The Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier is a small, long haired dog that looks a bit like a yorkie.

This spunky little dog is intelligent and playful. Not a mellow lap dog, but a good watch dog, its best to raise your Silky terrier along with your other pets and children if you want them to get along.


The Australian Silky Terrier should be 8 to 10 inches and weigh in at between 8 and 11 pounds, with a longish body for the height. This dog has a long coat, parted in the middle. The coat is very silky and should be brushed daily. All silky terriers are born black and as adults have blue and tan or blue and red markings.


The Silky is generally believed to have developed by crossing the Yorkshire Terrier with the Australian Terrier in Sydney in the 1890s, but breed historians point out that the Australian Terrier was itself still a developing breed at the time of the Silky’s emergence, and, since no early records were kept (as is the case with so many dog breeds) it is likely that other crosses occurred as well. There were also breeding experiments with these crosses in the state of Victoria; it is suggested that Australian and Silky Terriers were first exhibited at the Melbourne Royal in 1872 as “Broken-coated Terriers, Black and Tan”, however, the breed is not mentioned in The Dog of Australia, Walter Beilby’s 1987 book.

The Australian Terrier, Harsh or Silky coated, was first exhibited at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1902.

Different breed standards appeared in the 1920s; in or about 1924 the Kennel Club requested a designation of Australian Terrier, Hard Coat and Australian Terrier, Soft Coat but the breeders rejected the proposal.

Before puppies were registered on the Stud Books, a judge was required to inspect litters to determine which puppies were to be registered as Sydney Silkies, which were Australian Terriers and which were Yorkshire Terriers.

20th Century canine council legislation brought an end to the crossbreeding; eventually Silky puppies were intrabred and the breed was stabilized.

The official name for the breed in Australia became the Australian Silky Terrier in 1955. The breed club was established in 1959.


The Australian Silky has terrier like characteristics – likes to dig, is alert, spunky and energetic as well as a bit protective. The silky terrier is good with children if he is used to them, but can get cranky if he is handled roughly. This is a good watch dog and does need strict discipline or can become quite yappy. They are quite smart and learn quickly as they are eager to please their masters. Silkies don’t care much for other dogs or cats unless they are raised with them from puppyhood.