Is a Sorkie a Good Breed For You?

by Janice Jones     |Last updated 01-06-2024

A Shorkie is what you get when you cross a Shih Tzu parent and a Yorkshire terrier parent. 

Other names for the same dog include Shorkie-Tzu or a Yorkie Tzu. Sometimes you will just see the name, Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix. Breeders will either cross two pure bred dogs or will dilute the mix by crossing a purebred to a mixed breed. 

Unless you are familiar with the parent dogs, you will not know if your little designer dog is a first generation mix or some other combination. 

Yorkshire Terrier FatherYorkshire Terrier
A Shorkie or Shorkie Tzu is a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier
Shih Tzu MamaShih Tzu

Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix Puppies are often referred to as designer dogs, hybrids, or mixed breeds. Designer dogs are really mixed breed dogs that are a mix of two specific breeds. 

This can often be confusing because most designer dogs have been named, so it infers that it is a purebred dog when it is not. 

Some people will go so far as to say they are creating a new breed when they mix two purebred dogs.  The creation of a breed takes years to accomplish with many dogs being bred in the process.

Shorkie Puppy at 2 weeks old.Shorkie

This Shorkie-Tzu has a Gold-White Shih Tzu Mother and a Blue and Tan Yorkshire Terrier Dad. 

Her colors resemble neither the mother or the father.

Designer dogs do not have a breed standard  so you must rely on the standards published by the American Kennel Club or other registries for the parents.

Puppies in a hybrid litter, resulting from the combination of two breeds will all be different, some taking on the physical and temperamental characteristics of one parent,  others will show more resemblance of the other parent, and some will possess characteristics equally of both parents.

  • Good With Children:  Yes (with guidance)
  • Good in Apartments: Yes
  • Good Family Dog:  Yes
  • Exercise Requirements:  Minimal
  • Shedding:  No
  • Barking:  Low to moderate

The best way to predict what the puppies will be like as they get older is to look to the parents – their physical traits such as the appearance, size, and structure as well as their personality traits. 

The Shih Tzu is a small sturdy dog ranging in size from 9 to 16 pounds according to the standard and the Yorkshire terrier is a small framed dog between 4 and 7 pounds. 

Naturally, if the parents do not fall within the standard, their offspring will vary.  Most of Yorkie Tzu weight between 6 to 12 pounds.

Appearance of the Shorkie

Two Shorkie Puppies from the same LitterTwo Shorkie Sisters

Both breeds have long silky coats.  The Shih Tzu sometimes has a small wave, but is mostly straight and consists of a dense outer coat and a soft cottony inner coat. 

The Yorkie has a single coat that is silky and very straight.  The mix can have characteristics of either or both parents. 

Neither dog sheds, so this might be a good choice for those who do not like hair all over the furniture.  Either way, the upkeep of the Shorkie coat can require some time and effort. 

Most people who own these hybrids keep their coats clipped short in what is called a puppy cut.  Puppy cuts are meant to resemble the haircut style of a puppy – short all over and much easier to manage.

The Shorkie-Tzu can come in a variety of colors.  Some resemble a Yorkshire terrier, even to the markings around the face and head.  Others resemble colors seen in the Shih Tzu breed. 

Since Shih Tzu dogs come in a wide range of colors including white, gold, red, and silver, black, brown and any combination therein, it is possible for Shorkie pups to be quite colorful. 

Personality/Temperament

Shorkie PuppyEight Week Old Shorkie Puppy

Both breeds are very loyal, playful, loving, and affectionate. 

Shih Tzu has been bred for centuries to be companion dogs and that is what they do best.

Yorkies are now companion dogs, but were originally bred to be ratters so they can become interested in small creatures that cross their path. 

This prey tendency is less pronounced in the Yorkie as compared to most of the dogs in the sporting group, but still present. 

Both breeds are gentle and prefer to be close to their people.  They are intelligent and can be trained. 

Housebreaking is sometimes a problem, but usually can be overcome with proper training.

Most Shih Tzu – Yorkie hybrids need about the same amount of exercise as their Shih Tzu--Yorkie parents, which in other words is not much at all.  Their exercise needs can be met easily as they follow you around the house. 

Most enjoy a quick run outdoors and a short daily walk.  Some will get burst of energy and run wildly for a minute indoors. 

Most shorkie-tzus do not have the severe short nose of the Shih Tzu, so they are normally not considered to be brachycephalic dogs.  They are more tolerant of exercise that some Shih Tzu so this may be a plus for an active family on the go.

Shih Tzu dogs are generally less yappy than most other toy breed dogs.  They bark to alert you when someone is at the door, so they do make a good watch dog.  Yorkies are a little more vocal, so the shorkie can take on the characteristics of either parent. 

Grooming

To keep Yorkie-Tzus looking good, they will need daily brushing and combing to keep their coats mat free.  If that is not possible, a good brushing every other day usually works along with a bath ever couple of weeks. 

Most people like to wipe their dog’s face daily to keep tear stains and debris away from the eyes and mouth. 

To keep the Yorkie Tzu looking his best in a puppy clip, a trip to the groomers is in order about every 6 to 8 weeks. 

Nails can be clipped at this time, hair removed from foot pads, anal glands expressed and ears cleaned. 

Health Concerns

There is a myth circulating that suggests that hybrid or designer dogs are healthier than their purebred parents. 

It is true that two completely unrelated dogs that mate have some advantage over dogs that are closely related.  The health of the parents is a big factor in assessing whether the offspring will inherit any genetically transmitted diseases.  Both breeds are susceptible to disease just as all breeds are.

Naturally infectious diseases such as Parvo or Distemper are not breed-specific as is any preventable problems such as fleas, ticks or intestinal worms.

Some of the concerns that affect Shih Tzu dogs include eye diseases, skeletal problems such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, renal dysplasia, a disorder of the kidneys and allergies.   

Yorkies suffer from some of the same problems but also have issues with hypoglycemia, dental problems, and Legg-Perthes Disease. Both also have been known to suffer from heart disease and underactive thyroid.

But basically, they are both healthy breeds and have a life expectancy of up to 15 years. 

Registries for Designer Dogs

Since designer or hybrid dogs are not purebred, they cannot be registered by an organization such as the American Kennel Club. 

Owners of these designer dogs do have the option to register with:

International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)

More Hybrid Tales to Check Out

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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