In the course of writing this blog, I make every effort to ensure the accuracy of my statements. I do my research only on sites that I know to be reputable, and I cross-reference the information that I get with other reputable sites. I do, however, often insert my personal opinions into my writing. I don’t represent my opinions as fact, though. So to let you know, straight up, in this post you are going to get a mix of fact and opinion. To get one very important issue out of the way, a Chorkie is a mix – it is not a breed.
The Chorkie is not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, and it would take generations of breeding for it to be recognized as such, if it ever is. The Chorkie is a mix of Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier, and if a breeder tells you that you are getting a “purebred Chorkie,” that breeder is at best misguided, and at worst deliberately misleading you.
Now, my opinion.
Some Dogs Should Not Be Bred
As I suggested in the introduction, I will always strive for accuracy in my posts. And I’m not going to stop offering opinions. One thing that I will never do is lie to you, and I would be doing just that if I suggested that there are no such things as dogs that I really don’t think should be bred. For more on this, see Why You Should Walk Away From Teacup Dogs. On the other hand, I’m not entirely averse to a good crossbreed, provided that you don’t fall into the trap of believing that, if you choose a cross, you’re actually getting something of real value – something that is actually a recognized breed of dog.
It wasn’t all that long ago that a crossbreed dog was something that would either be given away, or sold for very little money and people weren’t generally happy with the breeding. It was more along the lines of “The Golden Retriever down the street jumped my fence, and now my Beagle is bred, and what the heck am I supposed to do with the offspring?”
I suppose that today you’d sel them as, oh, I dunno, maybe Golden Retreagles?
See how nicely I’m segueing into my topic for this post? Mom, are you out there? Ain’t I writing nice?
Back to the point, though. I’m still steering you away from designer, teacup-type dogs because they’re simply a bad idea. They’re bred for defects – abnormally small, prone to all manner of health problems, and very difficult for veterinarians to treat. Surgery, if needed, can be a nightmare because of the size of the organs. Teacup dogs are, quite simply, just going to bring you grief.
Is There Such a Thing as a Good Cross?
But what happens if you cross-breed normal size dogs with other normal size dogs? Well, sometimes you can get a pretty decent result. It would be difficult to argue, for instance that Golden doodles (a cross between a Standard Poodle and a Golden Retriever) and Labradoodles (a cross between a Standard poodle and a Labrador Retriever) are not handsome, intelligent dogs with few health issues.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to talk about the Chorkie. It’s a mix. You’ve no doubt heard the term “Chorkie” used in my other posts about dogs that you should never buy, and that’s because usually what you’re getting when someone is trying to sell you a “Chorkie” is an abnormally tiny Chihuahua crossed with an abnormally tiny Yorkshire Terrier. In other words, one of those teacup dogs that you should walk away from.
A friend of mine made the mistake of buying a “Teacup Chorkie.” The poor little creature lived for three years, and they were not good years. The dog suffered from a sever curvature of the spine, and at one point lost the use of its hind legs for several months. The vet bills were horrendous, and finally the dog had to be euthanized. I thought at the time that it would have been nice if the vet could have loaded up another syringe of Euthanyl for the irresponsible breeder.
If you were to consider a puppy from a normal size Chihuahua bred to a normal size Yorkie, though, that’s a whole different thing. You could actually end up with a pretty decent dog, although still one that you really shouldn’t be spending a lot of money to acquire, because a Chorkie is a mix – not a breed.
From what I’ve observed, breeders (and I use the term loosely) of crosses charge as much as, or even more than, breeders of genuine, purebred dogs do. Why would you want to pay a small fortune for a Chorkie, which is simply a mix, when you could have a purebred Chihuahua or Yorkshire Terrier for the same amount of money, or sometimes even less?
Okay, let me date myself here again. I remember several years ago when KFC was giving away a toy along with their family meals. They called it an “Oopie.”
What exactly was an “Oopie?” It was an inflatable beach ball. It was made from cheap plastic, and was usually good for maybe an hour or two of fun in the pool before it deflated, never to be revived. But hey, it was an OOPIE! And it was proof that you can hang a “fun name” on just about anything, whether or not it actually has value, and people will assign value to it. Just based on the name.
So, to reiterate, there is nothing of real value in a Chorkie. It’s a mix that has nothing much to recommend it beyond the individual characteristics of the Chihuahua and the Yorkshire Terrier, and you can buy a show-quality Chi or Yorkie often for less than you would pay for your Oopie – oh, sorry, I mean your Chorkie.
Is There Any Value in a Chorkie?
