Silky Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Playful, loving and adventuresome on a small scale, the Silky terrier is extremely active, but because of its size, exercise requirements can be met with a small space. It also has mischievous tendencies.

Silky Terrier at a glance
The Silky Terrier Dog Breed

The Silky terrier was created in the 1800s in Australia by crossing the Yorkshire terrier with the Australian terrier.


Weight Range:

Male: 9-11 lbs.
Female: 8-10 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 10 in.
Female: 9 in.


Long Back. Upright ears (naturally), upright ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Very energetic
Longevity Range: 11-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: High
Tendency to Dig: High
Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Small vermin hunting, companionship


Length: Long
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Blue and tan
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Toy
UKC Classification: Terrier
Prevalence: Common

The Silky terrier is slightly longer than tall, with an athletic build that belies its designation as a toy dog. In fact, the Silky should be built as though it is ready to go hunting for small vermin.

It is a toy when it comes to size, however, weighing only eight to 10 pounds and standing only nine to 10 inches tall.

The ears are small and erect, coming to points, and the eyes are small and almond shaped. The skull is flat with a shallow stop. The tail is docked and carried high.

The coat is one of the breed's most distinctive features. It is straight, silky and shiny. Rather than flowing to the floor like the Yorkshire terrier's coat, it conforms to the body shape. The color is blue and tan.


This is no sissy lap dog. The silky terrier is a tough character that is always up for a challenge and adventure. Oblivious to its size, this dog would love to go vermin hunting if only given the chance. Fortunately, the silky can meet its hunting needs by playing games and hunting toys around the house and yard.

These are playful dogs, but also loving. Silky terriers can be great playmates for considerate children. They are fairly friendly toward strangers but can be aggressive to other dogs and pets. Silkies are great watchdogs (although they could be accused of barking too much), but they are too small to be effective as protection dogs.

Obedience training is possible, but it must be made into a fun event or the silky just will not play.

Living With:

The silky terrier is a good choice for a person who wants adventure on a small scale. These dogs are extremely active but, because of their size, their exercise requirements can be met in a small space. They are hunting terriers at heart, so care must be taken that they do not wander off in search of game. The silky owner must have a good sense of humor to appreciate the mischief these rascals are apt to get into.

The coat needs a fair amount of care and should be brushed and combed every other day. Regular washing helps the coat look its best and prevents dirt build up that leads to tangling.


The silky terrier has some tough ancestors, descending from small vermin-catching terriers of Europe and later, Australia. The breed was created in Australia in the late 1800s by crossing the Yorkshire terrier with the Australian terrier in an attempt to create a dog that combined the more robust body of the Australian Terrier with the coat color and quality of the Yorkshire terrier. In only a few generations, the new dogs were breeding true and they were dubbed silky terriers.

Arguments ensued about what the proper weight and name should be but, in 1926, a compromise was made for weight. The name took a while longer to settle, going from Sydney silky terrier to Australian silky terrier before being changed to simply silky terrier when the breed came to America. Since recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1955, the breed has slowly gained a loyal following.