The Borkie is a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Beagle. These are both smaller dogs, but they were bred for different purposes. Because this is a mixed breed, they come in many different shapes and sizes. You never quite know what genes a dog is going to inherit. They make look and act exactly like a Beagle, but they will likely be somewhere in between.
12 – 15 inches
20 – 25 pounds
12 – 15 years
Pied, Black, Brown, Gray
Families wanting small-to-medium dogs
Laid-back, Stubborn, Friendly
The Yorkie and Beagle may look like entirely different dogs, but they have more in common than you might think. They were both bred to hunt. However, because they were bred to hunt different things, they have radically different personalities. This can lead to some pretty radical personality differences depending on what traits the puppy inherits.
While we can’t completely predict what a Borkie will act like due to all the different traits these dogs can inherit, we can make some general predictions. In this article, we’ll do just that.
It is difficult to find breeders that specialize in this mixed breed. It is not extremely popular and hasn’t been advertised by the media, which means that very few people actually know about it. It isn’t very profitable for breeders to specialize in this breed, so most don’t.
Many of these puppies are either sold directly by the owners or end up in shelters. Therefore, your best bet is to stalk your local sales network for these puppies and keep an eye out at your local shelter. While the odds of finding this specific mixed breed are quite low, you may get lucky. When you do welcome a Borkie into your home, you can expect to have a friendly but laid-back pet that is great for families.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Borkie
While these dogs come from a long line of hunting canines, they often make very good family dogs. They can be great with children if they are a bit on the larger side. Those that are smaller can easily feel threatened by children, which can make them fearful and cause aggression. Larger dogs are typically more patient and solidly built, so they are able to handle children easier.
They can be quite playful when they are younger, but this can disappear quickly when they age. Some dogs may remain quite active well into adulthood, while others will spend most of the day sleeping. This mostly depends on what parent they take after.
They are fairly intelligent, though that doesn’t really make them trainable. They tend to be quite stubborn, which can lead to many problems when it comes time for training. They may be perfectly capable of learning the command, but that doesn’t mean that they will listen to it when the time comes.
Borkies bond extensively when their owners and are friendly with just about everyone. They aren’t obsessed with people in most cases, but will happily great visitors and strangers alike. They do not make good guard dogs for this reason. They’re far more likely to greet someone happily at the door than feel threatened. These dogs do have a unique bark. It is usually deep like a Beagle but a little bit yappy like a Yorkie.
These dogs don’t do best when left alone for longer periods. They can have separation anxiety if not raised or trained properly. They are extremely people-oriented, so they do best when someone will be home most of the time. They will likely need special training with puppies to tolerate longer stretches of alone time.
Overall, these dogs tend to be even-tempered and laid-back. They are extremely easygoing pets that don’t cause much trouble.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
The Borkie is a great dog for most families. They get along well with children, especially if they are on the larger side. Smaller dogs are more likely to be harmed by children, which can lead to aggression and fear. However, it can be difficult to know how big a puppy will grow to be, so it may not be possible to choose a larger dog for your home.
Of course, socialization is still important. If not introduced to children at a young age, these dogs can be fearful and unsure of how to act around children. We highly recommend introducing them to children early, even if you aren’t necessarily planning on having them around children much. This will ensure that they are somewhat used to interacting with kids.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
As pack dogs, these canines usually get along with other dogs quite well. They still require socialization. You can’t leave a puppy at home by their selves for months and then expect them to know how to interact with other dogs. Regular socialization is essential, especially when they are puppies. With that said, these dogs typically get along with other canines just fine. In fact, many do better if there is another dog in the house, as they are less likely to become lonely while their people are away.
However, when it comes to other pets, they typically don’t get along very well. These dogs have an extremely high prey drive, which means that they often will chase anything they see as prey. This includes cats, rabbits, and other small pets. Chickens are typically fair game as well. Socialization can do a little to curb these instincts, but it typically isn’t enough to trust the dogs with cats for an extended period of time.
They should always be supervised when with other animals, simply because you don’t know when their hunting instincts will kick in. They can get along perfectly fine with a cat and then suddenly try to eat it the next day. Of course, the dog isn’t being vicious or aggressive. They’re simply doing what they were trained to do.
