Australian Silky Terrier

Other names: The Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
Australian Silky Terrier adult

If you’re looking for a small dog with a lot of personality to offer, the Australian Silky Terrier might just be the breed you’ve been looking for! Originally bred as a ratter, the Silky Terrier boasts a lively, jolly and cheerful personality, making it a wonderful companion dog. This little dog doesn’t come without that classic Terrier attitude, though - barking, boldness and mischief are part of the package!

Key facts about the Australian Silky Terrier

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

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Origins and history

The Australian Silky Terrier originates from (you guessed it!) Australia, when breeders mixed the English Yorkshire Terrier with native Australian Terriers in order to produce a more vivid coat. Eventually the ‘Sydney Silky Terrier’ was created, though there were two different standards of the breed. In 1955, the breed was renamed as the Australian Silky Terrier and standardised to prevent further crossbreeding. In its native Australia, the breed remains a popular and well-loved lapdog.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 4 : Toy Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Australian Silky Terrier

  • Australian Silky Terrier
    Australian Silky Terrier
  • Australian Silky Terrier
    Australian Silky Terrier
  • Australian Silky Terrier
    Australian Silky Terrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 8 and 9 in

    Male : Between 9 and 10 in


    Female : Between 7 and 13 lb

    Male : Between 7 and 13 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Australian Silky Terrier is a small Terrier (though technically categorised as a toy breed) with adorable short legs. Overall, this is a robust and athletic dog (especially considering its small size) and appears slightly longer than tall. The head is of medium-length and wedge-shaped, while the face boasts small, almond-shaped dark eyes, small, erect, triangular-shaped ears, and long hair falling elegantly down the sides. But the defining feature of the Australian Silky has to be the coat, which is most definitely ‘silky’, perfectly straight and almost human-like in texture.

    Good to know

    The Australian Silky Terrier is often confused with the ever-popular Yorkshire Terrier - in fact, the two breeds are closely related!


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      Looking for a cuddly little lapdog? The Silky Terrier is a great choice. This breed is sweet, loyal and devoted to its owner, though it may not be super affectionate to those outside of its immediate circle.

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      For such a small dog, the Australian Silky sure has a lot of energy to burn and loves to expend it with daily playtime.

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      If you’re after a super chilled-out and docile breed, the Silky probably isn’t the right choice. This bold dog is lively and energetic day-in-day-out, but will settle down eventually if well-exercised and content.

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      The Silky Terrier is well-known for its impressive intelligence and ability to learn quickly. This can mean that she knows your weaknesses, too.

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      The Silky is a hunter at heart and will chase cats, rabbits, squirrels, rodents and wildlife without fear. It’s best to keep it on a strong lead in public areas unless you’re absolutely certain that your pooch won’t be tempted if a small animal appears.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      This breed isn’t necessarily fearful of strangers, but is definitely suspicious of them. Expect it to be aloof and reserved around new faces.

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      The Australian Terrier is very attached to and dependent on its master.

      Behaviour of the Australian Silky Terrier

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        Tolerates solitude

        If well-adjusted, this breed may be able to be left alone for a few hours - but no more. This dog likes to be with its family and is likely to turn into a troublemaker if left alone for too long. 

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        Easy to train / obedience

        One of the best things about the Silky Terrier is how easy it is to train. Smart, intelligent and alert, this breed learns quickly with short, interesting training sessions filled with positive reinforcement and rewards.

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        Beware of the bark! This pup oftens loves the sound of its own voice and will bark whenever it deems it necessary (which, much of the time, it probably isn’t).

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        Tendency to run away

        Despite the Silky’s hunting instinct, this dog doesn’t really want to stray from its master.

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        If the Silky isn’t left for too long, and its needs are met, it will be sensible and won’t cause a fuss.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        This breed can be greedy with both food and toys. Measure out food daily, go easy on the treats, and don’t be tempted to give into those puppy dog eyes!

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        Guard dog

        The Australian Silky Terrier is naturally protective, alert and territorial, meaning it’ll bark loudly at any intruders - a great little watchdog!

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        First dog

        Although this breed can be a little bold and mischievous, it is fairly easy to train and may make a lovely choice for a first-time dog owner who’s willing to put time and effort into training.

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          Australian Silky Terrier in a flat

          The Silky Terrier adapts well to apartment living due to its small size. However, be aware of barking disturbance in blocks of flats - a strong ‘quiet’ command will be essential!

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          The Australian Silky has a moderate and manageable exercise requirement, though it does require much more exercise than most other toy breeds. Ideally, this energetic breed will receive multiple short walks every day, in order to keep it mentally and physically stimulated. Fetch and other games will go down a treat, too!

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          This breed makes for a great little travel companion, thanks to its small size and adaptability.


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            Australian Silky Terrier and cats

            The Silky will get along with cats if it has learnt to love them from a young age.

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            Australian Silky Terrier and dogs

            The Silky can be scrappy towards other dogs, though thorough socialization can help prevent this.

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            Australian Silky Terrier and children

            The Silky Terrier can be a great family companion for families with children who understand how to treat dogs.

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            Australian Silky Terrier and the elderly

            If an elderly person has experience with dogs (especially Terrier breeds) and is looking for a protective and loyal lapdog, the Australian Silky Terrier is a great choice!



            This breed will cost between £300 and £450 for a well-bred puppy. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £60 to £90 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


            The Silky Terrier’s lovely, soft coat is, in all honesty, rather high maintenance. It will need thorough brushing every single day - otherwise, hard-to-shift knots and tangles will quickly form. Regular shampooing is required; ideally with a gentle, hypoallergenic dog shampoo to avoid drying out the Silky’s delicate skin.


            This breed is low-shedding.

            Nutrition of the Australian Silky Terrier

            Although the Silky isn’t picky, it prefers a high-quality, complete and balanced dog food which is formulated specifically for small or toy dog breeds. This should also be suited to the dog’s age.

            Health of the Australian Silky Terrier

            Life expectancy

            This breed has a healthy life span but, like most pure breeds, is prone to certain health problems. The average life expectancy is 13 years.

            Strong / robust

            The Silky is fairly muscular and sturdy for its small size, but should still be kept as an indoor dog.

            Withstand heat

            The Silky can tolerate warm climates but may overheat in extreme heat - always provide cold water and shade.

            Withstand cold

            The Silky should be kept indoors and find alternative exercise solutions during storms or cold spells.

            Tendency to put on weight

            The Australian Silky Terrier doesn’t need all that much food, so it can be easy to overfeed this dog. Be strong willed when it comes to food and don’t give into any canine-style guilt-tripping.

            Common illnesses

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