Do you understand your Morkie and why he behaves the way he does? Is your Morkie more Yorkshire Terrier or more Maltese? And what are the differences between the two breeds?
Your Morkie’s looks, personality and health are inherited from both parents. And not always in equal proportions. The more you know about the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese, the better.
Let’s start with a detailed look at the Yorkshire Terrier.
The big dog in a small body
Yorkies are energetic, bright little dogs with big personalities. In fact, they need plenty of socialization and training to keep that ‘big personality’ on track. They’re affectionate and loyal. Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, loves attention and is protective of his owners. The Yorkie is no passive lapdog.
Originally part of the Terrier family of dogs, Yorkies are a relatively new breed. They were developed in the 1850s in northern England. There, they were bred as working dogs. Their task? Chase rats and other vermin in factories and mines around Yorkshire. Even today, they like to have a job to do.
Although they started as working dogs, they are now in the Toy Dog category along with the Maltese. But they kept a great deal of that lively terrier character.
The Yorkie’s Appearance
Yorkshire Terriers have a long, single coat that’s glossy, fine, straight and silky. This coat takes a lot of care, with daily combing and brushing, although some owners prefer to keep their Yorkies in the short “puppy cut.”
Born pure black, it takes Yorkie puppies almost 3 years to develop their final colour. Adults are black and what’s called “steel blue,” (a blue-gray) with tan on the head, high chest, and legs. Some have more blond on them than others. All are beautiful.
The Yorkie coat is hair, not fur. Most dogs have FUR. Fur is two layered, made up of an outer coat with stiff bristle-like hair plus a soft, downy undercoat. That undercoat sheds periodically, either on a seasonal schedule or all the time. Dogs that shed cause the most allergies because they let loose the fluffy under fur, dust and dander. The relatively few dog breeds with hair, are considered good bets for people with allergies.
Yorkshire Terrier Quick Facts:
Average lifespan – typically 12 to 15 years.
Size 5 to 7 lbs., 5 to 7 inches high at the shoulders.
Temperament Big dog in a small body! Yorkies are affectionate, lively and brave.
Easy to house train? Potty training a Yorkie isn’t alway easy… but with some patience it can be done.
Grooming needs. Yorkies need regular grooming. The full coat is preferred, not the puppy cut. And for show dogs it is a must: hair cannot be cut. Ever. Their long hair is kept out of their eyes with a topknot.
Bark a lot? Well they are terriers, and terriers are barkers. Plus the more spoiled any dog is, the more he barks. The more a dog who needs companionship is left alone, the more he barks.
Exercise needs – at least one daily walk.
Intelligence – above average. In fact Yorkies are in the top third of the doggie intelligence pack – ranking 27th out of the 132 breeds tested. (*Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert on animal intelligence).
Good with children? Although Yorkies are good natured, they’re not ideal for young children. That’s because they’re smaller than they seem and their bones are quite fragile. It’s easy for a small child to get carried away and hurt the Yorkie without meaning to.
Wonderful as they are, no breed is perfect. At a glance, here are some of the more common concerns with Yorkshire Terriers:
- hereditary/genetic health problems that come with any purebred
- barking too much – they’re terriers so barking is bred in their makeup
- can harder to housebreak than many small breeds
- lots of grooming needed if you want to keep that long flowing coat that makes them unique
Plus Yorkies can be needy – they can suffer from separation anxiety more than some other breeds.
Yorkshire Terrier Temperament
The Yorkshire Terrier is high-spirited, confident, feisty, very loyal and affectionate.
Like most terriers, they can be stubborn. The Yorkie truly embodies the small dog who thinks he’s the big dog. Introduce another dog or a new person to the Yorkshire Terrier and you won’t see anything timid or curious about the Yorkie. He’s comes out barking and stands tall in the alpha dog position. He’s ready to protect his master.
Yorkshire Terriers are lively, bold and very smart
Given their working class background chasing rats, it’s no wonder they still need some adventure and the odd bit of trouble!
With a strong personality, the Yorkie is a very independent dog. He will come and go as he pleases, checking out every shadow and every corner of the home. So it’s no surprise the Yorkie isn’t willing to be locked in a room for long hours, and he isn’t willing to be ignored if you’re home.
Yorkies shine with an owner who can gently assert himself and is willing to lavish love and attention on this little monkey!
The word Terrier comes from the French, terre or earth… Terriers were bred to flush prey from the earth. They came in handy as hunting dogs, able to chase foxes, badgers and other small animals from their burrows. The modern Yorkie loves nothing more than playing fetch with a small stuffed toy.
Are you thinking about getting a Morkie, Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier? Before you do, be sure you know the differences and which one is right for you and your family.
In this 110-page ebook, Yorkie, Morkie, Maltese: Small Dogs That Don’t Shed, you’ll learn more about what makes each one special… and unique. Instant download for just $4.99
NEXT: The Maltese Dog
An ear infection for your Morkie is not fun for either of you; and the bad news is, the more often your Morkie gets infections, the more susceptible he is to future infections. In fact, ear conditions are the second most common reason dogs visit the Veterinarian. So how do you deal with the dog ear infection?
