Have you ever seen a tiny dog and you swore she was a living, breathing teddy bear? Did you fall in love instantly? Well, chances are you saw a Morkie, an adorable designer dog breed which is a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier.
Known for her affection and devotion, this toy breed has a little body but a big personality! The Maltese Yorkie mix hybrid breed originated in the United States and has gained popularity over the past 20 years.
Her popularity is not surprising, she is no doubt one of the most adoring and devoted small breed dogs around. She is the perfect companion for anyone looking for a tiny shadow to follow them around, nap in their lap and idolize them!
Designer dogs are the result of breeding two different purebred dogs. In the case of the Morkie, her parents are a purebred Maltese and a purebred Yorkshire Terrier. “Designer” dog implies “by design” and that is certainly the case for the little Morkie. She was produced deliberately by breeders who wanted to create the ideal lap dog.
There are many benefits to designer dogs including health improvements and nearly endless variations of adorable and unique breeds! Knowing what to expect from a designer dog requires looking into the characteristics of her parent breeds, which have been bred for generations to have a predictable appearance and temperament. So, let’s learn a little bit more about Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers to give us a better understanding of the Morkie!
Maltese are described by the American Kennel Club as “gentle, playful, and charming.” She is classified within the “toy group” of dogs by the AKC and usual weighs under 7 pounds and stands between 7-9 inches in height.
Her origins begin in the Mediterranean, with many believing her breed name derives from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. Her general life expectancy is between 12-15 years. She is characterized as an affectionate breed with a long, white coat.
The Yorkshire Terrier, nicknamed Yorkie, emerged during the 1800s in Yorkshire, England and has been a popular companion dog ever since. The American Kennel Club describes her as “affectionate, sprightly, and tomboyish.” She has a black, tan and grey coat and weighs around 7 pounds.
She, too, is classified in the “toy group” of dogs by the AKC and has a life expectancy of 11-15 years. Generally known as intelligent, brave and at times domineering, this tiny pup can be bold and thrives with an owner who can establish themselves as her leader. This breed even comes in a size even smaller than the toy, often referred to as the teacup yorkie.
The Morkie is a fun loving pup that’s devoted and loyal. It’s a mixed breed pup that is sweet, gentle and full of life. This sweet little pup is a great dog for families that have kids, and multi-pet households. It’s a delicate breed due to their size, but they have big personalities to boot. Let’s look at all the elements that make up this wonderful little mixed breed pup.
As is standard with mixed breeds, appearance can vary widely, and the Morkie is no different. Some Morkies favor their Yorkshire genes and others have a stronger resemblance to a Maltese. She can have bent ears like a Maltese or pointed ears like a Yorkie.
A popular grooming style for this breed gives her face a rounded appearance and she often has dark eyes. Her jaw, muzzle, and bone structure are very fine, making her a very delicate breed that can easily be injured!
A Morkie is not afraid to stand her ground and without proper leadership, she can become quite stubborn. This trait does not always make her the best listener. However, she tends to have a happy and outgoing disposition and gets along well with other animals. She is spunky and playful while also forming strong attachments to her owners.
Morkies, similar to many small breeds, have no idea how tiny and fragile they are. Most are brazen, full of confidence, and sometimes downright fearless. It is often endearing to see a tiny but mighty pup and most of the time we chuckle at her lack of awareness. However, any Morkie owner should be aware of this brashness and be sure their dog doesn’t find herself in trouble with a much larger opponent.
When she’s home with her people, a Morkie’s favorite place is anywhere her owner is, whether that’s snoozing on their lap or following them from room to room. She is extremely affectionate, which some may perceive as needy. The Morkie is the definition of “companion dog” and she usually demands consistent attention. She is also a vigilant watchdog and can be overly reactive to sounds. Her breed is known as being quite vocal so you can expect some barking.
Puppies and Costs
Morkie litters are small, usually producing only two to five puppies. She is not known to be an inexpensive breed. A well-bred Morkie can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a staggering 3,000 dollars. Factors like breeder experience, breeder location, parent lineage, unique colorings, and size can all increase the price of a Morkie pup.
