Silky Terrier

Table of Contents

The Silky Terrier, also known as the Australian Silky Terrier, is a small but spirited dog breed that boasts a fine, silky coat, which is one of its most distinctive features. Originating from Australia, this breed was developed by crossing the Australian Terrier with the Yorkshire Terrier, combining the best traits of both. Standing around 9 to 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 10 pounds, Silky Terriers are slightly larger than their Yorkshire counterparts.

They are known for their alertness, intelligence, and friendly disposition, making them excellent companion animals and watchdogs. Despite their small size, they exhibit a robust terrier personality, full of energy and curiosity. Their coat, which comes in colors like blue and tan, requires regular grooming to maintain its luxurious texture and sheen.

Silky Terriers thrive on human companionship and enjoy being involved in family activities. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored. With early socialization and training, they can be well-behaved pets, although they may retain a strong prey drive due to their terrier heritage. Owners should be prepared for a confident dog that enjoys barking and may need guidance to learn when it’s appropriate.

The breed’s health is generally good, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain genetic conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and a well-managed diet help ensure that the Silky Terrier lives a healthy and active life.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

13 to 15 years


Extra Small

Maintenance Level:


Shed Level

Very Low

Best For

The Silky Terrier, with its energetic and affectionate demeanor, is an excellent match for individuals or families who desire a small, vibrant companion. Their need for regular grooming makes them a good choice for those who enjoy the bonding experience of brushing and maintaining a dog’s coat. They have enough alertness and vocal prowess to act as petite watchdogs and can fit well in homes with older children who understand the care that small breeds require. Active owners who can dedicate time to their exercise, training, and socialization will find a loyal and engaging friend in the Silky Terrier.

Silky Terrier Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Silky Terrier is a small, elegant breed, brimming with terrier tenacity and energy. They possess a fine, glossy coat that epitomizes their name, requiring regular grooming. Agile and inquisitive, Silkies exhibit a keen alertness and intelligence that makes them quick learners, although their independent streak calls for consistent training.

They bond deeply with their owners and are known for being affectionate and playful, thriving in environments where they can be part of daily activities. Despite their size, they are robust and spirited, embodying the classic terrier spirit with a luxurious twist.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Appearance

The Silky Terrier boasts a sleek, fine coat that’s long and silky, predominantly blue with tan markings on the face, ears, and legs. They have an inquisitive expression, thanks to their dark, almond-shaped eyes and small, black nose. Standing 9 to 10 inches tall, with a weight around 10 pounds, they have a compact, yet graceful stature. Their ears are small and V-shaped, and their tails, often docked, are carried high, complementing their lively terrier essence.

1. Ears
Their small, V-shaped ears are set high on their head and may be erect or semi-erect.
2. Eyes
Almond-shaped, dark, with an alert and intelligent expression.
3. Nose
Small and black.
4. Height
Approximately 9 to 10 inches at the shoulder.
5. Coat Length
Long and straight, with a fine, silky texture
6. Coat Color
Typically blue and tan, with specific breed-standard patterns.
7. Tail
Often docked in countries where it is permitted, the tail is carried high and adds to their jaunty appearance.
8. Weight
A healthy Silky Terrier typically weighs around 10 pounds.

Silky Terrier Temperament

Silky Terriers are vivacious and energetic little dogs with a keen alertness that makes them excellent watchdogs. They possess the classic terrier traits of independence, confidence, and intelligence. While they are affectionate and enjoy human company, they also have a bold, adventurous streak. Their playful and curious nature makes them fun-loving companions, yet they can exhibit a stubborn side when it comes to training. Consistent, positive training methods work best for this spirited breed.

  • Alert and Watchful: Silky Terriers are naturally alert, making them excellent watchdogs. They are quick to announce visitors with a spirited bark.
  • Friendly and Social: With proper socialization, they can be friendly and outgoing, enjoying the company of their human family and often getting along well with strangers.
  • Intelligent and Trainable: This breed is intelligent and capable of learning quickly, which can make training a rewarding experience.
  • Energetic and Playful: Despite their small size, Silky Terriers are full of energy and enjoy playtime, requiring regular exercise to stay happy.
  • Independent and Confident: Their terrier lineage gives them a confident and sometimes independent nature, which may require a consistent and firm training approach.
  • Affectionate Companions: Silky Terriers form strong bonds with their owners and can be quite affectionate, often seeking out lap time and physical closeness.
  • Adaptable: They are adaptable to various living situations, as long as they receive enough attention and stimulation.

Understanding and catering to the Silky Terrier’s temperament can lead to a harmonious and joyful living situation. Their blend of alertness, sociability, and affection makes them well-loved companions.

How to Care for a Silky Terrier

Caring for a Silky Terrier involves regular grooming to maintain their signature silky coat, daily exercise to manage their high energy levels, and early socialization to ensure they are well-adjusted. They thrive on companionship and do best in environments where they’re not left alone for long periods. A balanced diet, routine veterinary check-ups, and attention to dental care will help keep them healthy. With their compact size, they fit well in various living situations, from apartments to homes with yards.

