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A Complete Guide to the Shorkie Dog Breed

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Shorkie Breed Profile

The Shorkie hybrid breed mixes the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier parent breeds. These dogs are small, fierce, and loyal animals. They make great pets and are adaptable to apartment living. If you’re looking for a little furry friend who can double as a watchdog, the Shorkie puppy might be the perfect mix you want. This breed is also called a Shorkie Tzu, Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, Shorkie Poo, and Yorkie Tzu. These dogs are also super friendly and can get along well in any number of home types, including single families, older adults, and those with large families with lots of kids. The Shorkie is a great breed, but you should ensure you can provide for all their needs before adopting one. This article will help you determine if a Shorkie is the right breed for you.

Black shorkie puppy on a little red pillow against a white background

History

Like other mixed breeds, the Shorkie dog likely existed naturally over the years. Around the early 2000s, people started purposefully mixing the two parent breeds in the US. Even though the US was one of the first countries to mix this hybrid breed purposefully, they gained much more popularity in Great Britain and Ireland. This dog has become super popular for its small size and winning temperaments. Even though this dog is popular, the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize them as an official breed.

Size

The Shorkie breed is mixed from two small parent breeds, meaning they will be little dogs. Shorkie dogs can only stand between 6 to 14 inches tall at their shoulders and grow to weigh between 5 to 15 inches. Because of their stature, this dog breed can thrive in apartment complexes. This companion dog is great in many homes. The Shorkie is an adorable dog and a great fit for almost any dog lover. 

Temperament 

The mixed-breed Shorkie pup is a super lovable toy dog. Don’t be fooled by this small dog’s body because they have huge personalities. Any Shorkie owner knows this toy breed is a force to be reckoned with. These dogs often forget their size and are ready to run at anything that comes their way. They won’t back down from bigger dogs, even when it’s their best interest. The Shorkie often behaves like a much bigger dog stuck in a small pup’s body. They’re high energy and need plenty of attention to be happy and well-behaved. These dogs are also big lap dogs, and they love cuddling but only on their terms. Dogs like the Shorkie don’t want an owner to pick them up and force them to cuddle but would rather have an owner that shares their crazy moments enough to relax with them when they’re over. These dogs would be the best fit for people who go on walks twice a day and take their pups with them. These dogs are the equivalent of a big dog in a small package, but their owners tend to love them for their adorable short bodies but lovable big personalities. Even though they can be silly and might run any chance they get, they’re very loyal animals. A well-trained Shorkie can become the best houseguest you’ve ever had. 

Shorkie dog with a stick in the park

Intelligence 

The Shorkie breed is very intelligent. Many Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier dogs have won obedience competitions, proving they are excellent training animals. Because of this, these dogs also make great service animals and can become the best-behaving dogs if their owners support their intelligence with proper training. As long as you stick to positive reinforcement focuses training sessions, you should be able to help your Shorkie maintain their best behavior possible. 

Shedding 

A breed like the Shorkie can have a wide combination of fur types. This dog can have blue, black, brown, fawn, red, white, or any combination of those colors for their fur. These dogs typically have straight fur and can grow medium to long coats. They don’t shed much even though they can grow to amount to a lot of furs. Because they have such little shedding habits, they’re great choices for people suffering from allergies. However, hypoallergenic dogs require the most maintenance for grooming. If you don’t want to spend much time and money caring for your pet’s fur, then the Shorkie hybrid is not the right pick for you.

Shorkie Breed Heath Overview

The Shorkie Breed has a few minor health conditions, but overall these dogs live long, healthy lives of about 11 to 16 years. They’re a relatively healthy breed, but they typically might experience common physical health conditions like hypoglycemia or minor eye issues. Overall these dogs live long, happy lives but are likely to suffer from minor mental health conditions. Shorkie dogs are likely to experience stress and anxiety, but owners shouldn’t worry too much because it’s easy to help dogs cope with these issues. 

Common Psychological Health Conditions

Stress

Many dogs experience stress at some point in their lives. Usually, dogs will experience stress due to poor socialization skills or noise-induced stress. If your Shrokie gets stressed anytime, they are near new places or crowds of people, likely due to poor socialization. Dogs that aren’t socialized correctly will experience signs of stress around other animals or unfamiliar people and places. If your pet stresses out during thunderstorms, sirens, or fireworks, they face noise-induced stress, which isn’t uncommon.

Pet parents can get worried when their dogs are stressed out. A few signs your Shorkie might show when they’re experiencing stress. They might cower out of nerves, bark, whine, or cry. They can pant excessively, pace, or press up against their owners. Smaller breeds like the Shorkie might try to hide under their owner, which can be dangerous since either the dog can get stepped on or the owner can trip on their pet. It can be fairly simple to help your pet overcome this stress. The best way to relieve your Shrokie of stress is to remove them from the stressful situation. If you can’t do that, you can work on slowly socializing them in new environments and giving them calming treats to help them stay calm. 

