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Morkie Temperament: What are Morkies Really Like?

Morkie Temperament: What are Morkies Really Like?

i love new yorkiesEvery now and then, a dog or a breed comes along that just steals your heart. For many people, that dog is the Yorkshire Terrier. In fact Yorkies are the #6 most popular pure breed dog in America and in some cities, like New York, they’re #1.

The Maltese dog on the other hand, is not as popular. Maltese ranks as the 29th most registered breed in 2014, behind uncommon dogs like the Pomeranian, Havanese and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Both the Yorkie and the Maltese are wonderful companion animals, with plenty in common, but enough differences to make their offspring – the Morkie – a very interesting little pup too.

Yorkies are smart, feisty little terriers, in brown and tan. They are relatively new as far as pure breeds go, developed in northern England in the 1850s to work in coal mines and factories to catch and kill rats and mice.

Maltese on the other hand, are an ancient breed, developed strictly as lapdogs since the time of Aristotle. Their most treasured qualities are their affectionate, loving nature and beautiful, pure white coat.

If you decide to go with a Morkie, you’ll find the characteristics, looks, behaviour and health of both parents, the Yorkie and the Maltese, apparent in the Morkie. But since the Morkie is so new, you don’t really know which breed’s qualities will dominate, and even which parent the Morkie will most resemble physically.

yorkie plus maltese equals morkie

Every breed has its pluses and minuses

What behaviors are so built-in to Maltese and  Yorkies that they never change? In other words,


What’s bred-in-the-bone?

Bred-in-the-Bone is a very old expression meaning something is deeply instilled or firmly established, as if by heredity. When speaking about people, we might say his loyalty is bred-in-the bone.

It also means persistent and habitual; for example, he’s a bred-in-the-bone conservative. You’ll hear similar expressions like these:

  • the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
  • blood will tell
  • he’s a chip off the old block

Bred in the bone = Deep-seated and can’t be changed

This doesn’t mean that the characteristics above can’t be changed; nor does it mean that EVERY Maltese dog will be a sweet, loving dog for example. Training and environment also have a very big part to play in how a dog behaves.

But generally speaking, the REASON the dog was originally bred, will come through loud and clear in their everyday behaviour, even if that original reason isn’t valid any more.

Maltese - what's bred in the bone?

  • pampered lapdogs
  • super sweet
  • very affectionate
  • generally calm, quiet although they do have a very playful side
  • loves to sit with ‘their people’
  • will bark to warn you that someone is approaching

Yorkie - what's bred in the bone?

  • explorers and hunters
  • love chasing small animals and toys
  • very alert and inquisitive
  • despite their small size, can be aggressive and feisty

One more thing.... the size debate

The Maltese is a sturdy little Toy dog that ideally weighs no more than 7 or 8 pounds when fully grown. Males should be 8” to 10” tall at the shoulder, while females should be 8” to 9” tall.

The Yorkshire Terrier is very similar; an ideal dog is a minimum of 5 pounds according to breed standards, and not over 7 or 8 pounds.

Smaller than that is NOT ideal and in fact, you want to beware of breeders who offer “teacups.” A Maltese, Yorkie or Morkie that weighs less than four pounds when fully grown is a runt. That dog is more prone to genetic disorders and is at a higher health risk in general.


Dog DNA Tests – right for your Morkie?

Dog DNA Tests – right for your Morkie?

It’s the latest runaway fad in pet care: the Dog DNA Test. But is it right, or even necessary, for your Morkie? The pros and cons of the latest trend, the Dog DNA Test.

Dog DNA tests are easy to do – some experts say too easy

Dog DNA Tests are a snap. Just order the kit and then like the humans’ version, you simply take a cheek swab, put it in the container provided and send it back.

Within a few weeks, you’ll get a report that includes your dogs’ DNA results. These results are supposed to let you know your mixed breed’s parentage and sometimes the dog’s potential for genetically caused health concerns. (There are other tests to confirm if a dog is purebred.)

These test kits are incredibly popular – last year, the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit was on  Oprah’s list of favorite holiday gifts list.

But are they a good idea and are there any risks?

Mostly all white Morkie with dark ear tips, sitting on a table.

Is this pup really half and half Yorkie and Maltese dog? Or is there some poodle or Shih-Tzu thrown in? A dog DNA test could tell you.

Dog DNA tests work by comparing the sample you send in to the breeds they’ve already tested.

dog dna tests for sale

There are dozens of brands — and price points — for dog DNA tests.

How do Dog DNA Tests work?

Dog DNA tests work by comparing the sample you send in to the breeds the provider has already tested. Most labs have at least 100 breeds on file; some, like Embark Dog DNA Test, have 250+.

These tests work like other DNA tests for people; every dog (or person) has two copies of every gene. One from the mother and one from the father. DNA genetics labs can analyze every gene and then track it back three generations to the great-grandparents.

Puppies randomly inherit 50% of each of their parents breed, so your Morkie’s littermate could have very different DNA results – and characteristics, looks, and personality — than your Morkie.

How much do they cost?

Priced from $60 to hundreds of dollars, these tests are available everywhere.

You can find the fad from Amazon to Walmart and everywhere in between, with at least 10 national brands.

Mars Veterinary Wisdom’s Panel Professional is the most expensive – it requires a blood test at your Vet’s.

Accuracy won’t be in the cards any time soon

All the tests say they’re for information only; I’d say that, in fact, they’re for entertainment purposes only. Some Vets say take the results with a grain of salt because the same test done by different providers can deliver very different results.

Accuracy won’t be in the cards any time soon; there are no quality control standards for pet DNA testing, no regulations and providers don’t need to reveal how the tests are conducted.

Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, said the group does not have a position on DNA testing for dogs, but “it’s fine to do if you’re curious about your dog’s ancestry and breed makeup.” He said pet owners should talk to their vets if the goal is to identify potential hereditary disorders or health conditions.

What’s the urgency to discover your dog’s breed(s)?

Every single purebred dog has an inherent disposition for illnesses. These health issues can range from being really cancer prone (Boxers and Golden Retrievers for example), to having bleeding disorders, poor joint strength and more.

If you know if advance, the theory goes, you can be prepared and on the watch for certain diseases.

Sometimes people want to know for their own curiosity or to explain certain behaviors. Dogs with a lot of terrier, for example, are likely to be smart but also likely to bark a lot.  Dog DNA Tests identify genetic markers, and what they mean.


Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel dog DNA test, is considering using their results to create food specialized for specific breeds. This is already a thing, and as Pets.wedMD.com points out, it isn’t necessary. And it can be misleading for owners. A food specially formulated for poodles, for example, doesn’t mean your poodle will be healthier or that a sick poodle will get better. Therapeutic diets can definitely help, but they’re formulated to address the problem, not the breed.

royal canin dog food

We’re already seeing this at the retail level, with kibble and canned from manufacturers like Eukanuba and Royal Canin. A food that is specific for Yorkshire Terriers, for example, recognizes that they (like nearly all small dogs) have a fast metabolism. So they need a diet higher in fat.

Plus, just because a food is breed-specific there is no guarantee that the food is of good quality. These same manufacturers who top up on useless fillers like corn in their other brands can do the same with breed-specific food.

What are genetic markers?

A genetic marker is a DNA sequence with a known physical location on a chromosome. Genetic markers can help link an inherited disease with the responsible gene.

Most of these kits will show you genetic markers that identify an estimated risk for more than 150 canine conditions.  But the problem is that genetic marker can indicate different variations of disease in different breeds. What could be fatal in a Collie is only a mild nuisance in a German Shepherd.

So you could be buying a big box of junk science, and get results that you don’t know what to do with.

Articles about Dog DNA Tests always mention the tragic case of a Pug owner who put her dog down based on hazy information from one of the leading Dog DNA Tests:

“….the story of a 13-year-old dog that was losing her ability to walk. Her owners decided to buy a $65 direct-to-consumer test, which showed a mutation linked to a neural disease called degenerative myelopathy (DM). Convinced that she would slowly die of the disease, her owners put her to sleep.

But the mutation for DM is notoriously hard to interpret. Kari Ekenstedt, a professor of anatomy and genetics at Purdue University, calls it the “ever controversial DM mutation.” The problem, she says, is that not having such a mutation is a good sign a dog does not have DM, but having a mutation does not guarantee the dog has the disease. It’s possible the dog Moses wrote about had an entirely treatable spinal disorder and did not need to be put down.”


Google Dog DNA Test and you’ll find a WHOLE BUNCH of “review sites.”

Review sites are set up to compare different brands, in any field, and they do just that.

But the site owner also offers ‘convenient’ links to buy any of the products reviewed. That’s how the person makes money.

So review sites are helpful but they are not true product research and are bound to have some degree of bias.

review sites for dog dna tests

Keep in mind that review sites like these are set up to sell merchandise, not find flaws or concerns with the products.

Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.

So what’s the final word on Dog DNA Tests?

Are they worth it or not? And are there any downsides or dangers?

thumbs down symbol


Pet genetics must be reined in,” an article says. If it is not, the experts argued, then companies will continue to profit by “selling potentially misleading and often inaccurate information,” pets and owners will suffer, opportunities to leverage the data to help dogs could be lost, and people will become “more distrustful of science and medicine.”

–  from animal research experts who published an op-ed in the scientific journal Nature. “Pet genomics medicine runs wild.”

thumbs up symbol


Another scientific journal quotes an expert who says,

There’s fantastic potential for dog DNA testing to improve the health of dogs. Already, scientists understand more and have improved circumstances for single-gene disorders through DNA testing.”

“Though the direct-to-consumer dog-DNA market has grown quickly, it is still early days for canine genetics.”

Read more in Atlantic magazine 

Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.

Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

Why do dogs have whiskers?

Why do dogs have whiskers?

Why do dogs have whiskers? These long, coarse hairs act like a dog’s GPS. Whiskers are sensitive to air currents, touch or vibrations so can help your dog find his way, especially in the dark.

Whiskers frame a dog’s eyes and are similar to our own eyebrows, and they emphasize the muzzle when a dog “smiles.” They’re called “tactile hairs,” but whiskers themselves do not feel anything… instead, they relay information about the size, shape, and speed of nearby objects so the dog can navigate his world. Since dogs are quite short-sighted (they can see well up close but not far away), they need the help of these mini-antennae to find their way.

Cutting off a dog’s whiskers can cause disorientation and confusion, and is not recommended. Besides that, cutting dog whiskers can also cause discomfort and potential infection during the regrowth process.

Dog’s whiskers, or feelers, are called vebrissae. They are sophisticated devices to help him get around.  Part GPS, part antenna and part sense of touch, whiskers are long coarse hairs that are packed with nerves at their roots or follicles.

What are the effects of cutting dog whiskers?

a dogs whiskers are like antenna

 A dog’s whiskers are like antennae.

The nerves at the base or follicle of each whisker are highly sensitive, and send messages to the dog’s brain.

When a whisker touches a surface or is moved by wind, it vibrates right down to the nerve which transmits that message to the brain.

Whiskers are SO sensitive, that they can pick up small changes in air currents.

 Whiskers themselves have no feeling, but when they are touch or moved, the nerves at their base send signals to the dog’s brain.

Whiskers help a dog determine how smooth or rough a nearby surface is. This is helpful because dogs can’t focus well on close up objects.

whiskers on dogs

Whiskers can be hard to see on a Morkie, but they are there.

Rats, seals, walruses, and monkeys all have prominent whiskers.

Most mammals have whiskers. Biologists think they first developed to help the animal in the dark, especially cats who tend to be nocturnal.

Did you know that a cat’s whiskers grow out to be exactly as long as a cat is wide/high? This is because cats use them to figure out if they can fit somewhere.

most mammals have whiskers

When kids draw cats, they always include whiskers; but they rarely include whiskers when drawing dogs.


drawings of cats by kids

drawings of dogs by kids


There are FOUR types of whiskers on dogs and each one has a special function

A dog’s superciliary whiskers – basically very long eyebrows – have another function. When they touch something, the dog’s eyes automatically close, so he doesn’t get poked in the eye.

Mystacial whiskers on either side of the upper lips pick up shifts in air currents. A dog can have up to 20 on each side. They’re sometimes called moustache whiskers.

That little tuft of whiskers under your Morkie’s chining — called an Inter-ramal Tuft – help him figure out how far away the food bowl is, and what’s right under his nose, which is where most dogs have a blind spot.

What happens if you cut a dog's whiskers?

Don’t ever cut your Morkie’s whiskers. But if you do by mistake, you should know it can leave him feeling disoriented and lost. The stress of that might make him cranky and growly.

