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Silky Terrier

(Sydney Silky, Australian Silky Terrier)
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Silky Terrier

Form and Function

The Silky Terrier is a miniature version of a working terrier, and as such retains many similar features. They are somewhat longer than tall, and though of refined bone, they often nonetheless have sufficient strength and substance. Their gait is free and light-footed; their expression is often piercingly keen. Their straight, single coat is silky and glossy, following the body outline rather than falling to the floor.


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Breed Traits

Energy Level

4 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

2 out of 5


4 out of 5

Affection Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

3 out of 5


1 out of 5

Ease of Training

3 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

3 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

3 out of 5


5 out of 5

Breed Attributes




8-11 lb





Area of Origin


Date of Origin

Late 1800s

Other Names

Sydney Silky, Australian Silky Terrier


In the late 1800s, Yorkshire Terriers were brought to Australia from England. These dogs had striking steel blue and tan coat coloration and were bred with the native blue and tan Australian Terriers in an effort to improve the latter’s coat color. Both the Yorkshire Terrier and the Australian Terrier were rather recent developments, being the product of mixing a number of other terrier breeds. A few of these dogs were given a new name, Silky Terriers, because it was felt that they were the beginning of a separate breed, with an intermediate size and coat length.

Because the breed was developed in two separate areas of Australia, these dogs could vary in size and weight. In 1926, a revised standard encompassing all areas was accepted, with accepted weights being somewhat of a compromise. The breed was popularly known as the Sydney Silky Terrier in Australia until it was changed to Australian Silky Terrier in 1955. In America, the name was changed to Silky Terrier in 1955 as well. Although not a rare breed, the Silky Terrier has been somewhat slow to attract admirers and they are only moderately popular.


The Silky Terrier is no mellow lapdog. They are often bold, feisty, inquisitive, and playful, ever ready for action—a terrier at heart. They can be assertive toward other dogs or pets. They are often clever, but can tend to be stubborn, and can be mischievous. They tend to bark a lot.


This is an active breed requiring slightly more exercise than other small breeds. They enjoy a moderate walk on leash, but they especially like the chance to nose around on their own in a safe area, such as a fenced yard. Much of their exercise requirements can be met with vigorous indoor games or walk outside. Their coat needs brushing or combing every other day.


  • Major concerns: none
  • Minor concerns: patellar luxation, Legg–Perthes
  • Occasionally seen: diabetes, epilepsy, tracheal collapse, allergies, Cushing’s
  • Suggested tests: knee, eye
  • Life span: 11–14 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

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