Australian Silky Terrier – Facts and Personality Traits

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is everything that you have ever wanted to know about one of Australia's most popular dogs - the Australian Silky Terrier. Read on to discover why this breed is so popular today, and what you can expect from this small size dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder
8 to 10 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Australian Silky Terrier is also known as the Silky Terrier, described as a small breed dog of the terrier dog type. Originally this breed was developed in Australia, but ancestral types and breeds were from Great Britain.

This silky terrier is related to the Australian Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier. In North America, the breed is known and called the Silky Terrier, but it is officially called the Australian Silky Terrier.

Quick Facts

Real name: Australian Silky Terrier
Other names: Silky Terrier
Origin: Australia
Breed type: Terrier Group
Weight: around 10 pounds
Height: 9-10 inches
Lifespan: 11–14 years
Litter Size: 3 to 5 puppies
Color: Blue, tan
Coat: Flat, fine, glossy and silky

Australian Silky Terrier History

At first glance, Australian Silky Terrier can easily be mistaken for a Yorkshire or Australian Terrier. This makes sense since Yorkies and Aussies were the main components utilized by Australian breeders when creating the Silky in the early 20th century.

Other breeds might have factors in the Silky’s development, including Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and Skye terriers, who were brought to Australia by English settlers. However, Silkys are larger than Yorkies and smaller than Aussies.

Some records show that the breed was created at the end of the 19th century when Yorkshire Terriers were crossed with Australian Terriers.

At first, the breed was known as the Sydney Silky, as it was found primarily in the city of Sydney, Australia. Australian dog breeds were mostly bred to be working dogs, but that wasn’t the case with this breed.

This small size breed was initially bred to be an urban pet and companion. Interestingly, this breed is known for killing snakes in Australia. Until 1929 the Australian Terrier, the Australian Silky Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier were not clearly defined.

Some claim that these three breeds might be born in the same litter, just to be separated by appearance into three different types once they were grown.

After 1932 the further breeding of the breed was discouraged in Australia. However, in 1955 the breed’s name officially became the Australian Silky Terrier.

Three years later, in 1958, the breed was officially recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council in 1958 in the Toy Group.

During WWII, American service members brought Silky Terrier from Australia to the States. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed as the Silky Terrier in 1959.

The breed is recognized by all the major kennel clubs in the English speaking world, and internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale as breed number 236.

Australian Silky Terrier Physical Appearance

The Silky Terrier is a true “toy terrier”. This breed is known for its soft coat, a refined bone structure, and joyful nature. This small size dog is well-built, with a strong and wedge-shaped head.

Eyes are small and dark, while ears are small and V-shaped. The nose is always black, while the neck fits gracefully into sloping shoulders. The topline is level. The chest is medium wide and deep enough to extend down to the elbows.

The body is moderately low set and one fifth longer than the dog’s height at the withers. Forelegs are strong, straight, and fine-boned. The coat is straight, silky, and glossy.

The tail is well coated but devoid of plume. Legs have short hair. Hindquarters are well-muscled and strong.

Australian Silky Terrier Personality

The Silky Terrier is no sissy lap dog. He may seem like a perfect lap companion, but his nature is far from being a couch potato. This small size dog will always be ready for an adventure and a challenge.

If an opportunity arises, this small dog will happily hunt if given a chance.

So, keep him on the leash when outside, because you don’t want him running after a squirrel, because you won’t be able to catch him.

Still, provide enough hunting toys and play games with your terrier is you want to keep him happy and healthy. Silky Terriers are playful dogs, so they can be a great playmate for children.

Make sure that you educate your children on how to behave around dogs. They can be reasonably friendly toward strangers, but they can still be aggressive toward other pets and dogs.

They are great watchdogs, which is why some may describe them as barkers.

Silkies are too small to be effective as protection dogs, but they bark as a large dog to protect you and your home. Obedience training is possible and can be easily conducted as long as you make it fun.

Living With Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier is a great choice for a person ho wants just a bit of adventure. These dogs are active, and they love being outside, but because of their size, they shouldn’t be pushed to the extreme.

