Breed Comparisons

Silky Terrier vs. Yorkshire Terrier: Differences and Similarities

Are you thinking about adding a tiny companion to your life? In this article, we analyze the differences and similarities between the Yorkshire Terrier and the Silky Terrier. We compare grooming needs, temperaments, and more!

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: September 12, 2023 | 8 min read

Silky Terrier vs. Yorkie

Comparing the Silky Terrier vs. the Yorkie for your next family pup? You’d be forgiven if you were to mix up these two terrier breeds, or even assume they were the same dog breed. Not only do they look very similar, but they are also very alike in temperament. And it is this misconception that often sparks the Silky Terrier Vs Yorkshire Terrier debate.

This has a lot to do with the fact that they are closely related. The Yorkie Terrier played a big part in the creation of the Silky Terrier. The Yorkie is essentially the parent of the Silky. With that comes many similarities, but it also welcomes subtle differences from the other parent. The differences between the two breeds are subtle. The Silky Terrier is much more curious and has a higher prey drive. Silkies will need more exercise every day compared to the Yorkie.

The Yorkshire Terrier is daintier than the Silky Terrier and more likely to fit in your handbag. So, it really depends on what you want from a dog. So, let’s take a closer look at how similar they are, and more importantly, the very subtle differences between them.

Breed Comparison

Silky Terrier

  • Height 9-10 Inches
  • Weight 8-10 Pounds
  • Temperament Friendly, Quick, Alert
  • Energy Medium
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 13-15 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Yorkshire Terrier

  • Height 7-8 Inches
  • Weight 7-8 Pounds
  • Temperament Affectionate, Sprightly, Tomboyish
  • Energy Low
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 11-15 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Breed History

Delving back into a dog breed’s history is important. It helps potential owners understand much more about them and what they are likely to be like as family pets. In this instance, it will also help to explain exactly why they are so similar. This is largely due to the fact that their histories are entwined with one another.

Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier
The Silky Terrier has an interesting and complex breed history.

The Silky Terrier’s history is not as clear-cut compared to the history of most other pedigree dog breeds. The story varies depending on who is telling it. However, the most common theory is that his parents are the Yorkshire Terrier and the Australian Terrier. There are a few other unconfirmed small Terrier breeds thrown into the mix.

He was created in Sydney, Australia, in the early 20th century. It was believed that he was bred to be slightly bigger than the Yorkshire Terrier so that he could exterminate the slightly larger vermin over there. He is one of the largest dogs in the toy breed group. He is much more popular in Australia than in America, and in 2020 he was ranked as the 112th most popular dog breed in America by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier originates from England.

The Yorkshire Terrier originates from 19th century Victorian England, and it was believed that the working-class weavers of Scotland bred them from their feisty Scottish Terriers, who are now extinct. They were then commonly used in the mines in Yorkshire to exterminate the rats and other vermin, where they were then renamed as the Yorkshire Terrier.

Despite their vermin-hunting origins, they quickly became lapdogs for the upper-class ladies of England, and their popularity as lapdogs has stuck ever since. They came to America in 1870, and they have secured many famous roles in films, and Audrey Hepburn’s pup, Mr. Famous, is undoubtedly the most famous Yorkie of them all. In 2020 he is ranked as the 10th most popular dog breed in America, by the AKC. Because of this breed’s popularity, it’s become common to mix the Yorkie with other breeds, and even create a teacup version of the breed.


Silky vs Yorkie Apperance
The Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier have very similar appearances.

Comparing the Silky Terrier vs. the Yorkie’s appearance can be a challenge because they are difficult to tell apart. The Silky Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier are very similar in appearance. The Yorkie looks like the daintier version of the Silky. According to breed standards, the Silky measures between 9 to 10 inches. They weigh around 10 pounds, although they can be bigger than this. The smaller Yorkie officially measures between 7 and 8 inches tall. Yorkies weigh around 7 pounds, but they are also known to be smaller.

The Silky tends to have a squarer face than the Yorkie. Yorkies have more of a domed-shaped skull, with bigger eyes, and a slightly bigger nose. The Yorkie has button-like features and much smaller eyes. While these features are not instantly obvious, those that are looking for differences can quickly make the distinction.