It doesn’t HURT a dog to cut his whiskers but it does limit hunting and playing for a while. Dogs NEED their whiskers to get around their environment.


More questions about dog whiskers

1. What are whiskers made of?

Whiskers are the same as hair, but they’re about three times thicker. Whiskers and hair are made from keratin, a strong fibrous protein.  These specialized hairs are called vibrissae because they vibrate.

2. Can I pluck my Morkie’s whiskers?

NO, definitely not. There are so many nerves at the base of a whisker that pulling one out will certainly hurt. Quite a bit. Plus each whisker is deeply embedded, much more so than a regular hair.

3. Do dogs’ whiskers fall out?

They do fall out from time to time and it’s nothing to worry about. A new whisker grows in to replace the old one. However, if your Morkie is losing a LOT of whiskers at once, it’s a good idea to see your Vet. This could be a sign of something else going on, such as mange or ringworm.

4. Why do groomers sometimes cut off a dog’s whiskers?

Some groomers think that whiskers look scruffy, so cut them off for a clean look. Dogs who are in shows sometimes have their whiskers trimmed off too. But it’s not a good idea. Whiskers are much more than cosmetic, they serve a purpose. 

How big is a full grown Morkie?

How big is a full grown Morkie?

We get lots of questions about the size of full grown Morkies. The answer varies, depending on the adults. But here’s some information on how big a full grown Morkie is, and how to figure out how big your Morkie puppy will likely be.

Meet the Morkie

Morkies are the result of breeding a purebred Yorkshire Terrier with a purebred Maltese dog.  Now that Morkies are more popular, they’re also the result of breeding one Morkie to another.

Second, third and fourth generation Morkies are being bred together. However, there is still no standard or ideal coloring for Morkies who are a combination of the Maltese’s pure white coat, and the Yorkie’s brown, black and “blue” hair.

More About Yorkies

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 or they can become too assertive and even bossy.

Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, loves attention and is protective of his owners. The Yorkie is no lapdog.

More About Maltese

Like the Yorkie, the Maltese features a beautiful, flowing coat – but pure white. No other colors are allowed in a purebred Maltese.

Bred thousands of years ago, Maltese dogs were developed to be pampered lapdogs, and they take that job seriously. They are among the most gentle of all dogs, and are sweet natured and affectionate. Maltese are the ideal companion – loyal, vigorous and devoted.

About "Breed Standards"

The American Kennel Club, or AKC, was founded by just 12 people in 1884 in Philadelphia. The group met to talk about dog breeds, set standards for them, and to run dog shows and exhibits. 

Today, kennel clubs all around the world set detailed standards about each of their recognized breeds. 

In the USA, there are 193 recognoized breeds, including the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese. The Morkie is not a registered breed.

To read more about the breed standards for Yorkies, click here. And here for Maltese breed standards.

weight of yorkies and maltese

Here’s what the Breed Standards say about weight


The AKC Breed Standards for Maltese call for dogs which are under 7 pounds, with from 4 to 6 pounds preferred. However, Overall quality is to be favored over size.

Here’s how the body of a Maltese is described:

Body: Compact, the height from the withers to the ground equaling the length from the withers to the root of the tail. Shoulder blades are sloping, the elbows well knit and held close to the body. The back is level in topline, the ribs well sprung. The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong, and just slightly tucked up underneath.

For the Yorkshire Terrier, the  Standards say, “Weight: Must not exceed seven pounds.”  The Yorkie is shaped a little differently than the Maltese:

Body: Well proportioned and very compact. The back is rather short, the backline level, with height at shoulder the same as at the rump.

A full grown Morkie should be under 7 pounds, likely 4 to 6 pounds.

But QUALITY – a healthy, sturdy dog – is preferred over size.

Can your Morkie be “too small?”


Far from being preferred, so called Teacup dogs are actually runts, usually sickly. The worst part – they don’t live as long as a proper sized dog.

Disadvantages of dogs that are too small

Dogs that are smaller than they should be, are vulnerable in 5 ways:

    1. First, teacups have more health problems in general. They are more sensitive to potential hazards around the house; for example, a jump from the couch can break a leg. Plus small dogs often suffer from chronic diarrhea.
    2. A super-small dog faces higher risks if an operation is needed, even common neutering.
    3. Very small dogs are harder to potty train. Their bladders are that much smaller and owners say it takes at least 6 months to housetrain a teacup.
    4. Teacups normally need a lot of attention and can’t be left alone for a long period of time. They need food more often – 3 or 4 meals a day minimum. They can be high strung and are more prone to separation anxiety.
    5. Teacups don’t live as long. Most toy dogs live 14 or more years but teacups typically live just 5 or 6 years.

How big will YOUR Morkie puppy be?

Please check out this page to find out: How Big Will My Morkie Get?

Dog Facts: Cool Things About Our Canine Friends

Dog Facts: Cool Things About Our Canine Friends

Dogs have been our faithful companions for at least 20,000 years, and during that time we’ve learned a lot about them. Here are some new dog facts you may not know. Let’s get started.

A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human’s.

Your Morkie is as smart as a 2-year-old. He can probably understand about 250 words and gestures but can be taught up to a thousand words and gestures.

Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers are the only dogs that have a natural part down their back.

Salukis are the oldest dog breed

The oldest surviving dog breed? A Saluki, which appears on Egyptian tombs that go back more than 4,000 years.

More dog facts

Dogs are the most diverse animals on the planet; there are more than 300 dog breeds and they range from 6″ high to 33” high, and 3 pounds to 175 pounds.

There are about 600 million dogs in the world; 400 million are strays.

The United States has the most dogs in the world, at approximately 76 million.


American flag bandanas for dogs

Chow Chow dogs have blue tongues.

Also known as Chows, Chow Chows are one of the world’s oldest breeds. They look like lions, and are prized as exotic companions.

Why they have a blue tongue isn’t known, but when some Chows were exhibited at the London Zoo in the 1820s, their caretaker noticed their unusual mouth coloring. From that point on, these “wild dogs of China” were selectively bred to ensure they maintianed that blue-black tongue.

The first heating pads?

Known as the ancient dog of Malta, pampered Maltese lapdogs were kept in the sleeves of royalty, to keep the person warm.

At night, several Maltese dogs were put in the owner’s bed to keep feet warm.

