With the Yorkshire Terrier and the Shih Tzu being two of the most well known small dogs worldwide, it is not strange for the Shorkie to be an intriguing concept for dog lovers. This hybrid was born from breeding both these purebreds together, to create the best of both worlds. In order to understand fully the traits of a Shorkie, it’s important to get a brief round-up of its parents and why they’re so popular.
The Yorkshire Terrier dates back to mid 19th century England, where they were initially bred as rodent catchers in mines. They naturally developed into the Yorkshire Terrier breed people know today, and are significantly more of a pet than a method of pest control. Their heritage however, makes them very alert, sociable, energetic and curious in mind, personality traits which they pass down to Shorkies.
The Shih Tzu, often stated to be historically linked to Chinese and Tibetan origins, has gained popularity in the western world as one of the most lovable pups to have around. They display the characteristics of a best friend, as they are known to be loyal, gentle, affectionate and also intelligent in nature, all of which they pass down to Shorkies.
With a mix of these two slightly different but very loved pups, it’s no secret why the Shorkie is the perfect dog for many. This hybrid may be a good fit for you, but if you’re not sure, here are some features of the Shorkie that will help you to make up your mind.
Shorkie Appearance & Size
Taking after the dominant parental gene, Shorkie Dogs have no uniformed look, but over time, they may just become a distinct group identifiable by a couple of characteristics. Most Shorkie dogs have either a wavy outer coat, inherited from the Shih Tzu or a straight outer coat from their Yorkie counterparts.They come in a variety of colours, including gold, red, brown or white, and others may even be partly coloured, taking on a mixture of a few of the dominant colours.
They are relatively small, with short legs and bodies, weighing on average 7 – 15 pounds, and growing no taller than 6 – 14 inches in height.They have relatively flat heads, medium sized muzzles and scissor like sharp white teeth. Their tails are proportionately thin, and normally curls over their back, with its feather like sparse hairs. Despite his tiny stature, he stands tall and self-confident, with a bark that packs more punch than expected.
Personality & Character
Perhaps the most prevalent and easily recognizable traits about Shorkie Dogs are their ability to be so feisty for their small body, often acting as watch and guard dogs if anyone dares comes too close to their owners. Apart from being extremely protective and loyal, Shorkie dogs are normally playful and energetic, and are extremely family oriented and happy to be around. Their energetic composure coupled with their intelligence make them ideal candidates for teaching tips and tricks, as they are easily trainable.
A notable condition that many Shorkies face however is separation anxiety. Because of how extremely close knitted they are with their owner, they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods of time. This can result in a restless dog, causing him to bark excessively. This is why it is best adopted into families where the Shorkie can have more than one companion.
Activity & Training
Shorkies need a relatively small amount of physical activity, and will be okay with just a short walk for the day. On their own though, they are pretty playful and active, and because of this, getting them to exercise is a relatively easy feat. Yards are not a necessity, but would be better for your Shorkie, just like any other dog, but even if all you have is a small space, your dog will run around enough because of their playfulness.
Their genetic disposition makes them an unwilling recipient of a couple of hereditary diseases and infections. These include but are not limited to:
- Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – The Shih Tzu is known as a brachycephalic dogs, which is where the Shorkie inherits this illness from. The term brachycephalic describes the shortened skull structure of the head, causing the face and nose to have slight congested appearance. This condition causes abnormalities in the respiratory system, resulting in limited air passage and constricted breathing.
- Hypoglycemia – This condition is caused not necessarily by any hereditary means, but is often contracted and has become very prevalent in dogs of smaller structures. Normally though, hypoglycemia occurs during the puppy stage after weaning, and may even be critical enough to make your pup unconscious.
- Patellar luxation – This condition is inherited from both parents, and causes the kneecap to shift out of place during any physical activity. This is a common condition in small dogs and requires immediate attention. This condition can also lead to the earl onset of arthritis, also faced by many small dogs.
- Dental Disease – Ranging from dental congestion to periodontal disease, there are a host of dental issues that are prevalent in small dogs. To prevent these, ensure to brush regularly and take them for regular checkups at the veterinarian. Tooth loss is also a common issue to watch out for in your Shorkie.
- Eye Diseases & Infections – There have been many reports of instances of glaucoma and lens luxation in Shorkie dogs. Glaucoma is a condition where pressure is caused on the eye because of unequal fluid drainage, and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Lens Luxation is a bit more simple, and occurs when the lens are dislocated from their normal location. This can also lead to blindness if left untreated.
Lifespan of Shorkie dogs
The Yorkshire Terrier and the Shih Tzu have an average lifespan of 13 years, making the lifespan of the Shorkie just the same. Once your dog is kept healthy and well fed, with regular trips to the veterinarian, they should live an average life of 13 years as well. If your lucky, your pup may live a bit a longer, as it is usually said that mixed breed dogs live longer than their purebred counterparts.
While the Shorkie dog has its cons, its positives far outweigh any negativity there is. These are the perfect pups for your family structure, just one look and you’ll fall in love.