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BaxterBoo Blog
August 15, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Silky Terrier

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The Silky Terrier is also known as the Sydney Silky or Australian Silky Terrier in the rest of the world. It is often confused with the Yorkshire Terrier but is larger and is more closely related to the Australian Terrier. 

  • Height: "9- 10”
  • Weight: 8-11 pounds
  • Historical function: Rodent and snake exterminator
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Toy

Physical Characteristics: 

The Silky Terrier is a single-coated dog that comes in shades of blue and grey with red or tan markings. This silky coat that parts down the middle of the back is one of its defining traits. The topknot is lighter in color than the rest of the coat. The body is slightly longer than it is tall at the shoulders. The ears are V-shaped, pricked and set high on the head. The head is wedge shaped and flat between the ears. The eyes are small and brown with dark rims. The bite is scissored. The tail is customarily docked in the US but this practice is illegal in Europe. If left natural, the tail is set high. The front legs are straight and the paws are cat like. 

History of the Breed:

The Silky Terrier was developed in the 1800's in Australia when Yorkshire Terrier were imported and crossed with the Australian Terrier to improve the coat color of the blue and tan Australian Terriers. These crosses were sometimes originally classified simply as Australian Terriers. Often puppies from the same litter were classified as Yorkies, Silky or Australian Terriers after the dog was grown and displayed a particular breed's characteristics.  But eventually, the Silky Terrier became their own breed. These were originally known as Sydney Silkies as they were predominantly from Sydney. These dogs were imported to North America by servicemen after World War II. 


The Silky Terrier is a charming and cheerful companion that thrives being near his people. This is an energetic breed that requires a lot of exercise to be well mannered. This dog loves to dig. He is easy to train due to its people-pleasing nature, provided he knows his place in the family and Small Dog Syndrome is prevented. This dog was primarily developed as a companion but has the terrier drive to go after rodents. Because of this, caution should be exercised around small pets and must be socialized with cats to keep them from chasing them. This is an adaptable breed that is good for traveling. 

  • Best suited for: Active families that include this social dog in activities. Excellent companion for retirees, apartment dwellers and RV campers. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers to be with people and provided with plenty of exercise and puzzle toys to prevent boredom. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This coat requires considerable grooming to keep the coat mat free and silky. This includes daily brushing and regular bathing.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy but occasional disc disease of the vertebrae, elbow and knee problems exist. 

Breed Club Links: Silky Terrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Grriggles FUNdamentals Treat Ball Toy

Have any stories about a Silky Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of ofsilkysdream.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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