In San Diego, officials were very concerned about falling light standards. Lampposts have been falling over, damaging cars and nearly hitting people. When they analyzed the problem, it turned out to be — dog pee!

A dog’s urine is highly corrosive. Combined with the rainy weather in San Diego, the lampposts didn’t have a chance.

Authorities are now urging neighbors to have their dogs pee on the fire hydrants instead, they are made of cast iron and won’t rust.

Worst dog hoarder ever

Kublai Khan, grandson of Ghengis, is said to have owned more than 5,000 dogs! His preferred breed, the Tibetan Mastiff. The Chinese Tibetan Mastiff is the larger cousin to the ancient Tibetan Mastiff and is bred to look like a Lion. The Tibetan Mastiff is said to possess real Lion’s blood. Some dogs have been reportedly sold for in excess of two million dollars in China. Most weigh more than 200 pounds.

He reigned from 1260 to 1294 and during that time, is credited with uniting China, taking a census and introducing regular taxationand post offices.


An Australian dog named Maggie lived to 30 years old, a record for any dog.

Some water-loving dogs have webbed feet, including The Newfoundland.

Dogs curl up in a ball to sleep to protect their vital organs from predators.

Dogs can actually see in color, not just black and white. They see mostly in green, yellow, blue and grey and cannot see red.

Dogs sweat through their paws – the only place where they have sweat glands.

Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular purebred dog in the United States for the last 26 years.

More cool facts about dogs

  • A dog’s nose print is as unique as our fingerprints and can be used to identify a single dog.
  • Mother dogs are pregnant for 58 to 68 days.
  • Scientists say dogs can’t feel guilt. Those guilty looks are a learned response to us being mad. Dogs CAN feel jealousy, however.


  • Basenji dogs cannot bark; instead, they yodel.
  • Breeds that bark the most include Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Fox Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers.

Timmy’s fallen into the well!

“Pal” the original dog to play Lassie,  lived to an exceptional 18 years old (1940 – 1958). Several generations of Pal’s descendants continued to play the role on various Lassie TV shows and movies — 7 movies and two TV series.

Royal Dogs

Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis since she as a child. The Queen’s first cousin, 13 or 14 times removed, is Queen Elizabeth I who reigned from 1558 to 1603. She was very fond of Maltese dogs and had several, often pictured in paintings of Her Majesty.

Aristotle also had a Maltese dog that  he adored; he mentions it in a poem he wrote in 370 B.C.

An adult dog has 42 teeth; we have 32.

Puppies have 28 teeth, which fall out starting in the 12th week. By the fourth month, most dogs have their permanent teeth. And no, dog’s teeth do not grow back!

Cavities are rare in dogs, but they can suffer from fractured and broken teeth and deep infections that call for a tooth removal. Smaller dogs have more problems with their teeth, thanks to plaque and tartar build-up in their jammed jawlines.

Dogs are mentioned 35 times in the Bible. References to dogs are rarely flattering – for example in Revelation 22:14 “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” The only breed mentioned in the Bible is the Greyhound, one of the “four things stately” in the Proverbs.

Dogs have 3 eyelids. The third eyelid, called a haw, helps keep their eyes moisturized.

Dogs align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field when they poop. What?!

The average litter is 4 to 6 puppies. Yorkies, Morkies and Maltese typically have 1, 2 or 3 puppies.

cracker jack dog called Bingo

The dog on the Cracker Jacks box is called Bingo.

worlds smallest dog was a yorkie


The smallest dog on record was a Yorkie, at 2.5” tall and 4 ounces.

A dog’s mouth is NOT cleaner than ours; in fact, it’s brimming with bacteria.

Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds, but we have 9,000.

Three or more pugs together are called a grumble.


photo: pugminded.com

More than 3,000 dogs participate in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held each year in New York.

Dogs have a special membrane in their eyes that’s like a mirror. That’s how they can see so well in the dark.

The Monopoly people have changed the Scottie Dog token to a Labradoodle, reflecting the popularity of doodles.

labradoodle token

The tough, swaggering Taco Bell dog was actually a female Chihuahua, called Gidget, who also starred in Legally Blonde 2.

taco bell dog

More about the Morkie – do Morkies shed?

More about the Morkie – do Morkies shed?

Do Morkies shed? No… and yes.  ALL creatures shed to some degree, but when it comes to low shedding dogs, Morkies are among the lowest of the low 🙂


lowest of the low... shedders


 When it comes to shedding, that is.

If we’re comparing dogs, then the Morkie is right up there, with dogs who are the MOST hypoallergenic, and the MOST allergy free.

They may not be perfectly so, but Morkies are every bit as hypoallergenic and allergy-free as any dog, be it Poodle, Schnauzer or Shih Tzu.

That’s because all those breeds have hair, not fur. So there’s no undercoat that’s light, fluffy and always shedding. Shed fur carries with it dander from the skin, along with dust and micro debris. This is a big problem if you have allergies.

Do Morkies shed?

Dogs with hair instead of fur, lose that hair just like we do, one strand at a time.

The American Kennel Club says this about hypoallergenic dogs:

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are a variety of breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander. Dander, which is attached to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in humans.

They’re quoting from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Instead of a double layer of fur like most dogs, Morkies have a single layer or coat that is hair, like humans. Each hair grows from a follicle, which eventually dies and the hair drops off.

Most breeds have double coats, including the Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Lab, and most terriers. Double coated dogs actually have three types of hair – whiskers, guard hair, and undercoat. The soft, fluffy undercoat sheds continually or at certain times of the year, in significant amounts.

Maltese, Yorkies and therefore Morkies have hair, not fur so don’t shed like most dogs.

Besides being hypoallergenic or not, there are some other differences between hair and fur on a dog.

FUR provides warmth and cooling insulation during hot weather. HAIR is simply decorative.

FUR protects dogs better from insect bites, sun and scrapes, and bumps. HAIR doesn’t offer that kind of protection.

What does it mean to be allergic to dogs?

Pet allergies typically appear as coughing and wheezing, red, itchy eyes and a runny, stuffed nose, or you could suffer from raised, red patches of skin (hives), Eczema, or Itchy skin.

