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Australian Silky Terrier

Developed in the nineteenth century, the Australian Silky Terrier is one toy breed regarded as truly Australian. Early examples of the breed were simply known as Rough or Broken-Coated Terriers and were crosses of various larger British terrier breeds, of which some are no longer recognised. Further crossings to Dandie Dinmont and Skye Terriers and later to the Yorkshire Terrier contributed to the silky coat and small size we know today. When the early breeder McArthur Little based his famous kennel in Sydney, the breed earned its early name of the Sydney Silky. The official name, Australian Silky Terrier, was eventually adopted in 1956, although some call it a ‘Silky Terrier’. Usual terrier characteristics embody keen alertness, constant activity and occasional defiance. ‘Silkies’ were originally bred to kill rodents, and still posses ratter characteristics; always watchful for scurrying prey. They are a robust breed, generally very happy and love to play. But they also have a mischievous side, and although they are regarded as quite intelligent, very loyal and trainable, a defiant streak can appear. The Australian Silky Terriers are known to maintain a puppy attitude throughout life. This is an active breed requiring slightly more exercise than most toy breed dogs. They enjoy a moderate walk on lead, but especially likes the chance to nose around on its own in a safe area. Much of its exercise requirements can be met with vigorous games in the yard, or even house. Despite its hardiness, it is not a breed for outdoor living. Their coat needs brushing or combing daily if hair is long. Their inquisitive nature and joy of life make them an ideal companion for any size accommodation.

Read more about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the UK Kennel Club. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKToy
Bred ForHunting Vermin, Companion
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginAustralia
TemperamentHappy, Stubborn, Lively
Exercise NeededUp to 30 minutes a day
Size of Home NeededSmall
Height at Withers – FemalesSlightly less than the male
Height at Withers – Males23 – 26 cm / 9 – 10 in
GroomingDaily, if long haired
CoatLong and Silky
ColourBlue, Grey Blue, Silver Blue, Silver & Tan
Life Span12 – 15 years
  • Don’t expect an Australian Silky Terrier to back down from a fight, they love to bark at anything and anyone who poses a “threat.”
  • The grooming requirements to keep the long and flowing coats of the Australian Silky Terriers might be a little high, but one practical positive aspect about their coat is that it rarely ever sheds.
  • The members of the American Armed forces brought some of the Silky Terriers back with them to the USA during the Second World War. This breed became highly popular in the U.S. in no time and within a few years, the Silky Terrier Club of America was founded.
  • With their history as vermin catchers, they have a strong prey drive and are quick to run after anything of interest or dig excessively.
  • Like many small breeds, the Australian Silky dog breed can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas).


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Australian Silky Terriers.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Australian Silky Terriers, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Australian Silky Terrier breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

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