Let me say at the outset that I absolutely abhor these cutesy names. Chorkie. Doxie-Poo. Peke-a-Poo. My friend Neila says she’s waiting for someone to breed a Rottie-Poo. I’m holding out for Boxerhuahuas, but that’s just me. I much prefer, when we’re talking about Chihuahua/Yorkie mixes, to go with the term “Chihuahua Yorkie Mix,” but hey, for the purposes of this post, I’ll go with Chorkie.
Is There Value in a Cross?
Well, again, dating myself, I remember the days (not all that long ago) when a crossbreed would go for under $100, and I just can’t get my head around the same price, or even a higher price for a cross over a purebred.
Of course, value doesn’t always have to do with money. In What the Heck is a Shollie, I told you about German Shepherd/Collie mixes, and I also mentioned that my Leroy had sired a litter of Boxermans with a female Dobie. The puppies were beautiful, but I didn’t try to market them as “Boxermans.” It was just a fun way of naming them and I definitely didn’t ask a premium price for my share of those puppies.
A cross can have value, just not monetary value, from where I’m sitting. A cross can have value in that a lot of the health problems that are common to one type of purebred dog can be “bred out” when a dog is crossed with another purebred dog. You can also end up with a very beautiful dog. But valuable? I just don’t see it.
Now, with Chorkies, what you will get if you cross a pure Chihuahua with a pure Yorkshire Terrier is a dog that will be beyond adorable, and very feisty. Chorkies have only been in existence since about 1990, and they probably gained most of their fame when Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were carrying around dogs in ridiculously expensive purses, essentially using them as fashion accessories.
I often wonder what happened to those dogs; I mean, they were on the radar for a few years and then they disappeared.
Okay, I don’t even want to think about it.
Moving along, let’s talk about what you’ll get if you choose a Chorkie mix.
With many dog breeds, the origins aren’t really known, and it’s no different with the Chihuahua. One theory is that the Chihuahua came from a South or Central American dog, the Techichi. Art from the Toltec period shows dogs that resemble Chihuahuas. Then, when the Toltecs were conquered by the Aztecs, the dogs sort of came along as part of the spoils. The Aztecs believed that the Techichi had mystical powers – the ability to heal the sick, guide the souls of those who had passed to the underworld, and even see the future. Then, when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, the Techichi pretty much faded into obscurity.
Another theory is that these little dogs were actually brought to Mexico by the Spanish, and then bred with local dogs to give rise to dogs very much like what we know as Chihuahuas today.
It probably doesn’t matter much which theory you believe. What we do know is that the Chihuahua as he is known today comes from Mexico, having been discovered by American visitors around the middle of the 19th century. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1904, and became very popular in the 1930s and ’40s.
Now, moving on to the Yorkshire Terrier, this breed of dog is one of the things that Yorkshire is famous for. Yorkshire is a huge producer of coal and steel, known for its cuisine (Who hasn’t heard of Yorkshire pudding?), and its town of Whitby was the main location, other than Transylvania, for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. For all you serial killer aficionados out there, it was also the home of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. It’s probably best known, though, for those feisty little terriers!
The Yorkshire Terrier actually originated in Scotland, and was known as the Paisley Terrier or the Clydesdale Terrier (fans of Clydesdale horses will find this amusing – there couldn’t be a bigger difference, size-wise, between those gigantic horses and the compact little dogs). As Scottish workers moved south to obtain employment in factories, textile mills and coal mines, they brought their dogs along.
At the time, the terriers were a bit larger than they are today, and it’s believed that their main purpose was to do “rat control” in the textile mills. As often happens when an “outside” breed is introduced into a community, interbreeding occurred most likely with Skye Terriers and English Toy Terriers. There may also have been cross-breeding wit the blue-gray, long coated Waterside Terrier.
The first instance of a Yorkshire Terrier type being shown was in the middle part of the 19th century. The dog, Huddlesfield Ben, showed quite successfully, and is considered to be the forerunner of today’s Yorkshire Terrier. In 1874, Yorkshire Terriers were recognized by the British Kennel Club.
By 1872, Yorkshire Terriers were being bred in the United States. There were two classes for show – less than 5 pounds, and 5 pounds or more. Ultimately, the American Kennel Club settled on a single class, for dogs between 3 and 7 pounds.
Yorkshire Terrier being born in the U.S. was in 1872. Yorkshire Terriers were able to compete in dog shows as early as 1878. In those early shows, Yorkshire Terriers classes were divided by weight — under 5 pounds and 5 pounds and over. Eventually, exhibitors settled on one class with an average of between 3 and 7 pounds.
The notion of crossing Chihuahuas and Yorkies to create a Chorkie mix is a relatively new concept.
