The Dorkie: A Complete Guide

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The small and loveable Dorkie is the hybrid combination of the Dachshund and the Yorkshire Terrier. Both are known for their feisty demeanour and for being loyal companions.

The Dorkie embodies all of these traits and can either be trained as a proficient small hunting dog or as a friendly family dog.

The Dachshund has a history as a small German hunting dog. They were used primarily for fox hunting and for small game.

Their long, skinny bodies allowed them to chase these small animals into their burrows and underground tunnels.

Sometimes they would drive them out for their human hunting companions to pick off, or sometimes they would take the prey on themselves, and bring their prize up from underground.

Today they are known for having excellent show dog appeal. Their silky, black coat of fur and their reputation for obedience make them favourites among trainers.

They are very loyal, friendly, and dedicated little dogs who are people pleasers and who will do anything to make their owners happy.

The Yorkshire Terrier was a small English terrier that was bred specifically as a small farm dog.

They were mostly kept around the stables and grain stores to keep the rats and other small vermin away, but they were sometimes taken out on small hunting expeditions.

They have great noses and are courageous enough to face off against larger animals.

The hybrid Dorkie has many of these same traits that it inherits from the parenting breeds.

They can be quite different from dog to dog, depending which genes are the most prominent, so it’s important to look at the characteristics and attitudes of both of the parents if you want an accurate prediction of how your Dorkie is going to behave.

Dorkie Puppies – Before You Buy…

A Dorkie lying on a blanket
The Dorkies are great with kids.

The Dorkie needs a significant amount of attention in their puppyhood training, and they also need lots of exercises.

If you don’t train them well, then they can grow into very rebellious and hostile little dogs, and if they don’t get enough exercise, then they will take out their pent-up energy inside your house.

Let’s take a look at the other information that you should know before bringing home your first Dorkie.

What Price are Dorkie Puppies?

Dorkies are relatively cheap, and you can bring home a puppy for $600 to $800 depending on the breeder.

Their price will also depend greatly on who their parenting dogs were.

High pedigree Yorkshire Terriers and Dachshunds can easily cost up to $2,000, but the ones that are used to breed the Dorkie tend to be house pets and aren’t as expensive.

How to Find Reputable Dorkie Breeders?

Dorkies don’t look like many other dogs on the market, and the few that they do are more expensive.

It is more common for a dishonest breeder to pass a Dorkie off as a more expensive dog than lie to a buyer who wants to buy a Dorkie in the first place.

The main difference that you will run into is that you will find breeders who will try to overvalue the price of the parenting Yorkie, saying that it was a show dog worth thousands of dollars.

It’s a good idea to check the pedigree papers of the parent breeds before you accept a final price.

Because of the popularity of this dog, it is bred all across the country. There are local and online distributors everywhere, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a breeder.

Before you make your final purchase, however, do your research on the breeder and make sure that they have a good reputation and keep a good stock.

3 Little known facts about Dorkie puppies

  1. Dorkies are very friendly dogs and will make friends with anybody who is in the house.
  2. Dorkie pups will instinctively chase around other small animals so if you have a pet hamster or pet rat, make sure to keep them out of reach.
  3. Dorkies will need to be properly housebroken when you bring them home. In their puppyhood, they have been known to use the bathroom in the house a lot.

Physical Traits of the Dorkie

Dorkie is a hybrid of the Dachshund and Yorkshire Terrier
The Dorkie has short legs.

The Dorkie tends to take after the Dachshund in its body shape.

They tend to have the long, lean, and tubular torso that gives the Dachshund such a distinct shape. Dorkies have short, stubby legs which give them a short height.

These small legs mean that they don’t have a lot of running endurance.

They are great when it comes to short bursts of energy. If you are going to take them outside, make sure that you don’t run them too hard or they can get heatstroke.

These dogs get their fur coat from the Yorkie. It is long, wavy, and has a smooth, silky texture.

It is important to keep them well-groomed, or else their fur can easily get caked with mud, dirt, and other debris from their outdoor adventures.

