Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The Snorkie is a cross between the Yorkshire Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer. There is something undeniably eye-catching about the Snorkie, with its shaggy grey coat and piercing brown stare. A small but robust dog, most will possess the body of the Miniature Schnauzer and the head of the Yorkshire Terrier. With both parents having been used as ratters in the past, this is an alert and active little breed.

Smart and intuitive, the Snorkie makes a loving and loyal pet that can become strongly attached to its family. Both separation anxiety and small dog syndrome can develop when good training programmes are not in place. As well as a moderate amount of daily exercise, these sociable dogs benefit from plenty of games, play time and cuddles with their owners.

About & History

The Snorkie is also known as the Schnerrier and is an attractive mix of the Yorkshire Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer, both of which are very popular pet dogs. The creation of ‘designer dogs’ has become increasingly popular in the last decade or so, and toy breeds are often those included in the mix thanks to their good natures and the ability to keep them in small apartments and homes.

Though the majority of designer dogs were first created in America, experts are unsure as to the origin of the Snorkie. With only 20 years or so of history behind them, there is little to discuss about the Snorkie but we have a vast amount of information available on each of its parent breeds.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier (often called the ‘Yorkie’ by those in the know) is a small, toy breed that came to be in Yorkshire, a seaside county in the north of England. It was during the 1800s that this dog was bred from a mixture of local breeds, including the Skye Terrier and Black & Tan Terrier, the latter of which is now extinct. Designed to be a ratter, this diminutive dog would patrol the local mills and mines, keeping the vermin level low. While rarely, if ever, used for this purpose today, the Yorkie remains a very popular pet both in the UK and beyond.

The Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is one of three types of Schnauzer, the other two being the Standard and the Giant. These dogs come from Bavaria in Germany and were used as farm dogs. They were a multi-purpose worker who would herd animals, catch rats and guard animals and property. To make the Standard Schnauzer more compact, they were bred with the Poodle and the Affenpinscher to create the Mini Schnauzer.


Realistically, despite their different background, the Yorkie and Mini Schnauzer are not too dissimilar when it comes to their physical appearance. This makes the appearance of the Snorkie more uniform than many other hybrid dogs. While there will inevitably be some variation in appearance, most Snorkies look like slightly larger, greyer Yorkshire Terriers.

Most will have a muzzle longer than that of the Yorkie, with a neat black nose at the tip. Their eyes are deep brown, circular and portray an alert and friendly expression. Dogs may either have the high-set folded ears of the Schnauzer, the smaller, erect ears of the Yorkie or an ear type which fall somewhere in between. Their body is small but compact with limbs in good proportion. Their tail is short to medium in length and densely furred.

The coat of both parent dogs can be quite high maintenance, so the fur of the Snorkie is no exception. Their fur is long and silky and they may have a dense undercoat. While many have the ‘salt and pepper’ or grey coat of the Schnauzer, some will have brown and black fur. Shedding is minimal in this breed.

A small dog, most will measure less than 30cm when fully mature, with the smallest adult dog reaching a mere 14cm. At maturity, the Snorkie will weigh between 3.5kg and 5.5kg.

Character & Temperament

A sociable character, the Snorkie enjoys spending time in the company of both humans and other dogs. They become closely bonded to their family and are usually very loyal. While they do quite well with the children in their home, their small size means that they should be supervised when playing with toddlers and young kids. Some dogs can have a tendency to snap or nip, meaning both the dog and the children need proper education from the get go in order to avoid any unwanted situations.

A very alert dog, whose ancestors were used for guarding, the Snorkie makes a suitable watch dog. They will bark and yap at the first sign of anything going on. Of course, they are too small to make an effective guard dog, so should not be relied on to perform this function. Similarly, they tend to be all bark and rarely show signs of true aggression or hostility.

With both parent dogs acting as ratters in the past, it is not surprising that the Snorkie can have high hunting tendencies and loves to chase anything that moves. This makes them unsuitable companions for small furries, such as rabbits or gerbils.


The Snorkie is smart and quick to learn but is not the easiest to train as can be strong-willed and temperamental at times. Some will pick up on bad behaviours and habits, using them to manipulate situations, so should receive firm training from a very early age to avoid this.

‘Small dog syndrome’ can become an issue in this mixed-breed and needs to be prevented at all costs as dogs suffering from this syndrome are not only unhappy but can also become an unrewarding and frustrating pet to own. Dogs suffering from this syndrome are demanding, spoiled and can be yappy and snappy. Oftentimes, well-meaning owners are part of the problem and can treat their dog like a small child, picking them up, allowing them to jump up and act hyper and ‘babying’ them. With appropriate training, most dogs will not develop this syndrome.


The Snorkie is prone to inheriting a number of health conditions. Potential owners should arm themselves with information so that they are aware of the possible issues and veterinary bills involved. With any pet, health insurance is strongly advised.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones can cause bladder inflammation, trouble urinating and chronic urinary infections. Most dogs with stones will also have urinary crystals, which can be detected on a urinalysis. Depending on the type of stone, it may be manageable with dietary changes alone, though some will require surgery to remove.


Dogs suffering with diabetes will have abnormally high levels of sugar within their blood. Initial signs can include excessive thirst and excessive hunger, while later in the disease dogs may lose weight and develop neuropathies. For most, insulin injections and tailored diets are used to control the disease and dogs can lead a normal life.


Pancreatitis simply means inflammation of the pancreas. This condition can be associated with being over-weight and eating fatty foods, though this is not always the case. A serious medical condition, in severe cases, dogs can even pass away from a bout of pancreatitis. Treatment usually consists of intensive supportive care with intravenous fluids, strong pain relief, anti-emetics, ant-acids and assisted feeding.

Exercise and Activity Levels

This active dog likes to be brought on several short walks a day and relishes the opportunity to play with balls and chase things. If possible, they should have back yard access and love to play scenting games with hidden treats.

As the exercise requirements of the Snorkie are not excessively high and they are small in size, they adapt well to living in small homes and are suitable for those with a less active lifestyle. However, owners should be aware that they need plenty of mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored.


The medium to long silky coat of the Snorkie should be combed and brushed on a daily basis to prevent tangles and matts. Most benefit from a professional grooming every few months. Some will require their ear fur to be plucked and their facial fur to be trimmed at the same time.

Ears should be cleaned out with an appropriate dog ear cleaner every 1 to 2 weeks, especially for those with ‘drop’ ears. Owners should also brush the teeth of their Snorkie on a daily basis to reduce plaque levels.

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