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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier

Origin: Australia

AKC Group: Toy

Height: 8 - 10 inches (Male)

Weight: 8 to 10 pounds (Male)

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Silky Terriers behave like terriers. They're sturdy, hardy, quick and demanding. They're usually friendly with strangers and snappish with other pets. Silky Terriers are barkers and chasers. Keep them on a leash or in a fenced-in yard whenever they're outside.

Silky Terriers are part of the Toy group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs that were bred as pets for wealthy, cultured families. In general, toys are the perfect apartment dogs, since they require little, if any, outdoor exercise.

Despite their small size, many toys are excellent watchdogs. Most get along fine with children, although they'll snap if teased or startled. Some breeds are jealous of other pets.

Longhaired toys need to be brushed frequently, and some breeds need to be professionally groomed every few months.

Male height: 
8 - 10 inches
Male weight: 
8 to 10 pounds
Five to six inches long and parted down the middle.
Dark blue or silver blue with tan markings on the head, chest, legs, feet and under the tail. Eyes are dark, and nose is black.

The Silky Terrier was developed in Australia in the early 1800s. His history is intermixed with that of the Australian Terrier, that country's other blue and tan native terrier breed. The Yorkshire Terrier figures in the Silky's ancestry as well, and other breeds, such as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Skye Terrier and Cairn Terrier, probably also play a part.

Although the feisty Silky is adept at killing rats and other vermin, he was developed primarily as a companion and house pet. Introduced into the United States by servicemen returning home from Australia after World War II, he was known by a variety of names, including the Sydney Silky, until 1955, when "Australian Silky Terrier" became his official name in most of the world. In the United States and Canada, he is simply the "Silky Terrier."

The Silky is lively, smart and friendly. He is affectionate but not demonstrative. He wants to stay close to his human companion, but don't expect him to curl up in your lap; according to many breeders, he's "more terrier than toy." This playful imp is not above making a little mischief - if left alone for too long, he may find creative ways in which to entertain himself. He is docile, although he may not tolerate roughhousing or teasing. He is constantly curious about everything around him.
At home: 
Silky Terriers can do well in just about any living arrangement, provided they receive enough time and attention from their owners. Although an active dog, due to his small size, an apartment can give him enough room to play. If you have neighbors in close proximity, be aware that this alert dog may bark a lot. He has a single coat, which makes him practically nonshedding, but this also means that care must be taken in colder months. He does not have the insulating fur of most dogs, and the cold will affect him adversely. He's prone to chewing and digging, especially if bored or left alone for too long.
The Silky Terrier is quite energetic, requiring a little more exercise than most toy breeds. He needs at least a moderate walk daily and will also enjoy play sessions in a confined area.
The spunky Silky Terrier likes to eat but can be finicky. Feeding several smaller meals a day may be more to his liking - but make sure that the food is a high-quality, age-appropriate dog food.
Although he can be willful, the Silky is intelligent and eager to please, and he's a quick learner. He is sensitive, so negative training methods will only cause him to shut down. His terrier instincts mean that early socialization with small children and other animals is especially important. He may take longer to housetrain than some other breeds.
The Silky Terrier does best in a home with older children who understand how to treat a smaller dog. He usually gets along well with other dogs and pets.
The average life span of the Silky Terrier is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies; back problems; collapsing trachea; dental problems; elbow dysplasia; epilepsy; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease; and patellar luxation.
Fun fact: 

Early in the 20th century, Yorkshire Terriers, Australian Terriers, and Silky Terriers could all appear in one litter.

Grooming blurb: 
One look at a Silky's luxurious coat and you won't be surprised to learn that he needs to be brushed or combed out every day with a steel comb and soft bristle brush. Many owners keep the hair over his eyes tied up into a topknot with a small rubber band. To keep his coat in top shape, bathe him about once a month, taking care that he does not become chilled after bathing.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.