Have you heard of the Shorkie cross breed?
They’re a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier to create a small, companion dog.
The Shorkie can inherit traits from both their Shih Tzu and Yorkie parents.
There’s no guarantee Shorkie will have certain desired traits from one of their parents.
The Shorkie mix hasn’t been granted status by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.
The Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier cross is a designer dog breed growing in popularity due to their companion dog traits.
There isn’t a lot of information about the Shorkie online give the cross breed is still a relatively new mix.
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The Shorkie cross breed tend to be a relatively small cross breed given the Shih Tzu and the Yorkshire Terrier are companion-sized dogs. The Shorkie mix will usually range from 6 to 14 inches in height and weigh between 7 and 15 pounds.
Bailey’s mom gave us an insight into the size of the Shorkie.
Bigger than a Yorkie, but smaller than a Shih Tzu. He is 11 lbs, but lean and muscular. In no way would I consider him a pocket pooch. It takes two hands to properly support him when being held. However, he is easily carried or lifted.
Mia may be small but she has long legs!
Mia is about 10 pounds. She has longer legs than you would expect though!
Shorkies can vary in appearance depending on whether they take after their Shih Tzu or Yorkie parent. For instance, Shorkies that more closely resemble their Yorkie parent will have longer muzzles with a scissors bite. They tend to have an alert appearance with erect ears. On the other hand, Shorkies similar to Shih Tzu will have a more defined muzzle, larger eyes and shorter legs.
The hybrid mix can have blue or brown eyes, a nose that is black, brown or blue, while their coat colors can range from black, red, white, fawn, blue and brown.
Jasper looks more like a Yorkie than a Shih Tzu.
My Shorkie looks more Yorkie, even the colouring and evolution of the fur (started out Black and Tan, faded over time to grey and cream). A lot of people think he is pure Yorkie but I guess the only tell-tale signs that I see visually are his tail (sits high up curled back on himself) and his ears (floppy like Shih Tzu though I know some pure Yorkies have floppy too) and eyes (a bit rounder and further apart more similar to Shih Yzu than a pure Yorkie). Overall a cute, soft furred, scruffy looking dog with so many expressions.
Wilber is an example of a fluffy Shorkie pup.
Wilber is pretty fluffy when not groomed regularly, he’s like a little bear. He has some typical Shih Tzu features but a longer snout, mixed with the colours of a traditional Yorkie. He’s also very soft! His fur is quite thick and goes curly when wet!
Just like Shorkie appearance, the Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier mix can have different personalities depending on what parent they take after. Having said that, the Shih Tzu and Yorkie have quite a bit in common considering their both small-sized dogs who tend to thrive as companion or family pets. They love to give and receive affection from their owners, while they can be sprightly little dogs. Shorkies can have an inquisitive and playful nature.
Lauren described her Shorkie’s temperament as “sweet and sassy”.
Mia is sweet and sometimes sassy. She wants to be treated like a baby by me and my family. She is happy to be held by strangers but she is anxious around kids and dogs she does not know. She has never been destructive nor mean. She just wants to feel safe and loved.
Do Shorkies Make Great Family Pets?
If you’re thinking about introducing a Shorkie into your family home, you’ll need to consider a couple of things. Shorkies can be relatively small dogs that will need to be handled with care and treated with respect. Therefore, children will have to be educated on how to interact and play with the Shorkie cross.
Editor’s note: We don’t ever recommend leaving a child alone unsupervised with a dog irrespective of breed or mix.
Here’s what Lauren had to say about Shorkies in a family setting.
Mia has a tendency to be a bit possessive. Mia is a rescue from a dog hoarding house and I think she had to fight for her place where she came from. Once she became our dog I think she was so happy so when a human baby came along that was difficult for her sometimes. We set boundaries with her and our toddler and try to create positive interactions between them. Training as always is important.
However, Jasper’s owner reckons the cross breed can make good family pets.
I think they do, they are very energetic, loves to play, and hardy. That said, my one is quite large but maybe smaller ones may be more delicate and easier to injure if you have kids (we don’t).
How Much Exercise Do Shorkies Need?
Shorkies can make excellent apartment dogs given their small size and moderate exercise needs. They don’t need more than 30 minutes of exercise a day, according to dog-walking service providers Wag Walking. It’s still a good idea to play some brain games and enjoy some fun time with your Shorkie to strengthen your bond with your dog and keep them mentally stimulated.
Jasper gets a few short walks every day.
We take him out for 3 short walks a day. Sometimes runaround off leash, on weekends one longer walk a day.