Sad shorkie lying down on carpet

Anxiety 

Many dogs struggle with anxiety. The most common cause of anxiety is separation anxiety, but dogs can have anxiety for any number of reasons. Shelter animals often struggle with anxiety a little more than the average pup. This happens because shelter animals are more likely to have experienced trauma like homelessness, neglect, abuse, and abandonment. When dogs experience things like this, they can have anxious reactions to anything that reminds them of this past.

There are plenty of symptoms an anxious dog might show. Common signs of anxiety in animals are crying, barking, pacing, or refusing to relax. Anxious dogs can have more severe symptoms and might put their ears back, tail between their legs, or try to escape their homes. Some dogs with anxiety may defecate or urinate from the anxiety. Some dogs will hide behind their owners or maybe even nip or bite at whatever is causing their anxiety. There are tons of ways to help anxious dogs. Owners help their dogs overcome anxiety by providing them with calming treats or medicines. Another more permanent method can be introducing your pup to a counterconditioning treatment. COunterconditioning treatments can be costly and only performed by professional trainers, so they aren’t an option for all dog owners. However, anyone who gives their dog counterconditioning treatment will see that the results last much longer and should be permanent, so hopefully, your dog won’t experience anxiety for the same reasons later.

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Pet owners can purchase many products for their pups to help them with stress and anxiety. One of the most common methods for helping dogs with anxiety or stress is creating a safe space for them. Safe spaces are areas or rooms that are secluded and away from foot traffic to help dogs feel calmer in times of stress. These spaces are usually full of things that can help keep a dog calm, like blankets, a soft bed, their cage, some of their favorite toys, and some zen treats. These things can help a dog feel safer when they’re anxious, and owners can add anything in it that they think will help their pets. Some owners put classical music in these rooms or aromatherapy to help their dogs relax. Owners have a lot of options when it comes to building their pet’s safe spaces. 

Common Physical Health Condition

Hypoglycemia 

There are a few dog health issues that plague smaller pets more often than they do bigger ones. Hypoglycemia is a common issue affecting smaller dogs. This issue occurs when dogs have low blood sugar, which can occur more often in smaller dogs because of how their bodies use sugar. When these Shorkeis experience hypoglycemia, there are a few symptoms they can show. Yorkies tend to show symptoms by having strange breathing patterns or having a lack of appetite. Other breeds have similar symptoms, but the most common signs a dog is suffering from hypoglycemia are lethargy, low response time, unusual behaviors, increased urination, and increased thirst. Other symptoms your Shorkie puppy might show include weakness, lack of coordination, trembling, involuntary twitching, seizures, or unconsciousness. 

This condition might cause alarm in many pet parents, but hypoglycemia is usually a minor health condition. Although it can lead to adverse effects, treating an animal’s hypoglycemia can most often be done at home. The best way to treat a dog with low blood sugar is by providing something with a high sugar content to your pet as soon as they show symptoms of low blood sugar. Pet owners can rub glucose or corn syrup on their dog’s gums. Some pet owners will put sugar in their dog’s water bowl to make sure they don’t go into hypoglycemic shock. There are many home remedies for hypoglycemia. The best way to determine what works best for your dog is to determine how severe their condition is, then choose your remedy based on that. 

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Respiratory Problems 

Shorkie dogs commonly struggle with respiratory issues and can easily develop respiratory illnesses and have breathing problems. Pet owners can best keep their Shorkie puppy safe from the struggles of Respiratory issues by watching out for any symptoms they might show. Dogs with respiratory issues struggle with coughing, difficulty breathing, and gagging. These dogs might be breathing like normal one moment and struggle with the occasional cough a few times a day. Some Shorkie puppies might deal with nasal congestion, exercise intolerance, fainting, wheezing, or even blue gums. 

When your pet is struggling with these problems, you can deduce the severity of their condition based on the frequency and intensity of their symptoms. If your pet struggles with health issues, take them to the vet for help. The best way to help your Shorkie with possible respiratory problems is to vaccinate them against common respiratory infections like kennel cough. 

Black shorkie puppy sniffing a dandelion

Lens Luxation

Terrier breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier commonly struggle with eye issues, especially one that’s known as lens luxation. Lens luxation is a mostly minor condition and can cause some trouble on your Shorkie puppy. This condition consists of the eye’s lens falling into a misplaced position. The lens can fall backward or forwards and is then known as posterior luxation or anterior luxation, respectively. 

When this condition occurs in a dog, they can experience bouts of pain as they deal with these issues. The best way to help your pet is to help them with pain management. You can do this with several pain suppressors and things like canine CBD, which has anti-inflammatory and pain management properties. Depending on the severity of your dog, you may need to ask a vet for a proper treatment plan. 

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Oral Health 

A dog’s oral health is incredibly important. Dogs can gather bacteria on their teeth when they drink, chew, or play with toys. This bacteria can become plaque and tartar, creating potential issues in your pet’s oral health. The smaller the dog is, the more risk they are of teeth overcrowding. Teeth overcrowding occurs because smaller dogs still have a lot of teeth in their mouth, but their mouths are so physically small they can always accommodate them well. It leads to teeth cramming and makes it easier for food or bacteria to get stuck in their teeth, leading to other issues like a dental disease. Many dogs suffer from dental disease in the US, although most cases are only in stage one. Stage one of dental disease causes a dog’s gums to be inflamed, red, and bleed easily. When dogs don’t get their teeth cleaned regularly enough, they develop worse dental health.

