Morkie: Choosing a Morkie

Morkie: Choosing a Morkie

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Morkie? What is a Morkie? It is an adorable, unique dog derived from the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier. Though gaining in popularity, these mixed breed dogs, also referred to as designer breeds or hybrids, are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Because Yorkiepoos are not purebred, there is significant variance in the dogs’ traits, as they can have any combination of the Yorkie’s and Matese’s characteristics.

History and Origin

The history of the Maltese is a debated topic; however Charles Darwin estimated that the Maltese originated around 6,000 B.C. The breed was probably derived from Spitz type dogs, the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier and Spaniel, and Pekingese. Archaeological evidence, such as literature and art shows that the Maltese was highly regarded in ancient Egyptian and Greek cultures. In the 1800s, this beautiful, small dog became very popular amongst noble women. In 1877, the Maltese was first shown at the Westminster Dog Show, and in 1888, the AKC recognized breed into their toy group.

The Yorkshire Terrier originated during Victorian times in Yorkshire, England. Developed from dogs such as the Manchester Terrier, Maltese, and Skye Terrier, the Yorkie was bred to hunt rats. In 1878, this breed made its way to the United States where it has many enthusiasts and is one of the most popular of the AKC’s toy breeds.

Appearance and Size

Because the Morkie is a mixed breed, the appearance can not be easily predicted; however, two traits are consistent – Morkies are cute and quite small. These sweet-faced bundles of joy range from 8 to 10 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 3 to 7 pounds.

The soft hair coat of an adult Morkie is long and flowing and can be a variety of colors. The Morkie’s tail can be left long like the Maltese’s or docked like the Yorkie’s. The ears can be erect like the Yorkie’s or dropped like the ears of the Maltese.


All mixed breed dogs can take on traits of both parenting breeds. Both the Maltese and Yorkie have a lot of personality packed into their little bodies. The Yorkie especially loves (and sometimes demands) attention. Dedicated to his family, the Yorkie makes a great watch dog. The Maltese is known for being an energetic, fearless dog who loves to spend quality time with his family. Both of these small, confident dogs boast the attitude of a large dog.

Home and Family Relations

Because of his size, the Morkie would be happy living in an apartment or a house and does not need a large yard. This dog is dedicated to his family and loves to spend time in a lap. Playtime with toys or a romp outdoors is sufficient exercise. Morkies are not ideal with young or rough-playing children because they are small and fragile.

Special Care

The Morkie is low-shedding, but he should be brushed daily or keep a short haircut. The hair around the eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid buildup of tears and debris.


Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Morkie is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Medial patellar luxation is a disorder affecting the kneecap.
  • Urolithiasis is a condition affecting the urinary tract resulting in the formation of bladder stones.
  • Tracheal collapse is a weakening of the rings of the windpipe. This leads to irritation and coughing.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Portosystemic shunt is a malformation of the blood flow associated with the liver. The blood is shunted away from the liver, resulting in accumulation of blood toxins and subsequent profound illness.
  • Hydrocephalus is a neurological disease in which there is excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricular system of the brain.
  • White shaker disease is a tremor condition seen in small white dogs.
  • Chronic valvular heart disease (VHD) is a condition characterized by degeneration and thickening of the heart valves.
  • Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that develops when the pressure within the eye increases which can lead to blindness.
  • Life Span

    The average life span of the Morkie is 14 to 16 years.

    Read PetPlace’s breed profiles on the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese to learn about the Morkie’s parenting breeds.

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