Australian Silky Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

Australian Silky Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Australian Silky Terrier?

Quick Australian Silky Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Very Small (1/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
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Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Low (1/3)
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Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
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Breed Group
Terrier (4/8)
Yes (1/2)

Australian Silky Terrier (Sydney Silky, Silky)


This Australian Silky Terrier is a small dog with a big personality. These terriers have a reputation for being confident, tough and vocal. This breed is immediately recognisable by its small size and silky coat. Despite their size, these terriers are definitely not lap dogs; they are very active, energetic and independent. 

The Silky Terrier has many of the qualities seen in Yorkshire Terriers. As the name suggests, the Australian Silky Terrier originates from Australia and has become a popular pet across the world. It is thought this breed was developed during the 1800s but there is little in-depth information on how the Silky we know and love today came about.

Physical Appearance 

The Australian Silky Terrier is a very small dog with a big personality. They look similar to the Yorkshire Terrier in their size and coat colour (Blue, Tan and Silver). The Silky has a well-proportioned head but they do have a long body in relation to their height. Silky Terriers have small oval eyes, small pricked V-shaped ears and a strong jaw. 

One thing this breed is known for is their flat, fine, silky coat that is glossy and may even be described as glamorous. The Silky also has a long tail with feathering hair on the underside. Silky puppies are born with a dark coat and they change colour at around 18 months, this is called “breaking colour”. 

How big do Australian Silky Terrier dogs get?

  • Height - Male: 21 - 24cm, Female: 19 - 21cm

  • Weight - Male: 4.5kg, Female: 3.5kg.

Character Traits

Australian Silky Terriers are beautifully haired bundles of energy. They are alert and like to be kept busy, like many terrier breeds. Silky Terriers are confident and independent but are equally friendly and affectionate. 

As this is a terrier breed, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Silky has a high prey drive and will happily chase anything and everything that runs away from them. The Australian Silky Terrier is a wonderful family pet as long as you have enough time and energy to keep them entertained. They don’t like to be left alone so are well suited to households where there is always someone around. 

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs intelligent? Yes, they are clever and quick to learn (3/5)

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs affectionate? Yes.

Do Australian Silky Terrier dogs have high or low energy levels? Silky Terriers have a lot of energy for their size, they are considered medium-energy dogs (3/5) 

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs loyal? Yes.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs playful? Yes, Silky Terriers love to play. The breed is mischievous and entertaining.  

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs aggressive? No. 

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs easy to train? Yes, but they can pick up bad habits just as quickly as good ones.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs good guard dogs? They are good watchdogs and will bark to let you know of anything suspicious. 

Ability to Socialise

Australian Silky Terriers are people-orientated dogs that get on well with children and enjoy lots of playtime. When a Silky puppy has been socialised from an early age they will be able to get on with dogs and cats. However, the high prey drive of this terrier means that interaction should be avoided with smaller animals. When it comes to strangers, Silkys tend to be tolerant and well behaved. 

Do Australian Silky Terrier dogs get along with other pets? A Silky will get on with dogs (and sometimes cats) they have grown up around but don’t let them around smaller pets as they have a high prey drive. 

Do Australian Silky Terrier dogs get along with other dogs? They are generally friendly towards other dogs but can be territorial.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs good with kids? Yes (4/5).

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs good with strangers? Yes.

Lifestyle Suitability

One of the great things about Australian Silky Terriers is how adaptable they are. They can happily live in an apartment or in the countryside and they don’t mind busy environments. These hypoallergenic dogs like to bark (a lot). Silkys also hate being alone so they are best suited with owners who are with them during the day. Due to their small size, Australian Silky Terriers feel the cold quickly so do not do well in cold climates. 

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs good for first-time owners? Yes, Silky Terriers are quick learners and are people pleasers, making them enjoyable and manageable for first-time owners.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs hypoallergenic? Yes, they shed very little hair and dander.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs prone to drooling? No.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs a good breed for apartment living? Yes, Silky Terriers are highly adaptable and can live in an apartment as long as they go for regular walks. 

Do  Australian Silky Terrier dogs shed a lot? No. 

Do  Australian Silky Terrier dogs bark a lot? Yes, Silkie Terriers are known for liking the sound of their own voice. 

Can Australian Silky Terrier dogs be left alone at home? No, Silkys are not happy when they are left alone and will likely bark continuously or be destructive around the house to relieve their stress and frustration. 

Can Australian Silky Terrier dogs handle the heat? Yes. 

Can Australian Silky Terrier dogs handle cold temperatures? No.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs sensitive to loud noises? Sometimes, loud noises will likely make your Silky Terrier bark. 