When it comes to allergies, keep in mind:

  • Two dogs of the same breed can each give off very different levels of allergen.
  • Dander – flakes of skin – is a harmless substance, but it is the #1 cause of allergic reactions for people allergic to dogs
  • Dogs’ coats carry lots of other allergens, including pollen and outside dust

Dealing with Allergies

People handle allergies to dogs in different ways: 

  • completely avoid them – pretty tough, since more than 50% of homes in Canada, the U.S.A, and Great Britain have one or more dogs
  • clean fanatically, and use a HEPA filter on your vacuum to catch the extra small allergens
  • use air filters throughout your living space
  • keep the dog out of your bedroom
  • speak to your doctor about using antihistamines and decongestants to relieve allergy symptoms. Some people find that allergy shots are a good option, but they take years for a full course of treatment

Regular brushing can be beneficial, but experts say bathing then dog more often doesn’t usually help.


Another irritant for allergy sufferers: dog saliva 

Some people are allergic to the saliva or urine of a dog (or other animals) so the coat has no bearing at all on their suffering. Even the American Hairless Terrier wouldn’t work for them.

You can read more about these energetic, alert little dogs at the AKC site here.

The American Hairless Terrier

Dog hair and dander are the triggers for nearly all pet allergies…. or are they?

Pet allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in an animal’s skin cells, saliva or urine. But how much is caused by shedding fur?

Dueling experts: conflicting opinions about dog allergies

The renowned Mayo Clinic says that most often, pet allergy is triggered by exposure to the dead flakes of skin (dander) a pet sheds along with fur.

But the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (phew) says that the main source of dogs allergen is saliva. So-called hypoallergenic cats and dogs may shed less fur than shedding types, but no breed is truly hypoallergenic.

I’d agree with the Mayo Clinic, since pet dander, being airborne, can remain in the environment longer and be recirculated by the slightest movement of air. It’s so small it easily collects in furniture and can stick to your clothes.


morkie with funny messy hair

Want to read more about Morkies?

Check out this site from Great Britain: Barking Royalty.  

They have a special section on Morkies… which they adorably call MORKSHIRE TERRIERS.  Enjoy!

Morkshire terriers



The Morkie Temperament: What to expect

The Morkie Temperament: What to expect

Morkies are the popular offspring of a purebred Yorkshire Terrier and a purebred Maltese dog. Both these parents are tiny, non-shedding dogs that stay small. But temperament-wise, Yorkies and Maltese are quite different. So what can you expect in a Morkie?

Most of us assume a mix of Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese dog results in the best of both breeds — a loyal companion who’s smart as a Yorkie, and as loving as a Maltese.  The Maltese can soften the Yorkie’s more aggressive side. Meanwhile, the Yorkie can add more brainpower to the Maltese side. 

But what if the mix results in the worst of both breeds? It CAN happen. The Morkie could be aggressive like a Yorkie and hard to housetrain like a Maltese. That’s why it’s so important you’re OK with the pros and cons of each breed.


The Yorkie

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 or they can become too assertive and even bossy.

Though small, the Yorkshire Terrier is active, loves attention and is protective of his owners. The Yorkie is no lapdog.

The Maltese

Like the Yorkie, the Maltese features a beautiful, flowing coat – but pure white, no other colors are allowed in a purebred Maltese.

Bred thousands of years ago, Maltese dogs were developed to be pampered lapdogs, and they take that job seriously. They are among the most gentle of all dogs and are sweet natured and affectionate. Maltese are the ideal companion – loyal, vigorous and devoted.

a morkie is half and half yorkie and maltese

How smart are Morkies?

Dr. Stanley Coren is a noted animal behaviorist who has ranked intelligence in dogs on 3 different scales:

  • instinctive intelligence: what a dog was bred for. The Yorkie as bred to chase and kill vermin in Victorian England. The Maltese was bred as a prized lapdog of royalty.
  • adaptive intelligence: what a dog can learn to do for himself. Examples include remembering where treats are kept or how to undo a latch.
  • working and obedience intelligence: what a dog can learn in formal training.

Dr. Coren has tested and ranked all 132 recognized breeds; the Yorkie is #27 which is above average; the Maltese is #59 of 132, or just below average. 

Where would the Morkie rank? Of course somewhere between #27 and #59.

Watch out for Small Dog Syndrome in your Morkie

Whether your Morkie is more Yorkie or more Maltese in temperament, there’s one more factor that can influence behavior, and that’s small dog syndrome.

Not to be confused with Canine Anxiety Disorder, small dog syndrome is a learned behavior. Small dog syndrome, or the tendency for tiny dogs to be yappy, untrained, snappy and generally obnoxious, is not something that is natural or common to small breeds by nature. It’s learned behavior that is brought about by the way we owners treat our toy dogs.

As humans, we are programmed by Mother Nature to coddle and take special care of creatures we perceive as ‘babies.’ No surprise, it’s a biological response, and it’s how our race has survived.

The problem is, toy dogs, with their big eyes and tiny size, bring out that same “babying” tendency in us, even when they are adult dogs. So we keep over-compensating for their small size (carrying them everywhere!) and overlooking bad behavior that we would never tolerate in a medium or large size dog.

The good news is, with some understanding of the roots of the problem and active steps to counteract it, you’ll have a happier, healthier and more centered small dog soon.

The #1 Cause of Small Dog Syndrome

If your toy dog is a pain in the neck, he’s probably suffering from small dog syndrome and the problem originates with — YOU!

What small dog syndrome is NOT

  • it’s not a high-spirited, outgoing dog.
  • it’s not a happy, sociable dog.
  • it’s not a high-personality dog.

How to conquer small dog syndrome?

Remember, your Morkie is:

  • first an animal.
  • then a dog.
  • then the breed – a Morkie.
  • then, and only then, your pet named “X.”

Once you understand your role in treating your Morkie like a little person, not a dog, then you can start taking steps to combat the problem including:

  • stop carrying your little dog all over – do you see a 15-year-old human child in a stroller?
  • don’t let your little dog jump up on you – would it be OK if your dog were a Rottweiler?
  • let your dog know with a sharp verbal correction, incessant barking and yapping are not acceptable. Or withdraw your attention to make your point.
  • don’t let your small dog sit on you to “claim you.” As the owner, you set the time for snuggles.
  • ensure your little dog has his own bed and designated quiet area; a corner or an open door crate works well.
  • don’t encourage hysterical behavior by comforting your dog; just ignore it.

20 Things Your Dog Hates

20 Things Your Dog Hates

You really love your little Morkie so you might be surprised to learn there are a bunch of things we people do that dogs HATE. Are you guilty of any of these?

