By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023

Silky Terrier

The Silky Terrier, also called the Australian Silky Terrier, is a breed of small, compact, short-legged terriers that were primarily developed as companion dogs which could also hunt preys. Slightly larger than one of its parent breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky Terrier is characterized by a strong, wedge-shaped head, dark, almond-shaped eyes with keen expression, small, V-shaped, erect ears, moderately low set body, medium long, somewhat crested neck, strong, straight forelegs, well-muscled thighs, and a docked, high set tail.

Silky Terrier Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesSilky, Silky Toy Terrier
CoatStraight, single, fine, glossy, silky
ColorSilver blue, slate blue, or pigeon blue with deep and rich tan
Breed TypePurebred
GroupToy, Terrier
Lifespan/Life Expectancy13-15 years
WeightApproximately 10 lbs
Height9-10 inches
SheddingOccasional, moderate
Size of Litter3-5 puppies
TemperamentAlert, quick, friendly, joyful, responsive, independent
Good with ChildrenYes
BarkingModerate to high
Country Originated inAustralia
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationACR, ACA, AKC, APRI, ANKC, CKC, CET, DRA, FCI, KCGB, NKC, NAPR, NZKC, UKC

Video: Australian Silky Terriers Playing



In the 19th century, Australian breeders crossed imported Yorkshire Terriers with Australian Terriers to develop the breed. Initially, it was named the Sydney Silky because it was mainly found in the city. Some other English breeds might have played a part in the development of this breed including the Dandie Dinmont, Cairn, and Skye Terriers, which were brought to Australia by the British settlers.

In 1955, it was officially named the Australian Silky Terrier, and in 1958, the ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) acknowledged it as a Toy breed. American servicemen, who performed military duties in Australia during and after the Second World War, took some Silky Terriers back to the US. In 1954, the popularity of the breed suddenly increased, and hundreds of Silky Terriers were imported to America.

Temperament and Behavior

Beneath the elegant, little exterior is a bold-spirited Terrier which can be tenacious, scrappy, and fond of barking, chasing, and digging. Despite its tough attitude, the Silky is a fun-loving, loyal dog that likes to spend time with its people.

In spite of its small stature, it excels as an efficient watchdog because it can quickly sound an alarm bark if someone or something trespasses on its territory.

If trained early, it can be friendly with other dogs, but there might be occasional rivalry or bossiness for treats or attention. It may not be suited for households with small pets like rodents, cats, and rabbits. It can get along with children when raised with them and is best for families with children (older than ten years) who know how to interact or handle a dog.



Although a toy breed, it needs regular exercise including daily walks, romping in a fenced yard, and trips to the dog park. Since it is not an outdoor dog, it will happily participate in an indoor game of fetch. It does well in companion events like agility and the conformation ring.


It needs moderate maintenance, and its coat may be brushed two to three times a week using a soft-bristle brush or pin brush. You may use a long-toothed dog comb to keep its hair tangle-free. Occasionally bathing it using a vet-recommended shampoo will help keep its skin clean. Its grooming session may include monthly nail trimming and regular tooth brushing.

Health Problems

The Silky can be susceptible to eye diseases, patellar luxation, epilepsy, diabetes, ear infections, and periodontal diseases. Take your dog to a veterinarian for frequent checkups to ensure it a long, healthy life.


The Silky Terrier is a willing learner. Since it is smart and independent by nature, you should be consistent and make training fun using positive reinforcements.

Take your Silky puppy out for a walk on the leash and introduce it to different sights and sounds. Invite your neighbors over to your place and ask them to bring their dogs. Also, take it to busy dog parks and shops that allow pets, or enroll it in a dog obedience class, which will help it polish its social skills.

Leash Training
Let your pup wear its collar and leash for short periods in the house while you play with it and give it treats. Teach a sound cue so that upon hearing the noise, the puppy comes to you. Offer praises and treats as it gets used to coming toward you with its leash on. Practice walking in a room free from distractions before testing its skills in the outdoors. If it pulls, stand still and do not try to jerk the leash or drag the dog along with you.


A high-quality food appropriate to its age and formulated for toy breeds should be given to your Silky Terrier. You can occasionally provide table scraps but avoid cooked foods and bones with high-fat content. While the adults regularly need 1/2-3/4 cups of food, the puppies should be fed 1/8-1/4 cups per day.

Interesting Facts

  • In Australia and other parts of the world, it is known as the Australian Silky Terrier while in North America, it is called the Silky Terrier.

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