Size and Appearance
Most people who want Chorkies choose them because they’re small dogs – purse dogs. They’re easy to handle, and not intimidating. For that reason, they’re welcome pretty much everywhere. You never have to worry about your Chorkie not being welcome at the dog park, or scaring the neighbors. Trailer parks and condominiums often restrict the size of dog that residents are permitted to have, and Chorkie owners don’t have to worry about those restrictions.
Appearance-wise, the Chorkie mix takes features from both sides. Usually a Chorkie will have a long coat (which it gets from the Yorkie) and will take its small size from the Chihuahua.
There can be variations in appearance from one dog to another. As to the legs, you might find that your Chorkie’s legs are either lanky (from the Chihuahua) or short (from the Yorkie). Usually, Chorkies take their ears from the Chihuahua, so they’re pointed, although it’s not unheard of for a Chorkie to have droopy ears (from the Yorkshire Terrier). The coat can come in many colors – red, black, grey or brown.
Chorkies can also come in merle (a sort of mottled multi-color), but are best avoided. This is because dogs with these markings are prone to various health conditions, including blindness, deafness, and extreme sensitivity to sun. If you have a merle Chorkie mix, please, do not breed. This is especially important if you’re thinking about breeding merle to merle – when the merle gene is present in both parents the puppies run an even higher risk of health issues.
You can pretty much assume that your Chorkie will also take his personality from both sides of the family. Both the Chihuahuas and the Yorkshire Terriers are spirited, brave and affectionate. One problem with Chorkies, though, is that these dogs don’t know that they’re little – and that means that you really have to look after them when they’re around other dogs. Left to their own devices, they’ll happily take on a Rottweiler or a Doberman, and you have to know that unless the Rott or the Dobie is disposed to give in, there will be no good outcome for your Chorkie.
A mix of Yorkie in your dog might work to dial back the aggressiveness a bit since they’re a lot less confrontational than Chihuahuas, but you’re still likely to be dealing with a dog that can be quite assertive. This can often translate into “yappiness,” so if you want to live compatibly with your neighbors, it would be a good idea to try to train your Chorkie and socialize him. You don’t want to own the scourge of the neighborhood, so in your Chorkie’s early days, expose him to a lot of people, other dogs, and various experiences. In other words, socialize your Chorkie mix the same way that you would socialize any other breed or breed mix.
Your Chorkie mix is likely to be very affectionate, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that all he wants to do is be a lap dog. Of course he’s going to love snuggling up with you, but he will be much happier if cuddle time follows a bit of exercise. These are very active dogs, and will need at least a couple of vigorous walks a day as well as playtime with toys.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that Chorkies do very well when taken to the dog park. They’re very receptive to other dogs, and will love to run and play with them. Just keep an eye on your dog, though, as Chorkies can be a bit confrontational. You don’t want to have to try to break up a fight that your little buddy has picked, and is almost guaranteed to lose thanks to his small size. Most of the time, a big dog will defer to your purse-size dog, probably considering that a battle that would be so easily won isn’t even worth fighting, but that’s not guaranteed.
Exercise is also very important for your Chorkie because this type of cross is very prone to undesirable weight gain. A lethargic Chorkie mix can easily turn into a pudge-muffin, so maintain a good exercise schedule, and watch what you feed.
One of the best things about Chorkies, though, is that because they’re small, you can actually exercise them indoors. That makes them ideal of seniors or other “shut-ins” who might find it difficult dealing with outdoor exercise. It’s also great, when the weather is bad, to simply forego the walk or the trip to the dog park and just play vigorously indoors. Your Chorkie will happily chase a ball from one side of the room to another, or down a hallway, until he’s ready to lie in your lap while you binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix!
Kids and Other Animals
Kids? No. At least not toddlers. The problem here is that Chorkies are very small dogs, and a rambunctious kid can hurt your dog without meaning to. If you want to introduce a Chorkie to your household, it’s best to wait until the kids are older, and understand that they need to be careful around the dog.
Of course, as I’m always pointing out, you should never leave a child alone with a dog of any breed or breed mix.
Chorkies are usually very smart dogs. This is a double-edged sword, though, because they’re so smart, they might not be willing to see you as the “Alpha.” You’ll need to train your Chorkie with firmness and patience, and not get frustrated easily. They’re no different from any other dog, though, in that they’ll respond better to positive reinforcement than to punishment. Never shout at your Chorkie (or any other dog, for that matter). Show him the kind of behavior that you want and expect, and reward him when he exhibits that behavior. He’ll soon come to understand what it is you want from him, and will want to please you.
Now, a word on house training: this could be a problem with your Chorkie. It’s not that he’s trying to be “dirty”; it’s just that his bladder is small, and he might not be able to hold his water for a long time. Please don’t punish your Chorkie if he messes on the floor. He can’t help it. Just clean it up and move on. Then, when he gets it right, reward him.
