Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Have you ever heard the saying "Good things come in small packages"? Well, that idiom certainly applies to the tiny, yet mighty, Silky Terrier! These Toy Group terriers are packed with curiosity, feistiness, and personality. Read on to learn more about the spunky Silky Terrier!
Also Known As…
The Silky Terrier was initially called the Sydney Silky Terrier. This was switched to the Australian Silky Terrier in 1955. In the United States, their official name was changed to the Silky Terrier. They are often nicknamed as "Silky" or "Silkies" for short. Sometimes, simplicity is key!
Here, we refer to the Silky Terrier as the "Yorkshire Terrier doppelgänger," "Australian Terrier doppelgänger," and "#hairgoals."
The beautiful Silky Terrier dates back to the late 1800s, when breeders in Australia combined the Yorkshire Terrier with the Australian Terrier. According to HillsPet, this was in attempt to create a pup that "combined the more robust body of the Australian Terrier with the coat, color, and quality of the Yorkshire Terrier." These successful breeding efforts resulted in the lovely and spirited Silky Terrier.
The Silky Terrier's ancestors were swift vermin catchers in Europe and Australia. So, it is no surprise that Silky Terriers were also bred for vermin hunting. Additionally, Silky Terriers were bred for companionship - a role they undoubtedly excel at!
These toy-sized terriers are shorter than your ruler! They typically stand at 9 to 10 inches tall at the withers.
You can carry these petite pooches in one hand! An average Silky Terrier weighs about 10 pounds.
The Silky Terrier is no sissy! Despite the size, the Silky Terrier is not your typical lazy and delicate lapdog. This breed is scrappy and bold, always ready for adventure and challenge! Don't expect a Silky Terrier to back down from a fight, they love to bark at anything and anyone who poses a "threat." This makes them excellent door bells, alarms, and watch dogs.
These cheeky pups are also intelligent, curious, and playful. There's never a dull day with a Silky Terrier! Furthermore, Silky Terriers are very devoted. They are happiest inside the home, receiving plenty of love and attention from their human family members! Bred for companionship, Silky Terriers need owners who are able to give them lots of social stimulation and attention.
Intelligence / Trainability
Silky Terriers are intelligent pups! Sometimes they are too smart and are tempted to live by their own rules. Thus, training is important to reduce undesirable behaviors and encourage obedience.
It's important to not be swayed by the breed's charm and oh-so-adorable looks! Despite their angelic appearance, Silky Terriers are quite mischievous in nature. With their history as vermin catchers, they have a strong prey drive and are quick to run after anything of interest or dig excessively. Furthermore, Silky Terriers have a high need for social stimulation and may engage in destructive behaviors when lonely or bored.
Best Training Techniques For Silky Terriers
Who would have thought these teeny-tiny pups are capable of such trouble! But don't fret! This can be easily managed with proper and consistent training. Silky Terriers are most likely to participate in training when using a positive and playful approach. They especially love training as a bonding activity. Silkies have been particularly successful in companion events, such as agility.
Since this breed loves attention, be sure to shower your Silky Terrier with love, cuddles, and treats when engaging in positive behaviors. Crate training is also advised to avoid destructive behaviors when left alone.
Though Silky Terriers are scrappy and rambunctious, they are best suited for indoor living. In fact, they absolutely love being indoors since that's where their humans are! Because of their small size, it is possible to meet the active Silky Terrier's exercise and playtime needs without a sprawling yard. So, this breed is a wonderful option for pup parents seeking an adventurous companion in a small space.
Good For Families And Kids
Silky Terriers make loyal and loving family pets. They are sincerely devoted to their human families and enjoy nothing more than quality family time. Due to their small size, playfulness, and loving nature, they are also great companions for children. However, it is important that the children treat Silky Terriers with gentleness and respect, as this breed may not tolerate constant poking and pulling from little tots.
Silky Terriers typically live to be 13- to 15-years-old.
