Cruising Into First Place

August 2018
Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw
Photographs by: 
Randall Hill

Cruz the Morkie takes the top honors in the 2018 Cutest Pet Contest

IMAGE: Cruz is a one-and-a-half-year-old Morkie and weighs three pounds.

Breeding a Yorkshire terrier with a Maltese was the winning recipe behind the crowning of this year’s Cutest Pet Contest winner, especially when this Toy Morkie named Cruz posed with his favorite (rare) treat, a slice of pizza from Mellow Mushroom. Well, he’s occasionally allowed a nibble of the cheese. Cruz and his family have won bragging rights and a prize package from the Veterinary Clinic of Myrtle Beach, the contest’s sponsor.

Full grown at a year-and-half and around three pounds, Cruz lives with his adopted parents Marissa and Nic Maria of Myrtle Beach and his Morkie sister, Izzy. Morkies are one of the fastest-growing designer dogs in the tradition of the Maltipoo, Labradoodle, Schnoodle and other clever mixes not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but highly desired and beloved just the same.

Nic and Marissa met while both attending Coastal Carolina University and their first date was cruising the Intracoastal Waterway. Fast forward to two years ago, when the pair got married and shortly thereafter had their Morkie delivered from a breeder in Florida. Cruz was named in honor of their first date.

Friendly, playful and affectionate, Cruz is loaded with personality and alternates between being a bundle of energy and a sleepy puppy ready to settle down and cuddle. He is becoming internet famous with his own Instagram account (@cruzthemorkie) featuring countless photos of the pup in a variety of stylish outfits and unlikely locales. “We started with around 30 followers, friends and family,” said Nic Maria, “but now we have over 2,000 followers. People we don’t even know will mail us outfits and other things they’d like to have photographed with Cruz. It’s crazy.”

The Grand Strand has spoken and we are crazy in love with Cruz.

Click here to see the finalists!