Caring for a Silky Terrier’s coat requires frequent brushing and routine baths. Regular ear cleaning, nail trimming, and dental care are also vital to their grooming routine, ensuring their health and comfort.

  • Regular Brushing: Brush your Silky Terrier’s coat daily to prevent tangles and mats, which are common due to their long, fine hair.
  • Bathing Routine: Bathe them every three to six weeks, depending on their activity level and lifestyle, using a gentle dog shampoo to keep their coat clean and shiny.
  • Coat Trimming: Trim their coat as needed to maintain a manageable length, especially around the feet, ears, and eyes to prevent irritation.
  • Ear Care: Clean their ears regularly to prevent wax build-up and check for signs of infection, particularly since their long hair can trap moisture and debris.
  • Nail Clipping: Clip their nails regularly to prevent overgrowth that can cause discomfort or affect their gait.
  • Dental Hygiene: Brush their teeth several times a week to prevent tartar buildup and maintain overall oral health.
  • Eye Care: Wipe around their eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or discharge, and to prevent staining.

By adhering to a thorough grooming routine, you can ensure your Silky Terrier not only looks great but also remains healthy and comfortable.

Training a Silky Terrier requires consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. These intelligent dogs respond well to rewards-based training, including treats and praise. Short, engaging sessions will help keep their attention, as they can be easily distracted.

Remember, Silky Terriers have a bold personality and may exhibit some stubbornness, so firm yet gentle guidance is key to their learning process.

  • Start Early: Begin training your Silky Terrier as soon as you bring them home. Early training and socialization set the foundation for a well-behaved adult dog.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward good behavior. Silky Terriers respond best to positive training methods.
  • Consistency is Key: Be consistent with commands and rules. This breed can be stubborn, so it’s important to establish yourself as a consistent leader.
  • Keep Training Sessions Short: Silky Terriers have short attention spans, so keep training sessions brief and engaging to maintain their interest.
  • Socialize Thoroughly: Expose your Silky Terrier to different people, animals, and environments early on to encourage a well-rounded temperament.
  • Address Barking Early: Teach your Silky Terrier the “quiet” command to manage their tendency to bark.
  • Crate Training: Crate training can provide your Silky Terrier with a safe space and help with housebreaking and reducing separation anxiety.
  • Leash Training: Leash train your Silky Terrier to ensure they are safe and controlled during walks, especially since they may chase small animals.
  • Patience and Persistence: Stay patient and persistent. While Silky Terriers are smart, their independent nature might require a bit more patience during training.

Feed your Silky Terrier a balanced diet suitable for small, energetic dogs, monitor portions to maintain a healthy weight, and provide fresh water. Use treats sparingly, and adjust meals for their life stage and health needs.

  • Balanced Diet: Ensure your Silky Terrier has a balanced diet tailored to their age, size, and activity level. High-quality commercial dog food for small breeds is typically appropriate.
  • Controlled Portions: Monitor portion sizes to prevent obesity. Follow feeding guidelines and adjust based on your dog’s individual needs.
  • Regular Meal Times: Establish and stick to a regular feeding schedule. Feeding twice a day is common for adult Silky Terriers.
  • Fresh Water: Provide constant access to fresh, clean water.
  • Treats in Moderation: Use treats sparingly and ensure they are appropriate for a small dog’s diet.
  • Special Dietary Needs: Be aware of any special dietary needs or food sensitivities your Silky Terrier may have and consult with a vet for a diet plan if needed.
  • Monitor Weight: Keep a close eye on your Silky Terrier’s weight and adjust their food intake as necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid Human Food: Some human foods can be harmful to dogs. Avoid giving your Silky Terrier chocolate, grapes, onions, or foods containing xylitol.

By providing a nutritious diet and monitoring their intake, you can help maintain your Silky Terrier’s health and vitality.

Silky Terriers need daily walks and engaging play to satisfy their high energy and intelligence. Balance their zest for activity with adequate rest, and provide enrichment to prevent boredom and support their well-being.

  • Daily Walks: Provide daily walks that are brisk and stimulating. Silky Terriers benefit from both the physical exercise and mental stimulation that walks can offer.
  • Playtime: Incorporate play sessions into their routine, as Silky Terriers are playful by nature and enjoy interactive toys and games.
  • Mental Stimulation: Challenge their minds with puzzle toys or training exercises, which can be a good outlet for their intelligence.
  • Consistency: Maintain a consistent exercise routine to help manage their energy levels and prevent boredom-related behaviors.
  • Safe Environments: When off-leash, ensure they are in a secure, enclosed area to prevent them from chasing after small animals due to their prey drive.
  • Weather Considerations: Monitor outdoor activities, especially in extreme temperatures, as Silky Terriers can be sensitive to intense heat or cold.
  • Age-Appropriate Exercise: Adjust the type and amount of exercise according to their age and health status, as puppies and senior dogs have different needs.

By meeting their exercise needs with a mix of physical activity and mental challenges, you’ll help keep your Silky Terrier healthy, happy, and well-behaved.