General Health & Health Issues

Australian Silky Terriers are hardy, healthy and robust. The life expectancy of a Silky Terrier is between 11 - 14 years. However, there are a few health issues that are known to impact this breed. These include: 

  • Dermatitis - Skin problems can be caused by a range of different things from allergies to infections. A vet can examine your Silky Terrier and recommend the best course of treatment. 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - This is a gradual issue that can develop into blindness. There is no cure for PRA but most dogs are able to adjust to a reduction or loss in vision.

  • Epilepsy - This is often inherited and while the seizures can’t be cured medication can be offered to help to manage the condition. 

  • Patellar Luxation - This is when the kneecap dislocates, stopping the knee from bending. A dog with this condition may lift or hold their leg up for a few seconds. This can be helped with physiotherapy, surgery and pain relief. 

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes - This is a degenerative hip disease that most commonly affects small breeds and terries. It can cause lameness and is diagnosed by x-rays. Treatment can include medical therapy and surgery. 

  • Cataract - Cloudiness of the eye can sometimes be left without treatment or if your dog isn’t coping well then surgery may be an option. If the cataracts are caused by an underlying condition, this should be treated to prevent further damage to the eyes. 

  • Skin Cancer - After diagnosis, a vet will be able to recommend treatment which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other medications. 

  • Dental Issues - Dental disease is a painful health problem that can lead to other issues. It can be prevented by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth and can be treated with pain relief, antibiotics or even surgery. 

How long do Australian Silky Terrier dogs live? - 11-14 years

Exercise & Play Time

Australian Silky Terriers need at least an hour of exercise each day, this shouldn’t be intense exercise though just two leisurely 30 minute strolls around the local park is perfect. Due to the terrier’s high prey drive, it is best to walk them on lead and only let them off-lead in a safe, secure area.  In addition to the daily walks, Silky Terriers love interactive games so be ready for lots of games of fetch. 

How much exercise does a Australian Silky Terrier dog need? - 60 minutes per day, split into two 30 minute walks. 

Do Australian Silky Terrier dogs like water play? Yes, most Silky Terriers like swimming.

Nutrition & Feeding

Australian Silky Terriers are not fussy eaters, they enjoy any type of high-quality dog food you offer them but dry food is the best option. A Silky Terrier puppy needs between 50 - 90g of food per day and an adult needs between 60 - 90g per day. This is just an estimate as every dog is unique, it is important to have a personal dietary plan made for your dog.

Are Australian Silky Terrier dogs prone to weight gain? No. 

How much should I feed a Australian Silky Terrier puppy? 50 - 90g depending on size and build, split into 3-4 meals. 

How much should I feed an adult Australian Silky Terrier dog? 60 - 90g depending on size, build and activity level.

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: As you may expect, an Australian Silky Terrier is quite high maintenance when it comes to grooming. A Silky needs to be brushed each day to prevent their hair from becoming tangled. This breed doesn’t need to be bathed often. As Silky Terriers are at risk of dental disease it is recommended you brush their teeth a few times a week. 

Emotional Care: Australian Silky Terriers love being around people, they are eager to please and don’t like being left alone. If a Silky is left alone or doesn’t get enough exercise they will become bored and will bark excessively or dig to help alleviate stress. Silky Terriers are intelligent and respond well to consistent training and positive reinforcement. 

History of the Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier is thought to have been bred in the 1980s in Australia, it is believed that many terrier breeds were used including the Yorkshire Terrier and local Australian terriers. The Australian Silky Terrier was initially called the Sydney Silky Terrier as this is where early breeder McArthur Little was based.  Many people still refer to the breed as Sydney Silky Terriers today but the official name is Australian Silky Terrier.  The Silky Terrier was bred as a pet and is a popular companion across the world.

Interesting Facts About Australian Silky Terrier Dogs

  • The breed was originally known as the Sydney Silky Terrier 

  • They were developed by crossing the Yorkshire Terrier and native Australian Terriers

  • They are considered hypoallergenic as they shed minimal hair and dander

  • They are quick and effective vermin hunters

Getting a Australian Silky Terrier Puppy

Buying a puppy is hugely exciting but it is important to make sure you are ready and only buy from responsible breeders. Our buying guide can help make the process as straightforward as possible and discusses how to avoid scams and bad practices. If you feel like you are ready to bring an Australian Silky Terrier home, take a look at our puppies page to see if there are any available from responsible, vetted breeders in your area. 

How much does a Australian Silky Terrier cost to buy? £850 - £1600

How much does a Australian Silky Terrier cost to feed? - £30 per month

How much does insurance for a Australian Silky Terrier cost? -  £25 per month

As Australian Silky Terriers are in high demand, there may be waiting lists for puppies. Another option is to rescue or adopt a dog from a rehoming centre. It’s best to speak to your local rehoming centre for more information. These associations may also be able to help you in your search: