A Designer Dog Cross Between a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier, An Affectionate, Extroverted, Hypoallergenic Lapdog
The Morkie is a designer dog, the hybrid result of crossing two purebred dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese. As with all hybrids, the goal of crossbreeding is to retain the positive physical and personality characteristics of the parent breeds, while simultaneously attempting to eliminate any undesirable traits. Despite the wide range of differences in appearance and other traits typical of all designer dogs, the Morkie is the quintessential cute puppy and the perfect lap dog.
The Maltese dog breed has been around for almost 3000 years, honored by their own tombs built in Greece. In the first century, Malta's governor had immortalized his dog with poetry. The Maltese was first shown in 1877 at the Westminster Kennel Club show, and later registered by the American Kennel Club in 1888.
The Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie has a more recent history, and is specifically bred from a variety of British dogs such as the black and tan English Terrier and the Waterside Terrier. The breed was brought to England's Yorkshire in the 1800s, with the first exhibition of this dog in 1861. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Yorkie in 1885, and both the Yorkie and Maltese are considered toy breeds. It is from these two breeds that the Morkie emerges.
With silky long coats and varied coloring, the Morkie is a perfect mix of the Yorkie and Maltese. (Maltese dogs are usually white with no undercoat, sometimes with tan or yellow shading on the ears, while Yorkies have tan and blue coloring, but silky coats similar to the Maltese). Usually, the Morkie has the blue and tan coloring of the Yorkshire, but not always. Coat coloring can also include brown, white and apricot. Morkie puppies are tiny, usually only reaching 3 to 10 pounds in adulthood, which qualifies them as the perfect little "lap" dogs.
Temperament & Personality
Both the Yorkshire and the Maltese have bold, friendly, attention-seeking personalities, so it's no surprise that the Morkie is also an extrovert. Morkie puppies are extremely devoted pets, and are usually very good watchdogs, alerting the family to potential dangers. Excitable, happy, and even fearless, they love to meet both people and other dogs – which could be a problem if your little pet runs up to an unfamiliar and possibly cantankerous dog to try to become its friend.
Although your little one is both obedient and very intelligent, the dog may be difficult to housebreak. Patience and persistence is key, as these engaging but delicate little pets don't react well to strict discipline, but can respond positively to firm, gentle and consistent commands. Consistency is crucial!
Although the Morkie is a sturdy little dog, because of its tiny size, very small children could inadvertently hurt this vulnerable pet, possibly quite seriously. Therefore, it's best to adopt a Morkie only if there are older children and adults in the household who understand the importance of gentle handling.
However, Morkies are excellent pets for older children (age 10 or more) and seem to easily develop special bonds with them. With lots of energy and loads of personality, this dog can play for hours with a child offering undivided attention. In fact, this is heaven for the Morkie!
Morkies are also wonderful pets for single people who have plenty of time to devote to this affectionate little dog, and for older people who may not have the physicality to keep up with a larger, more athletic animal.
Even though you will be tempted to carry your little pet everywhere, like most dogs, Morkies need to walk for exercise. Your Morkie will be happiest if you take it on a regular walk every day, and also provide some vigorous play with a ball or other fun toy in addition.
Some Considerations On Morkies
Above all, your dog is going to want to be a lapdog and to be your "baby." This is endearing, to be sure, but be careful not to inflict your adorable and precious little pet with "Small Dog Syndrome." If you spoil your dog by allowing it to misbehave, the dog can become a holy terror. They can become snappy, ill-tempered, and extremely unhappy. And despite their small size, they can be dangerous to small children especially because of their tendency to bite if they feel threatened in any way – which is quite frequent with Small Dog Syndrome. Instead, make sure your dog knows that you are its master, and that your rules prevail.
Morkies are very healthy and sturdy for their size, and can live 12 to 15 years or even longer, as long as you provide a proper diet and exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian. Pay special attention to your Morkie's teeth, as they will generally need to be cleaned professionally every six months or so.
Morkies can be prone to skin problems, which is why it's necessary to give your dog a bath with a mild shampoo specifically formulated for dogs about once a month or so. (Don't bathe more often than this, as your dog's delicate skin could become dry and irritated.)
In addition, Morkies are a good choice for people with allergies, as the perfect hypoallergenic dog. While they don’t shed, they will need regular trims and frequent brushing. Some pet owners prefer to have their dogs' coats closely clipped every few months, instead of maintaining long hair that will need to be carefully brushed on a daily basis to avoid tangles.