Silky Terrier Care

The Silky Terrier is a spunky, active toy-sized breed that is known for having a huge personality in a tiny body. These dogs make affectionate, loyal companions--but they will need a good bit of obedience training and socialization. Otherwise, Silky Terrier care and maintenance doesn't take too much work.

Below you'll find details on caring for a Silky Terrier including puppy development, exercise needs, and shedding/drooling tendencies. For answers to your questions about owning this feisty little breed, read on!

Silky Terrier Breed Development

As a toy-sized breed, Silky Terrier puppy development typically spans about 14 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: Silky Terrier puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first six months or so, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. A Silky normally reaches its full adult size (an average of 10 inches at the shoulder in height and nine pounds in weight) at 9-10 months of age.

Social Development: Silky pups develop steadily: they reach adolescence at about five months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity by about 14 months.

For specific milestones in Silky Terrier development, refer to the chart below.

(NOTE: Silky Terriers tend to be stubborn and demanding, and will easily develop Small Dog Syndrome--fussiness, selfishness and disobedience--if not taught proper respect. This means that new Silky owners will need to provide obedience training, and socialization with humans, other animals, and varied environments, as early in the dogs' lives as possible. If a Silky is taught proper, respectful behavior as a puppy, that behavior will hopefully continue once the dog matures.)

Silky Terrier Exercise Needs

Silky Terriers are active, energetic little dogs--but because of their small size, their exercise requirements aren't too extensive. Much of these dogs' daily activity needs will be met by them just running around being their busy little selves. They will, however, need more daily exercise than most other toy breeds.

The typical adult Silky Terrier, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 45 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of walks and a dedicated period of play. You can start exercising your Silky puppy at 10-12 weeks of age by taking it on short (5- to 10-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.

A few precautions to observe when exercising your Silky Terrier: first, puppies younger than 7-8 months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, dogs of this breed will need to be leashed when in public. For one thing, they have high prey drives, and will chase interesting-looking critters like birds and squirrels if given the chance; they're also extremely feisty, and will be confrontational with strangers and other dogs--especially big ones! A leash will help you control your Silky in these situations. Finally: Silky Terriers get cold pretty easily, so it's best not to exercise them outdoors in frigid temperatures.

Safeguards aside, it's important to exercise your Silky Terrier every single day. These dogs are naturally feisty and demanding, and if bored or restless they'll become disobedient and fussy, and will bark and dig nonstop! Consistent exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind--and for your own sanity as well. A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
  • Fetch: Can be played indoors or out
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Canine Sports: These dogs excel in agility trials and other competitions
  • Hiking: Silky Terriers actually make great companions on short to moderate hikes; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Silky access to one or more balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

Silky Terrier Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs don't need much care. Silky Terrier shedding is minimal, and drooling isn't an issue.

Silky Terriers have long, silky coats (hence the breed name) that don't lose much hair at all. These dogs are considered hypoallergenic, so they're good for allergy sufferers--but they're not "non-shedding," and the long shed hairs are more noticeable than those of other shorter-haired breeds. Still, the amount of shed hairs is quite low, so owners won't have to worry much about hair cleanup. Silkys will need frequent brushing and bathing, though, to keep the coats clean and neat.

And a Silky Terrier almost never drools. If your Silky is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is necessary.