The Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix (A Review)
The Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, or Shorkie, is a toy hybrid whose size will instantly warm the heart of any small dog aficionado. Of course, one may assume that because it’s small – and part Yorkie – it may have traits that can drive some dog owners crazy. But is that warranted?
What’s the Story on the Shorkie?
The Shorkie’s origins are a bit of a mystery. There isn't much of a rough estimate as to when the hybrid first hit the scene, which separates them from other pooches in that regard. However, it's speculated that the pooch was created to be a smart, cute lapdog with the potential to be hypoallergenic.
Some people may not even realize Shorkies exist because a lot of their physical appearance usually brings their Terrier genes to the forefront. Your typical Shorkie will have short, stout bodies, a curled up tail, and a soft, silky coat that can get relatively long if the owner desires.
The trick to recognizing a Shorkie is to pay attention to their ears. Unlike a Yorkie, whose ears are always perked up, a Shorkie’s ears will be floppy like a Shih Tzu. These ears frame their faces rather well, which enhances their unique cuteness.
A Shorkie’s coat can be various colors. Gold, red, chocolate, black, white, or black with a tan saddle are all color combos that are possible with this breed. The color of the hybrid can change colors as they grow older.
Shorkies are little doggies, which should be expected given the hybrid's parental breeds. The average length of a Shorkie ranges from 6 to 14 inches tall, and the average weight swings from 7 to 15 pounds. They’re not the tiniest dogs out there, but they’re definitely worthy of “toy” status.
The Personality of a Shorkie
It’s not surprising to find that Shorkies are sweet, affectionate dogs that want to be your buddy. After all, Shih Tzus have long been prized for being a companion dog. Yorkies have carried that reputation as well, although their original bloodline stems from larger dogs that were rat and vermin catchers in Industrial England.
The Shorkie tends to be an exuberant, playful dog that may occasionally seem like they’re trying to run themselves ragged. When they’re not running around and being a goofball, they’re happy being your shadow, as simply being near those they love – and love them back – fills their bucket with unfettered joy.
They also can be quite mellow dogs during their downtime – so much so, they’re an ideal dog to take with you when you go on vacation. Their calm demeanor translates into a dog that isn’t all that barky compared to other dogs in their classification. While some owners will say they still yap too much, excessive barking can be curbed with training.
The Shorkie’s extreme affinity to their human companion can make owning this hybrid dicey if you’re planning on leaving them be for long periods of time. This dog suffers from separation anxiety in a massive way, and will cope with this feeling by engaging in negative behaviors like destructiveness and, yes, even excessive barking.
Unfortunately, putting the Shorkie in a crate while you’re gone tends to do very little to calm their nerves. The hybrid has a tendency to try and claw and scratch their way out, to the point where nails become broken and paws become bloody. While some may interpret this neurotic, it really shows how much love these little pups have for their family.
More Than a Cute Face
The Shorkie can make you fall in love at first sight, but it’s the hybrid’s loyalty and intelligence that sets them up for long-term endearment. As this video demonstrates, a well-trained Shorkie is an impressive Shorkie; one that still manages to turn you into putty.
Does the Shorkie Require a Whole Lot of Exercise?
Even though Shorkies like their playtime, they don’t require a ton of exercise. If you give them a couple of short, swift walks every day, you’re good to go. The dogs are also loads of fun to take to your local dog park if only to watch them run and romp around in a big, social space.
With that being said, playtime is a big deal for the Shorkie. The hybrid gets oodles of joy from playing with toys like chewies or balls, especially if you or other members of your family are playing with them. These exercises not only keep their bodies active, but it also helps stimulate their mind.
The Shorkie’s size makes it very easy to engage in his playtime indoors, a trait that makes him a tremendous apartment dog. You can also bring the little doggie joy if you have a backyard, but don’t let them out unsupervised. You may think of them as a pet, but other animals like hawks or coyotes may think of them as prey.
Creating an exercise and playtime regimen is also important from a dietary perspective. Like a lot of toy breeds, the Shorkie has the unfortunate tendency to gain weight rapidly, in part because they’re so easy to overfeed. Keeping them active every day will greatly reduce the chances of having a fat dog on your hands.
Is the Shorkie Easy to Train?
The Shorkie is a bright dog that can pick up on things at a pretty decent clip. However, they have notoriously short attention spans and can have a pretty strong stubborn streak. If you try to make your sessions long and bland instead of short and fun for them, they’ll have nothing to do with you or your training.
While being firm and full of praise is important for all dogs during training, deploying these tactics seems especially poignant for the Shorkie. The hybrid is known for being very sensitive, so impatiently lashing out at them is disastrous. This is especially true with house training, as they tend to be slow on learning where to do their business.
Is Grooming a Shorkie Easy to Do?
The Shorkie can be a tricky breed to groom, partially because the hybrid’s needs are a little bit different when compared to the typical breed. Remember, these dogs were created in part so they can be a low-shedding, hypoallergenic breed. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about constant brushing to rid the coat of loose hairs.
What you do need to worry about is tangles and mats, which can easily occur due to the length of the dog’s coat. Because of this, daily brushing of their fur is a requirement. Tangles and mats are more than eyesores; they tug at the dog’s skin in unusual ways, which could ultimately cause discomfort.
Because the fur on a Shorkie’s face tends to be bushy, keeping their face neat and clean takes a steady hand. If you don’t feel comfortable with this practice, scheduling an appointment with a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks is ideal. A groomer can also take care of nail clippings, which can be a delicate process.
Tending to a Shorkie’s eyes are also very vital to helping the hybrid maintain a healthy look. A good face wipe every day or every other day will help prevent tear stains from developing on their fur, a distracting condition that could take more time to get rid of than it does to carry out the preventative steps.
What are the Health Concerns of a Shorkie?
Since Shorkies are relatively new on the scene, there hasn’t been enough information culled about their overall health to assign pinpointed, recurring health issues to them. That being said, you can get a bead on what may develop by looking at the health concerns of their parental breeds.
Some of the issues that are common in Shih Tzus and Yorkies – and may end up occurring in a Shorkie – include patellar luxation, kidney problems. Liver issues, collapsed trachea, hip dysplasia, and allergies. A reputable breeder should be able to tell you the health history of the Shorkie’s parents before your purchase.
How Much Does a Shorkie Cost?
The price range of a Shorkie is pretty wide. It can be as little as $375, or it can be as much as $1750. This cost does not include the typical costs associated with dog ownership, such as vet visits, licensing, pet insurance, food, and toys.
These latter costs aren't anything to take for granted because you can count on having your Shorkie for a long time. The typical lifespan of a Shorkie ranges from 13 to 16 years, which is the same life span of your average Yorkie. It’s a better range than a Shih Tzu, which ranges from 10 to 16 years.
A Lovely Little Dog!
If Shorkies were indeed bred to be cuddly little lapdogs, then this mission has been accomplished. While these little puffs of joy are big on energy and playfulness, when the dust settles, they love nothing more than to be your little shadow as long as you’ll let them. Considering how cute they are, you’ll probably be just fine with that.