20 Things Your Dog Hates

1. Hugging – to your dog, you are asserting your dominance. A dog may feel threatened or fearful or just hate the feeling.

2. Patting his head – your dogs will put up with it, but experts say it’s better to gently pet a dog’s back or under the chin.

3. Patting his face – if he pulls back or leans away, he definitely doesn’t like it.

4. Lack of structure, rules, and routine.

5. Constant changes to routine.

Dogs love routine and count on everyday life being the same.

6. Keeping the leash too tight on walks. With a sense of smell thousands and thousands of times better than ours, they want to SNIFF!

7. When you’re tense, dogs know it and tense up themselves. Take a deep breath.

8. Teasing – stupid stuff like pulling a dog’s tail Not funny to the dog and you might get bitten. Teasing makes him shy, insecure or aggressive.

9. Staring CAN be perceived by your dog as a challenge. Look into his eyes for just a few seconds then break off. Staring can be very disturbing to a dog.

10. Yelling = angry barking to him. Cool it.


11. Being left alone all the time. Dogs are highly social animals and depend on us for the basics, as well as love and affection.

12. Being in the house 24/7.

Dogs like to get outside to explore.

13. Waking him up suddenly. Yes, dogs dream too and they don’t like the abrupt switch back to reality.

14. Forcing him to play with other dogs.

15. Fireworks, lightning, and thunder.

16. Picking up upside down, or suddenly scooping up from the ground.

17. Putting on an alpha dog act – leaning over a puppy, for example, can frighten him.

What dog DOESN'T hate the vacuum?

18. Expecting him to understand words instead of using your body language.

19. Bugging your dog for kisses when he hasn’t offered first. He will think that again, you’re trying to make him submit. Try belly rubs instead.

20. The vacuum – a dog fears the vacuum’s vibrations; to him a vacuum signals danger is near.
er a puppy, for example, can frighten him.

Enjoy this wonderful graphic by talented Lili Chin.

Lili Chin drawing


Why does my dog lick me so much?

Why does my dog lick me so much?

Let’s face it, dogs can do a lot of weird stuff. Like following us into the bathroom, staring intently at us for no apparent reason, and sleeping on top of us in the night. But one question comes up over and over: why does my dog lick me so much?

Dog experts say there could be a number of reasons dogs lick so much

Sure, one reason dogs lick us so much is simple affection. It’s what dogs do. Short bursts of lots of licks usually mean love. That’s the most common reason for face licks. (More about love licks on this post.)

Heart symbol

But other reasons for a lot of licking can include:

  • obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • it could be stress or anxiety
  • because we taste good (sweaty and salty)
  • he’s grooming you
  • or he’s letting you know that he’s trying to avoid conflict.

OK, so why DOES my Morkie lick me so much if it's not love?

Compulsive licking

Licking a lot can be a sign that there’s something else going on with your dog. Something has caused a compulsion or even obsessive-compulsive behavior.

It’s not that likely that licking YOU ‘too much’ is caused by obsessive or compulsive behavior problems though. Dogs who lick compulsively tend to lick themselves, or some strange object like a pillow or even the wall.

Stress or anxiety licking

If he’s licking you, the couch or something else for more than a few of licks, it can mean he’s looking for stress relief. And licking can be soothing.

Maybe he hasn’t had enough exercise and is bored, or something else is causing him stress. What’s changed recently in his environment?

The yummy lick

Dogs love the taste of salt, so if we can seem like a tasty treat sometimes.

Maybe you’re just out of the shower and all of a sudden you feel that familiar little tongue on your legs. That’s a sign he’s trying to help you dry off, plus he may like the novel taste of soap. (Sometimes big dogs will actually steal soap and run off to eat it!)

Grooming licks

Like nearly all animals, dogs will groom one another as a sign of submission. Your Morkie might be showing you he’s no threat and that you’re the boss, or he might just like grooming you.

The OK now leave me alone kiss

Putting your face right up to your dog can seem aggressive to a dog; sometimes dogs will give you a quick lick or two because they know from experience, you’ll leave them alone then. It’s a passive, appeasing response.

Over-the-top dog kisses

 Want your Morkie to stop licking you so much?

Try to distract him as he approaches for kisses. His favorite toy or a little treat might do it. However, as Certified Professional Dog Trainer Nick Hof says, you DON’T want to inadvertently reinforce the licking behavior with a treat or chew. That could actually increase the licking.

One simple way to kick your dog’s licking habit is to simply to walk out of the room  when he starts. He’ll soon understand that licking too much means you’ll leave. And that’s the last thing he wants.

Two other kinds of licking: paws and the air

Paw licking

Dogs licking their feet a lot usually signals an allergy, to either food or the environment. Allergies to flea bites can also be the trigger, or a new diet. Vets say that dogs who lick or chew their paws a lot are probably dealing with allergies.

Try wiping down your Morkie’s paws with a damp cloth when you come in from outdoors to get as much pollen off as possible, and consider switching to a low-allergen food like lamb and rice.

If your Morkie is still licking his paws like mad, it’s time to talk to your Vet about allergies or some other cause.

Read more: why does my Morkie lick her paws?

Air licking

When a dog licks his own lips and looks away, or constantly flicks his tongue out, it usually means he’s stressed.

But he might lick at the air for other reasons. 

A little bit of licking can mean he’s hungry; a lot of air licking could mean gastrointestinal problemsIn fact, dog constantly licking the air could be suffering from nausea.

Or, your Morkie may lick the air or his own lips a lot to signal that he needs your assurance.

Now it’s up to you to find out the cause.


Wait, are dog kisses even SAFE?

The jury is out on this; some say they’re just fine and others are worried about dog kisses.

John Oxford, professor of virology and bacteriology at the Queen Mary University in London, warns that a dog COULD pass along bacteria, viruses, and germs of all sorts. Plus, ringworm can be passed to people from dogs fairly easily.

Common sense takes over: if your dog looks sickly or he hangs out by the garbage cans in an alley, then no, don’t do kisses on the mouth. And definitely discourage children from dog kisses since kids are more vulnerable to picking up something.

Read more about what worms you could catch from your dog: Symptoms of worms in dogs

Now there’s an app for that!

Called Dog Decoder, this app for iPhones and Androids is amazing. It can definitely help you figure out what your dog’s saying and is recommended by Vets and animal behaviorists.

