Taylor A Ritz
Are you looking for a tiny, cuddly companion? Or an adorable, confident breed with a long life expectancy? Consider a Chorkie.
What is a Chorkie, you ask? A Chorkie is the cross of a purebred Chihuahua with a purebred Yorkshire Terrier (or Yorkie). Such a 50-50 cross of two different purebred breeds is often called a “designer dog.” Designer dogs are not breeds recognized by official kennel clubs but are still popular options for canine companions nonetheless.
To identify the origin of the Chorkie, we must first discuss where the two parent breeds, the Chihuahua and the Yorkshire Terrier, originated.
There are many stories surrounding the origin of the Chihuahua. The most common theory, however, is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog popular in the Toltec civilization in Mexico. These ancient canines are depicted in cave paintings as far back as 300 B.C.
The breed is named for the state of Chihuahua, in Mexico, where they were most commonly found and thought to originate. It is thought that Chihuahuas were bred to hunt rats and other small animals as well as to be a source of food for civilizations in what is now modern-day Mexico.
The Yorkshire Terrier, as the name indicates, was developed in Yorkshire, England, during the 19th century. Though details are scarce, records suggest that immigrants from Scotland into the northern counties of England brought with them a variety of small terriers. Breeding records were not kept, but breeds like the Black-and-Tan Terrier, Paisley Terrier, and Clydesdale Terrier were most likely utilized to create the Yorkie.
So, where does the Chorkie come in?
While there is no clear origin story for the creation of the Chorkie, it’s commonly accepted that breeding began in North America sometime in the early 1990s. This mixed breed has begun to gain exponential popularity in recent years. These dogs are a popular choice among single people, the elderly, and, due to their compact size, those who travel often.
Due to their status as a mixed-breed, the appearance of a Chorkie can vary. Even individuals from the same litter can look different from one another. Overall, the Chorkie is a tiny dog with a small head, large eyes, and large, erect ears.
Some sport the silky, long coat of the Yorkie while others exhibit the short, coarse coat of the Chihuahua. Most Chorkies exhibit the coat coloration of the Yorkshire Terrier, with a black coat and tan markings on the feet and face.
Chorkies are tiny dogs. They often weigh no more than nine pounds, with some weighing as little as five pounds. Their height usually measures between six and nine inches at the shoulder.
Despite their diminutive size, Chorkies can eat a lot! These dogs can be prone to obesity, so make sure to monitor food intake and body condition. Follow serving-size recommendations from pet food manufacturers or instructions from your veterinarian as well.
Diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on their age (puppy, senior, etc.) and activity level. Dry food is better than wet food in terms of dental health, which is especially important since smaller dogs are known to experience their fair share of oral issues.
Like all mixed breeds, the temperament of a Chorkie is often a unique mix of the characteristics of both parent breeds. Both Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers are confident, energetic, playful, and often stubborn. The likelihood of these traits being passed on to the Chorkie offspring is quite high.
Like any dog, early exposure to as many people, places, and other animals as possible can only help create a more well-rounded dog. Many Chorkies develop the Chihuahua habit of barking anytime they feel the need to alert their owners of “suspicious activity.” Along with the Yorkie’s fearlessness, these traits can combine to create an effective watchdog.
Training and socialization are vital from an early age for any dog. Chorkies are intelligent and eager to please their people, but they can also be quite stubborn. With patience and dedication, training your Chorkie can be a pleasant experience for both of you.
At a minimum, you should teach behaviors such as come, sit, and stay to keep your Chorkie safe. In addition to keeping them safe, engaging their minds is vital to the health of your Chorkie; mental exercise can be just as tiring as a physical workout for your dog.
Avoid harsh training methods such as shouting or punishment, as these will likely cause your Chorkie to shut down during a training set. Instead, stick with positive reinforcement and keep training sessions short and fun. If you begin to feel frustrated, end your training session as soon as possible.
While mixed-breeds tend to suffer fewer health problems than many pure breeds, Chorkies are still prone to a couple of health issues inherited from their purebred parents, such as the following:
Chorkies have a long life expectancy, which is typical for a dog their size. Usually, they live between 13 and 15 years.
Despite their small size, Chorkies have plenty of energy. Thankfully, their small size means they don’t need a ton of room to burn all that energy. They also tire relatively quickly. Thirty minutes of exercise each day, inside or outside, should be enough to keep your Chorkie happy. Tiring out your pup will not only help you maintain their weight, but a tired dog is also a more well-behaved dog.
Note: if playing in an outdoor yard, do not leave your Chorkie unsupervised. Their tiny size can make them prone to escaping yards, even if they are fenced, and they can even be carried off by large birds of prey.
A Chorkie’s grooming needs depend heavily on what kind of coat they inherit. Long-haired Chorkies need a good brushing at least twice a week to keep their coats free of mats and tangles. Short-haired Chorkies require significantly less grooming. Neither coat type sheds very often, but the long-haired variety does require periodic trims.
A Chorkie is incredibly sweet, loving, and loyal. They bond quite strongly with their human companions and love nothing more than to snuggle up on the laps of their family members. They shed little and will watch your house as well as such a small dog can.
These dogs thrive in any kind of home, with or without a fenced yard. The Chorkie makes an excellent, gentle, loving addition to any home.
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