If you’re a shut-in with a Chorkie mix, you might want to forego the outdoor potty trips in favor of using puppy pads or newspaper in a specific area of your home. Some small dog breeds and mixes can even be taught how to use a litter box.
One great thing about Chorkies is that they don’t shed much. Most are short haired, but if you have a longhaired Chorkie, even then, you can usually get by with just brushing a couple of times a week. Of course it’s obvious, too, that with a small dog you are by definition going to be brushing much less hair than you would with a large dog, and so it’s going to take less time.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that grooming time shouldn’t be considered an undesirable chore. It’s bonding time with your little buddy, and can be very pleasurable for both of you.
Chorkies are probably a lot like other mixes, in that some of the problems that are peculiar to either breed of origin get “bred out.” That said, though, Chorkies haven’t been around that long, so you should be on the alert for conditions that might be common in the “parent breeds,” like allergies, heart problems and eye issues. You don’t have to expect them, just know that they’re possible.
Almost any breed, though, can be vulnerable to certain conditions, including the following:
1. Patellar Luxation
This condition is also sometimes called “slipped stifles.” It occurs when the tibia and the patella (the kneecap) don’t line up properly. It can cause lameness, or an abnormal gait in which the dog seems to sort of hop or skip. Usually, the condition is present from birth. It is often correctable simply by moving the joint into proper alignment manually, although in severe cases, surgery might be needed.
This is low blood sugar, and it is more common in small dogs than it is in large breeds. It is very treatable provided that it is diagnosed early on, but if it is not diagnosed, it could actually end up being fatal. Symptoms include listlessness and shivering. Chihuahuas often shiver for no apparent reason, though, so if your Chorkie mix is shivering, it might not be anything to worry about. You still need a diagnosis, though, so see your vet.
3. Heart Murmurs
Puppies are often born with heart murmurs, and just as often, they grow out of them. My Janice and Leroy both had heart murmurs as puppies, and they are now strong, healthy dogs. Chihuahuas seem to be more prone to lasting heart murmurs than other breeds, though, so you might want to ask your vet to take x-rays or do an echo cardiogram to determine if your Chorkie mix requires special care in the form of a special diet or medication.
4. Pulmonic Stenosis
This is another heart issue. It occurs when the blood does not flow effectively through your dog’s heart due to a malformation in the pulmonic valve. It means that the heart has to work a lot harder to get the blood flowing, due to a blockage. In the worst case scenario, it could mean that your dog will develop an enlarged heart and might need surgery. The success of the operation depends on where the blockage is located. Most dogs will come through the surgery with flying colors and go on to live long, happy lives
5. Collapsed Trachea
The trachea is the windpipe, and a collapsed trachea is exactly what it sounds like – the trachea flattens, and the dog can’t get enough air into his lungs. If you can imagine trying to suck in something through a soda straw that has a bend in it, you have an idea of what this feels like. This condition can be corrected with surgery.
If your dog looks as though his head is too big for his body, he could be hydrocephalic. There is no cure, and seriously hydrocephalic puppies usually die within about 16 weeks. Although the condition is not all that common, it’s more common in Chihuahuas than it is in other breeds, and this is why many breeders will not sell Chihuahua puppies before they reach four months of age. The condition is not known to often affect Chorkies, though, and may be one of those problems that is bred out in the cross-breeding.
7. Open Fontanel
Pretty much all babies are born with open fontanels – this is true of humans and dogs alike. These are soft spots on the head, and usually they close up. Every so often, though, you’ll get a puppy whose fontanels do not close. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t adopt a puppy with open fontanels, but if you do, you will have to treat him very carefully for the rest of his life, because a blow to the head could kill him. This is another condition that may have been largely bred out when a Chihuahua is crossed with a Yorkshire Terrier.
Keep in mind that if you have purchased your Chorkie mix from a reputable breeder, and had the good sense not to go with a teacup mix, chances are that your dog will never develop any of these conditions. They’re just things to be aware of, not to obsess over.
The Final Word
Chorkies haven’t been around for all that long, and it’s hard to say whether their popularity will continue, or if they’re just a “flash in the pan” sort of trend. One thing is for sure, though, Chorkies can be very appealing little dogs – cute as the dickens, smart and playful. They’re also energetic and very affectionate. I’m going to tell you again that they’re really not worth the price breeders ask for them, but if you don’t mind spending money for a type of dog that once would have simply been given away, and you want an adorable little guy that will love you forever and amuse you like crazy, you’d probably do a lot worse than to choose a Chorkie. Just not one of those unfortunate little teacup things, okay? And remember: a Chorkie is a mix, not a breed!