To help your Shorkie maintain the best oral health possible, brush their teeth every few days. You should aim to brush their teeth at least twice a week, although daily would be best. Brushing their teeth with a canine-specific toothpaste and toothbrush is the only way to care for your Shorkie puppy’s oral health safely. You can aim to keep up with their dental needs in between brushing sessions by giving them oral health treats.

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Shorkie Breed’s Needs

Exercise 

Some people think that just because dogs are small, they won’t need much physical exercise, which is true for some animals, but Shorkies are energetic little powerhouses. These dogs need plenty of physical activity daily to ensure they stay healthy and don’t become depressed. Dog owners also forget that in addition to physical exercise, animals also need mental exercise. Mental stimulation is necessary to help dogs stay attentive and smart and to ensure they listen to you. Without enough mental stimulus, your Shorkie will ignore your commands, develop bad habits, and become troublesome little puppies. If you want to rescue a Shorkie puppy, you should be prepared to give them at least thirty minutes of daily exercise and mental stimulation. There are plenty of ways you can accomplish these things together. For example, training sessions often involve lots of movements from the dog, stimulating their mental well-being as they listen to your commands. Many enrichment activities are also designed to provide plenty of physical and mental activity to your dog.

tan shorkie romping across grass

Exercise Options We Love

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Nutrition 

The Shorkie puppy, like all dogs, is happy to eat as much food as possible. It puts Shorkie puppies at risk of experiencing obesity. To prevent your Shorkie puppy from becoming obese, you have to make sure to provide the right diet and exercise for them. Over 50% of adult pet US dogs are obese because they are being overfed or don’t get enough daily activity. A dog’s dietary needs can change based on age, sex, weight, height, breed, activity, or other health conditions. Most dog food bags have ratios to give owners a good idea of where to start on how much food they feed their pup. If you ever become unsure how much food to give your pet, talk with your vet, and they can help you decide on a better dietary plan. Remember that a dog’s daily treats should only make up 10% of their daily calorie needs and should never exceed that. Also, small dogs need diets formulated specifically for smaller breeds. Purchasing diets formulated for a small dog, the size of Shorkies, will help lower the risk of them experiencing hypoglycemia. 

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Grooming

Dogs like the Shorkie hybrid have straight coats ranging from medium to long. Both the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier are considered high-maintenance breeds when it comes to grooming needs. These animals need daily brushing sessions to keep their coats clean and free of tangles and knots. These dogs are great for allergy sufferers because of their special fur. They’re more high maintenance than other dogs, though. Aside from daily brushing needs, they need baths regularly and will have to have a full grooming session done every six weeks. If you’re looking for a dog with all low maintenance needs, the Shorkie is not the right fit. But, if you don’t mind grooming sessions, this dog could be a great fit for you and your home. 

Dog Grooming Supplies We Love

Top Product Picks for the Shorkie Hybrid

When you bring home a new dog, it can be a super overwhelming and exciting time. A furry friend is a great addition to the home. However, moving homes can be a super overwhelming experience for dogs, and they aren’t always as excited about it as we are. The only reason dogs don’t get as excited is because they don’t realize how much fun they will have in their new home as they’re taken care of by someone who loves them. The best way to help your new Shorkie puppy adapt to their new living conditions is to show them they’ll have everything they need in their new house.

To show they will be provided for, you need to ensure you have everything necessary for them before bringing them home. You should have a collar and leash already on hand. Owning a harness is necessary, too, even for small dogs, but you may want to wait until you have them with you or know their exact measurements to ensure you buy a harness that fits them correctly. Before your dog even walks through your front door, you should have their food and some water ready for them. Preparing these things for your dog’s entrance shows them you will provide for them. 

The other things that would be great are some comfortable places that can make your Shorkie puppy feel safe. It means having a dog bed, crate, blankets, and toys ready upon arrival. More experienced pet owners will have food storage containers, portable food dishes, doggy waste bags, and treats ready for their pets. These things can be beneficial, but you don’t have to purchase them immediately. However, there will likely be a time when you will need these materials, so getting them as soon as possible is a good idea. 

Overall, your Shorkie will feel happy as long as you provide patience and love when a dog adjusts to a new home. It’s best to let them come to you instead of overcrowding them. But when they come to you, you can always give them some treats to show them that you’ll provide plenty of things they like. Then you will see how fast your Shorkie puppy will warm up to you and their new home. 

Shorkie puppy wearing a red jacket

Other Resources

  1. Shih Tzu AKC
  2. American Shih Tzu Club
  3. Shih Tzu Clubs of America
  4. Yorkshire Terrier AKC
  5. Yorkshire Terrier Club of America