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Silky Terrier

An active hunter of small prey, Silky Terrier thinks he’s a Big Dog and he can be a tiny Napoleon.

Overall Status

Height 9 to 10 inches
Temperament Friendly, Quick, Keenly Alert
Weight around 10 pounds
Life Expectancy 13 to 15 years
Coat Color Black, Black and Tan, Blue, Gray, Silver, Tricolor
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

It is difficult to improve on the Silky Terrier’s natural good looks, but you can maintain his long, silky coat by brushing and combing it several times a week with a pin or soft slicker brush and metal comb. Spray-on detangler can make this easier and help prevent breakage. Regular brushing prevents tangles, removes dirt and distributes oils, making for a healthy shine. Periodic bathing, every four weeks or so, and light trimming around his ears, eyes, and feet, is also necessary. For extra-easy care, some owners opt to have their Silkys trimmed short like a Schnauzer.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.

Silky Terriers are full of energy, have plenty of stamina and love going on daily walks or runs. This breed has a hunting background, so Silky Terriers like to chase small animals. Along with daily walks, your dog will enjoy time spent in an outside fenced yard or a trip to the dog park. If you can’t get outside, an energetic game of fetch, tug-of-war, or chase indoors will keep your dog exercised and active.

Silkies are small enough to live comfortably in an apartment or condo as long as they are walked daily and allowed to run a few times per week.

Because Silky Terriers are smart, they require mental stimulation as well as physical activity. If possible, Silkies should be enrolled in agility training so they can work their minds, bodies, and get some extra bonding time with someone they love.

The Silky Terrier does well on either a home cooked diet or on high-quality dog kibble. You can supplement your Silky Terrier’s diet with other nutrients and vitamins.

If you get aSilky Terrierpuppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

The average life span of the Silky Terrier is 12 to 15 years. While Silky Terriers are generally healthy dogs, there are several health andgenetic screeningconsiderations specific to the breed.Responsible breeders testtheir stock for conditions the breed can be prone to, includingallergies, collapsing trachea;diabetes, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy,intervertebral disk disease,Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, Malassezia dermatitis, short hair syndrome of Silky breeds,cataracts, cystine urolithiasis, refractory corneal ulceration, and patellar luxation.

Silky Terriers can adapt well to any living situation but need owners who have the time to devote to them—they do not like to be ignored, preferring to play fetch or go on walks with their family. Taken by the breed’s charm, owners may be tempted to let a Silky Terrier get away with undesirable behaviors; it’s best to be sure to make rules and stick to them. The breed has a strong prey drive, and a leash is essential when walking outside.

An early start on training is a good idea simply because Silky Terriers tend to become more set in its ways as time goes on. The dog’s natural stubbornness will be become apparent if this happens and changing any problematic behaviors at this time will be difficult.


The Silky Terrier was created in the late 1800s by crossing theYorkshire Terrierwith theAustralian Terrier. The goal was to improve the coat color of the blue-and-tan-colored Australian Terriers. The Australian Terrier and the Silky Terrier were the same breeds for many years until they were eventually recognized as two different types and separated into two different breeds. During World War II, American servicemen brought some of these Silky Terriers home with them.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Silky in 1959. The breed ranks 78th among the dogs registered by the AKC.

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