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Silky Terrier Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Puppies, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Australian Silky Terrier

Height: 9-10 inches
Weight: 8-11 pounds
Lifespan: 11-14 years
Colors: Brindle, sable, blue, fawn, grey, black, silver
Suitable for: Attentive owners, homeowners, families with older children, homes without other dogs, active owners
Temperament: Independent, Energetic, Intelligent, Alert, Emotionally needy

The Silky Terrier is a small dog with a big personality. They are friendly and playful, and, despite their size, they have abundant energy and require a large amount of exercise.

These dogs are best suited for families and homes where there is always someone around to give them attention as they are very social dogs who crave human attention and company. This makes them great companion dogs for owners who have the necessary time and attention to give.

Silky Terriers are also rather affectionate, so if you’re looking for a pint-sized pooch who loves to snuggle after a day of playing and exercising, this may be a breed that fits your lifestyle well!

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Silky Terrier Puppies

Silky terrier puppy
Image credit: Mouskie, Shutterstock

Many people see small dogs and picture them as perfect pets for apartment dwellers. However, this is definitely not the case for Silky Terriers, so you should rethink bringing this dog home to an apartment. They inherit a high tendency to bark at unfamiliar noises and strangers passing by, so they aren’t well suited for those with noise constraints or those who don’t like barking. You can train them to limit their barking, but you won’t stop the noise entirely!

Another common misconception about these dogs based on their size is that they don’t have a high level of energy. This could not be further from the truth with Silky Terriers! Despite the fact that they’re classified as small dogs, these pups will require very extensive exercise every day, so you need to be prepared to dedicate about an hour and a half to two hours on a daily basis to get their energy out.

Lastly, the name “Silky Terrier” is indicative of their almost human-like hair, and they’ll need to be groomed regularly. The upside is that they don’t shed very much, but the downside is that you will need to make appointments with the groomer about once a month or every other month to keep their hair from getting too long and covering their eyes or interfering with walking. In addition to trimming, they’ll need to be bathed about once a month, which is more often than many other breeds this size.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Silky Terrier

1. It is an Australian breed.

The Silky Terrier was developed in Australia in the 1800s by crossing an Australian Terrier with a Yorkshire Terrier. This is Australia’s only toy-sized dog breed.

2. They make good hunting dogs.

There aren’t many toy-sized dogs that are good for hunting, but the Silky Terrier excels at tracking and hunting small game. Their Terrier heritage lends itself to a high prey drive and a desire to chase rodents and snakes.

3. They are considered hypoallergenic.

No breed is truly hypoallergenic, as every dog has dander, which triggers an allergic reaction in some humans. However, Silky Terriers do shed very little, so they don’t spread their dander around as much as other breeds. As such, these dogs are considered good pets for those allergic to dogs.

Australian Silky Terrier
Image Credit: strangewriter42, pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Silky Terrier 🧠

Silky Terriers are highly affectionate and loving dogs who crave attention from their owners constantly. They thrive on human interaction and are happy getting attention from you in the form of playing, exercise, or affection.

They can be a bit wary around strangers, but they will usually get along very well and love spending time with every member of your family, as long as their space is respected.

They are a bit spunky and will happily engage in some mischief if they know it will bring them the attention they love and desire.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Silky Terriers make excellent family pets for active and attentive families. They are affectionate and crave attention all the time, so they do best in homes where there is always someone around to keep them company. They can become sad if they feel neglected, and they can turn to destructive behavior as well, so company is most important to them.

These dogs are also very active, so the more people they have around to play and exercise with, the happier they will be. They will exhibit a lot of energy even outside of walks or other dedicated exercise, so having multiple family members around to deplete some of their energy at different times of the day can help keep your pup entertained more easily.

As much as they will get along just fine with older children and adults, Silky Terriers are not recommended for families with toddlers or very young kids. They may be affectionate, but they also need their space. If a young child doesn’t realize when your pooch isn’t in the mood to play, they may snap or bark.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Silky Terriers enjoy their attention and praise, so they often don’t do well with fur-siblings who may take some of that attention away from them. They’re best suited for homes without other dogs, and you should also be careful when going on walks or when meeting other dogs, as they can quickly become aggressive despite their small size.

As is the case with most Terriers, the Silky Terrier has a high prey drive and will also see any small animal as something to chase and hunt. Terriers were bred to flush out and hunt rodents and snakes, and they may see your cat or other small animal as an opportunity to show off their hunting prowess. For this reason, they aren’t recommended for homes with other pets.

