A better name for the Silky Terrier might be the Spunky Terrier. These little dogs pack a lot of personality into a small package. Like other terriers, they believe they are the center of the universe and expect everyone to bow to their needs. Silkies make (harmless) mischief whenever possible, especially if they realize it gets them extra attention. This is an intelligent breed who knows how to manipulate a situation in his favor, and can sometimes even be considered bossy, but most owners don't mind because they are just too darn cute to stay mad at. Silkies are great family dogs for those with older children, as they enjoy the company of people and prefer to have plenty of laps to choose from when it is naptime.
Though they may look like sissies, Silky Terriers are actually very sturdy and active dogs who require moderate exercise to maintain health and happiness. Silkies love to take long walks, and are hardy enough to be a hiking companion. Jogging isn't their strong suit, but they will chase balls around your yard as long as you are willing to throw them.
Silkies are small enough to live comfortably in an apartment or condo as long as they are walked daily and allowed to run a few times per week.
Because Silky Terriers are smart, they require mental stimulation as well as physical activity. If possible, Silkies should be enrolled in agility training so they can work their minds, bodies, and get some extra bonding time with someone they love.
Like other terrier breeds, Silkies can be a handful to train. They are willful and stubborn and most definitely have minds of their own. Training should begin early and be conducted with calm-assertive leadership and never a harsh hand. Small terriers are prone to defensive reactions and if you physically correct your Silky – even to push his bottom down in a “sit” position – he may bite. Treats and excited praise should be enough to motivate a Silky Terrier, but sessions should be kept short so that he doesn't lose interest.
When basic obedience has been mastered, your Silky can move on to advanced obedience, trick training or agility classes. These are smart dogs who, despite their stubbornness excel in these activities.
Silkies, like their other terrier cousins, are prone to barking early and often. They will bark to let you know that someone is at the door, walking across the street, or riding a bicycle. They will bark to alert you that a cat is in the yard, the neighbor's dog is outside, or a squirrel is climbing up a tree. Silkies bark at everything and it is nearly impossible to train out of them. Teaching your dog to obey a commands to stop barking can keep your sanity in check and your neighborly relationships in tact.
Silky Terriers do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They are companion dogs who love the company of their human friends. People who work long hours will come home to find their Silky had barked himself hoarse, has ripped upholstery, or conveniently forgotten his house training manners. People with flexible work schedules, retirees, or families with a stay at home parent are the most ideal situations for a Silky Terrier.
Fence security is often a concern with Silky Terriers. They will dig under fences in order to get out and chase small animals. They should never be left unsupervised in a yard. Their desire to chase means they should always be kept on a leash when not in a fenced location. If a Silky gives chase, you aren't likely to get him to return to you no matter how desperately you call.
Silkies get along well with older children who understand a dog's boundaries but are not recommended for homes with small children. Toddlers are often clumsy or will want to tug at a Silly's hair, which can lead the dog to snap or bite.