The most instantly obvious appearance difference between the breeds is their ears. The Silky’s ears are pointy V-shaped ears that are set high on his head. This gives the appearance that they are much larger. The Yorkie’s ears are a little smaller. They are set slightly further down the side of his head, giving them a smaller appearance. The Yorkie’s ears also typically get covered by his long hair.

They both have the same long and silky coat. Their coats are often tied up above their eyes if they sport a natural coat. They also share similar colorings, with black and tan being the most common color of them both. However, according to breed standards, the Yorkie only has 4 recorded coat colors, whereas the Silky has 13 color variations.


Silky vs Yorkie Temperament
The Silky Terrier and Yorkie have very similar temperaments.

Both the Yorkshire Terrier and the Silky Terrier are toy dog breeds. They are beautiful and somewhat elegant in their demeanor. Their true Terrier characteristics shine through making them both feisty and playful. There are slight differences in their temperaments.

The Silky is much more curious than the Yorkie. The Yorkie could easily laze about with his master for most of the day, enjoying the luxury of his lap. Silky Terriers are much more restless. Remember, that bored Terriers are destructive Terriers. This means you’d do well to invest in a variety of toys to keep their minds occupied.

The Silky is also much more independent. This means they can be left alone for long periods of time without feeling overly anxious. Yorkies are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety. For this reason, it is a great idea to crate train both breeds to alleviate any type of anxious behavior.

Because the Yorkie is super tiny, some argue that he is not a suitable pet for families with small children, because they often treat him as they would their cuddly toy. However, we say that this is down to personal preference, and whatever you decide just be sure to supervise children and dogs when they are around each other.

Other household pets are hit and miss with both the Yorkie and the Silky. Good luck if there are pet rodents in the house, given their ratting background! However, if they are socialized well as pups and the other animal is bigger than them, they might not feel threatened. Again, this is down to personal preference. Just be sure to have a controlled pre-meet with all household pets before you commit to anything.


Silky vs Yorkie Exercise
The Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier both require daily exercise.

The Silky Terrier needs slightly more exercise than the Yorkshire Terrier. This is often another deciding factor between the two breeds. Silkies are more curious, as described above. Silkies need around 45 minutes of exercise every day in order to keep their minds and bodies happy. The Yorkie only needs around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Whilst this might not seem like a lot, it can be the difference between an inactive and active family. If you and your family are a little more energetic then you may prefer the Silky over the Yorkie. The Yorkie tends to tire quicker. If you are after a house dog, then the Yorkie might make a better option for you.

Being more curious the Silky would also prefer a variety in his exercise routine. The Yorkie would be happy with neighborhood walks and a little romp in the garden. The Silky would make a great running partner and would enjoy playing interactive games such as fetch and tug of war. They also make great participants in agility courses.

You can be sure that if you have a garden both breeds will make the most out of it, however as a word of warning, make sure that your garden fencing is reinforced and high. If they catch sight of a mouse, or cat for that matter, they will be off quicker than anything, particularly the Silky! Just watch out and make sure they don’t eat a mouse or little critter while you aren’t paying attention!


Silky vs. Yorkie Training in Park
The Silky Terrier and Yorkie have similar training needs.

The Yorkshire Terrier tends to be more protective over his master, mainly because he is more of an anxious pup, compared to the Silky Terrier who is generally more easy-going and too busy chasing the squirrels. The key to limiting protective behaviors is socializing them both well as a pup, in a variety of unfamiliar situations with animals of all shapes and sizes, and ensuring that such protective behaviors are discouraged.

The Silky is a little easier to train, as he is more reward-focused and eager to learn compared to the Yorkie. If the Yorkie is not in the mood for a training session, you can be sure that he will not be participating in the training session. End of!

Remembering that both breeds would benefit from having a crate in their house, particularly the more anxious Yorkshire Terrier, you will find much use from crate training them both as a puppy. Certain crates that are made for anxious dogs can help calm your pup.


Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier Healthy Dogs
Both terrier breeds tend to be healthy.

When comparing the Silky Terrier vs. the Yorkie when it comes to health, both the Silky Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier can live up to the age of 15 years. Diabetes and hypoglycemia are common in smaller dogs such as these, which we will discuss further in the nutrition section as a good feeding routine can help to balance sugar levels.

