AKC Dog Breeds: Silky Terrier

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Toy Group
Height:8-11 inches   Weight: 8-11 pounds  Color: Blue/Tan, with silver highlights

Although a toy in size, the Silky Terrier has a true terrier personality – he is of sufficient substance to be able to hunt and kill domestic rodents. The general public occasionally confuses this breed with the Yorkie, but in reality, the Silky is larger and more closely related to the Australian Terrier. A friendly, joyful temperament and the lovely blue and tan coat make him an ideal companion. Developed at the end of the 1800s in Australia, the Silky Terrier was created when a number of Yorkshire Terriers from England were brought into parts of Australia and bred to Australian Terrier bitches in an attempt to improve coat color in the blue and tan Australian Terrier. The resulting litters produced individuals shown as these three different breeds. The Silkys were then bred together until a recognized type was fixed. They were developed as rat hunters and pets, and the breed was registered with the AKC in 1959.

General Appearance
The Silky Terrier, also called the Sidney Terrier, is a fine-boned, moderately low-set, long-haired terrier. It is compact but lightly built. It has erect, v-shaped ears and a docked tail. (Docking is illegal in some European Countries.) The head is flat and wide between the ears, with a shallow stop. The nose is black and the eyes are round and dark with a piercing expression. The teeth should form a scissors bite with a sturdy jaw. The body is slightly longer than tall with a level topline. The round, catlike feet are small and well-padded. Dewclaws should be removed. The coat is long, about 5-6 inches (12-15 cm). The fine, silky, shiny hair has no undercoat. It is very prone to tangles and mats unless frequently groomed. The coat should not reach the floor. The hair is parted down the center of the back. The coat comes in blue & fire red, or blue with tan markings. Many shades of blue are permitted. The topknot should be lighter in color than the tan points. Silky Terriers are born black.

Lively, spirited, and full of energy, the Silky Terrier is a confident and charming little dog with plenty of character. These are friendly and cheerful dogs, and are very adaptable and intelligent. Training the Silky Terrier shouldn't be too much of a problem, as they are quick to learn and responsive, making them ideal for inexperienced owners as well as the more experienced. These dogs may be small but they have plenty of courage and a curious streak. They are also very keen on digging, which is why a secure and safe area is necessary for him to play and exercise in when he is not on a leash. The Silky Terrier can sometimes be bossy, and needs an owner that will be assertive and firm yet positive. The Silky Terrier thrives on the attention and affection of his owner, and is not the right choice for those with little time for their pets. Housebreaking the Silky Terrier may prove difficult, and owners should look out for his possessive streak when it comes to his belongings and food. You should socialize your Silky Terrier early on to promote a stable temperament and sociable personality, as some can grow to be suspicious. The Silky Terrier gets along well with children, but is best around older, gentle children as he doesn't take kindly to boisterous kids and being handled roughly. They will get along okay with other pets, but may be quarrelsome with dogs of the same sex. He does have a tendency to chase other animals, even if they are bigger than him. He will bark to announce visitors, and can make an effective watchdog.


The Silky Terrier's coat is highly susceptible to tangles and matting. They require daily brushing and combing. This breed requires a deep commitment from their owners. To keep the coat lustrous regular shampooing is necessary.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Silky is prone to several disorders including luxating patella, tracheal collapse, and epilepsy. The Silky Terrier has a life expectancy of around 13-16 years.

Activity Level

Although Silkies don't need a lot of outdoor space for running and playing on a daily basis, you will want to walk them regularly in order to burn off some of their excess energy and get them out of the house for an hour or so a day. They'll be grateful for it--and you'll also be grateful to avoid destructive behavior on their part.


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