Many owners choose to keep their Dorkie’s hair cut shorter, and this can be achieved by taking them to a professional groomer once every two months.

The Dorkie’s head and face are definitely inherited from the Yorkshire Terrier.

They have very expressive features, and you will always be able to tell what mood they’re in by the position of their eyebrows and how far their ears are sticking up in the air.

It is common for them to have a small moustache as well. Some owners cut this hair off, and some like to keep it because it looks cute.

How Big is a Full-Grown Dorkie?

Dorkies are usually pretty small dogs. They only weigh an average of 10 pounds.

If they inherit a lot from the Dachshund, then they may develop a little bit of extra muscle and grow to be up to 12 pounds. If you get the runt of the litter, then they may only weigh a mere 6 or 7 pounds.

They are very short dogs due to their Dachshund ancestry and are rarely taller than 6 or 7 inches.

Their small size makes them ideal for people who don’t have a lot of space in their home or who have a small backyard.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Dorkie?

These dogs have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years old. Some have been known to live a couple of years older if they are especially healthy and get plenty of exercise.

Even when they are old, you won’t be able to tell by their energy levels. It’s common for people to adopt Dorkies from the shelter and think that they are years younger than they are.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Dorkie

A Dorkie enjoying the forest
The Dorkie can get a stroke if it runs too much and too fast.

The Dorkie is a fairly intelligent dog and is known for being a people pleaser.

This makes them particularly easy to train, and with the right motivation, they can even be taught to do a few tricks.

It’s important to housebreak these dogs in their early puppyhood as they have been known to have a problem urinating in the house if they are untrained.

Dorkies are generally laid back, but they can have a fierce temperament when they are irritated. This is due to their natural Terrier temperament that they inherit from the Yorkie.

They tend to be good guard dogs. If a stranger is walking up to your property, then they will let you know by their loud barking.

Once a proper introduction has been made, however, they are very friendly little dogs.

These dogs have a very fun-loving and outgoing personality. They love meeting other dogs, and their favourite place to be is at the dog park.

Dorkies loves small chew toys and playing fetch as well, so be sure to keep a few balls around the house.

In general, Dorkies are very independent dogs and can be left alone for a few hours at a time without any negative side effects.

If you are going to be gone for more than 10 hours at a time, though, make sure that you have a neighbour stop by the house and fill up their food bowl and let them out to use the bathroom.

The Dorkie’s Diet

Dorkies are very small and rarely need more than 1 or 2 cups a day depending on their size.

When they are still puppies and growing, they may need a little bit more food than usual to keep up with their fast metabolisms, but once they are full-grown, they should remain on a consistent diet.

They have been known to beg for human food a lot, but you shouldn’t give in to this as they have been known to have weak digestive systems which can’t properly digest a lot of the processed, high-fat foods that humans eat.

How Much Exercise Does a Dorkie Need?

These dogs only need a moderate amount of activity. Their short legs mean that they can get plenty of exercise just walking around at a small trot.

They usually operate in short bursts of activity. They’ll sit around the house all day, but when you bring out the ball or their favourite toy, they’ll hop right up and be ready to play for 10 or 15 minutes.

Dorkies also enjoy going on brisk walks a few times a week.

Dorkie Health and Conditions

Due to their Dachshund ancestry, the Dorkie can inherit quite a few problems. Their long spine is prone to a wide variety of back conditions.

It’s very common to see these dogs develop compressed disks. Some are even known to be born with brittle bones which makes them especially susceptible to injury.

Some Dorkies are also born with autoimmune disorders.

Most of these problems are inherited, and you can prevent the likelihood of this happening by looking at the health records of the parenting breeds.

Special Treats

As is the case with most dogs, the Dorkie will respond well to reward-based training where the reward for obedience and good behaviour is a delicious treat.

These special dog treats should be a pleasant surprise for your pet so that it can differentiate these from its regular meals.

The Dorkie is especially fond of sweet potatoes and carrot sticks, which can be handy snacks to toss into your pet’s mouth as soon as it achieves a milestone or displays good mannerisms.

