Silky Terrier

AKC Toy Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Silky Terrier was originally developed in nineteenth-century Australia from other terrier breeds (the primary contributors were the Australian Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier). American servicemen stationed in Australia during World War II brought Silky Terriers home with them after the war. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1959. Though the Silky Terrier has always been primarily a companion dog, he also can dispatch domestic rodents—whether you ask him to or not.


The Silky is a fine-boned, moderately low-set, long-haired terrier with erect V-shaped ears and a docked tail. The head is flat between the ears, with a shallow stop. The nose is black and the eyes are dark with a piercing expression. The teeth should form a scissors bite. 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, fine and silky, but because the breed has only a single coat, it doesn’t tangle easily and the dog doesn’t shed heavily. The coat, while long, should not reach the floor. The hair is parted down the center of the back. Comes in blue with tan markings. Many shades of blue body color are permitted, and the topknot should be a lighter color than the tan points.

Key Facts

  • Height:  9 to 10 in.
  • Size:  Very small
  • Weight:  Averages 10 lbs.
  • Availability:  Might take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Watchdog, earthdog, agility, and performing tricks


A hardy little fellow. Travels well. An excellent watchdog with a deep bark that belies his diminutive size. Can become a problem barker if not controlled. Difficult to train, but if you are persistent and use positive training methods, the dog’s great desire to please can make him an excellent companion and athlete. These little dogs have been used as hearing assistants.


The Silky is playful, loving, and curious about everything, and is highly desirous of being around his family. (Some are friendlier with strangers than others.) As a terrier, this breed is active and keen, and so can be delightful. The dog is widely reputed to be an ace at learning tricks and commands, and to be a loyal and exuberant companion. But its sheer intelligence and energy might make the dog too much of a handful for more laidback people; many are downright stubborn. That means owners of these adorable animals need to have strong personalities, too, or they run the risk of being dominated by what looks like a pretty little dog but can actually be a “holy terror,” as one breeder puts it. Although Silkys have been raised in apartments, most breeders believe that a happy Silky is one with at least a small backyard in which to blow off steam. While many Silkys do well with children, this breed is most comfortable (and safest) with older children, as they can get themselves into a lot of trouble in very little time!


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Fairly friendly with strangers
  • Trainability:  Moderately easy to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  Fairly dominant
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Average barking
  • Indoors:  Moderately active indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Some trimming or stripping (little skill required)
  • Coat:  Medium-long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking/Cropping:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Very little exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Silky Terrier Breed Standard

Silky Terrier Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier Gifts