Silky Terriers flourish in environments where they can engage with their owners and have space to play. They adapt well to various living situations, from houses with yards to apartments, as long as they have opportunities for regular exercise. A secure area where they can explore without risk of wandering is ideal. Indoors, they appreciate having their own space, like a cozy bed or crate, where they can retreat for quiet time. The key is an attentive household that can meet their needs for companionship, mental stimulation, and physical activity.

  • Secure Indoor Space: A Silky Terrier thrives in a home where they have a secure space indoors to play and rest. They enjoy being part of the family activities and should live indoors with their human companions.
  • Access to a Safe Outdoor Area: A fenced yard or enclosed patio where they can explore and play safely is ideal, considering their prey drive and propensity to chase.
  • Companionship: These social dogs prefer environments where they are not left alone for long periods, making them well-suited for homes where the family is present most of the time.
  • Climate Control: Because of their single-layered coat, they are best in moderate climates or homes with temperature control to protect them from extreme weather.
  • Quiet to Moderate Activity Level: While they can adapt to city living, they do best in settings that aren’t too noisy or chaotic, as they can become overstimulated.

Creating an ideal environment for a Silky Terrier involves providing them with safe, comfortable spaces both indoors and outdoors, companionship to prevent separation anxiety, and a living situation that accommodates their activity level and coat care needs.

Silky Terrier Health

Silky Terriers, while generally healthy, may face issues like patellar luxation and tracheal collapse. Good dental care, a nutritious diet, and regular vet visits are key to their well-being, supporting a life expectancy of up to 15 years.

  • General Health: Silky Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but they require regular veterinary check-ups to monitor for breed-specific health issues.
  • Genetic Predispositions: They may be predisposed to certain genetic conditions, such as patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, and intervertebral disc disease.
  • Dental Health: Good dental care is important, as small breeds are prone to dental issues. Regular brushing and professional cleanings can prevent many dental problems.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for avoiding obesity-related health problems, including joint issues and diabetes.
  • Eye Care: They can be susceptible to eye problems, so regular examinations by a veterinarian are recommended to catch issues early.
  • Regular Exercise: Consistent, moderate exercise can help prevent a range of health issues and support overall well-being.
  • Diet: A balanced diet appropriate for their size, age, and activity level can prevent and manage health issues related to nutrition.

Caring for a Silky Terrier’s health involves preventative measures and attentiveness to their physical condition to ensure they live a long, happy life.

Silky Terrier Breed Comparison and Consideration

When comparing the Silky Terrier to other breeds, consider its lively, affectionate personality, which makes it a great fit for active individuals or families. They are more energetic and require more exercise than breeds like the Maltese, yet are smaller and less intense than larger terriers like the Airedale.

Their grooming needs are significant, similar to the Yorkshire Terrier, due to their long, silky coat. Silky Terriers are intelligent and trainable, but may exhibit more independence than breeds known for their obedience, such as Golden Retrievers. They’re adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, as long as their physical and mental stimulation needs are met.

Silky Terrier vs. Other Breeds:

Silky Terrier vs. Yorkshire Terrier:

  • Appearance: Silky Terriers are slightly larger with a finer, silkier coat, while Yorkies are smaller with a denser coat.
  • Temperament: Silkies are known for being more adventurous and assertive than the slightly more demure Yorkies.
  • Maintenance: Both require regular grooming, but Silkies might need more frequent coat care due to their silkier texture.

Silky Terrier vs. Jack Russell Terrier:

  • Appearance: Silkies have a silky, straight coat, contrasting with the rougher coat of Jack Russells.
  • Temperament: Jack Russells are more energetic and intense, while Silkies have a balanced energy level.
  • Size: Similar in size, but Silkies are more refined in appearance.

Considerations Before Choosing a Silky Terrier:

  • Energy Level: Ideal for active families or individuals, thanks to their lively nature.
  • Grooming Needs: Commit to regular grooming sessions for their fine coat.
  • Living Space: Adaptable to apartments or houses, provided they get enough exercise.
  • Health Checks: Regular vet visits are crucial for monitoring breed-specific health issues.
  • Training: Requires consistent, positive reinforcement training methods.
  • Life Expectancy: Silkies typically have a lifespan of around 12-15 years, making for a long-term commitment.

When considering a Silky Terrier, balance their energetic and affectionate temperament with your lifestyle and home environment to ensure a perfect fit.


They are energetic, affectionate, and curious, with a true terrier spirit.

They can be vocal and may bark to alert you, but this can be managed with proper training.

They can be a good choice if the owner is committed to regular grooming and training.

They can get along with other pets if socialized properly, but may chase small animals due to their prey drive.

Like many breeds, they can be prone to patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, and dental issues.

Top Takeaways

The top takeaways for the Silky Terrier include their spirited and alert temperament, making them lively companions and good watchdogs. They have a beautiful, fine, and silky coat that requires regular grooming. This breed is adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, provided they receive adequate exercise. They are generally healthy but should be monitored for breed-specific health issues. Silky Terriers are intelligent and trainable, though they may exhibit a typical terrier independence. Socialization is key to helping them get along with children and other pets.

Top Silky Terrier Names

These are the top Silky Terrier names as chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

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