No longer considered "mutts," dogs of mixed parentage are now considered designer breeds. Fashionable and unique, these days being purebred is passé. If your taste runs to trendy toy puppies, take a look at the shorkie. Coming from two tenacious breeds, you're sure to have a handful with a shorkie.
The Shorkie Breed
Shorkies are the result of crossing Yorkshire terriers with shih tzus. When creating a designer breed, there's always an idea of how things are going to turn out based on the traits of both breeds, but there are no guarantees. You may get a litter of pups that resemble yorkies more than shih tzus or the other way around. It's even possible to get an even mix of both. Both are considered toy breeds by the American Kennel Club. Yorkies are smaller than shih tzus in general, usually not exceeding 7 pounds when grown, while shih tzus can range from 9 to 16 pounds. Shorkie puppies can be as small 2 pounds at 10 weeks of age; when grown, they will fall somewhere in the middle of the 7-to-16-pound range. Shorkie puppies can have a mid to long silky coat, which can be a double coat from the shih tzu side of the family. Possible coat colors are tan, cream, black or blue and many times are a combination of two or three of these.
Caring for Your Shorkie Pup
With her roots in two toy breeds, the shorkie pup will be tiny when she first comes to live with you. She'll need just as much attention and care as a human baby. Don't leave her alone, especially while she is getting used to her new home. Interact with your shorkie puppy and help her adjust to your schedule. Potty training is easier for some dogs than others, but if you watch for indications that your shorkie has to go potty, you should be able to quickly train her to use a piddle pad or to go outside. Regular trips to the designated potty place, such as every hour and after meals, will soon get the idea across. Your little shorkie will want to play but will tire easily, so allow for regularly scheduled nap times to allow her the rest she needs. Shorkie pups have very little body fat and can easily become hypoglycemic. Always have food in her dish and water available to assure she gets all she needs to eat and stays hydrated. Provide stuffed animals for her to play with, a comfortable bed for her to sleep in and plenty of love.
Although you'll want to schedule an appointment with the vet soon after bringing your shorkie puppy home, her diminutive size will probably require spacing out the regimen of puppy shots. Many vets give only partial doses to toy puppies every few weeks until they are complete to avoid adverse reactions and making the smaller-than-usual puppies sick. After the initial round of puppy shots, you should only have to visit the vet every one to two years. Your vet will let you know how often he needs to see your shorkie to assure that she remains in good health. Mixing dog breeds has shown to breed out a lot of genetic problems that purebred dogs tend to have, so the concerns for hereditary illness are dramatically reduced with a shorkie puppy.
Just as with the physical characteristics of shorkie puppies, their personalities can either lean heavily to one side of the family tree or can include a mixture of both yorkie and shih tzu traits. The two breeds start out similar, though, being brave, playful and enjoyable companions. Even their individual attributes seem to overlap a bit, with the AKC describing the yorkie as determined, investigative and energetic while pronouncing the shih tzu lively and alert.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.