Dog lovers who enjoy a good "what do you get when you cross..." riddle appreciate the numerous hybrids created by crossing one breed with another. Shorkies are a combination of Yorkshire terriers and Shih Tzus. Although not recognized by the American Kennel Club, they are acknowledged by the American Canine Hybrid Club. Because they haven't been around as long as the two breeds from which they come, there isn't standard. Knowing facts about the breeds from which they come can help paint a picture of the shorkie.
Weight and Size
A standard Yorkshire terrier usually weighs no more than 7 pounds, but a Shih Tzu is considered small at 9 pounds. Because they're a designer cross and not an official breed, there is no real standard for a shorkie's size, but the Shorkie Club of America lists the typical weights from 4 to 12 pounds. As for size, both breeds are both from the toy group, so even the largest of shorkies are small dogs, but the average size is between 5 and 9 inches tall at the shoulder, according to the SCA.
Shorkie Coat Length
Because shorkies come from two different long-haired breeds, they themselves have long, silky hair if it's allowed to grow out. The AKC points out that Shih Tzus and Yorkies require daily brushing to avoid matting and tangling. Just as Yorkie and Shih Tzu parents often prefer, shorkie parents can opt for a monthly visit to the groomer for any shorter cut that requires less daily maintenance, such as the puppy cut recommended by the SCA.
Colors Sported by Shorkies
Yorkshire terriers are typically tan and black, although blue is one variation that is accepted. Shih Tzus bring a whole rainbow of color to the party, though, with all colors from cream to red to black to white. That means you'll find shorkies in a variety of color combinations though sometimes the designer pooches will be one solid color.
No Standard Shorkie Personality
In general, shorkies are loving, lively and friendly. However, the two breeds they come from differ a bit in the temperament department. That means you could get a shorkie that is as energetic and tenacious as her Yorkshire terrier ancestors, or one that favors the Shih Tzu side of the family, displaying more of a sweet and playful nature. With no standard for these hybrid pooches, it's important to understand that you never know what you're going to get until you see it.
Based on your shorkie's heritage, she shouldn't require more than minimal exercise. Her small stature makes her the ideal dog for almost any size of home, but she'll enjoy traveling with you, too. Just as they can inherit all of the elements you love about Yorkshire terriers and Shih Tzus, shorkies can display some of the common genetic problems. In her book "Mixed Breeds for Dummies" Miriam Fields-Babineau points out that Yorkies are prone to abnormal skull shape, dental issues and congenital liver disease. From the Shih Tzu side, a shorkie can inherit respiratory problems, especially if she gets the short Shih Tzu nose. Also, watch out for spinal disc disease, as that is a genetic defect that Shih Tzus and Yorkies share.
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.