Both the Silky and the Yorkie are known to suffer from eye conditions and regular eye infections, so it is important to regularly check the condition of their eyes. Luxating Patella is a common issue in the Yorkie, which is essentially a dislocated kneecap, and something that breeders will check for before breeding their pups.


Yorkie and Silky Terrier Nutrition
Being Toy Breeds, both pups have similar nutritional requirements.

While comparing the Silky Terrier vs the Yorkie when it comes to food, you’ll likely find that the Yorkshire Terrier eats slightly less than the Silky Terrier simply because he is smaller and less energetic. The Yorkie will eat around 1 cup of food every day, compared to the Silky who will eat around 1 ½ cups every day. This is of course dependent on their size and energy levels, as well as age.

They would both do well on a high-quality diet that consists of dry kibble, as they are both known to suffer from periodontal diseases, and dry kibble pieces can help to break down plaque.

We already have a nutritional guide for the Yorkshire Terrier, and we are currently working on a specific nutritional guide for the Silky (although it won’t be too dissimilar, just feed him slightly more according to the instructions), but watch this space!

In regards to hypoglycemia, smaller dogs should be fed their daily food allowance across three or more different sittings, so to balance their sugar levels throughout the day.


Yorkshire Terrier and Silky Terrier Grooming
These breeds have similar grooming requirements.

When comparing the grooming requirements of the Silky Terrier vs. the Yorkie, they are practically the same when it comes to their grooming needs. They will both need brushing most days to keep their beautiful silky locks from tangling and to brush out any dirt that they may have picked up on their walks.

Their eyes will need regular cleaning and their teeth should be brushed a few times a week with the correct doggy products. Both breeds should be bathed once every 8 to 12 weeks with all-natural dog shampoos to ensure that their beautiful silky locks are well cared for.

Both of these breeds are considered to be relatively hypoallergenic dogs. But, it is good to remember that no furry dog is completely non-allergenic, so if dog hair is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to look for a hairless dog.

Puppy Price

Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier Puppies
Both Terrier Breeds have similar price points.

The cost of a Yorkshire Terrier starts from around $1,200 from a reputable breeder. The Silky Terrier starts from around $1,000. This is purely down to the fact that the Yorkie is more popular today, allowing breeders to charge more. But since Silky Terriers are more rare, you may find a higher price tag with that breed in your local area.

Other costs, such as insurance, crates, harnesses, etc., are all about the same. The only real price difference is the ½ cup of extra food that the Silky eats each day.

Final Thoughts

When comparing the Silky Terrier vs. the Yorkie, you’ve likely found that they are extremely similar. There are only a few differences between them, with the Silky being the most energetic out of the two, which is often the deciding factor for most families when it comes to deciding between the two breeds.

What you can be sure of, is that whoever you choose, you will find a spunky little toy Terrier on your hands, and he will be full of love, laughter, and fun.

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  1. Karen goodison

    I have a six year old Yorkie and a two year old. Neither have their kc papers. Both spayed girls. However. The two year old. The more I look at her and read up on the silkie, I think she is a silkie. Her dad and older sister from previous litter were taller And longer in body than mum. She is the spit of dad and sister. She is laid back and fusses anything with a pulse and into everything. Extremely loyal. I wouldn’t change her regardless of her being a Yorkie or a silkie. But if she is silkie. I wish the breeder was a little more honest. Not that it matters as she chose me over a video call as too far away to go look. My idea not breeder btw. I spoke and she came running to phone at my voice. Where the other two ignored. When I went to collect her she recognised my voice and she jumped off her bed and came running. Tail wagging. Again her litter siblings didn’t raise an eyebrow. I didn’t think I would have gotten away without me taking her. They both beautiful little girls that make me laugh every day. 😊

