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If you’re looking for a small dog as a family friend or a loyal lap companion, then a Shorkie just might be the perfect choice for you. The Shorkie, if you aren’t familiar, is a mix of Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier, two incredible small dogs that many people and families love. To help you decide if a Shorkie is the right choice for you and your family, we’re going to go over the traits of this particular breed, including size, weight, life expectancy, temperament, grooming and healthcare needs, and any other facts you might need to know before deciding to bring one of these adorable little fur babies into your home.
If you haven’t heard of the Shorkie before, there’s a good reason for that. Unlike most mixed breeds that have come about in the United States, the Shorkie is a fairly recent pairing. The first Shorkies were officially recorded in the early to mid 2000’s meaning the record for this breed is around 20 years old at most.
One interesting thing to note about the Shorkie is because of the unique pairing of the Yorkie and Shih Tzu, the appearance and personality of your dog may vary as it may inherit traits from either breed. This can make it a little more difficult to determine which type of dog you will have, particularly when choosing a puppy, but both breeds do share similarities in size and certain other factors, making whichever kind of Shorkie you get an excellent companion.
Size and Energy Level
Shorkies are categorized as a small dog breed and generally weigh between 5 and 15 pounds making them an excellent lap dog or companion when going places. They stand anywhere from 6 to 14 inches high. The size of your Shorkie is largely dependent on whether they inherit the stature of the smaller Yorkie or the larger Shih Tzu. Shorkies regardless of size are high energy and very social. This is part of what makes them excellent family pets.
Despite being a smaller dog, they are built sturdy and well proportioned with a rounded head and high tail. Compared to certain other small breed dogs, Shorkies are a bit stouter, giving them more of a presence, along with their personality, which gives off a lot of “big dog energy”.
Even with their high energy level, their diminutive size makes them perfect for apartments or smaller dwellings as they don’t need a whole lot of space to burn off their energy and going for a walk can often be enough to burn off the excess energy to where they are docile enough for smaller spaces.
Coat and Grooming Needs
The coat of your Shorkie will be medium to long in length but low shedding. This is thanks to the coats of both parents. The long hair combined with floppy ears makes for an adorable look. Though the coat is light and low shedding, Shorkies are high maintenance when it comes to the amount of grooming they need simply because they need to be trimmed up regularly to prevent overheating and overgrowth of hair around the eyes and mouth. Thankfully, they just need to be trimmed occasionally and don’t require a lot of brushing and general grooming otherwise.
As a smaller dog Shorkies are prone to get hot easily, especially when exercising, so depending on the length of their coat, they may need grooming more or less frequently but the grooming is a necessity and not just an aesthetic choice for your pet, so it’s important that potential pet owners plan for this need.
Exercise and Health
Shorkies have a very high energy level, but on average, because of their size, they don’t need a tremendous amount of exercise. 30 minutes or so of a brisk walk per day is enough to keep your Shorkie happy and healthy.
In terms of exercise it is important to monitor your pet’s weight. Being such a small breed they are prone to obesity if they overeat or are fed a poor diet. Only a couple of pounds can be the difference between a healthy weight and potential weight related issues.
Shorkies, like both of their parent breeds, are prone to issues with their joints, including the kneecaps becoming dislocated, which can require surgery to fix. This is another reason to watch their weight as obesity can compound these issues.
Shorkies have a tendency to develop dental issues as well. Frequent dental cleanings can stave off any issues with the teeth and should be considered part of their routine care. Shorkies also inherit a potential for heart disease from both of their parent breeds, making this an especially high risk concern.
Shorkies, like their parent breeds, are some of the most friendly dogs you’ll find anywhere. They are one of the few dog breeds that are excellent around people of any age, including small children, adults, and the elderly. This makes them a perfect companion for just about any situation. They have high energy, and they are playful and affectionate, making them great for all ages to play with. According to Meinhart, Smith and Manning, PLLC, “Shorkies are not known to be an aggressive mixed breed.” With a few small toys and a little bit of activity, they will be ready to curl up in a lap and take a nap.
Though they can be friendly with anyone, including strangers, they are quite vocal and fiercely protective of their family, making them a great choice as a guard dog, particularly for small spaces like an apartment.
Intelligence/Ability to Train
Shorkies are considered highly intelligent dogs and take well to training. They respond to positive reinforcement, so using treats is a good idea, though remember to watch your dog’s weight.
Some owners may choose to have them professionally trained as Shorkies have a tendency to bark a lot, are prone to dig and can be highly excitable. With a little bit of training a Shorkie can become a perfectly mannered pet for the whole family.
Though they require a bit of maintenance, if you’re looking for a small companion for the kids or for yourself, a Shorkie can be a great addition to any family. We hope this guide has assisted you in making the best decision for you.