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Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

Cute, clever and full of energy, it’s not hard to see the appeal of the Australian Silky Terrier. 

The Australian Silky Terrier, or the Silky Terrier as it is also known was bred in Australia by crossing the existing English terriers including the Yorkshire Terrier that had been brought to Australia by early settlers. Small and sturdy, they were largely bred for companionship but also had applications in hunting rats and snakes.

They are a toy sized dog growing up to 26 cm and weighing around 4 to 5 kgs. They are tan and blue in colour.


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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics

Also known as

Australian Silky Terrier, Silky, Silky Terrier 



Bred for

Companionship, hunting rats and snakes   


Small, 23 to 26 cm  

Weight Range

4 to 5 kgs


Blue and tan 

Life expectancy

11 to 14 years  


Long, fine, and flat with high grooming requirements


Active, intelligent, may be stubborn at times   

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Active households without small children 

Apartment Friendly

Yes, provided they are given plenty of exercise and activities to prevent them from becoming bored


Silkies may be small but are a true terrier with big personalities. They are active and energetic and can sometimes be wilful. They love company so would be well suited to a household of people who have plenty of time to spend with their pup. With a keen mind and an active body, keeping the Silky stimulated and busy through play, toys and exercise are vital to avoid destructive behaviour including digging, escaping, and barking which can arise out of boredom. Given appropriate entertainment, Silky’s can live life in an apartment, but their can-do attitude means they are also quite happy with room to move. 

They make loyal and protective family members in the right family. Early training and socialisation with other dogs, people and animals is important to ensure good manners later in life. Always be cautious when introducing a Silky to small pets due to their history of rat and snake hunting. Due to their small size, a household with older children may be better for the Silky than one with toddlers, who may overwhelm the Silky. 


Silky Terriers have a rather elegant long, flat, and silky coat. Frequent brushing up to daily may be required to help keep the coat tangle free as well as to remove items like grass seeds that can cause injuries to the skin. Regular trips to the groomers to keep the hair around the face trimmed is important to keep the hair away from the eyes and from getting tangled in the teeth. Make sure Silky Terriers are on flea control all year around and tick control if in a tick area.


When choosing a food for your Silky Terrier, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age. Help your fur baby avoid becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Skin and ear problems are not uncommon in Silky Terriers, as well as tummy upsets. These little athletes are also prone to cruciate ligament disease, which is more reason to ensure that they do not become overweight.

The five most common reasons for a Silky Terrier to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in the 2020 calendar year were:



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Skin conditions, including allergies and infections




Gastrointestinal problems, including canine haemorrhagic gastroenteritis and diarrhoea




Ear conditions, including ear infection and aural haematoma




Cruciate ligament disease 




Eye conditions, including cataracts, dry eye, and cherry eye 



Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider

Most popular Australian Silky Terrier names

According to PetSure data from 2019- 2020 the most popular names for Silky Terriers were:

Most popular names

  1. Marley
  2. Teddy
  3. Charlie
  4. Holly
  5. Lulu
  6. Winston
  7. Winter
  8. Archie
  9. Beau
  10. Bella

Most popular female names

  1. Holly
  2. Lulu
  3. Winter
  4. Bella
  5. Bindi
  6. Bonnie
  7. Delilah
  8. Gucci
  9. Jess
  10. Lily

Most popular male names 

  1. Marley
  2. Teddy
  3. Charlie
  4. Winston
  5. Archie
  6. Beau
  7. Benny
  8. Bentley
  9. Bodhi
  10. Bowie

Did you know?

That the early Australian Silky Terriers were known as the “Sydney Silky” after their state of origin!

Where can I get an Australian Terrier?

Check out your local breed specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to visit your local pet rescue shelters where you might just find your new best friend! 


  1. American Kennel Club, Silky Terrier, Accessed on 22/02/2021
  2. Wikipedia, Australian Silky Terrier, Accessed on 22/02/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei