The Silky Terrier or Silky is a fairly sturdy toy dog breed. The Silky has a long low body with a docked tail (in countries that permit docking). The Silky’s head is wedge shaped with small expressive eyes and erect (pricked) V-shaped ears. Silkys have a smooth, shiny and silky coat with no undercoat. The hair on adult dogs should be about 4 to 6 inches long with a cowlick on the head and a clear parting on the back from the neck to the tail. The Silky’s coat starts off black and tan when it’s a puppy and changes to blue and tan when it is an adult. The blue can vary between silver blue and pigeon blue. Silkys stand 10 to 11 inches tall at shoulder height and weigh from 8 to 11 pounds.
Silky Terriers are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Toy Dog Group.
The Silky Terrier was developed in Australia around 1900 and was known as the “Sydney Silky”. Australian and Yorkshire Terriers were used in a cross-breeding program to produce a new companion breed that would have the best characteristics of both founding breeds. The Silky was recognized by the AKC in 1933. The Silky Terrier was ranked 65th out of 154 dog breeds registered by the AKC in 2005.
The Silky is active, cheerful, intelligent, proud, playful, entertaining, inquisitive and bossy. The Silky is loyal and devoted to its owners and doesn’t like to be left alone. The breed is very adaptable and does well in an apartment or a house with a fenced yard. The Silky gets lots of exercise running around checking out everything but is also quite happy to go for long walks or play ball whenever the opportunity arises. The Silky gets along fine with older children but young children and toddlers are too rough for small dogs. Unless you are going to show your male dog, neuter him early to avoid leg lifting problems. Silkys, like most toy dogs, are difficult to house train. See our report on Puppy Training for information on house breaking your puppy. The Silky is vigilant and
alert but can be too barky. Early socialization and obedience training is necessary to try and control its aggression toward other dogs and its barking at strangers. The Silky has a high prey drive and should be kept on a leash or in a securely fenced yard. Silkys respond quite well to reward (food and praise) based training. Silkys make excellent watch dogs and do fine with first time or novice dog owners.
Silkys get lots of exercise running around the apartment or the house and yard investigating everything that is going on. However they are always up for a daily walk or a game of ball. The breed makes a good traveling companion. Use a harness when taking the Silky for a walk as the trachea is easily damaged. Fences should be tall and secure because the Silky is an excellent climber and digger.
This breed doesn’t need as much grooming as you would think from its appearance. Fifteen minutes of brushing and combing per day will suffice. If the Silky’s coat is clipped shorter then the grooming is even easier. Remember to check the teeth regularly for tartar build up. Bathe the dog in a protein or mild shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Silkys are non shedding or low shedding dogs and if properly groomed are said to be hypoallergenic.
Silkys live for 13 to 15 years and are generally pretty healthy. Common health problems include: luxating patella, skin conditions, allergies, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, tracheal collapse and dental problems. Information on some of these genetic diseases can be found in our article Hereditary Diseases in Dogs. Prospective buyers should ask for the breeding parents Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) test results for luxating patella.
Article type: xdogbreed