Their exercise requirements should be met in a small space. They are hunting terriers at heart, so always be extra careful, so they don’t wander off in search of game.

They will be mischief, so make sure that you have a good sense of humor. The coat needs a fair amount of care, so they should be brushed and combed every other day.

Australian Silky Terrier Grooming

The Australian Silky Terrier will demand your time when it comes to grooming. The Silky Terrier’s coat should be brushed at least twice a week. You should use a pin brush or soft bristle brush.

You may find handy to have a long-toothed metal dog comb to gently work through areas where tangles may be beginning to form.

If you leave tangles unattended, your dog will suffer. Plus, tangles and mats can cause skin problems. Trimm nails once a month, check gums every week, and provide foods that promote teeth health, clean dog’s ears, and provide bath only when needed.

Don’t forget that dogs have different skin that humans do, so they don’t need frequent bathing. Start grooming your dog while a puppy, so he can get used to being handled.

Always reward him with his favorite treats. Also, brushing your dog weekly can make your connection stronger, and it will give you the space to search for any skin problems, and check if eyes are trouble-free.

Make sure that you clean the dog’s paws after a walk. If you start this practice while your dog is a puppy, you will have problems with other training activities.

Australian Silky Terrier Training

Australian Silky Terriers can adapt quickly and well to any living situation, as long as the owner treats them right. This breed will demand your time, energy, and love.

They don’t like to be ignored, and they prefer to spend time with their family, every moment, if possible. If you notice that your Silky has mood swings or he seems to quiet, he may suffer from anxiety separation, and you should talk with your vet for the best plan possible.

This dog is charming and small, but that shouldn’t be the reason to let him get away with certain things that you wouldn’t let the bigger dog get away with.

Undesirable behavior should be handled right in every breed. Create rules, and train your Silky to follow them.

This breed has a strong prey drive, and again: a leash is essential when walking outside. Start early socialization, as soon as you welcome your puppy into your home.

Once the vaccination is done, expose your puppy to new people, new surroundings, and new places. He will love exploring the world around him. Plus, this is a great way to teach him how to behave in new surroundings.

Teach your dog basic commands, how to walk next to you, and what are the house rules. Always use treats to reward him for good behavior, and never use force on your dog.

If you feel that you need help in training your dog, think about puppy classes, or hiring a professional dog trainer for one-on-one sessions.

Training a dog can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are a new owner. Although it may be challenging, it will be worth it. Make sure that you provide enough exercise, but don’t overdo it.

Australian Silky Terrier Exercise

Your Silky Terrier will require more exercise than most Toy group breeds. They are intelligent, bold, and energetic, meaning that they need an owner who will know how to manage that energy.

That extra energy should be channeled well into daily exercise, work, or training for sports. This small size breed is very successful in companion events, especially agility.

Australian Silky Terrier Health

Australian Silky Terrier is considered to be a healthy dog breed. However, there are always possible genetic disorders, which is why it’s important to find a responsible breeder or find a trusted animal shelter.

It’s also crucial to take your dog to the vet as soon as you get your dog home. Responsible breeders will always test their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to, and they will always show you every medical documentation.

Once you are a proud dog owner, you should mind your dog’s diet, and not overfeed him.

Learn how much you should feed your dog so that you can avoid the largest enemy of the dog’s health – obesity.

Dogs can easily gain weight if you don’t mind their diet. You should regularly check your Silky for infection.

Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control should be mandatory to help to ensure the dog a long and healthy life.

Australian Silky Terrier Nutrition

The Silky Terrier should be fine on a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age. Moreover, food fr this breed should be formulated for small or toy breeds.

Avoid giving him table scraps and never give your dog bones. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet, ask your vet for opinion.

The Bottom Line

The Australian Silky Terrier is small and easy to carry the dog. He may seem fitting as a lap companion, but his dynamic nature will surprise you.

This breed looks like a terrier, but with a more elegant build. If you are fine with occasional barking, you will enjoy your time with Silky Terrier.

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