  2. I have a rescue dog that I assumed was a Yorkie. Now, I’m not so sure. My daughter found him at a “puppy mill” where he was kept in a rabbit hutch all his life. I didn’t know what he was when I got him as he was matted and stunk terrible. I took him to a local groomer to be cleaned up. When I picked him up, there stood a distinguished little gentleman! I was so impressed with the dog’s stature that I named him Winston. He is the neediest little dog I’ve ever owned! He doesn’t have any desire to play fetch or to play with any toys. He just wants to be in my lap or at my feet but, has to be touching me. He stares at me like he’s in love with me and as such, is extremely possessive and doesn’t like other dogs, cats or men too close to me! At first, he got car sick every time we went out for a ride. Now, I’m guessing, he knows that I will not leave him anyplace or not pick him up again so, he’s a lot better at riding. His tongue hangs outside his mouth a little bit and one ear folds over when relaxed. He’s a great alarm when someone approaches but, not a barker. He’s still an intact male and I fear that neutering will change his personality or disposition. I don’t know if I need to worry about that since he’s housebroken or do I? I love this little guy to pieces, I know that! I’m now leaning towards my little guy being a Silkie rather than the Yorkie I thought him to be. If I could post a picture, I’d ask for opinions. However, I don’t care what his breed is, because he’s a part of my life and my family. It’d be nice to know just so I can accurately tell folks when they ask. Thank you all for a great article and wonderful comments and stories. I’ve read them all!

  3. I found this article to be spot on for the most part. My female Yorkie is protective, and is the one that’s more active and playful. The male silky is actually smaller, and more aloof. He doesn’t really care for exercise like the Yorkie does. He tends to like to do his own thing and is always chasing the birds and squirrels. This article was accurate on many points, but my silky is smaller than my female Yorkie. I only feed them high quality protein along with dry Kiblets. My silky has a very weak gi tract so everything needs to be monitored with their food. These dogs are hard to train in my opinion like you mentioned in the article. The Yorkie is so stubborn as well. Yesterday she was hanging her head out the window and I’ve never seen so many people laugh and smile at the site of a dog just living their best life

  4. Bruce Hutchins

    My Silky Girl Was With me For 15 Years.The Only Down Side Was When I had To Say Good Bye…..I,m Still Grieving. What Great Companions

  5. I loved reading this article, very informative, educational, and full of inspiration for those of us who love puppies. My family and I were blessed with our Mickie, he was a Silky Terrier, he was part of our family, he was born on October 22, 2006, and just died last week on 2.22.2022, he has left us with great sadness in our hearts. My Mickie was very loving, courteous, attentive to us, obedient, and sometimes capricious, he talked and sang, when my son played the guitar he sang and waggled his tail, he loved to ride in the car, and was a defender, he thought he was the father of my son and defended him from any reproach or discussion, he stood in front of my son ready to defend him, he was beautiful, he loved camping, and love companion, he was the owner of the house and he was our owner, Mickie was one more member of our family, everyone loved him he, he was so well-behaving. Mickie was like a little brother to me Son, he was our baby for 15 years and we miss him greatly. Reading this article has brought tears to my eyes and I feel happy at the same time to know that our Mickie had a good life with us, and we did everything we could have done for him, and he will be missed forever. Now we would like to have another Silkie Terrier, but it is so difficult to find in Miami, Fl. If anyone reads this message and knows of someone who has Silky Terriers that we can bring home, I would appreciate it if you left me a note.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story, and thank you very much to the Author of the article for such an elaborate and informative article.

  6. What a great article. I have a Silky Terrier (Female) and a Yorkie (Male). They are about 4 months apart in age.
    Both are 13. They were both neutered at around 6 months. Your description of the difference about them is so right.
    This article was very helpful! Thank you!

  7. Wonderful article… I’ve had Silkies all my life- my first at 3, I’m now late 50s! They’re such wonderful companions and I think it’s a shame more people don’t know about them. I’m Australian and sadly even here now they’re few and far between, but such great dogs.

    1. Omg we could be twins… I’m also a Karen in Australia and I’ve pretty much had silkies my whole life since I was about 3 years old, now late 50s. Sadly my last girl passed away about three years ago and I miss her so much. It’s such a shame that their popularity is waning, they’re such great little dogs.

    1. Michelle Schenker

      Thank you for pointing this out. We looked into this further and you are correct. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic if it has hair, these two breeds are as close as it gets. This earns them the title of “hypoallergenic” dogs and we have corrected our content to reflect this. Take care!

