caught the attention of the dog designer. This will also give us a picture of what to expect if we are to get a Shorkie or any other designer dog breed for our homes.
We read somewhere that the Shorkie is a relatively new creation with some sources placing its creation sometime at the turn of the new millennium. The issue we have with this assumption is that the process of crossbreeding is not new. It has been around ever since man started gaining an understanding of the species. However, it was only in the last 10 to 20 years that interest in these so-called designer dogs really picked up. Who knows if the Shorkie was already around by many years even before people began picking up designer dog breeds left and right?
So, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that the Shorkie was created in the first decade of the new millennium. This presents quite a handful of issues. Since it is relatively new, we are left with a crossbreed that has a wide range of physical and behavioral attributes. Simply put, there’s no way you can guarantee that the characteristics you see in one Shorkie are the same with all the other Shorkies.
This is also the reason why we really would want to know the reason behind the hybrid’s creation. And we know that you would want to know, too.
Who are the Parents?
Since we really cannot agree on the origins of the Shorkie, it’s best that we delve more on the history and temperament of its parents. This should give us an idea as to why somebody would want to mate an Emperor’s Shih Tzu and a weaver’s Yorkshire Terrier.
When groomed to its fullest potential, very few other breeds can compete with the elegance of the Shih-Tzu Kou (yes, this is the original name of the Shih Tzu). Most folks know that the Shih Tzu was bred by Tibetan monks as gifts to Chinese Emperors of the 17th century. However, unearthed ancient scrolls put the breed to have originated sometime in 800 BC. Regardless of its origins, one thing is sure: the Shih Tzu is a royal prince that has descended from a long line of Imperial dogs alongside the Pekingese, Papillon, and the Lhasa Apso. It is no wonder that this dog has the classic stance of a prince.
The Shih Tzu is filled with love. It breathes and moves with love and affection. It is this very same affectionate and loving nature that the Shih Tzu is able to gain the love of the world back. But if there’s one thing that is truly admirable about this dog, that would be its gentleness and mild-mannered personality. Sure, it still sees itself as the prince of the dog kingdom, but this is one prince that will never show aggression or arrogance just to prove that it’s to be treated with respect.
This Chinese Lion Dog is not a guard dog, but it will never hesitate to bark especially if there’s someone it doesn’t know at the door. Unfortunately, once that person has already entered and the Shih Tzu sees that you’re comfy with the visitor, chances are it will also be very friendly with the stranger. Why? They’re very trusting.
There’s never a dull moment in the life of a Shih Tzu. It will nap for a few hours and then get up and play with you for a couple more. Most Shih Tzus don’t mind sleeping at the feet of their owners or perhaps even on their laps. They were bred this way, after all. Shih Tzus are more than willing to be with you wherever you are.
While the Shih Tzu loves being with its owner, it never demands anything. It isn’t high-strung, either. If you’re washing your car, it will be there just watching you. If you’re doing some project in your shed, you can expect the Shih Tzu to be also there with you. If you’re up for a game, the Shih Tzu is all up for it. And when you feel like you need a nap, it will also snuggle up close with you. That’s companionship that only the Shih Tzu can provide.
Bold is an understatement when one tries to describe the Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie. Having been bred for the specific purpose of running after rats that invade the mills of Scottish weavers, this small-sized terrier still has its famed ratter-hunter instincts deeply ingrained into its genes. They were very fine ratters, using their small frame and agile and quick bodies to dart through holes scaring rats and rodents away for good. Today, however, they don’t do much rat-hunting anymore. But this doesn’t mean they have totally forgotten their origins.
Just because the Yorkie is small doesn’t mean that it is content with a simple life. You’d be surprised at just how eccentric this little dog can be. It is independent-minded and has the intelligence that allowed it to run after mice, rats, and other rodents in Scottish mills. Its intelligence can only be matched by its stubbornness, making it especially tricky to train. But for those who have found success in training this little hound, they’re often blessed with an entertaining clown. The trick in the training is to play to the Yorkie’s incessant desire to please. Unfortunately, if something more interesting catches their fancy, even a well-planned training session will be no match for its curiosity.
