“Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix”
What do you get when you cross a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire terrier?
While that seems like a prelude to a punch line, it’s no joke. You get the Shorkie, and this guy is seriously adorable. Breeders have come up with this hybrid breed as they’re looking for an attractive small dog that’s smart and friendly.
It’s no surprise if you want your own Shorkie after seeing one in person. They’re charming in both looks and demeanor, and you can get attached to them as quickly and as strongly as they can get attached to you.
So if you’re deadest on having one in your home, here are some tips you may want to keep in mind:
- The breed goes by many different names. Some refer to them as a Yorkie Tzu or Shorkie Tzu. Other breeders use the more formal term “Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix” so there’s no confusion. You’ll need these names so that you can do more research online and you can find as much info as you can get.
- They’re a great choice if you tend to suffer from allergies. That’s because the two parent breeds aren’t known as great shedders, so the Shorkie doesn’t really shed hair too.
- Keep the hair long if you’re in a cold place. If the hair is long, you’ll need to shampoo the hair and bathe the doggie whenever they get too dirty. A bath every two weeks is fine.
You’ll also have to brush the hair often, or about every other day at the very least. In some cold places in winter, a sweater is a great accessory to keep them warm.
- For warmer places, a regular haircut may be better. You can have them get a “puppy cut” from a groomer. This term can be confusing for some groomers, so take a picture if you got your Shorkie as a puppy. The puppy cut will maintain that same look, though they will need regular grooming every 7 weeks or so.
The groomer can also take care of other maintenance tasks, so glands and ears can be checked out, the foot pads can be cleared of hair, and the nails can be clipped.
- Get your Shorkie pup from a reputable breeder. These breeders can make sure that the parents were both in good health, so that the pup doesn’t inherent any problems from either side of the family tree.
- Make sure you visit the vet regularly. It’s true that hybrids on the whole are typically vigorous and healthier than their purebred parents. That’s actually one of the advantages of the hybrid—purebreds come from a very limited gene pool, and that’s not really all that healthy.
Your Shorkie may live up to 12 to even 15 years. Still, your Shorkie may get a hereditary health problem that could have affected the parents. Of course, you still have to worry about diseases that aren’t picky when it comes to the breed, not to emotion ticks and fleas.
- Feed them dry kibble. If it’s possible, make sure that it’s tailored for your Shorkie, so get one that’s designed for small active dogs. Just make sure the food is dry and nutritious. Shorkies may inherit the dental issues common to their Yorkie ancestors, and wet food can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
You can just put in a half-cup of food in the bowl 3 times a day. Just make sure there’s plenty of water beside the bowl.
- Let them exercise. Shorkies can be very active every now and then. While they can live in an apartment, you should let them run indoors when they feel like it. It’s better if you do have a yard, although it should be fenced. They may want to go for a quick run at some point, and they also enjoy daily walks.
- Training is a good idea. Shorkies are popular not just because they’re cute and cuddly, but also because they love to please their human pack mates and owners. On the other hand, they have a short attention span and they can be hard-headed. Training can make them more amenable.
- You need a patient trainer. With their stubbornness and short attention span, an impatient trainer just won’t do at all. You especially don’t want a trainer who uses negative reinforcement. Shorkies don’t respond to such harsh treatment.
Instead, you want a trainer who’s calm and cheerful. You can keep the Shorkie’s attention with lots of warm praise, as well plenty of treats. These positive reinforcements will cause them to want to please you more.
- Short training sessions. Since they have short attention spans, the training sessions shouldn’t go past 15 minutes or so. These sessions should be at least daily, though twice a day is ideal.
- One command at a time. Start with one command (“sit” is very common at the start), and don’t stop until they master it. Only when they get it right every time should you move on to the next command on your list.
- Socialization is also important. When they’ve been socialized properly, they can get along very well with other people in the house and also with other pets.
- Reserve time to play and cuddle with your Shorkie. What you have to understand is that Shorkies are very affectionate, and they don’t just like, or even love, spending lots of time with their family. They need So think of cuddle time with your Shorkie as meal time—you don’t want them to starve, do you?
Shorkies don’t need much, as they just need a ball to chase and fetch, as well as some squeaky toys to chew on. Or you can bring them along with you when you go out, as they’re brave and not very shy at all.
- Teach kids to be careful. These Shorkies are rather small, so small kids should know not to hug them too hard. They’re not designed for rough play, so you should watch it when they interact with bigger dogs as well.
- Don’t leave them alone for too long. When they’re starved for attention, they suffer from separation anxiety. They can get very depressed and quite upset, and you won’t like the results. They may bark a lot to show they don’t like being alone, just like a baby will cry for attention.
Another symptom is excessive destruction in the home when they’re alone for too long. Clearly, they’re upset. While there are some measures you can take, the ideal situation is if there’s always some in the house who can play with them, even if it’s just other puppies.
- To crate or not to crate. Some Shorkies just don’t do well with crating, and again that’s due to their need to engage with others. They may end up getting hurt with their nails broken when they try to claw their way to you. If you’re determined to crate, then you will need to keep that crate next to your bed.
The Shorkie is not yet considered an official breed by the most prestigious canine purebred associations. They’re fairly new, and it takes many generations to get one recognized. But for many of us, they’re officially adorable and cuddly, and that’s more than enough for any home and any family.