Do Shorkies Suffer With Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder than can affect any dog irrespective of breed or mix. Shorkies can suffer from separation anxiety, especially as some members of the breed do tend to be dubbed velcro dugs. Separation anxiety occurs when a dog is left at home alone (or sometimes as soon as your dog notices the tell-tell signs you’re about to depart). The symptoms can include incessant barking or howling, destructive chewing or digging and sometimes doing their potty inside the home.
Amelia revealed that Prince does suffer with this chronic canine condition.
Prince has separation anxiety and therefore, no he cannot be left alone (which is how we ended up getting another dog). Once we had another dog Prince was fine to be left alone. All the dogs at my Mums are fine to be left home alone as long as a single dog is not alone. This implies that Shorkies would prefer a companion. Now that Prince lives with me in my own house I am trying to train him and help manage the separation anxiety so that he may be able to be left alone eventually. I don’t want to get another dog as Prince is quite old and he seems to prefer the peace and quiet here, rather than being with all the other dogs at my Mum’s and friends’ houses (plus I don’t know if he’d be very welcoming to a new dog at his age). However, he does not wreck the house in any way when left alone, it is just that he will continuously bark and jump at the door the entire time I am gone (which seems a little unfair on the neighbours and causes him stress). He used to not even be able to be left in the house alone while i stood in the garden where he could see me from inside, whereas now, I can shut him in the house and walk around the corner where he can’t see me in the garden and he can handle it for a short while. So, I think with continuous training we should be able to get to a point where he can be left even if only for a short time.
Bailey required some crate training before he could be left alone.
Yes – but they need to be trained first. Bailey (my Shorkie) has lots of energy and can be very curious. I kennel him when I am gone for long hours to make sure he is safe. He loves his kennel and usually is in it before I ask him to get in it in the morning.
Mia is closely bonded with Lauren but this Shorkie has the company of two other dogs when left at home alone.
Mia wants to be by me 24/7. However, if I leave the house, she settles into her bed to relax until I get home. Then when I get home it’s non-stop barking and pawing at me until I pick her up. We have two other dogs that keep her company when we are gone, a Yorkiepoo and a DoxieYorkie.
Do Shorkies Get Along With Other Dogs?
It’s a good idea to socialize your Shorkie as much as a possible when they’re young puppies to build their social skills. You may be able to find puppy manners classes.
Bailey’s mom explained that her Shorkie loves being in the company of other dogs.
Yes. He loves other dogs, especially small dogs. Bigger dogs are on a dog-to-dog basis because he was attacked at a dog park by a large dog. He goes to doggy daycare twice a week and plays with all the small dogs. He loves people, so much I had to train him to not say hi to everyone.
Wilber is playful with other dogs.
Wilber is very friendly, playful and loves other dogs. He also lives with cats, who he does sometimes try to play with and chase but he never hurts them. He can sometimes be a bit bossy with other dogs, play etc is on his terms but he’s not aggressive, just stubborn! When we walk on our local moorland he is fine off the lead around wild Ponies and Cows but is partial to trying to chase Sheep and Pheasants (that’s probably the Terrier in him) so he’s always on lead around them now! He will always chase and hunt squirrels but he gives up quite quick once they run up a tree.
Do Shorkie Bark A Lot?
Yorkies can be stereotyped as persistent barkers, but the Shih Tzu tend to be more laid back. Bailey isn’t an excessive barker.
Bailey only barks when his toy or bone is under the couch and he needs help getting it. Or if a stranger approaches the house. Otherwise he observes quietly our neighborhood.
Amelia added that Prince doesn’t bark randomly.
Not randomly no. Shorkies, that I know, don’t have the yappy side of a Yorkie but, have a medium toned bark (as opposed to a deep bark or high pitched yap). Prince and my Mum’s dogs will not bark for no reason but, they do bark at loud noises such as fireworks. They also bark if someone walks past the house or if it sounds like someone is coming in the house (but once they see it’s you and say hello they stop barking).
Are Shorkies Smart?
Neither the Shih Tzu or Yorkie are billed as highly intelligent dogs like the Border Collie or the German Shepherd. However, the Shorkie owners that we spoke to highlighted just how clever this cross breed can be.
Amelia admits she adores how smart Prince is.