  8. Darlene Brager-Gilmore

    We adopted our Silky from the SPCA and had him for 21 years. He was a great traveller and companion. We are still heart broken over loosing him. He loved cats and people. We have been looking for another Silky but hard to find.

  9. I had a Silkie Terrier for 18 years. He was my friend and companion on the semi I drove. He would watch me from the passenger seat for hours while I was driving. He loved to watch TV, play games outside, and cuddle up with me in a chair or in bed. Over the years he adapted to cats, both big and small dogs and of course fish. He was fiercely loyal. Health wise, teeth were really the only issue and later in life cataracts, never totally blind. My wife and I acquired him at 8 weeks.
    Until her passing in 2010 he was our dog. After that he focused all his Love on me. I really need back then. I will be looking for another one. He and I went through a lot. Those eyes of his always kept me going. (sorry a little therapy)
    A Beautiful and a Loving soul.

  10. Thank you for the interesting article. I rescued my girl about 5 years ago. We weren’t sure exactly of her age except for the fact that we saw a photo of her from 2011 which would make her at least 10 this year. She looks more like the Australian terrier in that her nose is very pointy. Her ears stand tall like the silky. She was 12 lbs at one point but now she is 10 lbs. She isn’t very energetic and doesn’t like to play AT ALL, which could have been a result of her early upbringing where she was kept in a crate with another dog most of the time. She would prefer to be carried around actually. She is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met and will sit in anyone’s lap! I love her to pieces!!! (She has lots of health issues though… IBD and Kidney disease now. 🙁 )

  11. What a well-researched and comprehensive article and fun to read..! I had a very unusual way of getting my silky. A young friend of mine works for a large animal and small hospital. She brought this black pile of long hair home to see if he would be a fit. He was deaf from low range sounds, plus he was partially blind in one eye. The lady who owned him boarded him at the animal hospital, while she was in the hospital herself.

    The clinic just fed him and let him out now and then to keep in good health. He developed a habit of snapping when people touched him, because of his confinement and not hearing. My fiend’s house was full of people and other dogs, so he spent most of his time in his crate, where he felt safe. I had just lost my sweet little Chorkie after 13-years together, so they ask if I would be interested, so I took him to try out.

    He tried to nip me also, which I stopped, by using Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer’s alpha dog method, our first day together. It took only three times to cure him on the first day. He wasn’t aggressive, just scared and confused. Once he knew his place and accepted me as the alpha dog, he just became a happy fun puppy, although he’s somewhere between five and eight years as far as I can tell. I named him lucky boy, because we were both lucky to have found each other.

    His hair was so long, dirty and matted, one could not see his whole face. The vet called him a Yorkie bread, but I thought, “That’s the biggest Yorkie I’ve ever seen!” I had him bathed and groomed, and the groomer said, he is not a Yorkie, but a Silky, which one could tell once his face was exposed. His face was obviously Silky, like the Ausie terrier. He has a psychological need to be at my heels wherever I go, so I provided a bed in the kitchen and one at my chair, so he could be near, just like my little Chorkie did. He moved the bed to a better location to see me when he’s in the kitchen.

    My little Chorkie’s beds were the same. The one in the living room was about three feet away from me, but that was not good enough for this little guy..! He picked up the bed with his nose, and flipped it over by my chair, and slept on it up-side-down. I put it back and he flipped it over by my chair again. Then I realized, he just wanted to be closer to me. So I put the bed right up next to my chair, and now he’s happy. Which is funny, because he doesn’t want to be in my lap, just up close. He asks to go outside to pee, but won’t go out until I put his leash on him. If you have any advice please let me know…Thanks!

    1. Sounds like a great dog, and what a great story, Michael! Thanks for stopping by to share it with our readers. I’d recommend reinforcing the behavior you want from him with high value treats, when it comes to getting him outside with less help from you. Start very slow, and work your way outside. If he seems hesitant, hiring an in-person trainer may be your best bet. Good luck with your pup!

  12. Evelyn Cortez

    Hi! Thank you so much for all that information, I can actually say that my Yorkie is exactly everything you said. Thank you for the health tips and nutrition tips. My family thanks you as well and so does our “Yogi” who we love so much!

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