Things to Know When Owning a Borkie
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
These dogs do not have any special dietary requirements. They are not prone to any specific health problem that may cause them to need a special diet, though some dogs will still develop diet-specific health concerns. In most cases, these dogs do perfectly fine with a regular, commercial diet.
However, we still recommend choosing a high-quality food for your canine. While these dogs can often get away with eating a lower quality food, they will thrive and develop fewer health problems if fed a healthy option. Often, this means plenty of meat and protein. You should look for food that includes several sources of meat as the first few ingredients.
Grain-free food is not necessary and can contribute to health problems. These formulas do not contain more meat than grain-inclusive formulas. Instead, they simply contain extra, cheap veggies like peas and potatoes. The FDA is currently investigating grain-free foods for their role in certain heart conditions. In the meantime, we recommend feeding a grain-inclusive food unless your dog has a grain allergy.
Nutrition is especially important for puppies. However, some science has come forward showing that we’re feeding out puppies a little too well. This has led to an increase in growth, which can lead to health conditions down the line. For instance, hip dysplasia is commonly caused by overfeeding puppies. It makes the hip joint grow at the wrong rate, which leads to extra wear-and-tear.
Borkies don’t require extreme amounts of exercise. Instead, they often do perfectly fine with only a small walk each day. Puppies may be a bit more hyperactive than adults, but it is important not to force your puppy to take walks. This can lead to joint and similar health problems later on. Puppies often do better with several smaller walks spread throughout the day or several play sessions. This will ensure that they are worn out without overexerting them.
There are several ways to exercise your dog. However, Borkies in particular thrive on walks, especially if they are given time to sniff. They are part scent hound, after all, so they get a lot of joy from sniffing around. Plan on taking slow walks with plenty of stops to allow for sniffing.
You should always exercise your dog on a leash or in a fenced-in area. These dogs will find trails and follow them for miles, which can easily cause them to get lost. We absolutely do not recommend allowing these dogs to wander around without some sort of firm control over them. Even you train a reliable recall, they will often not listen to it while sniffing.
While these dogs are decently intelligent, they often don’t apply this intelligence to training. These dogs were not bred to listen to people. Yorkies were bred to work independently in farmland and factories to keep them clear of rats and similar animals. They didn’t need someone to tell them to hunt the rats; they just wandered around and did it. Beagles naturally pick up scent trails and follow them. They don’t need a human to tell them where to look for a trail and whether they should follow it or not. They’re always on the lookout and will always follow it unless you prevent it.
Because this breed was never bred to listen to commands, they typically don’t. This is often described as stubbornness, but these dogs are really just doing what they were bred to do – make their own decisions.
While these dogs can be trained, that often doesn’t mean that they’ll listen to the command when you use it. They may master the command during a training session, but may never follow it accurately in a real-world situation (especially if food isn’t involved). For this reason, they aren’t the most trainable canines.
However, these dogs are generally pretty well-behaved, so many owners don’t complain about them not following commands much.
The amount of grooming a Borkie needs depends on their exact coat type. The Yorkie has a long coat and requires heavily maintenance. If your Borkie has a Yorkie-like coat, you should plan on brushing it out daily and taking them on regular trips to the groomers for trimming. Dogs with a Beagle-like coat won’t need as much grooming, but they will shed more. You’ll likely need to brush them at least once a week to help keep them clean and remove loose hairs.
Often, these dogs will shed more heavily during a specific time of year. During this time, you’ll need to up their brushing sessions to everyday (if you aren’t already brushing them daily). Otherwise, you’ll end up with quite a bit of hair all over your floor, and your dog probably won’t be very comfortable.
In all likelihood, your dog will have a coat that is somewhere in between their two parent breeds. They may have slightly wavy hair that is longer than a Beagle but shorter than a Yorkie. There are several genes that control what your dog’s hair looks like, so it can be any number of unusual combinations. It may be long like a Yorkie but wiry like a Beagle, which means that they may develop fewer tangles. However, it could be long and still shed – or be short and not shed at all.
It is going to vary substantially from dog to dog. For this reason, you’ll probably have to adjust your grooming sessions based on your dog’s specific needs. When in doubt, consult an experienced groomer that can help you figure out what your dog might need.
Don’t Forget the Toothbrush!
