Shorkies might be one of the smaller designer crossbreeds, but their big personality offers the perfect counterbalance to their diminutive stature. While more common in the US, it is slowly growing in popularity around the world due to their ability to adapt to different households. The breeds that make up the Shorkie are the Shih Tzu and the Yorkshire Terrier.

The Shorkie can be a first cross (with one Shih Tzu and one Yorkshire Terrier parent), be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Shorkies bred together. This means there are varieties in size, shape, colours and coat types, but in all cases, this is a very small companion dog.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Height: The usual height of a Shorkie is between 20-28cms and it depends on the size of the parents.
Shih Tzu - not exceeding 27cms
Yorkshire Terrier - 18-20cms
Colours: The usual colours of a Shorkie can be any mixtures of their parents’ colours, with or without white markings.
Shih Tzu: All colours permissible apart from merle. White blaze on forehead and white tip highly desirable in particolours.
Yorkshire Terrier: Steel blue and tan
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility (Shih Tzu) and Toy (Yorkshire Terrier)


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 2/5


Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Shorkie depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared. But both parents are affectionate dogs who bond closely to their owners.

The Shih Tzu is an extraverted, confident, affectionate dog who can be quite independent and aloof with strangers. Although quite intelligent, sometimes they can give the impression that training is optional for Shih Tzu dogs!

The Yorkshire Terrier is intelligent, lively and affectionate with their owner, but has no idea that they are a small dog! They are fearless, tenacious and protective - both of their home and their people. They will enjoy games and are constantly on the go and will want to be a part of everything their owner does.

The Shorkie is a small companion dog who inherits the love of life from the parents. But depending on how the breeds mix in each individual, they can turn out to be more or less independent.

The personality of a Shorkie seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Shih Tzu or the terrier personalities) or be bred to another Shorkie - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Shorkie should be outgoing and confident, not nervous, shy or fearful.

History and Origins

Like many of the designer crossbreeds, the Shorkie originated in the United States in a quest to find a small companion dog that didn’t shed and that would fit into any family’s lifestyle, no matter how small their home and garden.

To understand more about the origin of the breed we need to look at the two breeds that go into the formation of the Shorkie.

Shih Tzu

Country of Origin: China

The Shih Tzu we know and love today is itself an ancient crossbreed having been created within the walls of the Forbidden City in the 17th century from crossing the Lhasa Apso from the monasteries of Tibet with an early form of the Pekinese.

The resulting dogs, called Lhasa Lion Dogs, remained hidden away from the eyes of the West until the 20th century when the Peking Kennel Club was formed and the Lhasa Lion Dogs were shown for the first time alongside the Lhasa Apso.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that these dogs found their way to England. The types that had the rounder skull and short muzzle became known as the Shih Tzu and a breed in their own right.

Yorkshire Terrier

Country of Origin: England and Scotland

It is believed that Scottish weavers brought a small terrier with them during a period of immigration from Scotland to Yorkshire and Lancashire during the 1850s. These 'Broken-Haired Scotch Terriers,' interbred with local small terriers to provide a working dog who quickly become popular as a very effective factory and mining vermin-killer, and that was of a small enough size that could be carried in their owner’s pocket.

Further breeds were used to perfect this Northern ratter including possibly the Manchester Terrier, the Maltese, the Skye Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont terrier, and the now extinct Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers. Shown as the Scotch Terrier in 1861, the dog later became known as the Yorkshire Terrier and was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1886.

While the breed was a working ratter, the Yorkshire Terrier soon became popular with wealthy ladies as a companion and this popularity lead to selective breeding to make them even smaller. Interestingly while the dog got smaller, their coat length stayed virtually the same - hence the long coats that can still be seen on show dogs.

The Shorkie can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Shorkies

Training the Shorkie

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