Red, brown, black, blue
Seniors and families willing to give the dog lots of attention
Loyal, friendly, good-natured, attention-seeking
The Dorkie is a hybrid breed that combines the affection of the Dachshund and the playfulness of the Yorkie. It is a small breed that tends to be quite loving, but its actual temperament and characteristics will depend on which is the dominant parent breed. Nurture, socialization, training, and individual tendencies obviously also play a part, and training can prove a challenge with this potentially mischievous breed.
The hybrid should not require too much daily exercise, although it will enjoy a walk. While the breed mixes with people of all ages, it doesn’t tend to be overly playful unless it takes after the Yorkie parent.
If your Dorkie inherits a tendency to yap from the Yorkie parent, this can be incessant and difficult to deal with. Ensure early socialization and look at training techniques to prevent excessive barking. Any training needs to be consistent and determined, while still being fair and even. It also needs to be fun and challenging without losing focus on the desired action that you’re trying to teach your adorable Dorkie.
The Dorkie is a hybrid breed. As such, because it is not purebred, it doesn’t cost as much as either the Yorkshire Terrier or Dachshund parent breed. Because the breed is a cross between Yorkies and Dachshund, you should start by looking at breeders and kennels that produce these breeds. You can also ask other owners where they got their hybrids. Breed groups can be found in some areas, although these more commonly exist for thoroughbreds. Look online, check with your local vets, and look in local pet shops to find details of breeders.
Screening and health checks are less common in hybrids. At the very least, ensure that you meet at least one of the parents. The mother should be available for you to meet. Check to see if she looks healthy, in particular, check the condition of her eyes and ensure that she can see you properly and is alert to your presence. Ideally, she should also be happy to see you without being too keen. Dachshunds are also prone to some heart complaints, and a genetic predisposition for these can be tested with a certified cardiac exam.
Although puppies will grow up with their characteristics and individual traits, they do take many of their early social queues from their mothers, so a well-adjusted mom will tend to produce well-adjusted pups.
Because the Dorkie is a designer breed and does not carry quite the same price tag as the purebred parent breeds, it is possible to find them in local shelters. While you won’t be able to meet parent dogs when rescuing, you should still ask questions to determine the character and traits of the individual pup. You can also take any other dogs you have to meet the rescue dog and ensure they all get along.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Dorkie
As a hybrid, the Dorkie combines two purebred dog breeds: the Yorkshire Terrier and the Dachshund. As such, you can expect a combination of characteristics from the two breeds.
Generally, the Dorkie is a good choice of dog for apartment living and is a good companion for seniors, although it will require attention and will benefit from a daily walk. These dogs are friendly and pretty smart, but their stubbornness may come into play during training sessions.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
The Dorkie is not only suitable for seniors, but it also makes a good choice for people of any age, as long as they have the time to dedicate to the breed. The Dorkie is generally good with children, but its potentially tiny size means that it will usually mix better with older and more respectful children. If you have young children and intent to introduce a Dorkie, ensure that they are gentle and do not push and pull the Dorkie around too much. However, it will enjoy the attention provided by children, making the Dorkie a great choice for a family pet.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Similarly, the Dorkie will usually get along well with other animals. This includes dogs within their own home and those they meet in the street or park. In fact, the breed does not do well with too much time alone, so having another dog as a companion can help them settle over the day. Although both dogs are hunting breeds, the Dorkie should not have too high a prey drive, and its size means that it will often become good friends with cats. You should never allow unsupervised time between dogs and smaller, caged animals, and this is true of the Dorkie, too.
Things to Know When Owning a Dorkie:
The Dorkie is small, sweet, and can adapt to most living circumstances, whether you have a confined apartment or a more spacious home. It is a good companion and can act as a watchdog, too. However, it does not appreciate being left alone too long, requires quite a bit of grooming and care, and is prone to the genetic health conditions of both parent breeds. The Dorkie can make a good family pet but is not ideal for everybody. Below are the factors that you need to consider when buying or adopting one of this breed.
Food & Diet Requirement 🦴
The Dorkie is a small breed and will usually have moderate energy levels. Their diet should be formulated accordingly.
The hybrid breed is prone to putting on weight if overfed and under-exercised, so you will need to take care. Weigh your dog, feed according to their energy level and target weight, and ensure that you do not give too many additional treats or extra calories.
On average, you should expect to feed approximately one cup of good-quality kibble every day. This should be split evenly over two or three meals and, if you feed a combination of dry kibble and wet canned food, you need to adjust the amounts you feed accordingly.
The size of the breed means that even small treats can have a big impact on exercise and weight. Try to stick to healthy and low-calorie treats, such as carrots and celery. These are naturally sweet and packed with flavor but they will not cause your Dorkie to put on unnecessary weight.
The terrier in the Dorkie means that it does enjoy regular exercise and will enjoy simulating a rat hunt around the garden or outdoor space.
Provide around 30 minutes of exercise a day. This can take the form of walking, hiking, or more energetic sports, but don’t overdo it because this is a very small breed and too much exercise could be potentially dangerous for such a small dog.
