Choosing a Silky Terrier

Choosing a Silky Terrier

Selecting a Silky TerrierSelecting a Silky Terrier
Selecting a Silky TerrierSelecting a Silky Terrier

The silky terrier is named after is long luxurious hair coat. This dog looks fragile but is actually a good little ratter.

History and Origin

The silky terrier was developed as a companion and ratter in Australia in the 1800s through breeding of various terriers such as the Australian terrier, Skye terrier, Yorkshire terrier and Cairn terrier. The silky was originally known as the Sydney silky terrier until 1955 when the name was changed to the Australian silky terrier.

During World War II, American servicemen were stationed in Australia and fell for this little Australian dog with the long silky hair. These servicemen brought these dogs home after the war. Eventually, in the United States, the breed’s name was officially changed to the silky terrier and in 1959 he was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the toy group.

Appearance and Size

The silky terrier is a small terrier that is a little longer than he is tall. The head is wedge shaped and the ears are small and carried erect. The tail is docked and set high. The coat of the silky terrier is long, straight and silky. The color is various shades of blue and tan.

The adult silky terrier stands around 9 to 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 8 to 11 pounds.


The silky terrier is a loving and courageous little terrier. Although the breed may look fragile, he is actually quite tough. This terrier is energetic and active and isn’t known for being a calm “lap” dog.

Home and Family Relations

The silky terrier is a good pet for an active home with older children but some may be standoffish or even snappy. He is a good watchdog and will bark when strangers approach. This breed, as with other terriers, may chase small animals. They can do well with other family pets if raised with them. The silky terrier can do well in an apartment if taken on daily walks.


The silky terrier can be trained for obedience but may be difficult to house train.

Special Concerns

The long coat of the silky terrier needs to be brushed daily to prevent mats and tangles. Some tend to dig if left alone too long.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the silky terrier is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Tracheal collapse is a weakening of the rings of the windpipe. This leads to irritation and coughing.
  • Intervertebral disk disease is a disorder involving the disks between the spine. Affected dogs are painful. In severe cases, rear leg paralysis can occur.
  • Elbow dysplasia is a disorder involving the elbow joint leading to pain and lameness.
  • Malassezia Dermatitis – is a yeast infection of the skin caused by Malassezia pachydermatitis.
  • Subcutaneous injections of glucocorticoids – may cause local hair loss in this breed.
  • Corneal ulceration is the loss of the corneal epithelium (the outermost cells of the cornea).
  • Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to loose transparency and can result in blindness.
  • Progressive retinal degeneration (PRA) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition can lead to blindness.
  • Patellar luxation is a loose kneecap.
  • Legg-Calve Perthes¬†is a disease of the hip joints that leads to lameness.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that most often begins at 2 to 5 years of age.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the silky terrier is approximately 12 to 15 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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