Dog Breed Information: Silky Terrier: Features & Care

Standing side profile of a silky terrier

The silky terrier is a little toy dog breed from Australia with a long, lustrous coat that sheds very little. Straight and split along the back, its soft hair drapes. For simpler upkeep, some owners cut it short; others let it grow long and beautiful. These dogs have erect, V-shaped ears and a wedge-shaped skull, which contribute to their alert appearance. They are also very perceptive and vigilant dogs. They tend to be fairly affectionate with their family, yet they are quick to bark at strangers or other perceived dangers.

Breed Overview


Height: 9 to 10 inches

Weight: 10 pounds

Coat: Long, silky

Coat Color: Black and tan; blue and tan; blue, silver, and tan; gray and tan; silver and tan; or silver, black, and tan

Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Temperament: Active, alert, affectionate

Hypoallergenic: Yes

Origin: Australia

Characteristics of the Silky Terrier

The personalities of silky terriers are typically feisty and energetic. They want to stay occupied and are perceptive to their environment. Although they may exhibit stubbornness when it comes to training, their high intellect also contributes to shaping their disposition.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Silky Terrier

Early in the 20th century is when the silky terrier first appeared. To create the initial varieties of the breed, breeders in Australia mixed Yorkshire terriers with Australian terriers. Cairn terrier, Dandie Dinmont, and are three more breeds that might have contributed to its constitution.

There were once divergent breed standards in Australia. But by 1926, those had been combined. Prior to changing its name to Australian Silky Terrier in 1955, the breed was previously once known as the Sydney Silky Terrier.

In 1958, the year the Australian National Kennel Council was established, the breed was officially recognized. And one of its first tasks was to advise the American Kennel Club to adopt a breed standard. In 1959, the AKC officially recognized the breed as the silky terrier.

Silky Terrier Care

Silky terriers need daily exercise and consistent training and socialization. Their grooming also can be a substantial time investment, depending on how long you keep their coat.


The silky terrier needs regular exercise because it is an active but normally not hyper dog. To exercise your dog, set aside at least an hour each day for walks, treks, rigorous retrieve games, and other activities. Additionally, silky terriers may flourish in a number of dog activities that can cognitively and physically tax them.

When exercising outside, always keep your dog on a leash or in a safe enclosure. When faced with larger dogs, these little dogs usually don't back down. Additionally, because of their prey drive, they could rush off after squirrels and other small creatures. They should constantly be watched in a yard since they can dig and could get out by hiding beneath fences.


The straight, glistening, and fine-textured coat of the silky terrier. It is quite similar to human hair in that it grows continually. If you own this breed, regular grooming is an absolute need. Depending on how long the coat is, brush up to daily, but no less than twice a week. To remove knots and avoid mats, use a comb, pin brush, or soft-bristle brush.

A bath and a coat trim should be scheduled every four to six weeks. To protect the coat from tangling, you might wish to apply a canine conditioner or grooming spray. At that time, you should also examine your dog's nails to see whether they require trimming. At least once each week, check the animal's ears for wax accumulation and inflammation. and strive to daily wash its teeth.


The intelligent silky terrier is fast to pick up new training methods. They can be obstinate about wanting to obey, though. To avoid the formation of undesirable habits, try to begin training at an early age. Use positive reinforcement techniques at all times. Additionally, be firm in your orders and don't tolerate disrespectful behavior.

Start socializing your child early, too. Introduce your dog to various people and canines to increase its comfort in novel circumstances and prevent any territorial issues. Although silky terriers are normally adaptable to various living environments, they may exhibit restraint towards strangers.

In addition, many silky terriers dislike being left alone for extended periods of time. They may engage in undesirable behaviors like excessive chewing or barking to play out their boredom or loneliness. An expert dog trainer or behaviorist can offer advice on how to leave your dog alone. However, it's still preferable for a silky terrier to reside in a home where someone is there for the majority of the day.

Similarly, excessive alert barking also can become problematic. So you’ll likely have to work on training your dog on when it's appropriate to bark and how to be quiet on command.

Common Health Problems

The silky terrier is overall a healthy breed, but it’s still prone to some hereditary health issues, including:

  • Eye problems

Diet and Nutrition

Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times. And give your dog a high-quality, nutritionally sound meal. The best diet for tiny dog breeds is one that is delivered twice daily in metered portions. To be sure you are addressing your dog's specific needs, you should always consult your veterinarian before changing the type of food or the quantity. A little dog's body may easily gain a lot of weight from even a little more weight, so keep an eye out for treats and any extra food to make sure your dog isn't overeating.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Silky Terrier

The silky terrier dog breed is not very well-known. You can still locate one for adoption, though. To find a dog in need of a home, be sure to explore your neighborhood's animal shelters and breed-specific rescue organizations. The typical price range for a puppy from a reputable breeder is between $800 and $3,500.

For more information to help you find a silky terrier, check out:

  • Silky Terrier Club of America
  • Silky Terrier Rescue

Silky Terrier Overview

  • Affectionate and playful

  • Generally adaptable to different living situations

  • Can excel at dog sports

  • High grooming needs

  • Can be stubborn about training

  • Prone to digging

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Do your homework before acquiring a silky terrier if you believe it to be the ideal dog breed for you. Consult with veterinarians and other pet experts for guidance. To understand more, you should also speak with silky terrier owners, reliable breeders, and rescue organizations.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • What's the difference between silky terriers and Yorkshire terriers?

    Since they are closely related, silky and Yorkshire terriers do have a similar appearance. However, compared to Yorkies, silky terriers are often a little bigger. Additionally, they have a wedge-shaped head as opposed to a Yorkie's more rounded skull.

  • Are silky terriers good family dogs?

    Silky terriers are moderately good with children and would be best for a household with respectful older children. However, they might be too feisty and not gentle enough around young children.

  • Are silky terriers good apartment dogs?

    Silky terriers can do fine in an apartment if they get outside for sufficient exercise each day. However, they are prone to barking, which might disrupt nearby neighbors.


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