The Yorkie is both cuddly and mischievous. Males have the tendency to be more laidback, more affectionate, and definitely sweeter than the female version that is perkier and spunkier. If one needs a lap dog that loves to cuddle, you’ll find one in the male Yorkie. But this doesn’t mean the female Yorkie isn’t a bundle of joy on its own. It is still a very adorable hound, except that its Loki-like mischief doesn’t really make it a good lap dog. It’s an entertainer, that’s for sure.
Yorkshire Terriers are well-known for their bravery. It is the breed’s fearless nature that often poses a major concern for many owners, especially those with other dogs in the household. This hound, as small as it may be, is never shy about squaring off with a dog 3 times its size. Good if the other knows when to turn the other cheek. But if you’ve got an equally dominant breed facing off with the Yorkie, pray nothing happens to the little hound.
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Given that we only know so much about the origins of the Shorkie, we can only base our assumptions on the law of averages when it comes to its physical characteristics. Understand that these pieces of information are highly variable and can only account for the Shorkie that came from a purebred Shih Tzu and a purebred Yorkshire Terrier.
- It’s a small dog. The Yorkie can be 8 to 9 inches tall while the Shih Tzu is about the same height at about 8 to 11 inches. Generally, you can expect a Shorkie to be anywhere between 8 and 10 inches tall, although it can be as varied as 6 to 14 inches, again depending on the heights of its parents.
- It’s lightweight (obviously). The Yorkie can weigh between 4 and 7 pounds while the Shih Tzu is heavier at 9 to 16 pounds. This puts the Shorkie at around 7 to 15 pounds.
- We cannot be certain about the lifespan of a Shorkie, although a Yorkie can last 12 to 16 years while a Shih Tzu can live between 10 to 18 years. It would be a safe bet to put the Shorkie’s lifespan to about 11 to 17 years.
- The coat can be highly variable, too, depending on the coat of the more dominant parent. It can come in red, chocolate, white, gold, or black or even a combination of these colors.
- Both parents can grow exceptionally long, silky, and soft coat. Expect the same with the Shorkie.
- Its body is usually short and stout with a tail that is typically curled up.
Things You Should Know
Like in other articles we have written about purebreds and mixed breeds, it is important to take a look at the fundamental requirements of owning a Shorkie. We cannot emphasize this enough. Designer dogs like Shorkies are very popular nowadays that even the ill-prepared can easily get one. But as soon as they realize that it’s not the dog they thought it will be, the hound is sent to an animal shelter or a rescue organization. Hundreds of thousands of crossbreeds end up in shelters every year simply because their owners couldn’t provide the dogs’ basic needs. Do these dogs and yourself a favor. Read these essential things you should know and make sure you understand them before you get a Shorkie into your life.
This is one area that many newbie dog owners, especially of small dogs like Shorkies, fail miserably. Most have this thinking that since the dog is small, it doesn’t really need training. This is made even more complicated by the belief that the dog is naturally intelligent and that it can learn the things you expect it to perform on its own. If you have this kind of thinking, stop! The Shorkie is not the right pet for you. If you don’t want anything to do with training pets, you’ll be a lot better with owning a fish.
All dogs, purebreds and crossbreeds alike, require basic dog obedience training. They need to learn how to follow a simple command such as come, sit, and stay. Puppies also need to have their schedules fixed such as when and where to urinate and defecate and when is feeding time. Training also helps give dogs a sense of purpose. They have meaning in their lives if they are able to accomplish something, even as basic as lying down on the bed when told to do so. It’s for their safety, too, and helps prevent destructive behavior in dogs.
Both the Yorkie and Shih Tzu are easily trainable since both of them love the attention they get from their owners. However, the Terrier in the Shorkie has a really stubborn streak that can get in the way of effective and successful training. The answer? Treats and plenty of hugs, praises, and cuddle time. By giving them something that they really like and time it with the issuance of training cues, you can easily teach a Shorkie. The question is if you have the perseverance and patience to do it.
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Feeding the Shorkie should be fairly easy. They have relatively small mouths and small tummies to begin with. And while they may love playing with their owners and their kids, they don’t really spend that much energy and as such don’t require exceptionally large amounts of calories as well.