Puppies’ whose Maltese parent was bred with a “teacup” Yorkie fall on the higher end of that price range because their size is much smaller than the breed standard. Although exceedingly adorable, these extra tiny dogs generally come with higher health risks and there are ethical concerns surrounding the breeding of teacup-sized dogs. As always, adoption is a great option for anyone looking for a Morkie and can’t afford the hefty breeder price tag.
As mentioned above, a Morkie can be difficult to train because she is typically strong-willed, a trait she inherited from her Yorkshire Terrier side. It can require dedication and patience to overcome this stubbornness while training. Don’t let a Morkie’s small stature fool you into submitting to her every whim. She requires training and discipline from someone she respects as her leader, just like any other dog. Tempting as it may be, over-indulging her can result in a mal-mannered pup.
She is very clever and quickly picks up training exercises successfully. Her high intelligence allows her to learn many commands and cute tricks! However, Maltese are notoriously difficult to housebreak, which means a Morkie could be as well.
Morkies bond intensely with their families. It is important to socialize her as young as possible so she learns to accept other people and dogs outside of her family. Without proper socialization, she can become suspicious of both human and canine strangers and her proclivity to bark will increase.
Always use positive reinforcement even if she is showcasing her uncooperative side. Avoid losing your temper with a Morkie. She tends to become sulky and disobedient if treated harshly. Positive reinforcement, however, is proven to work with consistency even on the most difficult of dogs. It strengthens your bond and allows you to develop a relationship with your Morkie based on trust and respect.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Largely in thanks to her size, Morkies are extremely adaptable and do well in homes and apartments of all sizes. She does not require much room to roam as she’s generally happiest snuggled up next to her owner. If you live in a small apartment but want a dog, a Morkie could be a great solution!
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a pup to get you moving, the Morkie may not be your best bet. Her tiny legs can’t handle long distances and she generally does not care for prolonged physical activity. That’s not to say exercise isn’t important. Short walks between 5-30 minutes are key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing her risk of obesity, both common health concerns for this breed. However, if you try to push her exercise any longer than that window of time, you may find yourself carrying her home.
Although she may not be your next hiking buddy, she is a very playful hybrid and enjoys games around the house, which is another fun and engaging way to keep her active. If you’re experiencing any behavior problems with a Morkie, chances are she might have excess energy pent up. Many naughty behaviors can be dramatically reduced with proper exercise and stimulation.
This tiny breed usually caps at about 8 pounds. Some can be smaller if bred with “teacup” Yorkies, while others can grow larger if they are overfed. A healthy Morkie typically weighs between 4–15 pounds and stands 6–11 inches tall.
Her tiny stature makes her extremely vulnerable. She can be harmed just by being accidentally sat on, stepped on or even rolled over onto while you’re sleeping. Exercising caution with this miniature breed and always handling her with care is important in preventing accidental injury.
Thanks to the longevity of her Yorkshire Terrier genes, a Morkie’s life expectancy is approximately 10-16 years. Luckily for any potential Morkie owners, this is on the higher end of life expectancy for dogs. Although they tend to live longer, small dogs are also at a greater risk for many health concerns. “Common health problems for the Morkie are mainly seen in the eye, ear, or oral region.”
Designer dogs have a tendency to be healthier than their purebred parents, however, they are still susceptible to their parent breed’s inherited medical conditions. To know what to look out for in a Morkie, it’s important to understand common health concerns for both Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers.
Because both the Maltese and the Yorkie are similar in size and stature, they share a predisposition for many similar health conditions. This, unfortunately, makes their Morkie offspring more vulnerable to her parents’ shared health concerns. These include tracheal collapse, cataracts, medial patellar luxation, hydrocephalus, and dental disease.
Furthermore, miniaturized Morkies, usually the offspring of a “teacup” Yorkshire Terrier, are at a greater risk for the conditions listed above. A teacup Yorkie is much smaller than breed standard and is generally inflicted with many health problems due to their unnaturally small size and the irresponsible breeding practices used in attempts to produce the tiniest dog possible. Because of this, it is not encouraged to purchase a teacup or miniaturized dog bred in the aim of being smaller than is customary for their breed.
