smallest, Toy Dogs

Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

Image: Lisjatina/

Name Australian Silky Terrier
Size Small
Grooming Most Days
Training Easy
Exercise Daily / 20 minute walks
Origins Australia

The Australian Silky Terrier – Silky by Name, Genteel by Nature

But Still Likely to Chase those Cats!

Australian Silky

Image: Utekhina Anna/


Quick Overview


Name:                                                                  The Silky Terrier

Size:                                                                      10 inches from the shoulder

Weight:                                                                10 pounds, give or take

Grooming:                                                          Daily if you want the silky look

Training:                                                              Reasonably easy to train

Exercise:                                                              Mini dog, mini exercise

Temperament:                                                    Regal Terrier who is not too haughty to chase the odd rat

Origins:                                                                Australia, specifically Sydney

Lifespan:                                                              Up to 15 years

Breed Type:                                                         Toy Dog


The History of the Australian Silky Terrier

Larger than your average Yorkshire terrier, the Australian Silky was one of those breeds that was deliberately construed to be suitable for life in the Australian heat. Their history is patchy at best, but we do know that they started to appear in the 19th century, so this isn’t an ancient breed.

The Silky was derived from the Yorkshire Terrier and the Australian Terrier, although other genetics are in evidence. According to the American Kennel Club, they were also derived from the Cairn Terrier, the Skye Terrier, the Dinmont Terrier and the Dandie Terrier. All of these are small terriers that may or may not have been in Australia thanks to settlers trying to find the perfect ratter for the farms of the outback.

In general, Australians had issues trying to develop breeds because the only real dog breed native to the island is the dingo. As a result, some Australian breeds were mated with dingoes to further their genetic mix and give them the hardiness to work the ranches in the hot sun. Collies were also commonly taken over there in order to provide a good, hardy working dog. As a result, the Australian Terrier was eventually born. It is widely accepted as fact that the Australian Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier are the two parent breeds of the Silky, but it is not well documented as to when the first litter would have been born or whether or not it was a result of breeding long haired Yorkies selectively.

What we do know is that nowadays, a hundred years later, we are breeding them for their hair. The more desirable and silkier the hair, the more likely a breeder will be interested in this tiny toy breed. The dog was originally known as the Sydney Silky which is a reference to Sydney being the predominant city of origin. The breed standard was first recognised in America after WWII, when soldiers took some of them home. The Australian National Kennel Council recognised them in 1955 and added them to the Toy group at the same point as the UKKC, while the United Kennel Club of America recognised them in 1959. The Canadian Kennel Club followed suit in 1965 with the International Federation Cynologique International listing the breed as number 236 of all registered dog breeds.

Fun Dog Breed Facts!

We put together the favoured fun facts about the Australian Silky Terrier, just for you. Join us as we take a delve into the world of the interesting and unusual dog breed data and take a look through the best bits of the breed…

  • Most Americans, the AKC included, refer to this breed as the Silky Terrier, and drop the Australian. Everyone else in the entire world calls it the Australian Silky Terrier. America… get it together.
  • The Silky Terrier’s closest cousin is the Yorkshire Terrier, who tend to do better with shorter hair than longer.
  • As much as they are regal, noble dogs – they are still terriers and will try to chase everything, including the odd parked car.
  • Their hair feels like human hair, which is both why they are called ‘silky’ and why some people find petting them a bit weird.

You see? Every breed is fun when you take the Five Minutes Spare look at it.

Attitude of the Australian Silky Terrier

Unlike other terriers, you won’t catch the Australian Silky being yappy. It has a big attitude in a little body and will try to chase down Dobermann dogs if it has to. It is a curious type of breed who get into everything but can also be very perceptive and surprise you with their slight attitude of nobility. The Australian Silky Terrier is much like a Yorkshire Terrier but a bit better behaved… are we allowed to say that? It doesn’t matter. It’s true.

Does He/She Need Groomed?

They don’t call them the Australian Silky Terrier for nothing. They have been bred to have a luscious coat that feels more like human hair than it feels like fur. If you want to keep them looking glossy, then regular grooming is a must. You don’t need to groom them every day but if you want them to look fresh and tidy then daily is best. You will get away with brushing every other day if you have to. Weirdly, these dogs get split ends so you may want to invest in some good scissors.

How Easy to Train the Australian Silky?

As a terrier, this is a toy dog that will bounce around a fair amount, so you do need to walk off that energy, even though they are small. If you successfully put all that energy into training and learning, you will have a happy dog that is intelligent enough to help you out now and again. Bear in mind that they are small, however, so don’t expect them to help carry the shopping… that’s what retrievers are for. Be sure to socialise your small dog even if you are scared it will get hurt.

What Are Some Health Problems the Australian Silky Terrier Suffers From?

The Australian Silky Terrier is a sort of ‘designer dog breed’. While most people think this is a bad thing, it actually helps us keep the genetic mix healthy. So although Yorkshire Terriers are known to have skin allergies and eye problems, and where the Australian Terrier suffers a propensity towards seizures and floating kneecaps, the Australian Silky has no known health issues because they haven’t been overbred. Designer dogs, in fact, are bred to take the best parts of each breed and merge them without the common health concerns associated with either. It’s actually a pretty good idea.

Five Minutes Spare

Did you happen to enjoy this mini-history of the Australian Silky Terrier? We sincerely hope that you did! We also wanted to remind you that there are all sorts of pets for perusal at the Five Minutes Spare HQ. Stop by and see us some time… there are dog breeds just waiting for you to discover them!

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