However, since these are small-sized pets, it is important to regulate the food intake of your Dorkie.

Treats should be given but in controlled and balanced amounts, keeping in mind the ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that your dog consumes throughout the day.

Dog kibble that is specifically made to cater to the digestive system of a Dorkie should be fed.

If you’re purchasing store-bought dog food, you should make sure to only get these from trustworthy brands which you know sit well with your pet.

Additionally, it is also important to consider the age group that your pet falls in.

The amount and kind of food that can be served as a special treat to your pet will differ from a puppy to an adult dog to an old dog.

These will also be contingent on your pet’s activity level. The more active your dog is, the more nutrition it will require.

In this case, giving some extra treats throughout the day will pose no harm to your pet and will instead boost its confidence and sense of purpose from an early age.

To add punch to its dietary intake, you can sprinkle its regular dry dog kibble with home-cooked wet meals, like meat or vegetables.

However, make sure that these aren’t seasoned.

Male Vs Female

The traits of the male Dorkie set it apart from the female Dorkie since they have differing traits.

The female Dorkie is a very friendly and gentle dog which is quite suitable if you want it to play with your children often.

The female will also display its loving side more than its male counterpart by getting into bed with its master and sleeping alongside them.

However, this does not mean that the male Dorkie is an aggressive dog since it can easily be calmed down and made to submit to the owner’s command.

While a female Dorkie is generally more gently, it is the male Dorkie which exhibits sharper and more alert traits and can make for a better guarding dog.

You will also find that the male Dorkie is a huge fan of naps and loves sleeping for hours under the covers.

Both the male and female Dorkies can be trained very easily owing to their smart and responsive nature.

Moreover, both the genders also display likeness for companionship and hence should not be left alone for long periods.

Coming to the physical side, a male Dorkie weighs from 7 to 12 pounds while a female Dorkie can be of 5 to 10 pounds.

The male Dorkie is taller than the female one which has a height of 5 to 8 inches compared to the male’s 8 to 10 inches.

These physical traits can also explain why a male Dorkie is usually more muscular than the female one.

If you are more interested in a female Dorkie, you should know that its reproductive cycle has three parts.

The first part, Proestrus, lasts for around 9 days; the second part, Estrus can last from anywhere from 3 to 11 days; and the last part, Diestrus, is usually 14 days long.

A Good Guard Dog?

The little fluffy ball of fun that is the Dorkie might be smart and perceptive, but the size of this pet and its overall temperament mean it, unfortunately, doesn’t make for the best guard dog material.

There’s no doubt that these designer dogs are not lacking in brains, and they tend to be surprisingly good judges of character.

Although often friendly, a Dorkie can also identify if someone has surreptitious intentions on an instinctive level too.

However, they have nowhere near the size and physical intimidation factor to dissuade a criminal from your property.

Anyone breaking, or trespassing on your land, is likely to see the Dorkie as an amusing little pest at best.

This breed of dog can at least vocalise discontent at someone enough to warn you that something’s afoot, but this isn’t going to scare any criminals away, and you might be so used to the dog barking from time to time that you don’t pay them any mind, accidentally missing the warning signals.

Some dogs can bark from within the house, out of sight, and use the depth of their voices or the fact that they’re demonstrating a dog is present to scare criminals away.

Unfortunately, the Dorkie can’t perform well in this area either, because their bark instantly gives away their adorably tiny size, even when they can’t be seen.

Dorkies are companion dogs – lovers, not fighters. If you’re thinking this pooch will pull double duty as protectors and guardians, you might want to look to another breed instead.

Final Thoughts on the DorkieA small Dorkie looking up at you

The Dorkie has become a very popular breed in the country due to its friendly personality.

They make a great family dog and are great with kids.

They also have a relatively long lifespan for a small dog which means that they can grow up with your entire family.

Dorkies are relatively inexpensive upfront, but many can develop health issues that will incur expensive veterinary costs in their later life, so be prepared for this.

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