The Shorkie Tzu, a Shih Tzu-Yorkshire Terrier hybrid, is an affectionate, low-maintenance crossbreed that makes an excellent little companion. And one of its greatest attributes is that Shorkie care takes very little work! Below you'll find details on how to care for a Shorkie Tzu: puppy development, exercise needs, recommended diet, and more. For answers to your questions about owning these sweet little dogs, read on!
As a toy-sized crossbreed, Shorkie Tzu puppy development typically spans 12-14 months from birth to full maturity. Physically, Shorkie puppies grow swiftly in height and length for the first 4-5 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining a bit of muscle mass and fat; a Shorkie is usually at or near its full adult size (an average of 10 inches at the shoulders in height and 12 pounds in weight) at 9-10 months of age.
Socially, Shorkie Tzu pups develop steadily: they reach adolescence at 4-5 months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity by 14 months (though some will retain their playful, puppylike behavior well into adulthood). For specific milestones in Shorkie Tzu development, see this chart:
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|2-3 Weeks||Eyes/ears open, begins walking|
|6 Weeks||Old enough to be separated from mother, housetrained, introduced to solid food|
|10 Weeks||Can begin exercising; vaccinations/de-worming needed|
|4-5 Months||Adult coat growing in; adolescent period starts, characterized by increased independence, fear, disobedience|
|8-9 Months||Sexual maturity; can be transitioned to adult food; "adult" exercise regimen can begin|
As lively and active little dogs, Shorkie Tzu exercise requirements aren't too extensive. The typical Shorkie will fulfill much of its daily activity needs just scampering around being its happy little self, so a lot of extra exercise isn't necessary.
Specifically how much exercise does a Shorkie Tzu need each day? The typical adult Shorkie, depending on its age and overall activity level, only requires about 30 minutes of proper physical activity per day--and this can be fulfilled by a couple of short walks and a period of playtime. You can start exercising your Shorkie pup at 10 weeks of age by taking it on very short (5-minute) leashed walks, then increasing the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.
A couple of things to consider when exercising your Shorkie: first, puppies younger than eight months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And all Shorkies, regardless of age, should be leashed when in public. For one thing, these little dogs are very social and curious, and may run off to find a new friend or investigate an interesting sight, sound, or smell if given the chance; meanwhile, these toy-sized hybrids can be seen as prey to large dogs and other predators. Keeping your Shorkie Tzu on a leash will help avoid these potentially dangerous situations. Finally, when walking your Shorkie, keep its small size in mind. These little dogs will have to walk faster on their short legs to keep pace with you even at a "normal" walking speed--so it might be good to slow your pace some when you take your Shorkie out for a stroll.
Precautions aside, it's good to exercise your Shorkie Tzu every single day. If bored and restless, a Shorkie will exhibit behavioral problems like disobedience, fussiness, and excessive barking--so consistent exercise will be good for the dog's peace of mind, and your own as well. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 10- to 15-minute walks per day is a good target
- Dog Park: Shorkies normally enjoy the company of other dogs
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Fetch: Can be played indoors or out
- Laser Chase: Your Shorkie will chase that "red dot" for hours
When indoors, it's good to give your Shorkie Tzu access to one or more toys or balls that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.
In terms of shedding and drooling, care required for these dogs is very low. Shorkie shedding is minimal, and drooling isn't an issue either.
Shorkies normally have silky, medium- to long-haired coats that shed very little. Just like both their Shih Tzu and Yorkie parent breeds, Shorkies are hypoallergenic, so they'll be great dogs for allergy sufferers. While these little hybrids still lose a little hair and skin dander--every dog does--the amount of shedding is very low, so owners won't have to worry about vacuuming or using lint rollers to clean up stray hairs. The trade-off is that Shorkies will need frequent brushing and other coat care to avoid tangles and mats.
And the typical Shorkie doesn't drool. If your Shorkie Tzu is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is necessary.
The Shorkie Tzu diet will need to contain animal proteins, healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. This means the best Shorkie food is premium dry kibble, as it contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.
And as you can imagine, your Shorkie won't eat too much. Adult Shorkie Tzu dogs, depending on their size, age, and activity levels, will only need about 1½ cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. Shorkie puppies will need a bit less: again depending on age, about one cup per day, divided into three meals (not two) until five months of age.
For more info on feeding a Shorkie Tzu from puppyhood through maturity, see this feeding chart:
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|2 Months||2 lbs||Dry (Puppy formula)||0.15 cups||3x/day|
|3 Months||4 lbs||Dry||0.25 cups||3x/day|
|5 Months||8 lbs||Dry||0.33 cups||3x/day|
|8 Months||10 lbs||Dry* (Puppy/Adult)||0.6 cups||2x/day|
|10 Months+||12 lbs||Dry (Adult formula)||0.75 cups||2x/day|
*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in slowly increasing amounts with each meal, for one week.
Try if possible to stick to the above-listed portions. If constantly overfed, these hybrids can quickly become overweight--and a fat Shorkie Tzu will have joint, breathing, and digestive issues and a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your Shorkie Tzu's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time.
If you're worried your Shorkie Tzu is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!
A majority of breeders and owners agree that the best dog food for Shorkies is premium dry kibble, particularly the kind made for small breeds. High-quality foods, while more expensive and difficult to find, contain balanced nutrients that will sustain your Shorkie Tzu's health in the long term. Cheap, generic foods, which contain mostly empty "filler" ingredients, are not recommended for these dogs.
Taste of the Wild and Wellness are two premium brands that have excellent lines of small-breed foods.