The Silky Terrier Dog
Big On Personality, But a Tad Rebellious!

Silky Terrier dogs are classified with the toy dog breeds due to their small size, even though they are terriers.

They were originally developed in the  1800s in Australia as a result of crossing the Australian Terrier with other terrier breeds - but mainly with imported Yorkshire Terriers. Outside of North America, they are known as the Australian Silky Terrier.

Eventually these little dogs were brought to England and bred with the Dandy Dinmont Terrier. About nine inches in height, the Silky Terrier is a true "toy" terrier and retains an alertness associated with that breed.

First and foremost, this small dog breed, was intended to be a companion, but they can turn tail to ratting and killing snakes if they've a mind to!

Silky Terrier dogs are quite an active little breed that has no lack of confidence. They are in fact charming little manipulators, but you'll still find them very engaging.

Appearance And Care

silky terrier dog owner guide book

Height: 9-10 inches
Weight: 8-10 pounds
Colors: Blue and Tan, Black and Tan, Gray and Tan, Blue and Tan with silver-blue top-knot. Tips of hairs should be darker than the roots.

The hallmark of this toy dog breed is his distinctive silky blue and tan coat which requires significant attention.

The coat is quite long - just short of floor length, and does require daily brushing and weekly shampooing to keep it looking grand and in top condition. This will also help avoid those nasty mats and tangles. It's a good idea to get your Silky used to this while he is still young.

Silkies do tend to suffer from dry skin so the choice of a high quality organic shampoo is important to counteract the dryness and itchy discomfort they experience.

The Silky Terrier dog is often seen with the hair on top of the head, parted, but not too long around the face and the part continues down the back. There is no undercoat and shedding is minimal which is another reason why grooming is so necessary to remove the dead hair.

Grooming The Silky Terrier Dog

The Silky's beautiful coat calls for gentle yet effective grooming aids that won't do any damage to it.

Mats and tangles can be a challenge with this type of coat if not attended to right when they begin to form, but if routine care and prevention is in place, it won't become a chore.

You can of course opt to have the coat trimmed to a more manageable length for easier care, but it should be kept at the breed standard length if being entered in conformance shows.

Personality and Traits

Silky Terrier dogs are very hardy, have oodles of charm and personality, are ever curious and quite energetic. They are a very sociable dog and enjoy the company of family and friends.

They especially like being "numero uno" getting lots of attention, but they are so cute they usually get what they want and nobody minds!

Silkies are considered to be very intelligent and easy to obedience train if an owner uses a gentle and kind approach - otherwise they can be stubborn!

Housetraining, often the case with small dogs, will take a bit more diligence as they are quite elusive. If you are not paying close attention to them, a puddle may be forming in some remote spot!

Their curiosity and energy, combined with a terrier nature, can be directed toward digging - especially if bored.

Australian silky terrier sitting outside in the grass.Silky - So Sweet

Although they are self-absorbed little dogs, they have a mighty instinct to protect and generally make very good watchdogs.

One negative to note is that they can be nuisance barkers and their bark is definitely not easy on the ears. Training them the "quiet" command will save your sanity as well as your neighbors!

Health Notes About The Breed

While the Silky Terrier Dog Breed is considered pretty healthy, they are prone to some health issues including:

  • Eye diseases and cataracts which seem to be a top concern
  • Epilepsy
  • Collapsed trachea, and
  • Luxating patella.

If and when, you may want to acquire a Silky, find a referral to a reputable breeder through the National Breed Club or the AKC.  Ask the breeder about hereditary diseases that may have affected the parents, tests completed for those diseases and or testing certificates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Active Is The Silky?

Silky Terriers enjoy lots of play and exercise, but they are adaptable if you can't keep up with them!

A daily walk will be much enjoyed and is really the ideal for a healthy pet. They do need to be walked on a harness due to their delicate tracheas.

One important thing to remember is that they should always be walked on-leash as they quick to give chase to any moving target. And, because they are great escape artists, any outdoor area of your residence should be very securely contained.

Silky Terrier illustration on a white background

How Much Space Does A Silky Need?

The Silky Terrier dog will get along well in almost any type of accommodation.

As long as he is allowed to run freely around the house, he doesn't need an additional outside play area, but it is always a plus for training purposes, potty breaks and of course a breath of fresh air.

Does The Silky Do Well With Children?

The short answer is yes, but this breed gets along best with older children who are more in tune with their playfulness and are considerate of their small size.

Whatever the case, it is always wise to have an adult supervise activities between children and family pets, no matter what the breed.

Is The Silky Compatible With Sedentary Families?

Silky Terrier dogs make delightful companions for retirees, empty-nesters, or more sedentary individuals.

Their exercise needs are not demanding and they love to get attention - especially regular back scratches!

Resource: OFA Eye Diseases

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