Morkies may be tiny, but they have big personalities and an even bigger appetite. While some dogs can self monitor their weight and don’t overeat, a Morkie eats what she is given and, if allowed, she will eat all the time. Because of this, feeding her a proper, balanced diet is essential to maintain a healthy weight as she can easily become obese if not carefully monitored.
This breed should not be fed table scraps. Not only does this practice reinforce her tendency to overindulge, but you run the risk of accidentally feeding her foods that are toxic. With a stomach so small, even a small amount of toxic food could prove fatal for a Morkie. Make sure you know the common foods that are toxic to dogs and diligently keep them out of her reach.
Coat & Colors
Common coat colors for a Morkie are black, brown, tan, orange and white. Any combinations of these colors are viable, which leaves a wide range of possibilities for what her coat color may be. Her coat is usually long, wavy and soft, giving her that distinctive “teddy bear”-like appearance she’s become known for.
Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese have hair instead of fur, making them low-shedders. The Morkie is no different. Her coat is very fine with minimal shedding. Some claim this breed is hypoallergenic. While she is certainly a better option for someone with a mild allergy, she still exhibits light shedding and therefore cannot be classified as completely hypoallergenic.
Morkies have medium-level grooming requirements. She is not considered to be a low maintenance breed, due to daily brushing and regular grooming requirements. She must be brushed every day to prevent her fine hair from matting and a haircut is recommended every 6 to 10 weeks.
Her teeth should be brushed a few times a week, if possible, as dental hygiene is extremely important for this breed’s health. This routine can begin when a Morkie is just a few weeks old in order to mitigate any fear or anxiety around the activity. You should pay attention to the areas around her eyes, discharge and debris can settle in this area and must be kept clean.
As Family Pets
So you couldn’t stop thinking about that cute little teddy bear you saw out walking? You’ve made it this far and are still thinking this adorable, little dog might just what your family needs. Is a Morkie right for you? The research is in. Let’s recapitulate:
- The Morkie is a loyal and loving breed who strives to be your constant companion.
- She is very small and can easily be injured.
- Because she is so delicate, she is not suited for homes with small children.
- She gets along well with other animals and can be a great addition to a home that already has pets.
- She does not require much room and does well in homes of all sizes.
- Because of her small size, she’s great for apartment dwellers!
- Morkies can be needy and require lots of attention.
- She would not do well in a home where she is left for long periods of time.
- This breed can suffer from separation anxiety.
- She is very portable due to her small size.
- She can easily accompany you wherever you need to go, including an airplane.
- Thanks to the minimal shedding of her fine coat, this breed is fine for people with mild allergies.
If she sounds like a fit for your family, next you’ll want to research a reputable breeder or adoption organization to find your Morkie!
Finding a Morkie
Many designer dog breeders are a simple internet search away. Do your research prior to reaching out. It’s very important that you find a reputable, trusted breeder that operates ethically and in the best interest of their dogs. Avoid breeders who claim their puppies are “teacup” size or boast about how their pups are smaller than is standard.
To ensure you’re buying from a legitimate breeder, it is encouraged to read their reviews, request health certificates, meet the puppies in person, and ask to see the parent dogs. An honest breeder should never object to these requests. Do not purchase from puppy mills or puppy farms. These facilities are not only inhumane but the dogs they breed are often unhealthy.
Visit your local shelters or use local online rescue sites. Many people purchase toy breeds like Morkies because they are “cute” and see them as a charming accessory, but do not want the responsibility actually caring for an animal. Because of this, many older Morkies find themselves in shelters. This is a devastating and traumatizing experience for a breed that relies so heavily on human companionship.
Rescuing a dog is an extremely rewarding experience for both dog and adopter – changing both your lives for the better. Please consider adoption!
The Morkie is quite possibly the perfect lap dog which makes her one of the most popular small dogs around. She is adorable, spunky, friendly and intelligent. She is brimming with love and devotion that she can’t wait to shower you with. If you’re looking for a tiny companion to absolutely adore you- look no further than the Morkie!