- Breed group — Hyrid
- Height — 4-8 inches
- Weight — 4-13 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Soft and long
- Coat color — Influenced by their Maltese and Yorkie parent breeds’ coats, Morkies can vary between white, black, brown, or a mix of the three. The coat colors can change and vary as they grow from being a puppy. There is no breed standard that can be expected of their coat.
- Exercise needs — Higher than average
- Intelligence — Higher than average
- Barking — Frequent barking
- Life span — 10-14 years
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — United States of America
Morkie temperament and characteristics
Describing Morkies as playful is an understatement. Full of energy and love for their family, these happy-go-lucky dogs will fill your heart and home with joy. They are the perfect mix of their Maltese and Yorkshire terrier parents in their desire to be around their family.
This family, however, needs to remember the dog’s small size. While Morkies love children and will enjoy playing with them, there are certain risks involved. Due to their size, the risk of injury is high, especially with kids who don’t know how to be careful around these pocket-sized hybrids.
This concern for injury extends to other animals and strangers as well. Morkies have a big dog personality and often forget their small stature. Take special care to make sure they are not getting into situations where a playful push or roughhousing with another animal could lead to an injury.
Morkies are prone to choosing one family member as their “favorite,” so singles or small families are the best match for this little pup. Their need for attention is very high, and they may suffer from severe separation anxiety if left alone for too long. If you are not able to be around them for most of the day, you should consider hiring a dog walker or sitter to keep your Morkie entertained while you are away.
Morkie fun facts
- Morkies are a designer breed. Breeders of Yorkshire terriers and Maltese wanted to combine the temperament and appearance of the parent breeds to make the Morkie.
- Shedding is not a problem. Even though Morkies are not counted among the more hypoallergenic breeds, their hair does not shed often with proper grooming.
- Not all watch dogs are big dogs. With their frequent barking and their need to alert you to strangers approaching your door, this small breed makes for a perfect watchdog.
Common Morkie health problems
The direct descendant of the Maltese and Yorkshire terrier, the Morkie breed is likely to experience health issues of its parent breeds.
- Collapsed trachea. A condition where the trachea begins to collapse and flatten on itself, making breathing difficult. It can be treated with surgery. The most common sign of a collapsed trachea is a goose-honk cough when excited. This can be treated with cough suppressants.
- Reverse sneezing. Thankfully, this is not an issue that always requires medical intervention sometimes needing anti-inflammatory treatment. Caused by minor irritation of the throat through pollen, eating too rapidly, or other such things, it is characterized by a gagging cough. Once the irritant is dislodged, your pup will return to normal.
- Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can be the initial signs for various health concerns, so it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible to detect what the bigger issue might be. Some signs of hypoglycemia include weakness, lethargy, tremors, and sometimes seizures.
- Patella luxation. A condition where your dog’s knee cap has shifted or dislocated out of place. In most cases, the kneecap shifts in and out of place. The most severe cases have the kneecap staying out of place more often than it stays in place. The only treatment is surgery.
Cost of caring for Morkie
No one wants to prepare for the unthinkable, but that’s part of being a pet owner, whether you adopt a mutt or the small, friendly Morkie. Having a plan to cover the thousands of dollars in possible medical expenses is the first step to making sure you are ready. Health insurance is a very viable option for preparing for the unexpected, and the earlier you do it, the better. Budgeting and setting up a savings account are other alternatives if you are unable to find an affordable insurance plan.
History of the Morkie
While the Morkie mixed breed has likely been occurring naturally for years, designer breeders began an intentional breeding system in the late 90s in the United States. Wanting to combine the likable traits of the Yorkie and Maltese parent breeds, the breeders hoped to create a breed that was loving and playful with a low-shedding coat.
Over the years, the Morkie has truly come into their own as a designer breed, earning instant affection from the market of potential buyers. This high demand and popularity led more and more breeders to get in on the action and has led to a large influx of puppies.
Many breed enthusiasts hope the American Kennel Club will recognize it in the near future.
Caring for your Morkie
Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. You’ll also want to be sure to puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. No one likes to think about losing their new dog but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case. Here are some other basics specific to training and living with Morkies.
