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Grumpy Shorkie dog

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Hybrid
  • Height — 6-11 inches
  • Weight — 4-8 pounds (females), 5-12 pounds (males)
  • Coat length & texture — Straight or wavy long coats
  • Coat color — Any combination of black, white, brown, golden, blue, red, or fawn, with patterns including bicolor, tricolor, and brindle
  • Exercise needs — Average
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Frequent and loud
  • Life span — 11-16 years
  • Temperament — Cuddly, playful, and alert
  • Hypoallergenic — Yes
  • Origin — United States

Shorkie fun facts

  • Shorkies are a hybrid small dog breed — They are a cross between the shih tzu and the Yorkshire terrier, and often inherit many of their parent breed’s qualities.
  • They make good dogs for allergy sufferers — While no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, the minimal shedding and drooling of the shorkie makes them a good choice for owners with allergies.
  • They love to bark…and bark and bark — These little fellas like to make themselves heard, so prospective owners should prepare for noise.
Shorkie puppy

Shorkie temperament and characteristics 

Some say that the shorkie is a large breed dog trapped in a toy breed’s body. With a loud, frequent bark and tough demeanor, it’s not always clear if shorkies are oblivious of their small stature or trying to compensate for it. Either way, these tiny pups are self-appointed watchdogs, who will alert you to everything from an approaching visitor to a tiny leaf blowing in the breeze. They’re fiercely loyal to their humans, and will stick closer to you than your own shadow. Because of this, they often suffer from separation anxiety and shouldn’t be left alone too long without proper exercise and mental stimulation. Though they’re incredibly playful and have high-energy needs, they’re also affectionate dogs who love a good snuggle sesh, and will take advantage of their littleness to lay claim to your lap just about every time you sit down. When well socialized and trained, your shorkie should fare well with cats or other dogs in the house, though don’t be surprised to find them competing for your attention. They do well with older children, but caution should be exercised around babies and toddlers as they can be a little feisty. Their size makes them a good fit for apartments and other small units, but they can thrive in larger spaces as well.

Common shorkie health problems 

Because shorkies are a relatively new breed, there is still a lot to learn about their health in the long term. Judging by their size and parent breeds, experts believe their lifespan to be between 11 and 16 years. Here are some potential health conditions that owners should keep in mind:

  • Obesity. A common health issue for smaller dogs is obesity, as it doesn’t take a whole lot of food intake for them to put on too much weight. Consult your vet to determine the proper daily caloric intake for your shorkie.
  • Oral diseases. Shorkies are also prone to diseases in their gums and teeth. Frequent tooth brushing and dental care appointments are the best ways to combat these oral health issues.
  • Patellar luxation. A disorder seen commonly in the shorkie’s shih tzu and Yorkie parents is a luxating patella , which occurs when the dog’s kneecap shifts out of alignment. Depending on the severity of the condition, surgery may be needed to prevent arthritis later in their life.
  • Cushing’s disease. This hormone imbalance occurs when the dog’s body produces too much cortisol, and can lead to diabetes and kidney disorders. Symptoms like excessive drinking, muscle weakness, and lethargy among others are signs that your dog has Cushing’s disease .
  • Eye problems. Another issue shorkies inherit from their shih tzu parent is an affinity for eye conditions like glaucoma. Owners should check for ocular swelling and schedule a vet appointment immediately if they suspect their pup is experiencing an eye disorder.

Cost of caring for a shorkie

As with any dog, shorkie owners should familiarize themselves with the costs associated with pet care. Familiarize yourself with different health insurance plans and sign up your pup early to lower out-of-pocket expenses. Alternatively, creating a pet savings account can be a good idea in the event your dog requires surgery or emergency services. For example, patella luxation surgery can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000.

History of the shorkie

Unlike that of their shih tzu and Yorkshire terrier parents, the shorkie’s history is a relatively short one. In fact, they were only first developed as a designer dog breed within the past few decades. In an effort to capture the loyal lapdog tendencies of the shih tzu and the playful rambunctiousness of the Yorkie, Americans created the hybrid toy breed as a companion dog.

Though they’re not recognized by the American Kennel Club, the American Canine Hybrid Club has registered them under the name “shorkie tzu.” Shorkies quickly grew popular because of their hypoallergenic coats and small size that make them adaptable to smaller home environments.

While shorkies are still newcomers, there’s a lot to learn about them from the history of their two parent breeds. The shih tzu is an ancient dog breed from China that came about from crossing the Lhasa apso with the Pekingese. Early shih tzu dogs (then referred to as “Lhasa lion dogs”) lived in the Chinese imperial palace and spent their days being pampered on the laps of royalty.

The Yorkie on the other hand is a small terrier bred in England in the early 1800s, and became popular for vermin-hunting skills in mines and factories during the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Put the shih tzu and Yorkie together and you have an energetic mixed breed dog who loves being petted as much as they love getting into mischief.