The app was developed by Jill Breitner, who has spent almost 40 years studying canine body language. And bonus — it features the adorable illustrations of Lili Chin.

Mixed breed dogs – hybrid or not?

Mixed breed dogs – hybrid or not?

Someone’s trying to tell you that a Morkie or other designer dog is a hybrid dog? Don’t listen. Morkies and other designer pooches  are NOT hybrid dogs and they’re not necessarily any healthier thanks to “hybrid vigor.” Here’s why.


Hybrids are different species

Dogs are all the SAME species

Dogs are all the same species: Canis lupus familiaris

In the scientific world, all dogs are members of the genus Canines. Check out the direct line from the grey wolf to our dogs today.


where dogs fit in the animal kingdom


Are designer dogs HYBRIDS?

Well, actually…..There’s really no such thing as a hybrid dog… unless you’re crossing a dog and a cat.

A mule is a hybrid animal since it comes from breeding a donkey and a horse which are two different species.


donkey plus horse equals a mule

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The Myth of Hybrid Vigor

Are designer dogs actually healthier?

Some fans of the mixed breed believe that the offspring of two different breeds are actually healthier than purebreds.

The theory goes that mixed breeds with their deeper gene pool – are less likely to have common genetic disorders found in virtually all purebreds. By combining two different breeds, these problems in effect, cancel one another out. But in reality, combining two different breeds can result in the problems doubling!

For example, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can be prone to collapsed trachea or windpipe. It’s important when breeding Morkies, that the breeder watches for this tendency in either parent.


All dogs are the same species

No matter how different they look from one another, all dogs are the same species: Canis familiaris.

All originate from the grey wolf.

Thousands and thousands of years ago, there were five distinct types of dogs:

  1. Mastiff
  2. Wolf-like dogs
  3. Greyhounds
  4. Pointer-type
  5. Sheepdogs


Over the centuries, interbreeding, genetic mutation and man’s desire to ‘refine’ certain qualities in some dogs, resulted in the 400+ distinctive dog breeds we know today.

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Morkies: Designer dogs or mutts?

Morkies: Designer dogs or mutts?

Truth be told, the combo of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese dog is a mixed breed dog or as we used to say, a MUTT. But what’s wrong with that? And why do some people insist that a Morkie is a designer dog? Or even a hybrid? What’s the difference?

yorkie plus maltese dog equals a morkie

First, let’s meet the parents

Purebreed dogs

A purebred dog is the result of 2 pure breeds from the same breed, mating. Pretty simple. This is planned, and the parents are usually carefully selected to avoid certain hereditary problems common to that breed. 

The puppies are identical in almost every way, to the parents. Everyone knows what to expect.

Purebred dogs are often registered with that country’s Kennel Club:

  • in the USA, it’s the AKC or American Kennel Club
  • Canada, the CKC or Canadian Kennel Club
  • Great Britain, it’s simply The Kennel Club

Among other things, these clubs exist to uphold the breed standards of dog. For example, the AKC standards, approved in 1964, call for: 

General Appearance: The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion.

The standards dictate that the neck should be like this:

Neck: Sufficient length of neck is desirable as promoting a high carriage of the head.


show dog maltese

A true show dog, this Maltese meets all the breed standards.

Meet the Mutt

Parentage of the mutt is usually unknown, and the breeding is probably not planned. So of course, the size, characteristics, and temperament of the offspring are unknown too. 

Mutts are often adopted from a shelter or rescue or shared among family and friends. Typically it costs about $300 to adopt which covers neutering, vaccinations and any other medical needs the dog might have.

Mutts are great for people who want a surprise, and for people who want a unique, one-of-a-kind dog. Mutts are really trending now too, with stars like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Upton, and Ellen proclaiming undivided love for their mixed breeds. 


Top right, Ryan Gosling and his lovable mutt

Top bottom: Ellen and her mutts



And now, the Designer Dog

The key difference between a mutt and a designer dog? Planned. Designer dogs are the offspring of two different pure breeds. The mating is planned and the results are planned, or hoped for!  They’re not always 50/50. Combining different breeds doesn’t mean you will end up with the best of both, and it doesn’t mean a 50/50 split of characteristics. Lack of consistency in the dogs is one of the major hurdles for designer dogs looking to breed a new combination.

The cost of a designer dog can be quite high – typically between $1,000 and $2,000 which is usually much more than the purebred parents.

While some less-than-honest breeders of designer dogs may say their pups are registered, mixed breed or designer dogs, cannot be registered. There is no Kennel Club to hold them to account. And there is no central registry for information about the parents,  grandparents, and great-grandparents. 

maltese mix puppy

Some Maltese mix designer dogs

Maltese x Miniature Pinscher = Malti-Pin
Maltese x Miniature Schnauzer = Mauzer
Maltese x Norwich Terrier=Nortese
Maltese x Papillon = Papitese
Maltese x Pekingese = Peke-A-Tese
Maltese x Pomeranian = Maltipom
Maltese x Poodle = Malt-A-Poo
Maltese x Pug = Malti-pug
Maltese x Schipperke = Schipese
Maltese x Scottish Terrier = Scottese
Maltese x Shih Tzu = Mal-Shi
Maltese x Silky Terrier = Silkese
Maltese x Westie = Highland Maltie
Maltese x Yorkshire Terrier = Morkie

So what’s the beef with designer dogs?

If you google “Morkies” you’ll find a ton of people selling Morkie puppies, some fans and some real haters out there. Why the negative response to so-called “designer dogs?”

Some people, me included, object to ‘backyard breeders.’  These are people who are into the dog business purely for the money.  You’ve heard about them and you’ve seen the heartbreaking pictures of puppy mills. Just no excuse on earth for that kind of inhumane cruelty.

But there are other breeders who are interested to see what happens when favorites like Yorkies and Maltese, are combined. Is there anything wrong with that?  I don’t think so; after all, how did ANY dog breed come into being? From combining selected offspring from litters and breeding them with one another.

Some of us like purebred dogs, some like mutts from the pound and others want a one-of-a-kind blend… so to all the haters out there, lighten up and enjoy!  Even the most highly-bred show dog got its start somewhere!

What matters is WHERE you get your dog.