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Things to Know When Owning a Silky Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Silky Terrier will have abundant energy, but given their size, they are still dainty eaters. You can expect to feed your pooch between a half cup and three-quarters of a cup of dry food a day. This should be split into two meals to help keep their energy levels stable throughout exercise and play.

You should choose to feed your Silky Terrier only a high-quality dog food with few fillers and a high percentage of protein from multiple sources. Foods with fillers like corn and wheat won’t do much good for your dog, as your pooch will digest protein for energy most readily.

In addition to a high-quality food, you may want to choose one that contains omega-3 fatty acids, or you may opt to supplement their diet with an omega-3 pill or oil. These dogs are susceptible to some joint issues, and omega-3 fatty acids can help limit damage to their hips and knees.

Lastly, these dogs are prone to urolithiasis, which is a condition that leads to the formation of stones in the urinary tract. Although this can’t be avoided entirely, ensuring that your pooch has constant access to fresh water is a good way to help limit this issue.

Exercise 🐕

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Silky Terrier is the amount of exercise they require every day. You need to set aside around an hour and a half on a daily basis for walks. The proper amount of exercise is imperative for these dogs to maintain proper health, so if you aren’t able to supply this amount of exercise time, you should rethink committing to this breed.

Your Silky Terrier will likely always be energetic and very playful, and some owners skimp on their walking or running time due to their dog’s activity in the yard. They will have abundant energy regardless of the time they spend playing, so always commit to the recommended dedicated exercise time even if they seem to be active throughout the day.

Because the Silky Terrier has a high prey drive, you’ll need to make sure that they are securely in a harness when out walking, as they will have a tendency to chase squirrels, rabbits, and even birds they see outside. Make sure the harness is properly sized so that your pooch can’t slip free and go on the hunt!

Lastly, Silky Terriers tend to dig, so they should never be left alone in the yard without supervision. There’s a chance they will dig their way out and wander off in search of prey.

Australian Silky Terrier
Image Credit: Peakpx

Training 🦮

These dogs are fairly intelligent and eager to please, so you likely won’t have much of an issue with training. They will pick up on commands with ease, and they’ll learn the rules of your house quickly. They are, therefore, suitable for new owners who are willing to put some time into training and establishing obedience.

Silky Terriers are very playful, so the one issue you may run into with training is that your pooch will prefer to quit the obedience training and play instead. You can combat this by turning your training sessions into a game so that your dog will be mentally stimulated, get their training in for the day, and still feel like they’re playing and spending quality time with their owners.

Lastly, positive reinforcement is key for training your Silky Terrier, as they are emotional and won’t take kindly to raised voices or punishments for bad behavior.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your Silky Terrier will be fairly time-intensive. They have fine hair that is prone to matting, so they will need to be brushed on a daily basis or every other day with a pin or slicker brush. They will also need to be bathed about once a month.

Grooming these dogs can also be costly, as they don’t shed much and will therefore need regular trimming. Some owners do their own trimming, but many take their pooch to the groomer about once every four to six weeks for a haircut. Your groomer will also provide your dog with a bath if requested, so while groomer visits can be costly, they can also save you a lot of time.

Beyond coat maintenance, you’ll want to keep your pup’s nails trimmed to prevent cracking, and you should plan to brush their teeth and wipe their ears clean about once every week.

Silky Terrier
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

Health and Conditions ❤️

Silky Terriers don’t inherit many health conditions, and, thankfully, those that are more common in this breed are usually not life-threatening. You should still keep the below issues in mind in case you notice any symptoms, and, of course, yearly vet checkups are recommended to make sure your pooch is in the best shape and health possible.

Minor Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Eye issues
  • Diabetes
Serious Conditions
  • Urolithiasis
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Elbow dysplasia

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Male vs Female

Male and female Silky Terriers will be almost identical in height and weight. Their temperament will often be very similar as well, but you may find that males will have a higher prey drive. They can also be a bit more aggressive toward small children who don’t respect their space. Both sexes will be affectionate and generally friendly, as well as exceptionally energetic.

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Final Thoughts

Silky Terriers are adorable dogs that can make wonderful companion pets. They are loving and affectionate, and they love attention from their owners and crave it at all times.

They are very active dogs, so they will always be in the mood to play and exercise. They enjoy family activities and will happily come along for trips or days spent outside of the house.

If you and your family live an active lifestyle and want a true companion for your home who will love you endlessly, the Silky Terrier is an excellent option. They will provide a lot of entertainment and fun, and as long as you have the time to commit to exercise and grooming, these dogs will fit right in with you and your family.

Featured Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

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