Shorkie dog sleeping

Caring for your shorkie

Prepare yourself for bringing home a shorkie by scheduling your first trip to the vet, keeping a detailed vaccination record, and puppy-proofing your home. Though shorkies have medium exercise needs, you’ll want to make time for plenty of outdoor play. Signing up for FidoAlert provides you with a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared in the event your four-legged friend takes off.


Don’t let the little legs fool you. Shorkies pack a ton of energy into a small frame. That said, they tire quickly, so just 30 minutes of exercise a day should be enough to tucker out this toy breed. Their favorite activities include short walks, interactive toys and games, and incessantly following their humans around everywhere they go. If you are playing with your shorkie outside, be mindful that they have an instinctual prey drive from their terrier roots and may take off after smaller animals like squirrels.

A fenced-in yard or long lead can prevent them from straying away from the property. As with any small breeds, shorkies struggle with extreme temperatures. Avoid overheating in the summers with limited outdoor exposure and invest in a warm jacket for the cold winter months.

Shorkie dog outside resting during a walk


Have you ever stroked a shorkie’s fur and thought, “this feels familiar”? That’s because their coat is more similar to human hair than typical dog fur. The dog’s long silky coat can be wavy or straight with a wide array of color combinations. Because of their low shedding, they’re considered hypoallergenic, making them a favorite among allergy sufferers. Nonetheless, daily brushing and monthly trips to the groomer are necessary for keeping their coats from getting matted and tangled. This is why many owners opt for a “teddy bear” cut to reduce grooming needs. Additionally, owners will want to trim their nails monthly, and frequently clean out their ears and brush their teeth to keep them healthy.

👉 No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered “hypoallergenic” simply shed less, and thus have a lesser effect on owners with dog allergies.

Diet and nutrition

When it comes to meal planning for your shorkie, or any toy breed for that matter, you’ll want to be careful to avoid overfeeding. Even going just a small amount over their allotted daily calories can result in obesity. Every dog is unique, and owners should always consult their vet to determine how much they can safely feed their favorite furball. That said, you can expect to give them between ¼ and ½ a cup of high-quality dry food a day, spaced out between four meals for a shorkie puppy and two for an adult.

Training your shorkie

Shorkies are a highly intelligent breed that loves to please their humans. Unfortunately, they’re also very stubborn and have a short attention span, so training them can be a bit of a headache. As with any behavioral work, patience and consistency are key, and starting when they’re a puppy is the best way to curb unwanted behaviors.

Perhaps the most noticeable of these unwanted behaviors is barking. Any shorkie owner (and their neighbors) will tell you that these little ones like to yap at everything and nothing. Whether they’re bored, anxious, or territorial, barking is their go-to mode of communication, and they go above and beyond the duties of a typical watchdog.

If you want to reduce the frequency of these barks, positive reinforcement is important in order to avoid a negative association with training and strengthen your canine-human bond. Use a “quiet” command to get them to stop barking, and reward them with a treat and praise when they do. If the command isn’t cutting it, try grabbing their attention with a squeaky toy. Sufficient exercise and mental stimulation can also go a long way in tiring out your best friend and reducing their tendency to bark.

Shorkie dog art Christmas

Breeds similar to the shorkie

Not quite sure that a shorkie 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:

  • Toy poodle. If you love toy breeds, then you’ll probably love the toy poodle, a playful little dog with the personality of a shorkie. They’re also also considered hypoallergenic, making them a good fit for allergy sufferers.
  • Rat terrier. Coming in at 10-25 pounds, rat terriers are a little bigger than shorkies while still making great apartment dogs. Bred to hunt rats, these dogs retain a strong prey drive.
  • Maltese. With long silky fur similar to the shorkie’s, you’ll never grow tired of petting the Maltese. They originated in the island nation of Malta, where artists were so captivated with their beauty that they began depicting them in paintings and ceramics.

Frequently asked questions

What breeds make up a shorkie?

A shorkie is a designer breed that is a cross between a shih tzu and a Yorkshire terrier. They were developed in the United States in recent years as a small companion dog.

Do shorkies bark a lot?

Yes, shorkies are incredibly vocal and will alert their humans to everything they see, whether it be people walking by, approaching visitors, or other animals. Consistent training will be necessary to reduce the frequency of their barks.

Do shorkies have health problems?

Obesity, dental diseases, and patella luxation are among the common medical conditions that shorkies are prone to. These same health issues are also common in their pet parents, the shih tzu and the Yorkshire terrier.

Are shorkies good for people allergic to dogs?

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, shorkies are considered a good dog for people with canine allergies because they shed minimally.

How much exercise do shorkies need?

Although shorkies have a ton of energy, they are also a small dog that tires out easily. Around 30 minutes of exercise a day is necessary to meet the physical needs of this dog.