Australian Silky Terrier

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all shades of blue and tan
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Pros Cons

  • excellent apartment dog

  • can co-exist peacefully with family cats

  • smart and playful

  • first-rate watcher

  • extremely yappy

  • doesn’t suit families with small kids

  • independent and stubborn


The Australian Silky Terrier is a vivacious, inquisitive and devoted companion animal that was created in Australia in the late XIX century. This tenacious tiny dog is perfectly capable of clearing your house of any rodents although it’s rarely used in this role. Apart from being a great pet this breed will also give your house a reliable protection against unwelcomed guests.


In the second half of the XIX century several Yorkshire Terriers found their way to Australia, specifically to Victoria and New South Wales. In order to enhance the quality of their coats some of these canines were mated with the heavier, working Australian Terriers. Initially the hybrid that resulted from these crosses was sometimes referred as the Australian Terrier, but sometimes it was called the Yorkie or the Silky.

Some experts propose that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and/or Cairn Terrier can be found in the Silky Terrier’s lineage. Its development was completed by 1906 when it was officially accepted as a unique breed in New South Wales. Victoria state followed the suit and recognised the breed in 1909. Nonetheless two standards differed in several important items, in particular weight and ear type. In 1926 a new standard was drawn up in order to eliminate these discrepancies and this dog was granted with formal name Sydney Silky Terrier.

The breed was given its present-day name only in 1955 and in 1959 it finally deserved recognition on national level. This final standard approved the ideal weights for the Australian Silky Terrier in the range from 2,7 to 5,4 kilos. It found its way to England thanks to members of foreign military service and the British upper class.

This dog became known in the United States after the Second World War II when the returning American servicemen and women brought its specimens to their hometowns. In 1959 the American Kennel Club (AKC) began registering this breed. Nell Fox, the owner of Pleasant Pastures Kennels, was one of the most passionate popularisers in this country and even wrote a book about this breed named Australian Terrier (THF Publications, 1997).

Currently the Australian Silky Terrier serves exclusively as a family dog and successful participant of the show ring. It’s also valued for its strong protective instinct that makes it a wonderful watcher.


The Australian Silky Terrier is a small dog with lots of personal force that will continuously entertain its masters with its clever pranks. This good-natured yet bold breed thrives on human companionship and tends to suffer from a serious stress if it’s confined alone within four walls all day long. So it makes a great pet for pensioners, part-time workers or families with a stay at home parent. In general, this dog likes spending time with children although it isn’t notable for patient character and may snap a small kid if it tags its hair while playing.

As a rule, the Australian Silky Terrier receives all strangers coldly and intently observes their actions in order to timely reveal threat to its territory or favourite people. Nonetheless early socialisation will guarantee its tolerant attitude towards unfamiliar people. Despite its moderate size it will readily defend the house and its occupants from any unwelcome guest. Moreover this dog is extremely vigilant and will bark at the drop of a hat. This penchant may not like your neighbours but it makes this dog a very effective watcher.

The Australian Silky Terrier is a pugnacious dog that perceives its counterparts either as a threat to its territory/masters or as pretenders to its dominative status. However it doesn’t mean that it can’t co-exist with other dogs with similar temperament. As far as it concerns other types of pets (including a home cat) this breed won’t constitute any danger for them if the animals are properly introduced to each other.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· allergies;

· collapsing trachea;

· diabetes;

· elbow dysplasia;

· epilepsy;

· intervertebral disk disease;

· legg-calve-perthes disease;

· malassezia dermatitis;

· short hair syndrome of Silky breeds;

· eye problems;

· cystine urolithiasis;

· patellar luxation.


The long coat of the Australian Silky Terrier has only one layer and therefore requires rather moderate amount of maintenance. It’s sufficient to brush this canine two to three times per week in order to keep its hair free of tangles and mats. Bathing is usually necessary once per month and it can be easily performed by masters themselves.

Inspect the dog’s ears regularly to notice early symptoms of irritation or infection and accurately wipe them with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and soft tissue. Other care routines that this dog needs include monthly nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing.


The training of the Australian Silky Terrier is the task of a moderate difficulty. Being an independent thinker this dog also characterises with typical terrier’s stubbornness and frequently applies to selective listening during training sessions.

Remember that it is able to retaliatory aggression if you try to stimulate its obedience by brute force. That’s why this dogs’ motivation should be fed exclusively by tasty treats and encouraging words. Nonetheless the Australian Silky Terrier is endowed with sharp intellect and can master very advanced commands if it perceives the handler as a pack leader.


The Australian Silky Terrier is a strong and frisky little dog that can get by with rather trivial amount of physical activity. The master should take this dog for a long walk each and every day as well as give it a chance to roam freely in a securely enclosed yard. It has enough stamina to accompany the fancier of hiking although a jogger will be disappointed by its relatively slow gait.

The Australian Silky Terrier suits well for urban living and will be comfortable with existing in a small apartment. But if it’s deprived of some essential minimum of physical outlets this small dog can make a big mess in your apartment and get on nerve of everybody by constant yapping.