The Morkie is a mixed breed dog–a cross between the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier dog breeds. Small, energetic, and super silly, these pups inherited some of the best qualities from both their parents.
This crossbreed is usually referred to as the Morkie, but it is sometimes called the Morkshire Terrier. Despite their unfortunate status as a designer breed, you can find these mixed-breed dogs at shelters and breed-specific rescues. Remember, when you are looking for pets, adopt! Don’t shop!
These adorable dogs make excellent apartment pets for urban dwellers, and they tend to thrive in small or single-person households. Morkies can also be on the yappier side, like their parents. If you want an energetic, loving pup who will always want your attention, this might be the right dog for you.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed DogsHeight:4 to 8 inchesWeight:7 to 13 poundsLife Span:10 to 14 years
More About This Breed
- The Morkie is a mixed breed dog. They are not purebreds like their Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier parents.
- Morkie coats can vary in color, from black, brown, white, or a mix of these colors. Their coats can even change colors as they grow.
- Both of the Morkie’s parent breeds don’t shed much, and the Morkie inherited this trait. They are not, however, considered to be hypoallergenic.
- Morkies are small and can be easily injured. They’d do best in a home with adults or older children who know how to play gently.
- The Morkie is a small dog with a big dog personality. They have high energy and may be a bit stubborn when it comes to training.
- Morkies demand a lot of attention and may do best in a single-person or single-pet household. That said, they can be socialized, especially from an early age, and get along just fine with other people and pets.
The Morkie mixed dog breed may have existed naturally over the years, but designer breeders started intentionally mixing Malteses and Yorkshire Terriers in the late 1990s, likely in North America. Breeders wanted to mix the two parent breeds to create a friendly, affectionate lapdog with a low amount of shedding. They continued to create Morkies as demand for the adorable pups increased.
Even though the Morkie breed got its start as a designer breed, some have ended up in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. Consider adoption if you decide this is the breed for you.
Check your local shelters, look up Morkie rescues, or check with breed-specific Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier rescues, as they sometimes take in mixed breed dogs and find homes for them.
As the Morkie is a relatively new breed, there are few standards when it comes to size. That said, as a mix between Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier parents, you can expect Morkies to be on the small side.
Most Morkies weigh in somewhere between seven to 13 pounds and range in height from four to eight inches at the shoulder. That said, some may be larger or smaller.
Many Morkie lovers describe the breed as loving “fluffballs” who love their humans and socializing with other people and pups alike. Despite their small stature, the Morkie has a big personality with the energy levels to match.
Thanks to the Terrier in them, Morkies can be somewhat stubborn. Training may be a little tough, but with patience and persistence, a Morkie can learn to obey commands.
The Morkie is also a great watchdog. If they hear or see something amiss, they will let you know! If you want a watchdog that will let you know as soon as someone is at the door, the Morkie might be a good fit for you.
They also tend to latch on to one family member most of all, though they can get along with others in the house. Morkies may be best suited to a one-person home or smaller families, as they demand quite a bit of attention.
The Morkie breed is predisposed to some of the same conditions that the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier also face. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Some of the more common health problems Morkies suffer from include:
- Collapsed trachea
- Dental disease
- Reverse sneezing
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Morkie’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.
Morkies can be stubborn, and their energy levels are high. To prevent bored, destructive behavior, make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour walk per day, with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in. Luckily, due to their size, they don’t need an excessive amount of exercise, and too much could actually injure them.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking loudly against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
Your main concern when it comes to your Morkie’s care will be minding how fragile they can be. Yes, they are playful, energetic dogs, but they need to be cared for gently. Use a harness instead of a collar when walking them to prevent trachea collapse, and be sure that others are handling your Morkie with care.
You should brush their teeth daily, as small breeds are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
An ideal Morkie diet should be formulated for a toy to small breed with high energy. They have a tendency to gain weight if they are overfed, so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their amount of treats, as well.
As with all dogs, the Morkie’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Morkie’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Morkie coats are often a mix of their Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier parents’ coats and colors. Their coats can vary in color, from black, brown, white, or a mix of these colors. Many Morkie lovers also know that a Morkie puppy’s coat color can change over time.
Both the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier are considered non-shedding breeds, since they have hair instead of fur. They will need regular brushing to prevent matting of the hair or knots. Since they don’t shed too much, they may be a good option for allergy sufferers. However, it is important to note that they are not considered hypoallergenic.
Children And Other Pets
Since the Morkie is a small dog, they can be easily injured by overly excited children. Morkies prefer to be mostly around adults or older kids who know how to play gently. That said, for children who learn early how to properly approach and play with a small dog, the Morkie can make a great, active companion.
When it comes to other pets, Morkies can get along with other animals if they are introduced slowly and calmly, and early socialization will help this go smoothly. It’s best if they get used to other pets early. That said, Morkies can be somewhat demanding when it comes to human attention, and they may be best suited in a single-dog household.
Still, many Morkies get along just fine with other dogs and cats, so it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.
It may be hard to find a breed-specific rescue for Morkies because they are a mixed breed. However, you may want to try Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese breed-specific rescues, as they often care for mixes, as well. Here are some rescues you can try:
- Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue Inc.
- American Maltese Association Rescue