The Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, also known as a Shorkie, combines two popular toy breeds. This mix grows from 8 to 10.5 inches, weighing anywhere between 7 and 16 pounds.
The Yorkie and Shih Tzu breeds have quite different histories and temperaments. So predicting your Shih Tzu Yorkie mix personality can be quite tough.
But, generally, you can expect a Shih Tzu Yorkie mix to be friendly, energetic, and confident.
Let’s find out whether the Shorkie is the right new companion for your family.
Your Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix – The Shorkie
If you’re looking for information on the cute Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, AKA the Shorkie, you’re in the right place!
These tiny dogs have big attitude, and they’re a designer dog breed that’s becoming more popular.
If you’d like to add a Shorkie to your family, you need to know their history, personalities, needs, health, and more.
So let’s get to it!
Where Does The Shorkie Come From?
As with many designer dog breeds, it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of this cross.
The Shih Tzu Yorkie mix has been around for less than 20 years. So this is a dog still being developed, and there is a lot we don’t know yet about their genetic predilections.
For now, here’s what we do know. When you get a Shorkie, you get a puppy whose parents are purebred, so he is a first-generation mix.
Let’s talk about mixes vs. purebreds a little more.
Mixed Breeds Vs. Pure Breeds
Purebred pups have pedigrees that will tell you exactly who their parents are and what traits they may inherit based on their breed and ancestry.
Breeding purebred dogs of one breed together can increase the health of a breed by instilling desirable traits – if done thoughtfully. And cross-breeding dogs with other breeds can help introduce genetic diversity to reduce health issues.
But, for some breeders of purebred dogs,“designer” dogs are still just “mutts,” even if they are carefully bred. Want to know more about this debate? If you’re of a scientific bent, you might find information about dog genetics and crossing populations interesting.
Cross-breeding actually has a long history. Many pure breeds were saved from genetic bottlenecks by interbreeding with others. So you shouldn’t necessarily look down upon this practice!
Ultimately, of course, the important thing is not the pedigrees of our dogs, but how well we love and take care of them.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the histories of the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix breed parents.
The Shih Tzu
The history of the Shih Tzu begins in China, where short, “under the table” dogs were recorded as long ago as 1000 B.C. These were probably the Shih Tzu’s ancestors.
Shih Tzus were probably working dogs originally, trained to bark when people or animals approached the palace. But they quickly became companion animals in the Imperial Chinese court.
As revered animals in China, Shih Tzus were not sold or given to westerners once trade began between nations. So the breed didn’t come to England until 1930.
Shih Tzus are believed to have become extinct in China after the Communist revolution of 1949. Today, all Shih Tzus descend from 14 dogs, some of which were brought to the U.S. in the 1940s and ‘50s by returning military personnel.
The Shih Tzu was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1969.
It is believed that several of the Yorkie’ potential ancestor breeds – the Clydesdale Terrier, the Waterside Terrier, and the Old English Terrier – are extinct. However, Skye Terrier and Maltese blood may have been added at some point, along with some other breeds!
Yorkshire Terriers themselves have been around since about 1870, but were originally called Broken Haired Scotch Terriers or Toy Terriers. They got their current name in 1874, following improvement of the breed in Yorkshire.
They were originally bred to go into small places and hunt rodents, so like the Shih Tzu they have working-class origins.
All Yorkshire Terriers are descended from a show dog named Huddersfield Ben. In 1886, the Kennel Club of England granted official recognition to the breed. They were popular in the Victorian era as lapdogs.
The dogs probably came to America with Scottish weaver immigrants and blue-collar immigrants from manufacturing towns in northern England. The AKC recorded its first Yorkie in 1885.
Fun Facts About The Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
The Yorkshire Terrier ranks 10th on the AKC most popular breeds list.
Celebrity owners of Yorkies have included President Nixon, Audrey Hepburn, Johnny Depp, Joan Rivers, Paris Hilton, Natalie Portman, and Missy Elliot.
Yorkies may have been the inspiration for the character Toto in L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” as the book’s illustrator, W. W. Denslow, owned one!
The Shih Tzu is the 20th most popular dog on the AKC’s list.
Famous owners of Shih Tzus have included Nicole Richie, Geri Halliwell, Betty Buckley, Bill Gates, Mariah Carey, and Beyonce.
But let’s get back to the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix.
Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix Appearance
Shih Tzus are toy dogs that tend to be under 10.5 inches at the withers and weigh under 16 pounds.
Yorkies are even smaller! They come in at 8 inches tall and 7 pounds.
So you can expect any Shorkie to be somewhere between these ranges.
Shih Tzu Parent Appearance
Shih Tzus come in varied colors, including black, blue, white, brindle, gold, liver, red, silver, black gold, and combinations of these colors.
They can also have black markings and a black mask or tan and white markings.
Shih Tzus are compact and solid little pups that hold their heads and tails high. They have sweet, trusting expressions, along with large dark eyes and large ears.
The front of their muzzle is flat and they have a domed head.
Yorkie Parent Appearance
Yorkies have long hair with a coat that is generally some combination of black, gold, tan, and blue — generally either blue or black with tan or gold.
Their heads are small and rather flat on the top, their bodies are compact with short backs, and their hair has a texture much like human hair.
Yorkies are born black and tan. They have short muzzles, black noses, and medium sized, dark eyes. Their expression is friendly and intelligent.
Put Them Together!
A hybrid of these two breeds can take on any of its parents’ traits in any amount.