First, what’s the cause?
The dog on the left has drop ears, while the cat on the right has prick ears. Your Morkie can have either type.
The dog ear infection is almost always a SYMPTOM of some other, underlying problem.
And if your Morkie has drop ears (not standing-up, Yorkie style ears) it’s even more difficult because the inner ear isn’t exposed to sunlight or oxygen — two of nature’s best natural cleaners.
4 common causes of ear infections are:
- bacteria or yeast infection
- parasites like ear mites
- foreign particles
Of these four problems, the first two are by far, the most common. Although very young kittens often have ear mites, they’re a little unusual in dogs. And the chances of some foreign particle getting into your Morkie’s ear without you seeing it, are also slim.
Allergies and Ear Infections
Like us, dogs can be allergic to many things including:
- Tree, grass and weed pollens
- Mold spores
- Dust and house dust mites
- Cigarette smoke and much more
Allergies can cause ear AND eye problems and can lead to serious ear infections if not treated. Symptoms:
- your Morkie shakes his head a lot
- scratches at his ears
- skin around ears ins red and inflamed from his scratching
Talk to your Vet about treating the underlying allergy; it may be as simple as administering Benadryl (see my post http://aboutmorkies.com/?p=1672) It can be a real ‘wonder drug’ in treating seasonal allergies in dogs.
Bacteria or Yeast Infection
These external ear infections are easy to spot because of the brown, waxy build up in your dog’s ears and a nasty smell. Although it’s very tempting to just grab a cotton swab stick and clean it out – DON’T DO IT! You risk very serious damage if you puncture the ear drum.
Instead try using a good dog ear cleaner (from your Vet or a good retailer)
- fill the ear canal with the liquid until it overflows
- gently fold over the ear flap and then massage the liquid into the ear canal
- let your dog shake his head
- remove any excess liquid and dirt from the outer ear only, with a tissue or cotton ball
If this doesn’t work, then get your Morkie to the Vet for an examination and potentially a professional ear flushing. Your Vet may then prescribe medication to fight the bacteria or yeast. This antibiotic treatment should address the infection so the ears will clear up. You may however, still need to clean them regularly – talk to your Vet about just how often, because like most things, this can be overdone too – causing more problems.
Removing (visible) excess hair in the ear canal
Your Vet may also recommend that you pluck the extra hairs from the ear canal regularly since they can tend to trap moisture, heat and debris.
You can use blunt-end, rounded tweezers, or grip tweezers for dog grooming or even just your own fingers. The fine hair pulls out easily and your dog can’t feel it at all.
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And why it matters
If you’re thinking about getting a Morkie, that combo of Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese dog, it’s good to understand the basic differences between these breeds.
First, if the Morkie is first generation cross – that is, his mother was a Yorkie and father a Maltese, or vice versa, then it’s hard to say which breed will dominate. It’s not as simple as a 50/50 blend. Over time, conscientious breeders will choose the best Morkies to breed with one another, to produce the desired qualities in a dog.
The problem is, there aren’t that many Morkies to breed to one another, so the gene pool is pretty shallow, as they say. That means that some of the less-than-perfect genetics get passed along and in fact multiplied. That’s happening to Giant Pandas who are now bred in captivity. The result for Pandas is low birth rate, infant mortality and infertility.
But back to Morkies…. to understand them, it’s key to realize that their parent breeds hugely impact what they will be like.
Similar but different
While Yorkies and Maltese dogs have lots in common, they do come from very different origins.
A Maltese puppy having a run.
The Maltese is one of the very few ancient breeds. It can be traced back to about 500 B.C. and was a very popular pet for the elite of the Roman Empire. Aristotle himself was intrigued by them, although he DID compare Maltese to a type of weasel! (370 B.C.)
Over the years, the Maltese has been continually bred to be an affectionate. beautiful and loyal laptop companion. It has been downsized by cross breeding to poodles and miniature spaniels. The pure white coat is a result of very selective breeding primarily in the 17th century to eliminate any other colours.
The Yorkshire Terrier on the other hand, is a very “new” breed. It was developed in the 1800s in England by factory workers, to help them catch rats. If you know any Yorkies, you know they are very determined little creatures, and will play “fetch and shake” with their little toys all day long.
Yorkies are the result of breeding a number of different terriers together to get the qualities the original working-class owners needed in a helpmate.
Then British aristocratic ladies discovered them, and Yorkies were selectively bred to be even smaller and more affectionate. (By the way, they were downsized sometimes with Maltese dogs!) Their pet status was certainly cemented by the time the Yorkshire Terrier was introduced to Kennel Clubs in England and America in the 1880s and 1890s.
What’s bred in the bone
Those early origins of the breeds that make the Morkie are important. One is a companion animal through and through, bred to be a loving and glamorous pet. The other comes from a working class background, scrabbling to pay his way as a rat-catcher.
What your Morkie will become, or which way he’ll lean, isn’t really known and is certainly part of the fun of a mixed breed!