One of the things I love the most is that he is naturally smart. Most other dogs have something like ‘wee wees’ as their command for going in the garden to go to the toilet. However, with Prince, if he needs the toilet and you haven’t asked he will go to the door closest to the garden as he can to signal needing to go. He also doesn’t have a command but rather we ask him, “do you need to go out?” if he carries on with what he’s doing it’s a no, but if he does need to then he will tilt his head and move towards the door. Although he has the command ‘bed’ to go to his dog bed, if i say “shall we go to bed?” he will go up to the human bed (yes, he sleeps with us). He also knows that once we’ve finished dinner and the program ends that it is time for his treat and he has picked up on small signals like saying “right” or closing my iPad to know that I am about to get up off the sofa. I could honestly say so much more on this but overall, yes Shorkies are very smart!
Bailey’s mom described her Shorkie as “too smart”.
Bailey is very good at finding the things that I hide from him and he remembers everything. He was very easy to train. He’s off leash command trained and he rings a bell to go outside. He knows when I am leaving and is very in tune with what I am doing. Also, I swear he knows how to tell time. He demands breakfast, dinner and treats on a schedule.
Are Shorkies Easy To Train?
The Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier cross tend to be eager to please their owners, which can make training your Shorkie a breeze. If they’re food motivated, this is can make the training process even simpler.
Amelia explained that Prince was a breeze to train.
Prince has always been very easy to train, I think the success of training a dog depends on the training as well but, he picked up the usual ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, ‘paw’, etc very easily. I’ve heard it can be hard to train older dogs but at 12 years old Prince has no problem, we’ve touched up on old tricks that haven’t been done in a while and learnt some new things. For example, I decided to teach him ‘other’ where after ‘paw’ he gives me the other paw and we did it a few times for a couple afternoons and he’s been able to do it ever since.
Jasper is a food motivated Shorkie, which has aided the training process.
Jasper is extremely easy because he is food motivated so he can do nearly any trick for food. The most difficult part to train is to stay calm in situations. For example if we go to a dog friendly restaurant he is fine and calm. But as soon as another dog walks in he goes mental and barks etc. and loses his mind in crazy excitement which escalates until it sounds very aggressive! Might just be specific to him individually but overall I think Shorkies are not naturally a very calm/laid back dog. They can be calm but he is generally a very easily excitable dog. This is good because you always get enthusiastic greetings, but bad if you want them to stay calm in social situations! They are calm in familiar situations but it takes a LOT of practice for unfamiliar situations!
Are Shorkies Easy To Potty Train?
Some Shih Tzu and Yorkies can be difficult to house break. We asked our Shorkie owners about their experience.
Amelia detailed her process of potty training Prince.
When I got Prince we used puppy pads and celebrated when he used them, tried to tell him “no” if he peed somewhere else and once he learned to use the puppy pad, we moved it closer and closer to the door to the garden and tried to let him out frequently so he would go outside and we could praise him if he did. Since then, we’ve never had an accident!
Here’s what Jasper’s owner had to say.
In terms of toilet training – well they are small dogs so have smaller bladders, so may have taken a tiny bit longer than a big dog to toilet train as a puppy, but overall he wasn’t difficult.
Are Shorkies Hypoallergenic?
The American Kennel Club write on their website that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog despite what you may read online or see breeders claim. Having said that, the AKC do put forward some dog breeds that are more likely to have hypoallergenic qualities. The Shih Tzu and the Yorkie are both considered breeds that have hypoallergenic qualities with the potential to have a low-shedding coat.
Lauren believes Mia is an example of a Shorkie with hypoallergenic qualities.
My husband has a slight allergy to some dogs but he has never had any issues with Mia. She has a gorgeous coat that is like velvet when it’s short. The top of her hair grows out beautifully and I can braid and style it.
Wilber barely sheds at all.
Wilber is brushed daily and only a small amount of hair comes off of him.
Do Shorkies Shed?
As we touched upon above, Shorkies tend to be low-shedding dogs given both parents are considered breeds with a tendency to be hypoallergenic. So it’s unlikely that a Shorkie will leave dog hair on your clothes or around your home.
Jasper doesn’t shed at all.
Jasper is a non-shedder. Well not completely; they have light fluff here or there but not to the extent of proper shedding dogs. It’s more similar to us humans losing hairs (a few here and there). They need regular grooming because their fur grows and doesn’t drop off.
Wilber heads to a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks.
Wilber requires regular grooming. I have him groomed every 4-6 weeks as we like to keep him. Short due to our lifestyle and he gets quite hot and itchy if his coat is too long! Though I do see other Shorkies with longer coats, like Shih Tzus. Wilber requires daily brushing and eye cleaning.
This Shih Tzu Yorkie mix will need to be regularly groomed to maintain the appearance, health and quality of their coat. It’s a good idea to brush your Shorkie at least a few times a week to remove dead skin or dead hair, debris brought in from outside or allergens caught in their coat.
