Designer Breed Icon
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Grooming Level: moderate
  • Trainability: moderate
  • Adaptability: high
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
  • Average Size: Small
  • Average Lifespan: 13-16 years
  • Prey Drive: moderate
  • Watchdog: aware
  • Registered?: other

Dorkie Breed Profile

Overview

Temperament

Adaptability

Health

Owner Experience

Grooming

Activity Level

Size

Life Span

Did You Know?

A Dorkie is a cross between a Dachshund and a Yorkshire Terrier. These little dogs are affectionate and loving with a cheerful personality. Although they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, they are recognized by other notable dog organizations. The Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Designer Breed Registry, American Canine Hybrid Club, and more all recognize the Dorkie.

The Dorkie is a lovable dog with a playful, energetic, and upbeat personality. They bond closely with their families, are affectionate with them, and are happiest when they are getting attention from their favorite humans. Although they bond closely with all of their family members, they will often have a stronger bond with one of them, which is usually whoever is the main caretaker.

They tend to get along with children, other dogs, and other pets. But, they are small, so they can be easily injured by accidental falls or rough play that can happen with young children. It’s also important to teach any children in the household how to properly interact with a dog as the Dorkie is not likely to be patient with any treatment they don’t like.

In general, these dogs love attention and, as long as they are properly socialized, are open and friendly with strangers. But, they will bark when they hear unrecognizable sounds or to alert you to someone on the property. Because they can be prone to barking, early training is important to help curb this behavior and keep it from becoming a nuisance.

Dorkies are highly adaptable dogs. They do well in apartments as well as homes with yards where they can run. Because they have a Terrier parent, they may have an urge to chase things, so you don’t want to let them off-leash unless they are in a secure area. They love to be with you, but they may ignore your recall commands if they find something interesting to chase.

They do well in most climates. As with any dog breed, they are sensitive to heat. As a small dog breed, they may also need to bundle up in some winter dog products to stay warm when the temperature drops. These dogs also do not like to spend long periods of time alone. If some extra training and socialization for alone time are not done when they are a puppy, they can develop separation anxiety.

Potential health conditions to be aware of in a Dorkie include luxating patella, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, collapsing trachea, canine disc disease, and portosystemic shunt. Reputable breeders will screen their dogs to avoid passing on issues to puppies. So, don’t be afraid to ask the breeder about the health and genetic history of both of the parents and to see any available health clearances or test results.

If your Dorkie looks more like their Dachshund parent, they will be longer than they are tall. This makes them prone to back issues, joint issues, and arthritis later in life. By doing what you can to limit high-impact jumps and other damaging activities, you can help ease these issues as your Dorkie ages.

As a small dog breed, they are also more prone to developing dental diseases later in life like gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. This makes practicing good dental care for dogs early and throughout their life important for prevention.

Although the Dorkie is an intelligent dog that can pick up on things easily, they can also be quite stubborn. This can be a challenge for first-time dog owners, so puppy training classes are encouraged. Even if you don’t need them, puppy training classes can be a good idea. Not only will you strengthen the bond you have with your puppy, but there are also often opportunities to socialize a puppy.

They respond best to consistent training focused on positive rewards where they know what is expected of them. They may try to use their adorable face to get away with things every now and then, but they do tend to be obedient as long as boundaries and expectations are made clear through consistent training.

Because they are a small dog with a tiny bladder, house training can be difficult. But, with consistency, some house training tips, and a lot of patience, you and your Dorkie can get through potty training together.

Although Dorkies tend to shed minimally, their coat requires a little bit of work. Brushing a few times a week and the occasional bath is usually enough to keep their coat looking great. But, they also need professional grooming or a good clip at home every 4-6 weeks, especially if their coat is kept in a longer clip.

In addition to coat care, you will also need to care for your Dorkie’s nails, ears, and teeth. It’s important to cut your dog’s nails regularly to keep them from growing too long and causing issues. Depending on how quickly your Dorkie’s nails grow, you may need to trim them twice a month or more instead of monthly.

Floppy ears are more prone to developing ear infections, but regular ear checks are important for all ear types. Check ears on a weekly basis, at least, and carefully clean your dog’s ears as needed. This can help you prevent ear infections. And, if something is happening, you will be able to catch it early and get to the vet.

Due to a general lack of good dental care, gum disease is one of the most common health issues in dogs. Although it seems to be shrugged off a lot, gum disease in dogs is a serious issue and often leads to even more serious health issues. By brushing your dog’s teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day, you can help prevent painful dental diseases, like gum disease, later in life.

Because this dog is so small, they tend to tire themselves out easily. So, although they may be energetic, playful, and have bursts of energy, they tend to sit in a low to moderate activity range. Daily walks plus some playtime are usually enough for this small dog.

But, they do love being around you, so they may be up for more activity if you are. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they are not overexerting themselves trying to keep up with you. Depending on the activity, you might want to consider getting a backpack dog carrier or a sling so you can carry them if they get too tired to keep going.

A fully-grown Dorkie usually stands 5-10 inches tall and weighs 5-12 pounds.

A Dorkie generally lives for 13-16 years.

Although Dorkie tends to be a popular name for this designer dog breed, they are also sometimes called a Dorkie Terrier or a Dachshund Yorkie Mix.