Like all dogs, these canines need their teeth brushed regularly. They aren’t prone to dental problems, but this is one of the most common health problems in dogs. Dental disease can be extremely expensive and cause all sorts of other problems. You will also need to trim their nails and keep an eye on their ears. Floppy ears tend to trap dirt and debris, which can cause infections. You may need to clean your dog’s ears with a damp cotton ball about twice a week. Do this as needed. If your dog’s ears are dirty, clean them.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Mixed breeds are usually pretty healthy. They are unlikely to develop any of the genetic diseases their parents are prone to, as they are inheriting from a larger gene pool. With so many possible genes to inherit, the odds of them inheriting the exact genes they need to develop a genetic condition is much lower.
Still, they are prone to a few health problems. Luxating Patella is common, especially in the smaller individuals of this breed. In a normal circumstance, a dog’s kneecap is firmly located in a groove at the end of their femur. Sometimes, the kneecap can slide out of this small groove, though. This causes pain and can damage the surrounding muscles and tissue, as the bone will roll around and knock into things. Often, the dog may attempt not to use the leg, which leads to skipping and holding the affected leg up.
Epilepsy is quite common in Beagles and can affect Borkies as well. Of course, it is rarer in this mixed breed than it is in purebred Beagles. Epilepsy is a condition that causes recurrent seizures, though the underlying cause can vary widely. In Beagles, it seems to be a genetic condition. Often, medication can be helpful in treating this disease. However, it does take quite a bit of adjustment to get the medication correct.
Hypothyroidism is also a possible problem that also affects Beagles. It can be passed on to their puppies, which includes mixed breeds like the Borkie. The thyroid gland releases hormones that determine how fast the dog’s body breaks down food. Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid to be underactive, so your dog’s metabolic rate becomes far too slow. This can be serious, though it is completely treatable with synthetic thyroid hormones.
Invertebral Disk Disease is common in dogs with longer backs. If your dog is built more like a Beagle, they may be at risk. Just because a dog is at-risk doesn’t necessarily mean that they will develop this condition, though. Their back is simply weaker due to being stretched over a longer length. If they are injured, their disks may slip and cause the nerves to be damaged. Often, the inside of the spinal column will swell, cutting off the nerves. This causes pain and muscle weakness in the back legs. Eventually, sensation in the back legs will be eliminated altogether.
Luckily, this disease can often be treated by putting the dog on kennel-rest, which is extremely inexpensive. Often, this causes the swelling to go down, which allows the nerves to reactivate. Sometimes, medication is used to reduce the swelling. Surgery is possible, but it is often used as a last resort, as it is expensive and puts the dog at risk.
Male vs Female
There is no significant difference between the genders of this breed. They vary mostly based on what traits they inherit from their parents – not based on their gender. Males don’t make particularly better pets than females or vice versa.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Borkie
1. They are hunting dogs.
Both the Beagle and Yorkie were originally bred to be hunting dogs. However, they were bred to hunt very different things. For instance, the Beagle was bred to hunt rabbits and similar game. They usually do this by tracking the animal and leading their people to it, not actually taking down the prey itself. On the other hand, Yorkies were bred as a ratting breed. In other words, they roamed around factories and farmland, keeping them free from pests.
2. Borkies come in many colors.
Borkies come in many different colors. This is due to their wide gene pool. They can simply inherit so many different traits from their parents, which leads to many coat colors and patterns.
3. Their needs can differ dramatically.
Depending on what traits they inherit from which parent, these dogs’ needs can differ dramatically. For instance, they may have a long coat that requires a lot of care. Or they may hardly need any grooming at all.
It is difficult to determine how a mixed-breed dog will end up. Sometimes, they take after one parent quite obviously. Other times, they are an even mix. Their temperament and appearance can vary widely depending on what each puppy inherits. If you’re looking for a very specific type of dog, we don’t recommend adopting a mixed-breed dog.
These are great family dogs. They don’t require much exercise. However, they may need extensive amounts of grooming – or none at all. It depends on their coat type, which is determined by which genes they inherit.
- Bagle Hound (Beagle & Basset Hound Mix)
- Beagi (Beagle & Corgi Mix)
- Beaker (Beagle & Cocker Spaniel Mix)
- Boingle (Beagle & German Shorthaired Pointer Mix)
Featured Image Credit: ARENA Creative, Shutterstock