Silky Terriers are generally very healthy dogs. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. Among these are eye disease, patellar luxation, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. Patellar luxation is a fancy term for kneecap dislocation (ouch). This relatively minor condition is one of the most common joint issues in canines.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease, a condition commonly found in toy-sized dogs, involves the spontaneous degeneration of the hind leg's femur bone. This eventually leads to disintegration of the hip joint alongside bone and joint inflammation. While the cause of this condition is unknown, PetMD reports that "blood supply issues to the femoral head are usually seen in dogs suffering from Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease."
Healthcare for Silky Terriers should include routine veterinarian visits, routine vaccinations, regular inspections for ear infection, and regular tooth brushings.
These petite pups are packed full of energy! Silky Terriers are an active breed that love running around and exploring the world around them. Thus, they need adequate exercise and playtime to satisfy their curiosity and activity needs.
The Silky Terrier's exercise needs are easily met in comparison to other high-energy breeds. Due to their tiny stature, Silky Terriers can meet their daily exercise quotas in small spaces and without extensive physical activities. Daily walks or engaging playtime activities (like fetch, tug-o-war, chase) should satisfy your spunky Silky!
Friendly With...(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Silky Terriers are generally friendly towards strangers. However, they can be scrappy towards other dogs and pets. These feisty pups need to be socialized properly to reduce these aggressive behaviors. Despite this, the tiny breed does not pose a great risk for harm towards other dogs. However, exercise special caution when this breed is around other pets, especially smaller animals such as cats and rodents. Due to Silky Terriers' strong prey drive, they have a tendency to chase and "hunt" small critters.
Coat & Grooming
To keep your Silky Terrier's coat silky, the American Kennel Club recommends brushing it twice a week with a soft bristle brush or pin brush. A long-toothed metal comb may also be useful in preventing or undoing tangles.
Hair is a major part of this breed's identity - it's even in the name! Thus, it is important to regularly tend to your Silky Terrier's coat. Neglectful grooming can result in uncomfortable tangles, mats, and even skin issues.
Toys Silky Terriers Would Like Best
As mentioned, Silky Terriers hail from a long line of vermin hunters. Due to this, the spunky breed has an appetite for hunting, chasing, and mouthing little critters. Tap into your Silky's instincts with small plush toys - bonus points if it resembles a critter! BarkShop has a vast array of Plush Toys! With this collection of countless shapes and sizes, there's sure to be a perfect plush for your pup. Don't forget to account for your Silky Terrier's tiny jowls when picking the size of each toy.
For a more extensive list, check out the following post: What Are The Best Toys For Yorkies?
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Since Silky Terriers are rather healthy pups, they do not have a high maintenance health regimen that requires specific additives or adjustments. However, Silkies can benefit from a daily multivitamin to ensure they consume the necessary nutrients and enhance their vitamin intake, as well as joint supplements if they're having joint issues.
As always, consult a vet before administering anything.
BARK's Multivitamin Daily is a tasty, all-natural supplement that is packed with over 25 nutrients. ($12 for thirty chews.)
This supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Silky Terrier with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
If your Silky Terrier spends a lot of time chasing after tennis balls - or if they just enjoy a good lie down (because really, who doesn't?) - it's probably a good idea for them to have their own very comfortable bed.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for active and lazy dogs alike! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. It offers the best therapeutic support for your Silky. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Silky Terrier Of Your Dreams
Looking to add a Silky Terrier to your pack? We encourage you to check out these amazing rescues and rescue dog databases before considering a breeder.
Notable Instagram Silky Terriers
Charlie the Silky Terrier @charliethesilkyterrier
Booboo the Silky Terrier @booboosadventures
Tommy the Silky Terrier @tommy_the_silky_terrier!
Gulfy at @gulfy.silky!
***Looking for a gift to blow your Silky Terrier's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox!Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription!
Featured image via CharlieTheSilkyTerrier/Instagram