When you look at the sweet little face of a Morkie puppy, it’s easy to project a particular type of personality onto them and create strong expectations of what this hybrid dog will be like. We see them as cute and cuddly little companions, and they were undoubtedly bred to be lapdogs. However, this doesn’t always mean that you are guaranteed to get a dog with the perfect personality traits for your family.
You can find many stories online about these dogs where owners talk about them getting overly attached or aggressive toward other people and animals. Can a Morkie be both overly attached and aggressive? What do we need to know about the Morkie temperament before getting one of these dogs as a puppy?
What is the Temperament of a Morkie?
The Morkie is a playful and affectionate little companion dog that does well when socialized with other people and animals. Many families enjoy having this devoted little dog because they can be so loving with so many positive personality traits. However, there are also risks surrounding aggression and possessiveness that can be a problem.
This is a cross between two different small dogs.
Before considering the pros and cons of the Morkie personality, it’s essential to remember that there is never any guarantee of specific behavior traits when dealing with a hybrid. Some will take after the Maltese side of the family a little more, while others are more like the Yorkie.
Therefore, we can’t have high expectations either way.
Playful and Affectionate
Many owners love the Morkie for its playful and affectionate nature.
It’s easy to see the Morkie as a lapdog in the truest sense. The term lapdog refers to little companion dogs that will come and curl up in the laps of their owners and thrive on lots of love and attention. The Maltese is a prime example of this with its loving nature and small size.
It’s been a great little companion dog for centuries.
The devoted little Yorkshire Terrier did have a different role as a working dog but has more recently evolved into this position of a cute little lapdog.
So, a hybrid of both breeds is sure to have that exact affectionate nature where they love to be close to their owners and enjoy their evenings cuddled up on the couch.
This playful side also comes with high energy and a need for plenty of exercise.
There is the risk that some owners will see this role as a lapdog as an excuse to keep this little dog indoors with very little activity. This is a bad idea because these dogs have a lot of energy to burn and love to play. The joy of having such a playful dog in a household with responsible children is that there should be plenty of opportunities for games.
Morkies don’t need long walks and lots of exercise, so some fun games of fetch and just running around with toys in the yard should be great for frequent bursts of activity.
On that note, it’s essential to remember that this little dog needs enough daily exercise and activity to burn off energy so that they don’t become destructive at home.
Some new Morkie owners are surprised to find that their dog is chewing and clawing at items in the house, perhaps even tearing up a couple of cushions.
You wouldn’t expect this of them because of their size and loving nature.
But, they don’t like to be bored and will find ways to entertain themselves – even if it’s by damaging your home.
Deep devotion towards owners can lead to the risk of them becoming overly attached.
Some Morkies can latch onto a specific caregiver – often the one that brings them their food and provides the most love and attention across the day.
On the plus side, this can mean that you have a dog that is incredibly devoted to that person and will follow them around everywhere.
This level of devotion is acceptable if you are in a position where you can give the dog the care and attention they need without them becoming too used to getting their way.
A calm, patient dog that is your shadow around the home is fine as long as this doesn’t negatively affect other people or other dogs. But, there is the risk that this love and devotion can become so strong that they never want to be apart from you.
Possessiveness and Small Dog Syndrome
There are also risks of tiny Morkies getting possessive and developing Small Dog Syndrome.
Please make sure that these little dogs don’t end up with Small Dog Syndrome, where that devotion to their owner and their need to be seen as a bigger dog end up damaging relationships. A poorly socialized Morkie can end up barking and snapping at bigger dogs in the family if they don’t get their way.
This can also mean some possessiveness over their food and toys.
Possessiveness also comes in the form of getting possessive and jealous of one family member over others. This can lead to negative behavior toward other people that get in the way.
For example, new partners or friends that visit the house may not be welcome if they come and take the Morkie’s seat on the couch or get too physically close to their owner.
Can Morkies become Aggressive?
The Maltese does have a bad reputation as being one of the more aggressive small dogs.
This can be a big surprise when you consider all the previous points about their devotion, affection, and playful nature. There is dog-directed aggression and stranger-directed where these pets will showcase those problems of possession and defensiveness.
But, owner-directed aggression is also possible if the dog doesn’t get their way and isn’t adequately trained.
Stranger Directed Aggression and Barking
The issue of stranger-directed aggression also stems from a desire to protect the home and family from external threats. Morkies want to keep their loved ones safe and won’t let their size get in their way. They can resort to barking at people they don’t know that come near the home, like mail carriers or delivery drivers, but also at unknown guests.
Vocalization is the easiest way for them to get the attention they desire and get noticed. Therefore, you can find that there are Morkies that bark too much for the wrong reasons.
Those that bark for attention need appropriate training.
Beware the risk of separation anxiety as well.
Dogs that are firmly attached at the hip do develop issues of dependency where they need to be close to their owner all the time. Some may exhibit this by following their owner around and wanting a lot of attention.
Over time, this can worsen without a more considered approach, where they bark for attention, get upset when left out of activities, and then struggle with nighttime routines and separation anxiety.
They don’t want to be on their own and need to be comfortable at night sleeping in their crate or left for short periods when you need to leave the house.
It’s essential that you train your Morkie well to avoid too many problems down the line.
Training is still critical when raising one of these dogs, even if there is the likelihood of good behavior. The earlier you train a Morkie and get them socialized to handle their surroundings and life in your household, the better behaved they will be.
Training from an early age also means that you can deal with any potential issues with separation anxiety and nighttime routines that may come about from this devotion and need for constant attention.
Just be aware that training Morkies isn’t an easy task because they can be very stubborn.
There will be times where they don’t want to comply if an action or activity goes against what they want to do. You may notice them sulking and getting upset with you, perhaps even barking at you to get what they want.
Be patient with them and work in small sessions with lots of positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is essential because of the sensitivity of these little dogs; they are not going to respond well to scolding or correction. But they love getting your praise and treats. So, with time, they will get on board with what you need from them.
Owners that fully appreciate the temperament and challenges of the Morkie should be fine.
In short, it’s easy to see why so many dog owners adore the Morkie, even if there are risks of negative traits in their temperament. A well-trained and socialized Morkie can be a joy to raise as they bring a lot of love to the home and are great playful companions for the family. You can train them to minimize excessive vocalization and ensure that they don’t get too aggressive or possessive around other people and animals. It will take some work to get the very best personality traits out of the Morkie, but it’s possible.
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More on Morkies
If you’re simply in love with Morkies and can’t get enough, then check out our other posts below:
- Are Morkies Hypoallergenic?
- Morkie Lifespan: How Long Do Morkies Live?
- How Much Do Morkies Cost in 2021? [Complete Price Guide]
- How Long Do Morkies Sleep?
- Can Morkies Swim?
- Why Does My Morkie Smell?
- Do Morkies Have Docked Tails?
- Can Morkies Be Left Alone?
- Why Do Morkies Change Color?
- What Can Morkies Eat?
- Do Morkies Get Cold?
- Why Do Morkies Lick So Much?
- Do Morkies Have Tear Stains?
- Are Morkies Hard To Potty Train? [Yes.. But Not Impossible]
- Are Morkies Good Family Dogs? [Safe Around Your Children?]
- Are Morkies Good Therapy Dogs? [Process Made Easy!]