Do Shorkies Smell?
While some Yorkies can give off a bit of an odor, Amelia hasn’t experienced this with her Shorkie.
Not at all! Of course bathing Prince helps to keep him clean and smelling nice but, even if he hasn’t been bathed in a while and we have some rainy walks in the park he still doesn’t smell bad, but of course I still recommend bathing (at the appropriate amount) for their hygiene and to help them smell even better! The only thing I have noticed is that as he’s gotten older (only in recent years) Prince’s breath has gotten a bit more smelly, although, that is common in most dogs. However, minty dentastix and similar treats are very helpful at freshening his breath (plus this is probably also due to me not keeping up with his oral hygiene as much as I should).
Do Shorkies Have Any Health Problems?
Wilber hasn’t experienced any health problems so far.
Wilber hasn’t had any health problems so far other than suffering with hot spots. He doesn’t have any skin conditions or breathing problems, due to being mixed breed and having a longer snout.
Amelia, whose family have a history of owning Shorkies, suggested a price range between $400-600 (£300-£400).
In terms of buying, no, I don’t think they’re that expensive maybe £300/£400.
Jasper’s owner added.
They cost similar to other average dogs. Not sure if they are very sought after compared to other cross breeds or purebreds. That said, I don’t know what people are charging since lockdown, have heard crazy prices….
If you’ve got your heart set on a Shorkie, you could contact your local rescue shelter to see if they have a Shih Tzu Yorkie cross that needs a forever home.
Are Shorkies Expensive?
While there is the initial cost of purchasing your Shorkie to think about, there are a lot of other considerations that will hit your pocket. For example, you’ll need to budget for dog food, dog treats, grooming costs, vet bills, pet insurance and much more.
Amelia gave us an insight into the monthly costs associated with Prince.
Any dog can be expensive if you spoil them lots, which I may be guilty of from time to time haha. We buy food that isn’t ridiculously overpriced, he has more toys than he needs because he doesn’t really play with them that much and as far as I can remember he’s never been massively into toys, he will play with them but only when he wants to. He hasn’t had any medical issues to cost money so the only extra is a couple of supplements we put on his food now, so no I’d say Shorkies aren’t expensive unless you make the decision to spoil them, as with any breed
Would You Recommend Shorkies To First-Time Owners?
Here’s what Bailey’s mom had to say about this question.
While high energy, if owner is willing to do basic training or a puppy training course then the owner will be fine. While they are lap dogs and love to cuddle, they still need daily exercise. This could range from a simple walk to the 3 miles I run Bailey every day.
Here’s what Wilber’s had to say.
Wilber is so loving but also headstrong and independent. He’s definitely high maintenance but in a good way! He’s just the right size to do adventurous things with.
Are Shorkies Fussy Eaters?
In our experience with picky dogs, dog food delivery companies can provide pet parents with a great option. In the USA, we recommend Nom Nom and Ollie to dog owners, while Butternut Box is our preferred choice in the UK.
Bailey is a Shorkie with a modest appetite.
Bailey doesn’t eat a lot. He has a small breakfast and small dinner. He isn’t an over eater. Sometimes he can be fussy, but I just pick up his food and he eats it in the next meal. I sometimes think his fussiness is related to how hungry he is too.
In terms of what Bailey eats on a day-to-day basis, this Shorkie enjoys home-cooked meals.
I make a lot of his food. I crockpot chicken breast with a few veggies and chicken broth for taste. He gets it served with rice. Sometimes we will do a beef roast if he is getting bored with the chicken. For treats he gets freeze dried beef, chicken, or turkey. For chews he gets bully sticks or dehydrated beef/chicken.
Mia doesn’t beg for human food from the table.
Mia eats the Orijen brand. The pieces are a little big so we add water or beef broth to soften it a bit. It’s a high protein food so she gets a small portion. We wish the small dog version would be available in the US but it’s only available in Canada right now! Mia fortunately does not want table scraps, unless it’s a nice piece of steak!
Here’s what Amelia had to say.
Yes and no. Prince can have a funny stomach when changing his food so once we found something that worked, we stuck with it. But he can be fussy about which treats he likes and doesn’t like and when eating, he often picks his least favourite biscuits out of the food bowl and puts them on the floor next to it. Otherwise, he isn’t too fussy as he has a relatively cheap brand of dry dog food from Lidl (raw food and supplements, etc weren’t really a thing 12 years ago when I got him and as I said I don’t want to make him unwell by changing food). As he has gotten older, he still has his teeth, but he struggles with harder food/treats so he has pedigree meat in gravy pouches mixed into his dry food to soften it up (and make it tastier!). In recent years we have also added ‘anxious hound’ tonic from woof and brew to try and help with his anxiety, and within the last year I have added cod liver oil to his food as well to help with his sensitive/itchy skin and his joints.
