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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Carkie is a mixed or cross breed of two purebred parents, the Cairn Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier. She is a small cross with a life span of 12 to 15 years also called the Carkie Terrier or Carkie Dog. She is talented in competitive obedience, tricks and agility and is a very social and excitable little dog.
Here is the Carkie at a Glance
Average height 8 to 12 inches
Average weight 10 to 15 pounds
Coat type Soft, medium to long, straight
Hypoallergenic? Yes – both parents are
Grooming Needs Moderate to high
Shedding Low
Brushing Daily to avoid tangles
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low – can suffer from separation anxiety
Barking Rare to occasional
Tolerance to Heat Moderate to very good depending on coat
Tolerance to Cold Moderate to very good depending on coat
Good Family Pet? Very good with socialization
Good with Children? Moderate to very good, depends on socialization and which parent it is more like
Good with other Dogs? Good to very good with socialization
Good with other Pets? Good with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Average
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent due to size
Good Pet for new Owner? Very good
Trainability Moderately easy
Exercise Needs Quite active
Tendency to get Fat Moderate to average
Major Health Concerns Craniomandibular Osteopathy, Cryptorchidism, Krabbe’s disease, Hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Patellar Luxation
Other Health Concerns Reverse Sneezing
Life Span 12 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $200 to $800
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $535 to $635

Where does the Carkie come from?

The Carkie does not have much available information on where it was first bred and why though a lot of designer dogs were first bred in the US. Over the last couple of decades the increase in attention being given to these so called designer dogs has lead also to an increase in bad breeders and puppy mills also churning out dogs. There is a lot of difference between a dog from a good breeder who checks out lines and puts thought into their breeding and ones who take no care at all. It is important you avoid the latter. Here is a look at the parents of the Carkie to get a better feel for its background and how it might develop.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier comes from dogs brought by the Scottish to Yorkshire during the Industrial Revolution in England. Those dogs were larger and were thought to be ratters, catching rats and other vermin in mills and places of work. They were then crossed with other terriers leading to a small dog first seen in 1861 in a bench show. In 1870 the breed he was called a Yorkshire Terrier because that is where most of the breeding was done. In the 1870s he came to America.

The Yorkie as he is often called is a great companion, small, endearing and adventurous. There are a range of personalities, some are calm and cuddly, some are are more spirited and outgoing. Yorkies should not be spoiled though as they can have a tendency to adopt bad habits quickly and then be very difficult about training them out of them. Early socialization and training are important with him to get him used to children, other pets, and other experiences.

The Cairn Terrier

Scottish terrier breeds were originally classed as Scotch Terriers but in 1873 a new system came in to play and there were now two classes, Skye Terriers and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. Cairns were included in the Skye terrier classification. They were developed 200 years ago on the Isle of Skye by a Captain Martin MacLeod. Eventually in 1912 the Cairn-terrier had its own designation and was so named after Scottish burial sites. He came to America in 1913 and was granted membership of the AKC that same year.

Today he is a friendly lovely dog, always happy and eager to meet new people. As a terrier he is independent though and very alert. He likes to dig, chase things and he is a barker. He is a devoted family dog, good with the kids but can be sensitive and does not do well if you scold him. Early socialization and training are important to help keep him more stable.


The Carkie is an intelligent, very energetic and lively dog. She loves people being around her, giving her lots of attention, she can over excited in fact. She is alert and playful and is not happy being left alone for long periods of time. She can suffer from separation anxiety. She bonds closely with her owners and as playful as she can be she also loves to cuddle at the end of the day when it is time to relax. She does have a tricky stubborn streak though so make sure she does not get used to getting her own way all the time!

What does the Carkie look like

This is a small dog weighing 10 to 15 pounds and standing 8 to 12 inches tall. It has pointed and erect ears and some can have tails that are long and curl. Its coat is medium to long in length, straight and soft. Common colors are blonde, cream, black, brown, golden, white and chocolate.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Carkie need to be?

The Carkie is very active despite being such a small thing so it will need plenty of activity though that might not amount to too much compared to a larger active dog! She will get some play time indoors but will also need daily walks, twice a day, 15 to 20 minutes each ideally. Her size means she is fine living in an apartment or small space as long as you take her out for this. If there is a yard, that is a bonus but make sure it is properly fenced in. She likes to explore and she is fast so it may be a good idea to have her on a leash before you open the door for walk time or she may just head off! Time at a dog park where she can play and have off leash run time and socialize is also a good idea.

Does she train quickly?

She is moderately easy to train so it will be a gradual process but it will not be too prolonged or painful. She tends to listen and obey but can have a stubborn side. House breaking is easy and all training techniques should be kept to be positive, offer treats, encouragement, praise and rewards. Remember key to any success is that she knows you are the boss, not her. Be firm and consistent but be fair with her. Keep up with early socialization too. This is the best way to have a dog you can trust who is confident and happy even when new people, children or dogs are around or when in new locations.

Living with a Carkie

How much grooming is needed?

Having a coat that is medium to long in length means it will need daily brushing to keep the knots and debris out, and it will need regular trimming unless you opt to have the coat kept shorter. This means she will need trips to a professional groomer at regular intervals. It is important to only give her a bath when she needs one and to use the right shampoo. Otherwise you could end up drying out her skin and cause skin problems. There are some oatmeal conditioners and medicated shampoos that would work. Trimming will be needed around her eyes, ears and nose.

She sheds a moderate amount so there will be loose hair to clean up. She should also have her teeth brushed at least two to three times a week and her ears should be cleaned and checked for infection once a week. When her nails get too long they should be clipped, if you cannot do this, have the groomer do it for you. Be warned dog nails do have nerves and blood vessels in the lower part so care has to be taken not too low down.

What is she like with children and other animals?

How good she is with children can depend on which parent she is more like. Some are less happy around them as they are very possessive of their owner and may be jealous of the attention the kids gets. Some though are happy to play and are very affectionate with them. Make sure she is well socialized just in case. With other animals she is friendly if she is raised with them but again socialization is needed. She can be less happy around dogs of the same sex, especially not neutered males.

General information

Some are reported as quite alert and some not as much. If you really want an excellent watchdog another small dog may be a more reliable option. She barks rarely and should be fed ½ to 1 cup of a good quality dry dog food each day, split into two meals. Make sure food is measured and exercise is daily so that she does not gain weight.

Health Concerns

There are some health issues the Carkie can inherit from either parent. They include Eye problems, PSS, Craniomandibular Osteopathy, Cryptorchidism, Krabbe’s disease, Hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Patellar Luxation, Liver problems, Hypoglycemia, Collapsed Trachea and Reverse Sneezing.

Costs involved in owning a Carkie

A Carkie puppy can cost between $200 to $800 depending on where you buy and who from. Other initial costs will include medical concerns such as vaccinations, blood test, physical exam, deworming, spaying and micro chipping. This will come to about $280. Initial items needed like leash and collar, bedding, bowls, crate and carrier are going to be about $120. Annual medical needs for basics like flea prevention, shots, check ups and pet insurance come to $435 to $535. Non-medical needs like grooming, treats, toys, food, training and license come to about $535 to $635.


Looking for a Carkie Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

The Carkie is a great dog and could fit in easily to a home with most kinds of owners. She needs a certain level of attention but it is important not to over spoil her and let her think she can order you around or she can become a handful. Make sure she has a good level of training and socialization and you will have a dog you can trust and love who will adore you right back.

Featured Image Credit: Jason Brubacher, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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