The Australian Silky Terrier, or just Silky Terrier as they’re often called, is a bold, feisty, and beautiful little Terrier originating in Sydney.
In true Terrier fashion, these wonderful dogs are full of spirit and personality and will keep any owner on their toes. Unaware of their size, this dog breed makes an excellent watchdog but is also happy to jump up on the couch and be your perfect companion.
History and Origin of the Australian Silky Terrier
These pups were first bred in Australia in the 1890s. Breeders wanted to create a feisty yet beautiful pup that inherited the best traits of both parent breeds. In 1906, the first breed standard for the Australian Silky Terrier was written up in Sydney. But a kennel club in Victoria had a different idea.
It took these two kennel clubs over 15 years and lots of debates over the ideal weight of Silky Terriers to agree on a breed standard.
Over the years, there have also been a couple of names for these wonderful dogs. They were originally called the Sydney Silky Terrier, which eventually changed to the Australian Silky Terrier, and nowadays, in America, they’re simply referred to as the Silky Terrier.
Even though the first breed standard was drafted more than 50 years earlier, the Silky Terrier wasn’t accepted by the American Kennel Club until 1959.
Personality and Character of the Australian Silky Terrier
Silkies are fun and feisty little dogs that are full of character. They bond well with all members of the family and are happiest when they’re included in every activity. Although small, they certainly have big personalities. They don’t shy away from barking at the front door or approaching bigger dogs – which can sometimes get them into trouble.
Apart from being brave, the Silky Terrier is also affectionate, cheeky, and protective of the ones they consider closest. Whilst not yappy, they’re not afraid to use their voice to alert you to potential problems (or just an excited squirrel). As long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day, they’ll be happy to relax with you in the evening.
Can the Australian Silky Terrier Live in an Apartment?
Terriers are generally energetic dogs that need to be entertained. But many of them are also small, so they can be versatile. Their size means that Silky Terriers can live in apartments, just as long as they get enough exercise every day and aren’t left to get bored. They need plenty of toys and stimuli to keep them engaged.
But, a reason you may not want to keep a Silky in an apartment is their tendency to bark. These pups can be vocal, which your neighbors may not appreciate!
Can the Australian Silky Terrier Live with Children?
Silky Terriers are quite patient dogs and will be happy to get cuddles and hugs from children. They’ll also enjoy having someone to play with who matches their energy. But, Silkies can be a little scrappy so it’s best if kids are older than 10.
With all dog breeds, it’s important kids are taught how to play with and respect them. Even the most tolerant ‘nanny dogs’ have a limit!
Are They Aggressive Dogs?
Like other Terriers, Silkies are not naturally aggressive dogs. They can be feisty and don’t mind standing up for themselves but this shouldn’t manifest itself as aggression.
Training Silky Terriers is a really important part of ensuring they don’t become aggressive. As is socializing them. These both help to make your pooch confident, but respectful of other dogs and people.
If you decide to adopt a Silky from a shelter, you may not know their history or how much they’ve been socialized. Dogs with a difficult past can sometimes be aggressive, often out of fear. Patience and enlisting the help of a professional trainer can help to make your pup feel more comfortable.
Do They Get Along Well With Other Animals?
Silkies can get along with other dogs, especially ones that they’ve grown up with. However, they can also be territorial, so introducing Silky Terriers to other pups correctly is very important. Extra care should be taken around bigger dogs who are not in the mood to deal with a smaller and louder pup.
Silky Terriers shouldn’t, however, be in a home with smaller animals such as cats, hamsters, or rabbits. Just like Yorkshire Terriers and Australian Terriers, these pups were bred to hunt small prey (usually rats). That means they still have a strong prey drive and may misconceive your beloved gerbil as vermin.
Appearance of the Silky Terrier
Silky Terriers look a lot like Yorkshire Terriers. They can have a similar coat color and the texture is hair-like (much like a human’s). They have a resembling face with beautiful eyes, a long muzzle, and a cheeky, confident expression.
Size and Weight
Silky Terriers are categorized as a toy breed. So they’re small (but slightly bigger than Yorkies). They can be between 9-10 inches and weigh around 10 pounds.
How Long Does It Take for an Australian Silky Terrier to Reach Adult Size?
Silky Terriers usually have 4 puppies in a litter and they are incredibly cute. These beautiful little dogs usually take around 9 months to reach their full size and weight.
The officially recognized colors for Silky Terriers are blue and tan. The shade of blue can, however, vary. It may be silver, pigeon, or slate and the tan is usually a rich color. Your pup’s back should always be blue (all the way to the tip of the tail) and tan markings can be on their cheeks, muzzle, ears, and lower legs.
A Silky Terrier’s coat is long and, you guessed it, silky. The hair is very fine and falls from the back of their ears to the base of their tail. Whilst not quite as long as a Yorkshire Terrier’s, it’s still very splendid and something that needs regular maintenance to keep it looking so good.
This dog breed usually has a coat that parts down its back and falls 4 or 5 inches. The hair is shorter around their feet, legs, and tail.
A Silky Terrier has a level topline with sloping shoulders and the body should be roughly ⅕ longer than the dog is tall. They have tiny paws which are often described as being cat-like and should have dark-colored nails.
These dogs have a relatively long muzzle, a dark-colored nose, and a medium-length neck.
Light eyes are considered a serious fault for Silky Terriers. These dogs should have dark, almond-shaped eyes with dark rims.
They have a flat skull that is not domed between the eyes and erect, triangular ears. They should have a scissor bite – an under or overbite is considered a serious fault.
According to the standard set out by the American Kennel Club, a Silky Terrier dog should have a docked tail that’s set high and between a 12 and 2 o’clock position.
