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Carkie (Cairn Terrier Yorkie Mix): Pictures, Care Guide, Characteristics & Traits

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Carkie (Cairn Terrier Yorkie Mix) dog close-up

Even as a mixed breed, the Carkie is a true terrier dog. These quirky pups are a mix of the Cairn Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier, two popular breeds in the United States. The Carkie takes on many of the Yorkie’s interesting and awesome traits, but they also have a bit of the spunky Cairn personality. Whether you are interested in getting a Carkie as a household pet or just want to learn more about this mixed breed, read on!

Breed Overview

Height: 8–12 inches
Weight: 8–15 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: White, black, tan, brown, gray
Suitable for: Adults and families that spend most of their time at home
Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, adaptable, loyal, energetic

Carkie is a fun word to say, which is fitting because the typical Carkie is fun to spend time with! This small, loyal mixed breed loves interacting and snuggling with their human family members. They’re affectionate and loyal, and they tend to be good with kids. That said, these terriers are working dogs with a strong hunting background and instinct. They also happen to be impressively agile, even though their little bodies might indicate otherwise to the unsuspecting eye.

They can be a bit standoffish with strangers, but socialization and plenty of time in public areas can help them get over that. They do get along with other dogs and are always up for new adventures. They can be a bit yappy like their Yorkie parents, but the Cairn Terrier genetics help level them out so the barking isn’t usually too intrusive or annoying.

Carkie Characteristics


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Carkie Puppies

No breed standards have been established for the Carkie, so there is no list of physical or behavioral traits to reference when looking for a puppy to acquire. It is important to note that there aren’t many breeders out there that put much effort into breeding Carkies, so it can be tough to find a puppy to purchase in the first place. That said, it is possible to find a breeder somewhere in the United States, even if not in the same state that you live in; you just might have to do a bit of researching and hunting.

Parent breeds of the Carkie (Cairn Terrier Yorkie Mix)
Photo Credit: Left – EiZivile, Shutterstock | Right – metha1819, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Carkie

One thing that humans cannot deny is the adorable physical features of the Carkie. However, it seems that this mixed breed’s intelligence and temperament are what earn them valuable points among dog owners and lovers alike. This excellent companion pup always wants to be by their human’s side. They always seem to be looking for attention, and they dislike being left home alone for long periods of time.

The Carkie is a social dog that can be wary of strangers, but when well-socialized, they enjoy meeting new people in public settings. They are known for getting rambunctious due to their inability to contain their excitement when a great deal of activity is going on. With obedience training and an opportunity to meet new dogs and people from an early age, they can be well-rounded dogs that love their families, enjoy social situations, and are always up for an adventure.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes! The Carkie is an excellent pet option for families with children. They are patient with kids, yet they are happy to get out and play chase or fetch whenever possible. They are just as likely to cuddle up with a child in the household as they would an adult. They’re happy to go hiking, camping, and on beach excursions with the family, and they’ll do all they can (which admittedly isn’t much!) to protect their family members from possible intruders at home.

The one catch is that these dogs are susceptible to developing separation anxiety. They require plenty of companionship and attention, so they are not ideal for families that spend all day at work throughout the week. There should be someone home for company most days of the week, or they should be able to accompany their companions out of the house. At the very least, they require a dog walker/sitter to provide them with companionship while their people are away from home.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The good news is that Carkies can get along well with other dogs in their household and even in public places like the dog park. However, they are terriers through and through, which means they are naturally inclined to hunt smaller furry animals like foxes, rats, and badgers. Therefore, they may think of animals like pet cats, hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs as prey. It’s best if they don’t live in households with these smaller animals. However, they can make great “ratters,” like many cats can!

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Things to Know When Owning a Carkie

There are many things to learn about the Carkie before deciding whether this mixed breed is right for your household and lifestyle. What should they eat? How much exercise should they get? Do they take well to training? What grooming requirements should be expected? What kinds of health conditions are they susceptible to? Read on for the answers to these questions!

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Since this is a small mixed dog breed (typically between 8 and 15 pounds), the Carkie does not require large amounts of food to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. However, this means it’s easy to overfeed them, which can lead to weight gain and even obesity, and this can lead to more problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Therefore, it is important to follow the feeding instructions on the food product’s packaging or consult with your veterinarian for recommendations. Choose a high-quality product that contains real meat as the first ingredient and that is designed specifically for small dog breeds.

Exercise 🐕

This frisky and active dog loves to spend their time playing, running, and being adventurous. Although full of energy, these are little dogs, so exercise goes a long way with them. They don’t need hour-long walks to get rid of their pent-up energy. Instead, a 30-minute or two 15-minute walks a day is a great base for their exercise regimen. They can benefit from additional exercise during the day that consists of things like running and playing in the yard, trips to the dog park, and games like hide-and-seek in the house.

Training 🎾

The typical Carkie is smart and takes well to obedience training, especially when the training starts at a young age. They love to please their “pack leaders” and family companions, so they don’t usually resist the process of learning things like “come,” “sit,” and “stay.” Positive reinforcement is the best way to get positive results from training.

Grooming ✂️

One important consideration to make before deciding whether the Carkie is the right pet choice for your household is grooming requirements. The truth is that Carkies are not the easiest to care for when it comes to grooming. They have shaggy, medium-length coats that can quickly get tangled and matted if not brushed daily. A firm bristle brush is the best option to ensure that small tangles do not start forming.

The good news is that these dogs don’t shed much, which is great for those with mild allergies and those who don’t want to clean large amounts of hair off the floors in their home. Carkies only need bathing when they get dirty from playing outside or to help get rid of pests like fleas. Too much bathing creates an imbalance in the natural oils that the skin produces, which could result in problems like dry or itchy skin.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Almost all dogs are susceptible to certain health conditions due to their genetics. Mixed breeds are generally susceptible to the health problems that both their parent breeds can get, but fortunately, the Carkie has parent breeds that are susceptible to only a couple of health conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Dental problems
  • Diabetes
Serious Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Genetic abnormalities

Male vs. Female

Like most dog breeds, the biggest difference between male and female Carkies is that the male is usually a bit larger than the female. Another difference that owners seem to notice is that males will wait around for all the attention that they can get (it never seems to be enough!), whereas females will let you know when they want attention, and they’ll walk away when they’ve gotten everything that they need.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Carkie

1. These Are Hunting Dogs

The Carkie is a hunting dog by nature. Both of their parent breeds were created to hunt down and eliminate problems with animals like rats, badgers, and other furry critters. Nowadays, the Cairn Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier mostly serve as household companions, which means their mixed breed offspring are sure to have the same instincts. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to give these dogs access to smaller household animals, even cats. That said, some Carkies can get along with felines if they grow up with them.

2. They’re Super Loyal

These dogs might like to run around and chase vermin and raccoons, but they also happen to be super loyal to their human companions. They want nothing more than to be by their companion’s side and to gain positive attention in the process. Their eagerness to please makes them excellent obedience students.

3. They Don’t Shed Much

Although they have shaggy, medium-length hair, these dogs don’t shed much, and they don’t need haircuts. However, they do require regular brushing to keep the mats, knots, and tangles away. Even so, people do enjoy having their Carkies professionally groomed, and their coats trimmed or cut into distinctive designs.

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Final Thoughts

These adorable little dogs are a mix of fun, companionship, and adventure. They are compact, cute, and social, making them great travel companions—which is good, because they do not tend to enjoy being away from their household companions. If possible, spend time with a Carkie before deciding whether this mixed breed is right for your household.

Featured Photo Credit: Jason Brubacher, Shutterstock

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