A Morkie’s looks, personality and health are inherited from both breeds, and not always in equal proportions. The more you know about both Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers, the easier it will be for you to decide if a Morkie is right for you.
Or if you already have a Morkie, understanding both parents and their backgrounds can help you decode your pup’s behaviour and characteristics.
Size: Like their parents, anywhere from about 4 or 5 pounds to 8 to 12 pounds or more, and stand from 6″ high at the shoulder up to 11″ or 12” high. Morkies have a compact body, and the traditional canine head: rounded dome and mid-length muzzle. (Although some unscrupulous breeders claim to have “teacup” size Morkies for sale, there’s no such thing. Dogs under 4 pounds are simply runts and won’t be very healthy and generally live a much shorter life.)
They have big expressive brown or black eyes and a playful, mischievous expression.
Meet the Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies are active, bright little dogs with very big personalities. In fact, they need plenty of socialization and training to keep that ‘big personality’ on track. They’re very affectionate and loyal.
Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, loves attention and is protective of his owners. The Yorkie is no lapdog!
Originally part of the Terrier family of dogs, Yorkies were bred in the 1850s in northern England, where they were first used as working dogs to chase rats and other vermin in factories around Yorkshire. Even today, they like to have a job to do, and like most terriers, Yorkies can be stubborn and aggressive.
Today Yorkies are classified in the Toy Dogs category along with the Maltese. However, they retain their original terrier character.
The Yorkie Coat
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 almost pure black, it takes Yorkie puppies about 3 years to develop their final colour. Most adults are black and what’s called “steel blue,” (a blue-gray) with tan on the head, high chest, and legs. Some however, come in various shades of blond and dark brown.
The Yorkshire Terrier is high-spirited, confident, feisty and very loyal and affectionate. But beware, Yorkshire Terriers can be very “assertive” and noisy.
Left: An adult Yorkshire Terrier.. show quality. The Yorkie is a perky little dog, originally bred as a terrier to chase down rats and other vermin in factories in England during the 1880s.
What’s the downside with Yorkshire Terriers?
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 after all!
- can harder to housebreak than many small breed
- lots of grooming needed
- Yorkies can be very needy – they suffer from separation anxiety more than some other breeds
Meet the Maltese
Like the Yorkie, the Maltese features a beautiful, flowing coat – but in pure white… no other colours are allowed in a purebred Maltese although they were originally bred in different colours, hundreds and even thousands of years ago.
That hair must be perfectly straight, and the longer the better. In a show dog, the hair hangs to the ground. Like the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese do not have an undercoat. Black lips, dark brown eyes and a black nose complete the little Maltese – which shouldn’t exceed 7 pounds.
Maltese have a slightly rounded skull, with a finger-wide dome, and a black button nose and eyes. The body is compact and fine-boned but sturdy; it’s slightly longer than it is tall with a level top line. The Maltese chest is deep.
The drop ears with long hair plus dark eyes surrounded by darker skin pigmentation (called a “halo”), gives Maltese their expressive look.
The Maltese, first bred as a pampered lapdog for ladies of the court, is among the gentlest of all little dogs, but can seem fearless at times. Their luxurious long white hair is a prized feature of the Maltese, but many owners today keep that hair in a short puppy cut. Either way, they’re beautiful dogs.
They are loyal, vigorous and super affectionate. Maltese originated about 6000 B.C., likely in Asia and were worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.
What’s the downside with a Maltese?
- they will tolerate other pets (dogs and cats), but are not a good choice for young children or rough-and-tumble families
- Maltese do not do well when left alone for extended periods of time
- sometimes over-protective of their owner, family, and territory, Maltese may bark or bite if they perceive a threat
- Maltese can be finicky eaters and suffer indigestion
- and… the # 1 downside, they may be difficult to housebreak