If you can train it well, the breed can also do well in agility classes and may enjoy hunting a frisbee or tennis ball in the park.
Training is something of a mixed bag with the Dorkie. It is an intelligent breed, which means that it will pick up commands and positive behaviors with relatively little effort. However, it can be mischievous and get bored easily, so whether it chooses to follow those commands or exhibit the positive behavior you want is a different story.
Barking is one element where training is necessary because the Dorkie is likely to adopt the vocal nature of the Yorkie parent. When the dog does start barking, you should ignore it, and only praise and reward it when the barking stops. If your dog typically barks at people walking past the house, you should praise them when they notice passers-by but choose not to bark, too. Over time, you can continue with the praise but gradually cut out the treats, to ensure the continued good health of your dog, while maintaining more socially acceptable behavior.
Because they bore easily and quickly, Dorkies benefit from short and fun training sessions of a few minutes each. Any longer than this and their attention will wander.
They are also a sensitive breed, so be sure that you keep a positive tone and that you interact positively with them during training. Positive reinforcement techniques will prove most effective.
The Yorkshire Terrier is considered hypoallergenic, making them a good breed for allergy sufferers. This is because they have hair, rather than fur. They do not have seasonal sheds and therefore excrete less of the protein that acts as an allergen.
Dachshunds, on the other hand, are not hypoallergenic. They are not excessive shedders, however, and the wire-haired breed may be a good option for some allergy sufferers.
The Dorkie tends towards the fur and shedding of its Dachshund parents, which means that this hybrid is not hypoallergenic and may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers.
They are considered to have low maintenance coats, although they and you will benefit if you groom the coat two or three times a week to get rid of dead hairs and knots.
Nails need regular trimming and you will need to clip more often if your dog does not regularly walk on concrete and other hard surfaces. Exactly how often you have to clip your dog’s claws will vary, but it will be approximately every 2 months and should be trimmed when you can hear their claws clipping as they walk.
You will also need to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Ideally, this should be done daily, but at least three times a week.
Nail clipping and tooth brushing are best started when the Dorkie is a puppy. This will get your dog used to it before it gets older and less inclined to have your hand in its mouth or clippers near its feet.
The Yorkie’s hair grows continuously, and if your Dorkie has a similar coat, it will need regular trimming. Have a professional groomer do this for you, and they can also help with nail clipping and other grooming activities.
Health and Conditions 🏥
As a mixed breed, the Dorkie is prone to several genetic and health conditions that both parent breeds are susceptible to. In particular, look for signs and symptoms of the following and seek veterinary consultation if any do present in your Dorkie.
Male vs Female
Although the male tends to grow a little larger than the female, there are no characteristic differences between the genders of this hybrid.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Dorkie
1. Yorkies Make Great Watchdogs
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog, so will not make the best guard dog, but they are alert, have an acute sense of hearing, and they are prone to yapping and barking their disdain. This combination makes them ideal as a watchdog for the home. They will realize as soon as anything is untoward and let you, the rest of the family, and possibly a few of the neighbors know about it.
The Dorkie may or may not inherit these same traits, but if it does take after its Yorkie parent, it will be alert to any possible intruders.
2. The Yorkshire Terrier Is the World’s Smallest Breed
The Yorkshire Terrier really is a small breed, typically only growing to a height of approximately 8 inches. Although the accolade may be disputed by the likes of the Chihuahua, the title of the world’s smallest dog has been held by a Yorkshire Terrier at least three times. Specifically, it is the Teacup Yorkie that has this diminutive stature. While the standard Yorkie grows to 8 inches, the Teacup only reaches approximately 5 inches.
However, while the Yorkie might be small, it is a terrier breed. Originally bred to hunt rats in textile mills, they might be better known as companion dogs today, but they retain the bravery and the hunting instinct of the original terrier.
3. The Dachshund Is a Hunting Dog
The Dachshund was also bred as a working dog. Rather than hunting rats, though, this dog was bred to hunt badgers, although it might be difficult to imagine based on their size. Dach means badger in German, while hund means dog. They were bred to be strong but short, hence the short legs, to cope with their travails down badger burrows. Their stature meant that they would also hunt other burrowing animals, such as rabbits and hares.
The hunting breed was established more than 300 years ago. Like the Yorkie, the Dachshund is more commonly kept as a companion or family dog today, but it has a similar hunting heritage.
The Dorkie is a combination of the small Yorkshire Terrier and the short Dachshund. As such, the resulting hybrid will be small but will have a huge character, like both parent breeds. It does require decent exercise every day, but this small breed can adapt to life in an apartment or a house, can live with families as well as with singles of any age, and it will enjoy spending as much time as possible with its owners.
On the other hand, it can be prone to excessive barking, is needy, and has a stubborn, mischievous streak, which makes the Dorkie quite a challenge to effectively train. The breed does make a good pet and is rarely used as a working dog today, even though both parent breeds were developed for their working capabilities.
Featured Image Credit: Steve Bruckmann, Shutterstock