An energetic and playful dog, Morkies require a certain degree of daily exercise to help get some of their hyper energy out. Left cooped up in a home with no way to express this need to be active, your new dog could turn your home into its own personal rage room. It is important to let them have a healthy outlet for their energy.
Daily 30-minute walks in conjunction with playing different games around the house and throughout the day are advised. On these walks, it’s important to keep an eye on the other animals and people around you to make sure that your small dog is not accidentally hurt by careless strangers or larger dogs. In addition, walking your Morkie with a harness rather than a collar will help to reduce the risk of any throat or neck injuries.
Due to their small stature and light weight, Morkies do not handle intense heat or cold very well. During inclement weather or especially hot or cold days, it is best to walk your Morkie in an interior apartment or home hallway. The distance and time devoted will meet your pup’s exercise needs and keep them safe from outside forces.
Having hair instead of fur, the Morkie is considered a non-shedding breed. However, this means that regular brushing is mandatory to keep the hair from matting or knotting up. The key to this is to be careful and mindful of your dog’s small size. Be mindful not to hurt them by being too rough when brushing. Their short legs mean they have a chance of picking up leaves, dirt, and grass on their bellies, so be sure to clean them there as well.
You will need to regularly check your Morkie’s nails, trimming them once or twice a month. It is important that they are not making clicking sounds with every step they take. If you need guidance on this, we can help you here. To prevent ear infections or dental issues, daily ear cleaning and teeth brushing are recommended.
Diet and nutrition
Like the Yorkie, the Morkie has a sensitive stomach, so it is important to make sure you feed your Morkie high-quality kibble, preferably tailored for toy or small breeds. They are prone to putting on extra weight, which can aggravate hypoglycemia and other medical concerns, so free feeding is not recommended. Setting up a feeding schedule of 2-3 meals throughout the day should be adequate, but please check with your vet to verify.
There is no set breed standard for the size that a Morkie will be, so there is no “one size fits all” answer to determining how much to feed them. However, with their small size and chance of dental issues, it is best to feed them small kibble and avoid wet foods.
Training your Morkie
Due to the stubbornness ingrained in them from their terrier parent, Morkies can be stubborn, making them difficult to train and socialize. However, with patience, persistence, and perseverance, your pup can learn to obey commands.
Keeping the training fun and engaging will help them to stick with the program you put them on. If they are able to expend some of their energy constructively while learning, Morkies are more likely to be the affectionate dog you are hoping for rather than a destructive puppy.
Early socialization around other animals and younger children will help them acclimate faster. However, Morkies tend to prefer older children as they are more aware of how small and fragile the dogs can be.
Breeds similar to the Morkie
Not quite sure that a Morkie is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Maltese. Athletic, energetic, and loving, a Maltese will keep your home excited and happy with their playful nature.
- Yorkshire Terrier. Needing only one good walk in addition to simply playing around the house, a Yorkie’s exercise needs are easy to juggle.
- Havanese. Having survived near extinction at the hands of the Cuban Revolution, the Havaneseare sweet loveable dogs that deserve to be treated like a prized jewel.
Frequently asked questions
Are Morkies high maintenance?
While loving a dog will make caring for them seem like less of a chore, it cannot be disputed that Morkies require a large amount of care. Calling them high maintenance has a negative connotation, but ultimately they do need a decent amount of daily care to keep them healthy and happy.
Are Morkies good dogs?
With the proper training, patience, and care, every dog can be a good dog. If you do not have the time to devote to daily interactions with your Morkie, then they may not be the dog for you. But, that does not make them a bad dog or you a bad owner. You just may not be a good fit for each other, which is absolutely fine.
Do Morkies shed a lot?
Morkies are considered to be a non-shedding breed.
How much do Morkies cost?
You should expect to spend anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 for a Morkie puppy from a reputable breeder. However, there are rescues and shelters where you could find an abandoned Morkie to adopt.
What foods are best for my Morkie puppy?
Generally speaking, a high-quality toy breed kibble for puppies would be advisable, but it would be best to take this question to your vet to make sure you are prepared for when you bring your puppy home for the first time.