Complete Guide To The Silky Terrier: Health, Grooming, Personality and More

Although this little dog is certainly small enough to sit on your lap, chances are it would rather be running through the yard digging or chasing small prey. A terrier through and through, the Silky Terrier has a big personality for a small dog. Though energetic, the Silky Terrier can make a loyal and affectionate companion dog if given proper physical and mental exercise every day.  

I’ve seen Silky Terriers in my veterinary practice for years. These little dogs are frequently misidentified as Yorkshire Terriers but they are definitely different. Take a look into this stout little dog to see if it would make a good fit for your family.

How Big Do Silky Terriers Get?

The Silky Terrier is classed in the Toy Dog group due to its small size. Males and females tend to be the same height and weight, ranging between 9 and 10 inches at the shoulder. Most Silky Terriers will weigh around 10 pounds.  

What Do Silky Terriers Look Like?

What sets this dog apart from other dogs is the long and sleek coat. The fur will usually be about 5 or 6 inches long and will be thin and silky. The hair comes in a range of tan and blue colors, giving this dog a different and striking appearance.  

What’s The Difference Between A Yorkshire Terrier and a Silky Terrier?

Silky Terriers are a little larger (both in height and length) than the Yorkie. Think of an Australian Terrier with really long hair.

The face is the dead giveaway. The Yorkie’s face is much more petite especially in the snout. For more information on how to tell the two apart, check out this great guide done by the AKC.

What Is The Personality Of A Silky Terrier?

This dog is the prime example of a big dog trapped in a small body. The Silky Terrier exhibits all the tenacity and energy of a true terrier and will happily dig and chase small animals. Always be sure to keep this dog on a leash and do not pair this dog with other animals, like pet rodents that may be smaller.  

Always happy to be around its family, the Silky Terrier thrives on human interaction. The little dog is loyal and protective and can fend off unwanted visitors with its big bark. This dog does not do well when left alone for long periods and likes to be regularly included in day-to-day activity.

If you travel frequently or work long hours, the Silky Terrier may not be a good dog for you unless you plan on having a small travel companion. If left alone, the Silky Terrier can pick up nuisance behaviors like digging and excessive barking.  

How Much Grooming Does A Silky Terrier Need?

Despite its long coat, the Silky Terrier doesn’t shed too often. This dog is a good choice for people who have allergies because shedding and dander are minimal. Due to the long hair, though, it is essential to brush the coat twice per week.

Not only will this help to eliminate dead fur from the coat, but it will break up any possible tangles or matting. If left to develop, mats can become extremely painful for dogs. Like other dogs, be sure to keep the ears trimmed and the nails clipped short if they are not naturally worn short from walking over rough surfaces.  

How Much Exercise Does A Silky Terrier Need?

Although this dog is small, they are no lapdog. The Silky Terrier needs plenty of exercise to stay happy. The dog is energetic and will need at least a 30-minute brisk walk or play session. The dog does exceptionally well at dog agility competitions due to its high intelligence.

Enrolling your dog in agility will not only give you some fun bonding time with your dog, but it will give the Silky Terrier an exercise to occupy its busy mind too. If adequately exercised each day, the Silky Terrier can make an excellent apartment dog.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Silky Terrier?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Silky. Because of their small mouths, smaller kibble will be a better idea than one that may be larger and harder to chew.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your Silky a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

How Long Does A Silky Terrier Live?

13-15 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can Silky Terriers Have?

In my veterinary experience, the most commonly seen health problems include:

  • Dental Disease
  • Obesity
  • Patella Luxation

Overall I consider the Silky a pretty hardy dog breed. Keep their teeth healthy and their weight at optimum and they should live a very long, happy life.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Silky Terrier?

Silky Terrier Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find a Silky Terrier?

The Silky Terrier is a popular dog that is relatively easy to find. Before selecting a puppy from a breeder, be sure to do your homework ahead of time and thoroughly research the breeder. Make sure your breeder is knowledgeable about the breed and maintains safe and humane breeding habits.

If possible, try to meet both the mother and father dog and fellow puppies from the litter. Often, meeting the parent dogs will give you a good indication of how the dog will look and behave as an adult.

Start with the breeder listings from the Silky Terrier Club of America for a quality puppy.

It may also be possible to adopt a Silky Terrier from a rescue group specializing in this fun and energetic breed of dog. The Silky Terrier Club of America, Inc. may be a great opportunity to not only get the dog of your dreams but help a dog who needs a forever home.  

Fun Facts About the Silky Terrier

  • The Silky Terrier is a dog breed from Down Under and originated in the 1890s from Australia. The origin of this dog is thought to be the result of Yorkshire Terriers crossed with native Australian Terriers. Some of the offspring from this pairing had different traits with a long coat. These puppies were bred together until a unique breed, known as the Silky Terrier, was developed.  
  • Two independent breed standards developed between Victoria and Sydney in Australia. While the two Silky Terrier standards looked similar, they differed in their ear type and weight. Eventually, the two enthusiast groups were able to compromise and created a unified breed standard in 1926.  
  • Although the breed is widely accepted as a Silky Terrier today, the dog had many names. This dog has been known as the Sydney Silky Terrier and the Australian Silky Terrier in the past.  
  • After WWII, the first Silky Terriers came to the United States when American soldiers brought some of the little dogs home. A few years after the war, the Silky Terrier Club of America began.  
  • While many dogs developed in Australia were intended for work, this little dog was always bred to be a companion. These inherent companion characteristics make the Silky Terrier an excellent family dog that can adapt to urban environments.