What Do I Need To Know About Shorkies?
Amelia is Prince’s owner but her mom has five Shorkies so she’s well-placed to answer this question for us:
There is so much I could say – Shorkies are very intelligent dogs and they each have their own unique personality, which I’ve never seen in any other dogs. They are loyal and protective of their human best friend and are very good at sensing when something is wrong and providing comfort. They aren’t the most playful dogs but they sure do love humans – and most other dogs haha! The main thing to know is that they are full of love! And although I never really had a dream breed in mind and my Mum picked the breed of Prince (I just picked him out of the 2 puppies left), I don’t think I could ever get a different breed now.
Jasper isn’t fussy at all.
An emphatic NO. Jasper eats anything, literally. Including non food items. He has regular dog food but also eats veggies (carrot, Brocoli, cabbage, potato, cauliflower) chicken, sausage, any meat. Unfortunately this means he also eats random items found on the floor out in the streets so we have to constantly watch him. Benefits are that it’s fairly easy to give him any tablets – wormers, flea treatments and other medication.
However, Wilber is an example of a fussy Shorkie when it comes to food.
He is a very fussy eater! Wilber went through lots of different brands and food types but he is now raw fed, a mixture of DIY and pre-made minces and has natural treats. He won’t touch any vegetables or fruits, he’s only interested in meat and the smelly treats.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Shorkies?
Bailey/Autumn: Soft and cuddly. Very loving and smart. Hardy, they aren’t frail and I don’t worry about him jumping up and down from the couch or that boulder he climbed while hiking.
Mia/Lauren: They are affectionate and loyal to their owners. Mia loves to be held and likes to be a part of what is going on. They are incredibly smart and so in tune with their owner’s emotions!
Amelia/Prince: Pros would definitely be how easy they are to train and how loyal and loving they are. I also love how each Shorkie (Prince and the five at my Mums) have their own unique personality, you genuinely can’t pick a favourite because they are all so unique. I also love how varied the colours are as our Shorkies range from black, brown, grey, golden and ginger.
Jasper: Health-wise you get pros and cons of both breeds, depending on which breed it takes more after. For example, I love Shih Tzu but I’m worried about the squashed face as health issues for brachycephalic type breeds, specially if they need to fly somewhere in future (higher risk of issues compared to long muzzled dogs). So Jasper’s face is longer muzzled more like Yorkie because I may need to fly with him in future. Best bit about Shorkie is that you get the feisty part of a Yorkie combined with the loving cuddly nature of a Shih Tzu, all in one package!
Wilber: Wilber is very smart. He was easy to train and knows a range of tricks but he is also very stubborn, so he sometimes doesn’t listen. We did think Wilber would be more like a 4kg lap dog that wouldn’t have much energy. However, he does require at least an hour a day walking (unless it’s very bad weather) and weighs 8.5kg.
Bailey/Autumn: High energy and smart. He has to get walked/ran every day and sometimes multiple times. Rain nor snow deters him, he actually loves snow! Grooming is also a negative. Brushing is a must even if short, because hair will matt. Also, with him being so active he needs weekly baths. Monthly grooming costs need to be accounted for.
Mia/Lauren: Shorkies can be possessive and a little needy of attention. They also require regular grooming.
Amelia/Prince: Cons would have to be barking at people walking past the house/knocking on the door and not being able to be left alone.
Jasper: Cons are the same, it depends on your lifestyle requirements. If you wanted a calm lifestyle and your shorkie is a feisty terrier then that would be a con for you. But I love the liveliness so it’s a pro for me! Also if you never need to fly with your dog then a shorter muzzle dog won’t be a con either!
Wilber: Wilber is a bundle of fun with an attitude to match so if you’re looking for a sassy, independent dog that still wants to have a cuddle then I’d definitely recommend a Shorkie. He loves hiking, swimming and digging the sand on the beach but he absolutely hates the bath!
We’ve reached the end of our Shorkie feature.
We spoke to a number of Shorkie owners to get an exclusive insight into the Shih Tzu Yorkshire cross breed.
They’re a small, easy-going cross breed that develop a deep bond with their owners.
The Shorkies featured in this article tended to be smart dogs that were quick to learn basic training.
The Shorkie Tzu can have relatively moderate exercise needs, making them ideal for apartment dwellers or senior dog owners.