Energetic, loving and playful, the Morkie combines the characteristics of both the Maltese and the Yorkshire terrier.
Often resembling small teddy bears, Morkie puppies are adorable and grow into highly affectionate little balls of fluff.
Toy-sized, round teddy-bear face, long, silky hair
Exercise Requirements: 30 minutes/day
Energy Level: High
Longevity Range: 10-16 years
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: High
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: High
Characteristics: Soft and smooth, single-coated, non-shedding
Colors: White, tan, black; may be solid or patterned
Overall Grooming Needs: High
AKC Classification: Not recognized
UKC Classification: Not recognized
American Canine Hybrid Club: Morkie
International Designer Canine Registry: Morkie
Highly affectionate and sociable, Morkies are a great choice for singles, older couples and seniors, and with early socialization of Morkie puppies, they can be trained into an excellent family pet.
As a "designer breed," Morkies are actually mixed-breed dogs, the result of crossing a Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie, with a Maltese. As a result, Morkies, also sometimes referred to as Malkies, Yorktese or Morkshire terriers, possess the abundant energy and spunk of a typical terrier breed, tempered by the highly affectionate and sweet nature of the Maltese.
As a cross-breed, there is no breed standard for these dogs. Even within the same litter, Morkie puppies might vary in appearance, each bearing a stronger resemblance to one parent breed than the other. With both parent breeds belonging to the toy group, Morkies tend to be tiny, weighing between four and eight pounds and standing no taller than six inches at the withers, says PetGuide.
Despite both Yorkies and Maltese having coats that are considered hypoallergenic, Morkies are not classified as such and shouldn't be relied on to be allergy-safe. Nevertheless, their coats consist of smooth hair instead of fur and typically don't shed. Morkies may be solid white, like the Maltese, or black and tan like the Yorkie, but they can also come in any combination of those colors and a surprising array of patterns. As with both parent breeds, the coat will continue to grow if not clipped.
Morkies possess big personalities tied up in tiny packages. As happy and playful as they are sweet and affectionate, they might look like cuddly little toys, but don't let their size or fluffiness fool you. Their terrier heritage gives Morkies a lot of energy and fearless spunk. They love to run and play, and they're always up for a game of fetch or chase. But despite their energy, they're also content to cuddle and curl up in your lap.
The terrier in Morkies also gives them a stubborn streak that can make them a handful, especially for inexperienced dog parents, says Dogtime. Morkie puppies who receive early socialization and obedience training generally grow up to be calmer, more obedient and more likely to get along well with other pets. Otherwise, Morkies might do better as only pets. They always need a firm but patient leader to keep them from running the show.
While Morkies love to play with older children and can get along well with everyone in the household, they tend to form strong attachments to a "favorite" family member, which makes them great dogs for singles and couples. Because of their small size, Morkies are more fragile than they realize, and as such, they aren't usually a good fit for families with small children. For safety's sake, these tiny dogs should never be allowed to play with very young children or larger dogs without very close supervision.
It's also important to train Morkies from an early age to tolerate being left alone. These are highly social dogs who hate to be on their own and can be prone to developing separation anxiety. Through a combination of training, plenty of exercise and toys to provide distraction and mental stimulation, Morkies can adapt to being left for a few hours at a time. Even so, they do best in households where at least one family member is home the majority of the time.
Their small size makes them well-suited for apartment living, although they do tend to be "yappy" dogs who bark a lot. While they're great watch dogs who will let you know when something in their environment isn't right, your neighbors might not appreciate their enthusiastic barking, especially if you have thin walls.
Morkies need at least half an hour of exercise a day to burn off excess energy, prevent boredom and help them stay calm. This can be accomplished with two or three 10 to 15-minute walks each day, plus some vigorous play time mixed in. Due to their small size, exercise sessions should be kept short in order to prevent injury. As much as Morkies love to run, their short legs make them unsuitable jogging partners.
As with most small breeds, Morkies are prone to gaining weight if they're overfed, and they're also prone to dental problems. It's generally best to feed them high-quality dry food made for small breeds with high energy levels, and to keep treats to a minimum. Regular dental checkups and daily tooth brushing will also help preserve their teeth well into their senior years.
Like both of their parent breeds, the Morkie's coat grows continuously and requires daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. While some pet parents will allow the coat to grow long, it's more commonly kept in a puppy clip, which requires monthly trips to the groomer for maintenance. It's also important to keep your Morkie's nails trimmed and to clean their ears regularly to prevent infections.
The most important thing to remember about Morkies is how fragile they are. Tread carefully to avoid stepping on them when they're underfoot, and be sure to check chairs, sofa cushions and underneath blankets before sitting down. On walks, use a harness in place of a collar to prevent the delicate trachea from getting crushed.
While some designer breeds can be traced to a particular breeder's decision to cross a pair of dogs from different breeds, that's not the case with Morkies. It's likely that Maltese-Yorkie mixes occurred unintentionally before their popularity caught on, but it wasn't until sometime in the 1990s when designer dogs became trendy that breeders began intentionally breeding Morkies. With their low-shed coats, adorable appearance and sweet and spunky nature, the demand for Morkies quickly grew. As mixed breed dogs, Morkies are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but may be registered with clubs devoted to designer breeds such as the American Canine Hybrid Club and the International Designer Canine Registry.