Described as an alert, quick, energetic, and friendly pet, the Silky Terrier is actually part of the Toy group rather than the Terrier group in America but is considered part of the Terrier Group in the United Kingdom. A high-spirited and curious breed, the Silky Terrier, also known as the Silky, still acts as if he were really part of the Terrier group. The Silky Terrier breed was derived from the Yorkshire Terrier and Australian Terrier breeds in Australia during the early 20th century. In his country of origin- and throughout the rest of the world- the Silky Terrier is referred to as the Australian Silky Terrier.
Characteristics of the Silky Terrier
Let’s investigate some of the characteristics that set the Silky Terrier apart from other breeds.
At first glance, the Silky Terrier can be easily mistaken for a Yorkshire or Australian Terrier. Standing between 9 and 10 inches tall and weighing around 10 pounds, The Silky Terrier is larger than the Yorkshire Terrier and smaller than the Australian Terrier. Unsurprisingly, the coat of the Silky Terrier has a silky, smooth, fine appearance, and is similar to some human hair in feel and texture. His coat is either long, silky grey and white, or blue and tan. Just like his Yorkie and Aussie cousins, the Silky Terrier has a strong, wedge-shaped head and small, almond-shaped eyes. His ears are small, upright triangles and his tail is high set. His coat is long, nearly approaching floor length, except around his head, where the coat is cut normally.
Silky Terriers have been described as active and keenly alert. They enjoy quite a bit of daily exercise but can adapt well to apartment living as long as they are given many opportunities to run around and play. Silkys must be kept busy and social, as they can grow bored very easily. Once they have a chance to release their boundless energy, though, Silky Terriers love to be cuddly lap dogs. Always ready for adventure, this breed is great for travel and can fit in small crates for efficient transport.
The Silky Terrier has a history of hunting small rodents, and therefore may not be the optimal breed for households with pet rodents. The Silky can get along with cats and other dogs but beware that Silkys often believe they are much larger than they really are and may confront larger dogs fearlessly. The Silky Terrier is extremely intelligent and curious, but this can be seen as a bad thing when owners find their Silky Terrier incessantly digging and tearing up their lawn. When outside, Silkys should always be on a leash or in a fenced-in area so that they don’t run away in pursuit of other animals. The fearless nature of the Silky can make him a great watchdog who will bark at strangers. He is very friendly with his family but is better with older children rather than younger children, as younger children tend to play too rough with tiny, fragile dogs.
You can expect your Silky to live between 13 and 15 years.
Caring for the Silky Terrier
Let’s learn about the proper ways to care for a Silky Terrier.
Your Silky Terrier will need to be fed a high-quality dog food that is ideally formulated for small toy breeds. Treats can be a valuable tool to use during training but avoid feeding your pet too many treats as this can cause obesity, which can lead to many other problems. Table scraps should also be given sparingly and avoid especially those table scraps containing bones and contents rich in fat. In addition, clean, fresh water should always be available for this active breed. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet’s diet or weight.
Despite his small size and tendency to cuddle, the Silky Terrier requires much more exercise than most Toy breeds. He is much more like a Terrier in this respect. Your Silky will love to run around and play, but make sure he is always on a leash or within a fenced-in area, otherwise he may run away. Your Silky will require at least one brisk walk per day, but he would love additional walks if you are able to provide that for him. This breed also loves fetch.
Silky Terriers have been known as some of the quickest learners in the dog world. This is because they are incredibly intelligent. However, their intelligence also means that this breed can be rather stubborn. Silky Terrier puppies, even as young as eight weeks old, should be trained right away. Once Silky Terrier puppies reach six months old or so, they can be very difficult to train, as they may have already developed some bad habits that are hard to break. Puppy socialization and training classes are highly recommended as early as 10 weeks old. Overall, Silky Terriers require consistent, firm training.
The downside of having a pet with such a beautiful coat is the care required to maintain such silky beauty. The coat of the Silky Terrier is extremely prone to tangles and matting. To avoid these problems, you will need to brush and comb your Silky’s coat once per day. Regular shampooing with a bath is also necessary. This breed can benefit from Avocado and Oatmeal shampoo to help alleviate the itchy, dry skin he is prone to developing. Your Silky Terrier should be taken to a professional groomer every three weeks. The care of this breed requires a deep commitment from his owners.
To avoid the teeth and gum problems this breed is prone to, the teeth of the Silky Terrier should be brushed whenever he visits the professional groomer. This breed is also prone to a condition known as tracheal collapse in which traditional leashes may constrain the delicate neck muscles. For this reason, Silky Terrier should be walked on harness leashes instead of neck leashes. Silky Terriers can also be prone to patellar luxations (sliding kneecaps) and certain eye conditions. Contact your pet’s veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your Silky’s health.