Grooming and Hygiene of the Australian Silky Terrier
As a dog owner, it’s really important that you groom your pup correctly. Not only will this keep them looking their best, but it will also prevent various skin diseases or dental issues from arising.
How to Brush an Australian Silky Terrier?
Because Silky Terriers have very fine hair that’s similar to human hair, it’s important you treat it in the same way. Their coats can easily get tangled, which can lead to painful matts which can get infected.
The key to brushing a Silky Terrier is consistency and patience. Try to get a Silky Terrier puppy used to grooming sessions from a young age, it will certainly make it easier when they’re older! Part their fur and gently brush each individual section, ensuring you never scratch the skin.
If your pup has a particularly long coat (lengths can differ from dog to dog), you may want to trim the ends so that they don’t drag on the floor and collect dirt and debris.
What Brush for an Australian Silky Terrier?
The best brush for a Silky Terrier is a pin brush or a soft bristle brush. These will ensure important oils are distributed for coat and skin health but won’t be too forceful on their delicate hair. You might also want to get a long-toothed metal dog comb for any tangles that do form. Remember, gently ease them out and never pull as this could be painful for your pooch.
How Do You Wash an Australian Silky Terrier?
Again, getting your dog used to baths is really important with Australian Silky Terriers as they’ll need one every 2 weeks or so. It’s important to get them a doggy shampoo that’s suitable for fine and long hair.
Wet your dog’s hair well and apply the shampoo all over their body. Make sure you pay particular attention to their underbelly as dirt and tangles can form there. Rinse thoroughly and use a conditioner that’s also specifically designed for fine hair and wash out.
Ensure you dry your pup’s coat thoroughly. Wet coats can become breeding grounds for bacteria which can lead to skin irritations and infections. Also, check your dog’s ears for redness and make sure they’re totally dry to prevent infection.
Is It a Hypoallergenic Dog?
Surprisingly, this breed is considered hypoallergenic! You’d think with all that hair that they’d be difficult for allergy sufferers but the structure of their coat means they shed less often.
Australian Silky Terrier Training and Education
Training is an essential part of any dog’s education and upbringing. It helps them to become confident, happy, safe, and understand who is really in charge.
Because Silkies are so smart, they’re quite easy to train. They’re often willing too. But, training needs to be fun and they need to have some sort of reward for taking part (be that a favorite toy or a treat). They can get impatient, meaning they’ll make up their own rules or lose interest easily. So keep it quick and engaging.
What is the Price of an Australian Silky Terrier?
The price of a Silky Terrier depends on various different factors. Popularity, demand, and breeders in your area will all increase or decrease the price. Generally speaking, though, you should expect to pay between $900 and $2000.
Make sure you find a respectable Silky Terrier breeder so you know you’re getting a healthy dog that comes from a good stock. A breeder should give you the correct health certificates. Avoid breeders who are offering puppies for much less, they may be a puppy mill or unethically breeding dogs.
Australian Silky Terrier Feeding
Just like other toy breeds, Silkies need a diet that consists of good-quality canine food. They need plenty of animal-based protein sources and kibble can be a good way to keep their teeth and gums healthy too.
Feed your dog according to packet instructions or your vet but most Silky Terriers should need between ½ and ¾ of a cup of food shared into two meals a day.
Silkies respond well to treats, especially during training. Try to avoid calorie-dense treats that contain lots of additives. There are plenty of healthier options to go for.
Australian Silky Terrier Health
Silkies are usually healthy little dogs that suffer from few health conditions. But there are a couple of common health concerns that you should be aware of. Ensuring you get your pup from a reputable breeder and take them for regular health checks should help to identify any possible problems.
Some common diseases that Silky Terriers Suffer from are:
- Patellar Luxation
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
- Dental problems such as gum disease
- Tracheal Collapse
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye disease
Make sure you ask for health screenings from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
What Is the Life Expectancy of the Australian Silky Terrier?
There are many factors that can affect the life expectancy of your pup. Genetics, diet, and vet checkups can all contribute. On average, however, an Australian Silky Terrier can live to be 12-15 years old.
What Is the Best Climate for an Australian Silky Terrier?
It goes without saying that no dog should be forced to live outside in extreme weather conditions. But some do better than others in hot and cold temperatures.
Silky Terriers can withstand hot weather but it’s important they’re given plenty of shade to rest in and lots of water. You shouldn’t allow your dog to overheat or spend too much time in the sun as they can get sunstroke too. On very hot days, try to take your pup out in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
Because Silkies are small dogs and their hair is very thin, they don’t like to be out in cold weather for very long. If you do live somewhere that gets cold, you might want to think about getting them a warm winter coat.
Breeds Similar to An Australian Silky Terrier
It might be difficult for you to find a good Silky Terrier breeder in your area. If it is, don’t worry! There are plenty of other breeds that look similar to Silky Terriers for you to consider.
- Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies are adorable little dogs that look a lot like Silkies. As one of the dogs used to originally breed the Australian Silky Terrier, the resemblance is very strong!
- Norwich Terrier. Norwich Terriers are tenacious and confident yet very affectionate towards their families. They have a shorter coat than a Silky, but they still look a lot alike.
- Australian Terrier. As another of the breeds used in creating the Silky Terrier, the Australian Terrier looks a lot like the Silky. They tend to be a little more robust, but there’s definitely a resemblance!
The Australian Silky Terrier is an amazing dog full of personality. They’re confident and sometimes can be a little too confident, so lots of training is essential. They get on well with kids and are great family pets for those wanting a small dog but with a big dog personality.
Still not sure if the Silky Terrier is for you? Why not take our specially designed quiz to help you find the perfect pup? It’s a great way to find exactly what you’re looking for so you know you’ll be getting a pet that will fit into your family.