The thing to remember is to always compute for its daily calorie requirement. For example, a 10-lb male intact Shorkie may only require about 340 to 350 calories per day. On the other hand, an 8-lb Shorkie will need about 290 to 300 calories divided into 2 to 3 meals. That’s about 100 calories per meal on a thrice-daily diet. What we’re trying to say is for you to learn how to calculate for your dog’s calorie requirements. From here, you can then make the necessary adjustments. For example, if you notice your dog to be growing rounder and heavier, then you can shave about 50 calories or so from its dog food. If it’s getting too skinny, then you add.
Weight management is important in the Shorkie as it is quite prone to obesity. Stick with calorie-dense dog food so you’ll be feeding them less. Get dog kibbles as they’re more prone to dental problems, too. Stay away from high glycemic foods as well as allergenic grains. Lastly, give them only dog food with a named animal protein listed as the top ingredient.
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Shorkies are a playful lot. If they could only have you for the whole day just playing, they’d be very happy. However, playtime should never replace a good 30-minute walk at the park or even in the neighborhood. This is often enough to keep it happy and contented and free it from the clutches of canine boredom.
Oh, you don’t want this hound to become bored. The Yorkie in the Shorkie can easily vent out its frustration on anything that it sees whether it is your carpet, bedding, or even clothes. Exercise and playtime give them the chance to use up their energy so they’ll feel calmer and happier. Of course, from a dietary point of view, exercise can also address their tendency to become overweight.
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The big-dog attitude of the Yorkie can be a real issue in the Shorkie as it will impose its will without regard for the size of the one it is squaring off with. Its ratter personality can also manifest in the form of aggression towards smaller pets. Hopefully, the Shorkie you’ll get has a more dominant Shih Tzu personality so you’ll never have to worry about such problems. Regardless, socialization is as important as training a dog. Not only are you bringing peace into your home, you’re also ensuring optimum mental health for your Shorkie as it gets to trust and live peacefully with other pets.
Socializing it with other people especially children is also crucial. However, owing to their diminutive size, we don’t recommend this dog to families with really small children or even older kids with rambunctious spirit. These dogs are small that they are very susceptible to injuries even when playing with kids.
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The coat of the Shorkie is long and quite dense. And while it doesn’t shed as much, you’d still have to comb and brush its coat day in and day out. Again, if this bothers you, then you can forget about owning one. Alternatively, you can clip its coat short, although that will definitely diminish its awesome looks. Frequent combing and brushing is a must especially since they’re prone to mats and tangles.
Their facial hair, especially those near the eyes, need to be groomed. If you’re not confident doing this yourself, then a professional groomer should come in handy. Don’t forget to brush its teeth every day, especially since small breeds are very prone to dental problems. The ears should never be neglected. Weekly inspection and cleaning is an absolute must. As for its nails, once a month clipping is enough.
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Patellar luxation, obesity, and dental problems are just three of the more common health conditions that Shorkies may be faced with. Other Shorkies may have glaucoma, cataract, progressive retinal atrophy, dry eyes, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, hypoglycemia, collapsing tracheas, and hypothyroidism.
We implore you to get a Shorkie for your family if you…
- Believe that all dogs need to be trained and socialized as puppies and using only the correct methods
- Live in a rather small space
- Do not like to exercise, but can take the time to walk the dog at least 30 minutes every day
- Are allergic to pet dander
Get another dog if you…
- Don’t like training and socializing dogs
- Will only keep the dog in a kennel and not inside your house
- Hate grooming the dog every day
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If the Shorkie gets its well-deserved training and socialization, it can easily become the little four-legged bundle of joy for the whole family. It is loving and affectionate with a very playful attitude. It loves being around and near its owner and will never hesitate to protect him regardless of how small it may be. Shorkies are highly adaptable. They don’t mind if they live in a small apartment or a large mansion. They’re the perfect house pets if you can learn to live with the big-dog attitude potentially residing inside its small frame.
They’re lovable, friendly, affectionate, and adorable, that’s true. But, if you cannot promise and commit to their proper care especially training and socialization, you’re better off with another pet.
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