Some of my favorite books about dogs

Some of my favorite books about dogs

I was scared off reading books about dogs when I was 11. That’s when I read Old Yeller and I thought I would NEVER get over it. I mean, who writes a book about a  kid who has to shoot his best friend, a yellow dog? By now, many years (ok decades) have passed, and I’ve finally started reading books about dogs again. Here are some of my favorites.

Books about dogs - Old Yeller

The plot of Old Yeller

From Wikipedia

“In the late 1860s in Texas, young Travis Coates has been working to take care of his family ranch with his mother and younger brother, Arliss, while his father goes off on a cattle drive. When a “dingy yellow” dog comes for an unasked stay with the family, Travis reluctantly takes in the dog, which they name Old Yeller. The name has a double meaning: The fur color yellow pronounced as “yeller” and the fact that its bark sounds more like a human yell.

“Though Travis initially loathes the “rascal” and at first tries to get rid of it, the dog, a Black Mouth Cur, eventually proves his worth, saving the family on several occasions, rescuing Arliss from a bear, Travis from a bunch of wild hogs, and Mama and their friend Lisbeth from a loafer wolf. Travis grows to love Old Yeller, and they become great friends. The rightful owner of Yeller shows up looking for his dog and recognizing that the family has become attached to Yeller, trades the dog to Arliss for a horned toad and a home-cooked meal prepared by Travis’ mother, who is an exceptional cook.

“Old Yeller is bitten while saving his family from a rabid wolf. Travis is faced with the harsh decision that he must kill Old Yeller after the fight with the wolf, which he does because he cannot risk Yeller’s becoming sick and turning on the family. Old Yeller had puppies with one of Travis’ friend’s dogs, and one of the puppies helps Travis get over Old Yeller’s death. They take in the new dog and try to begin a fresh start.”

A few of my favorite books starring dogs

The  Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

The hero in this book is a dog called Enzo. He’ s funny, he’s philosophical and he’s obsessed with opposable thumbs. Enzo watches a lot of TV to learn about people. He also listens carefully to his owner, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming racing car driver.

As he looks back on his life, Enzo realizes that racing isn’t just about going fast; turns out, you can use some of the principals needed on the race track, to successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

And Denny does go through ordeals; he loses his wife and must fight for custody of his little girl. And more.

This book is mostly funny, and partly sad and moving. But as a dog lover, you’ll love it!


available at amazon


Books about dogs - Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Books about dogs - Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus, by Steven Rowley

“From the cover: When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride. The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

“For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.”

available at amazon

Sounder, by William H. Armstrong

A family classic, Sounder was written in 1969. It is the powerful story of a poor sharecropper family in the Deep South, and the boy’s coon hound, Sounder.

When the family finally gets a break – they find some food – the Sheriff isn’t far behind. But Sounder never leaves their side.

Written for 8 to 14-year-olds, this is a timeless story of struggle, faith, loyalty, and redemption for all ages, told through the love of Sounder.


available at amazon

Sounder by William Amstrong
The Gift of Jazzy, by Cindy Adams

The Gift of Jazzy, by Cindy Adams.

Not a true classic, this book is still enjoyable and has special interest to us Morkie, Yorkie and Maltese lovers.

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams is deeply distraught over the death of her husband, and the gift of a small dog from a friend is the last thing she wants. But ultimately, Jazzy, the tiny Yorkie went from being an unwelcome surprise to a beloved family member.

Written in Cindy Adam’s trademark wise-cracking style, The Gift of Jazzy is a short read that’s funny, moving and hopeful.


available at amazon

Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis.

 Imagine the ancient Greek gods, Hermes and Apollo, playing a game; they wager a bet on what would happen if dogs were given human intelligence. Would they be happier than mankind? Or less happy? 

The 15 dogs chosen by the gods are overnighting at a Toronto Vet Clinic. With human intelligence, they’re soon divided against each other. Each struggles with new thoughts and feelings and each develops a unique life. Goodreads calls it, “By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange,” and that’s not the half of it!


available at amazon

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Marley and Me, by John Grogan

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan.

Here’s one instance where the movie lived up to the book. Starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. In the story, Marley is a lovable but incorrigible Lab.

He fails out of obedience school and has a habit of doing the very worst thing he can at many moments. (I love the scene where he crashes into the swimming pool at a posh real estate open house).

Heartbreakingly funny, sad and wise, Marley & Me is the story of a life lived with an exceptional dog.


available at amazon

Finding Gobi, by Dion Leonard.

Dion Leonard, an ultramarathon runner, crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China.

This is an incredible true story, of a tiny dog with a huge heart, and how she opened the hardened heart of her finder. Amazing, triumphant and heart-stopping – before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. A real page-turner.


available at amazon

Finding Gobi, by Dion Leonard

And of course, who could forget these 3 classics!

How many times have you read these to a child?

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

Go Dog, Go!

By P.D. Eastman and edited by Dr. Seuss. From big dogs and little dogs to red, green, and blue dogs, dogs going up and dogs going fast . . . who knew dogs were so busy?

available at amazon

Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion

Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion

Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, this book was first published in 1956 and remains a solid favorite. The family dog Harry is fed up with bathtiime. So he buries the bathtub scrubber and runs away from home. Will the family recognize him when he returns, dirty?

available at amazon

101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith.

101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith.

This 1956 story has been adapted dozens of times but remains the same at its core: the Dearly family’s two Dals, Pongo and Missis, give birth to 15 puppies. Newly married, the Dearlys panic, the dogs are stolen and the game is on!

available at amazon

What is it about books about dogs?

woman crying over dog bookWe know it’s just a story, but the tears come anyway.

Psychology Today says that it has to do with oxycontin. Not the drug Oxycodone, but the powerful natural hormone that works on the brain. Experiments have proven that empathy was highly correlated with the spike in oxytocin.

So we cry at movies and at sad books because oxytocin is imperfectly tuned: it doesn’t recognize that it’s “just a story” and kicks in anyway. Our sense of empathy is turned WAY up, and the tears follow. But don’t be embarrassed; empathy is a vital part of intelligence and is high among successful individuals.

(And by the way, women release more oxytocin than men, and are more empathetic. But both cry.)


Here's what I'm working on

So far, love the title 🙂

What’s YOUR favorite book starring a dog?

Share with us in the comments below. Thanks!

The feature photo comes from a painting by Albert Edelfelt [Public domain] called Good Friends (Portrait of the Artist’s Sister Bertha Edelfelt)  Click to see a larger version of this lovely work.