With a new mix like the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, it’s especially hard to predict how much they’ll get from either side. Also, puppies may not have the same traits as adults.
One of the reasons these two breeds get matched together is that they both have sweet and engaging personalities.
Shih Tzus, which have been house and companion dogs for centuries, are happy, affectionate, friendly, confident dogs. They bark a lot.
Yorkshire Terriers are known for their intelligence, friendliness, and energy. They also bark a lot. These puppies need plenty of attention.
You can expect your Shih Tzu Yorkie mix to share these characteristics. But, it may lean more towards one parent than the other!
Training Your Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
Both of these breeds are eager to please, but have a streak of independence. Because they are small, you might be tempted to forego the training and socialization. Do not do that!
The Shih Tzu Yorkie mix needs early socialization, especially if you plan to take them to new situations consistently, as many people want to do with their tiny dogs.
Without training, both parent breeds can become annoying barkers. They can be easily turned into well-adjusted and well-mannered companions, so the effort is worth it.
Both breeds react well to praise and positive reinforcement. So, you can expect your Shih Tzu Yorkie mix to be the same.
Shih Tzus have a lifespan of 10-18 years. For the Yorkshire Terrier, the range is 11-15. So both can be long-lived breeds, as small dogs tend to be.
However, because of their size, they are predisposed to several issues that the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix can inherit.
Shih Tzu Health
Shih Tzus, with their flat faces and long spines, are vulnerable to many health issues and cannot be over-exercised.
The flat faces result from a condition called brachycephaly. The short muzzle can cause respiratory and overheating issues, along with dental problems.
Other problems may include:
- intervertebral disc disease
- patellar luxation
- hip dysplasia
- kidney and liver diseases
- eye issues.
Yorkshire Terrier Health
Yorkies may suffer from:
- congenital portosystemic shunt
- Cushing’s disease from overactive adrenal glands
- heart problems
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a hip problem seen in small dogs)
- patellar luxation
- tracheal collapse
- eye issues.
Shared Health Problems
Both dogs are also prone to allergies. Because both are small breeds, they share some health problems. Mixing them will not improve those conditions.
However, some genetic problems may still be alleviated through increasing your dog’s genetic diversity profile.
Grooming And Care
With regard to care, note that both parent breeds have long hair.
The Yorkie’s single coat is similar to human hair. The Shih Tzu, however, has a double coat, and your pup can inherit either.
Your Shorkie will require daily brushing and will probably need hair over the eyes trimmed or kept in a topknot.
Yorkies require weekly baths while Shih Tzus do fine with a bath every 3-4 weeks. So expect something in that range for your Shorkie.
Do Shorkies Make Good Family Dogs?
The Shih Tzu Yorkie temperament is very good for families, as they become very attached.
However, we cannot recommend the Shorkie for families with young children, who may see these somewhat fragile dogs as toys. They can squeeze them and hold them in the wrong ways.
If a Shorkie is stubborn, that might also cause issues with kids. Supervision is required.
Brachycephaly is also a major concern for dogs with Shih Tzu lineage.
Rescuing A Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
Rescuing is great, if it’s an option for you.
As a developing breed, you may have a hard time locating the Shih Tzu Yorkie at a shelter, but breed specific rescues may be an option.
Considering the health issues a Shorkie faces, rescuing could be a good option.
Since health issues often show up by the time the dog is an adult, you’ll be able to know more about any medical needs.
Finding A Shorkie Puppy
You can look for Shih Tzu Yorkie breeders online, but be careful to vet them in person as well. Tap into your local networks to find the mix you want.
Avoid puppy mills and pet stores, where you won’t have access to information about a dog’s breeding history or previous living conditions.
Visit the breeder if possible, and meet your potential puppy’s parents. Do not skimp on health documentation and screening, and check the dog’s nostrils.
Our puppy search guide is a great place to start.
Raising A Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix Puppy
If you need help getting started in raising a Shorkie puppy, visit our Puppy Care category for all the information you need.
Here are a few to get you started:
Pros And Cons Of Getting A Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
- Potential health issues
- Can be fragile
- Not recommended for families with small children
- Excellent companion dogs
- Friendly and loving
- Do well in smaller living spaces, such as apartments
Similar Mixes And Breeds
You can also consider Shih Tzu mixes.
Just remember that all Toy dogs may suffer from similar health issues due to their structure, so do your research before choosing one! Avoid teacup Shorkies.
Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix Rescues
Since there aren’t many rescues specifically for the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, your first stop should breed-specific shelters. Leave us a comment and let us know if you find any applicable shelters!
Here are a few suggestions:
- Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, Inc.
- Yorkie Rescue of America
- Yorkie911 Rescue
- U.S. Shih Tzu Rescue
- Shih Tzu Action Rescue
- Terrier Rescue
Is A Shih Tzu Yorkie mix Right For Me?
Of course, Shorkies are adorable and great for certain types of families.
But keep potential health issues and fragility in mind if you’re looking to adopt.
We recommend looking for an adoptable Shih Tzu Yorkie mix that is in need of a good home.
Do you think you can handle a Shorkie? Let us know in the comments!
References And Resources
- Joris, V. History of Shih Tzu. American Kennel Club Gazette.
- American Shih Tzu Club
- Gordon, J. (2006). History of the Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkshire Terrier Club of America.
- Adams, V. J. et al (2010). Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 51.
- Asher, L et al (2009). Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards. Veterinary Journal, 182.
- Packer, R. M. A. et al (2015). Impact of facial conformation on canine health: Corneal ulceration. PLOS ONE.