Silky Terrier vs Yorkshire Terrier: Differences

Silky Terrier vs Yorkshire Terrier: Differences

Key Takeaways:

  • Silky Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers share a common ancestry but have distinct physical and personality traits.
  • Silky Terriers are slightly larger than Yorkies, with a more wedge-shaped head and a longer muzzle.
  • Yorkies are known for their elegant appearance and affectionate nature, while Silkies are more curious and energetic.
  • Both breeds require regular exercise, grooming, and attention to maintain their health and well-being.
  • Understanding the unique characteristics of each breed can help potential owners make an informed decision.

Silky Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers are two popular toy breeds that often get confused due to their similar appearances. While they share a common ancestry, these two breeds have distinct physical and personality traits that set them apart. In this article, we'll unravel the differences between Silky Terriers and Yorkies to help you make an informed decision when choosing a furry companion.

A Shared History

Silky Terrier vs Yorkshire Terrier

Both the Silky Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier have their roots in England, where they were initially bred as ratters (dogs used to catch rats and other vermin). The Yorkshire Terrier, as the name suggests, originated in the Yorkshire region of England in the 19th century, while the Silky Terrier was developed in Australia by combining the Yorkie with the Australian Terrier.

The Silky Terrier's history can be traced back to the early 1900s in Sydney, Australia, where it was initially known as the Sydney Silky. It was believed that the Silky Terrier was bred to be slightly larger than the Yorkshire Terrier to better handle the larger vermin found in Australia. In 1955, the breed was officially recognized by the Australian Kennel Club as the Australian Silky Terrier, and later in 1959, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized it as the Silky Terrier.

Physical Differences

Yorkshire Terrier

While Silky Terriers and Yorkies may look similar at first glance, there are several physical differences that set them apart. Here's a side-by-side comparison:

  • Size: Silky Terriers are slightly larger than Yorkies, typically weighing between 8 and 10 pounds and standing around 9 to 10 inches tall. Yorkies, on the other hand, are smaller, weighing between 4 and 7 pounds and standing around 7 to 8 inches tall.
  • Head Shape: Silky Terriers have a more wedge-shaped head with a longer muzzle, while Yorkies have a rounder, more domed-shaped skull and a shorter muzzle.
  • Ears: Silky Terriers have V-shaped ears that stand upright and are set higher on their heads, giving them a larger appearance. Yorkies have smaller, V-shaped ears that are set slightly lower on their heads and are often covered by their long hair.
  • Coat Colors: While both breeds can come in various shades of black, blue, and tan, Silky Terriers have a wider range of accepted coat colors, including silver, gray, and cream.

Temperament and Energy Levels

In addition to physical differences, Silky Terriers and Yorkies also have distinct personalities and energy levels. Here's a brief overview:

  • Yorkies: Known for their affectionate and sprightly nature, Yorkies are often described as loving companions and lap dogs. They can be protective of their owners and may bark at strangers or perceived threats. Yorkies have a relatively low energy level and may be content with moderate daily exercise.
  • Silky Terriers: Silkies are more curious and energetic compared to Yorkies. They have a higher prey drive and may be more inclined to chase small animals or moving objects. Silky Terriers require more daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and well-behaved.

Both breeds are intelligent and can be trained with patience and positive reinforcement. However, it's important to note that due to their hunting background, neither breed is recommended for households with small pets or very young children, as they may mistake them for prey.

Grooming and Care

Silky Terriers and Yorkies share similar grooming requirements due to their long, silky coats. Both breeds require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling, as well as occasional bathing and trimming. Their coats are considered hypoallergenic, making them a suitable choice for those with mild pet allergies.

In terms of exercise, Silky Terriers require more daily exercise than Yorkies due to their higher energy levels. Yorkies may be content with moderate daily walks and indoor playtime, while Silkies may benefit from more vigorous activities like hiking, agility training, or interactive games.

Both breeds are prone to certain health issues, such as dental problems, hypoglycemia, and luxating patella (dislocated kneecap). Regular veterinary check-ups and proper nutrition are essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being.

Making the Right Choice

When choosing between a Silky Terrier and a Yorkshire Terrier, it's important to consider your lifestyle, living situation, and personal preferences. If you're looking for a more affectionate and low-maintenance companion, a Yorkie may be a better fit. However, if you're an active individual or family who can provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, a Silky Terrier may be a better match.

Regardless of which breed you choose, both Silky Terriers and Yorkies require commitment, patience, and plenty of love and attention. With proper care and training, these adorable toy breeds can make wonderful additions to any household.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Are Silky Terriers and Yorkies hypoallergenic?
    Both breeds are considered hypoallergenic, which means they produce less dander and shed minimally. However, no dog breed is truly 100% hypoallergenic, and individuals with severe allergies should still exercise caution.
  2. Can Silky Terriers and Yorkies live with other pets?
    While it's possible for both breeds to coexist with other pets, it's important to introduce them properly and supervise interactions. Due to their prey drive, they may not be suitable for households with small pets like hamsters or birds.
  3. Are Silky Terriers and Yorkies good with children?
    Both breeds can make good companions for older children who understand how to interact with small dogs properly. However, they may not be the best choice for households with very young children who may inadvertently mishandle them.
  4. How long do Silky Terriers and Yorkies typically live?
    With proper care and a healthy lifestyle, both breeds have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
  5. Can Silky Terriers and Yorkies be left alone for long periods?
    While both breeds can be left alone for reasonable periods, they are prone to separation anxiety and may develop behavioral issues if left alone for too long. It's recommended to provide them with adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and perhaps consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker if you'll be away for extended periods.


Choosing between a Silky Terrier and a Yorkshire Terrier ultimately comes down to your lifestyle, personality preferences, and the level of energy and attention you can provide. While they share some similarities, these two breeds have distinct physical and temperamental traits that make them unique.

Whether you opt for the affectionate and elegant Yorkie or the curious and energetic Silky Terrier, both breeds require commitment, patience, and plenty of love and care. By understanding their differences and unique needs, you can make an informed decision and provide a loving home for your furry companion.

Remember, adopting a dog is a long-term commitment, and it's essential to research and carefully consider which breed aligns best with your lifestyle and expectations. With the right preparation and care, either a Silky Terrier or a Yorkshire Terrier can make a wonderful addition to your family.