Are Silky Terriers Smart?

Being smart is one of the prominent attributes of a Silky Terrier! His inquisitive nature contributes to his ability to experience, learn, and be taught with obedient training and house rules. This wonderful dog likes to keenly observe his surroundings and would quickly notice any movement. This is why it shouldn’t surprise you if he suddenly barks at the tree or tries to reach for something underneath the couch!

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Take note that even though this breed is smart, this reason alone does not necessarily mean that it is an excellent companion. You have to first make sure that you thoroughly study the breed, train it, and form a genuine relationship with it to understand its natural traits better. It is all about the compatibility between you as an owner and the dog as your companion. 

Anyways, it seems that you are thinking of which dog to go for and you are probably wondering how smart Silky Terriers are as part of your little research before you get one. Indulge yourself in this article and learn about how smart this breed is, how to make it smarter, and more!

How Smart Are Silky Terriers?

Dog experts score Silkies 4 out of 5 on the scale of intelligent dog breeds. They do not struggle a lot when they are introduced to new tasks or training to learn. Despite their high mental ability, these doggos are also extremely opinionated and can sometimes end up being stubborn. If their independence strikes in the middle of your training and there is no positive reinforcement, your little Silky will highly end up becoming disinterested. 

To avoid this, simply ready the clickers and the goodies so every time he follows commands, he receives a delicious snack! Through this, he will be more encouraged to follow and remember the task until it becomes a habit.

Silky Terriers are also not just intelligent because they are trained to be smart and obedient. Their Terrier origin makes them good natural hunters for vermins and other small animals. They have predatory instincts which cannot be underestimated hence why you have to keep them in an open yet enclosed area so they will not wander off. If their hunting mode is on, they will calculate every situation to ensure that they catch the little prey.

Since intelligence comes in many forms, you will also get to experience how high the Silky Terrier’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is! This tough little pooch isn’t afraid to show lots of love and affection to his owner. He knows exactly how to communicate, empathize, and understand other’s emotions.

In terms of Social Intelligence (SI), Silkies score high on it too. They have a friendly personality and are capable of getting along with those who know how to handle them with gentleness and care.

How Smart Are Silky Terriers Compared to Other Breeds?

If based on “working intelligence”, The Australian Silky Terrier will never be too far behind as it ranks 37th out of 199 dogs in a lengthy survey written by Stanley Coren. The mentioned pooch has been considered an above-average working dog who can learn new tricks after only 15 to 25 repetitions. The obedience level has also been estimated to be around 70 percent. 

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The general survey shows consistency. However, this can vary depending on how the owner trains his Sydney Silky which the judges pointed out that there are lots of exceptions that mostly boil down to the training experiences of this little dog. 

If a regularly trained Silky competes with another top-tier breed that did not undergo obedience training, the Silky wins the field. Additionally, intelligence cannot be measured and enclosed in only one category. There are spatial, kinesthetic, and social intelligence to name a few which can switch up the ranking of the dogs depending on which type their intelligence is based upon. 

On another note, seeing this canine at such a high rank isn’t shocking news at all. This is because both of its parents are listed in top numbers as well: The Yorkshire Terrier at 27th place and the Australian Terrier at 34th place. Both breeds have ensured the passing of their smart attribute to the little silky-coated pooch- True development of the breed indeed.

Signs That Your Silky Terrier Is Smart

Since there is no absolute measure of intelligence, you may still be able to see an initial overview regarding how good your Silky Terrier is when it comes to following simple rules, doing certain activities, and behaving in a certain way. Below is a short checklist you can use to identify if your Silky possesses most if not all of the basic tasks:

✔️ They don’t have a hard time mastering new tricks and techniques.

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✔️ They can easily recall commands without practice even if it’s not done for a 


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✔️ They certainly know how to get your focus and attention.

✔️ They are adept at escaping from confinement- escape artists!

✔️ They can feel if you are stressed and in need of cuddles.

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✔️ They know how to keep themselves safe from imminent threats or danger.

✔️ They know how to solve puzzle toys!

✔️ They know how to open doors.

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✔️ They start a game with you.

✔️ They know if you are leaving.

✔️ They know how to make you follow their demands such as when you give 

       them food when they take out their bowls.

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✔️ They know how to get to a destination. E.g.: To the vet’s office.

✔️ They anticipate instructions from the owner.

How to Make Your Dog Smarter

Ideas may often include socialization among other dogs in the daycare, teaching him on crate training, and more. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a smart and ideal companion at your home or apartment? The little things they do are entertaining and can fill the house with laughter, excitement, and anticipation of what your dog is about to do next. Although the Silky Terrier is a small dog, within him is a big potential to become an amazingly smarter breed.

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Here are some of the things you can do to make your Silky Terrier smarter:

  • Every time he shows good behavior, reward him with a treat!
  • Let your Silky socialize! You may bring him to the park and meet other dogs. Let him experience the world to build up his intellect and experience.
  • Train him at an early age. You know the common adage: “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks”!
  • Guide your puppy in learning orders through daily physical manipulation. This is for him to see and know what exactly you want him to do.
  • Don’t settle with teaching just a few handful tricks for your Silky! Maximize his potential.

Things That Can Affect Your Silky Terrier’s Intelligence

Making this toy breed smarter can be done in many ways. Things don’t just focus on training alone. Conditioning your little Silky to become the kind of dog you want him to be must also involve things such as giving him the proper food and diet, bringing him to the vet for regular check-ups, and taking him out for exercises. All these contribute to a more alert and enthusiastically smart pooch.

Food and Diet

Often, we are told to give your dog fish for a meal because it will make him smarter. This turns out to be true since fish contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids responsible for giving out docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Researchers have found out that too little DHA during developmental stages can lead to decreased learning and may also affect vision which is extremely necessary for a canine. It is suggested to let your Silky Terrier puppy keep on feeding on his mom and feed him with a DHA-rich diet once he gets to eat on his own.

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Common dietary sources for DHA: sardines, salmon, chicken, eggs, and tuna.

DHA also comes with a lot of benefits which is good news for your dog! Having enough of this can help if he is suffering from skin infections and disorders, improve blood supply, keep his silky coat shiny and avoid hair loss, and also reduce the risk of getting a dry eye disease.

Moreover, you may also add some supplements according to your vet’s advice and prescriptions to ensure that your dog gets a full and balanced diet without excess weight gain. This is highly encouraged if your dog is older and may suffer from cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

Health Check-ups

It is a given that being healthy can greatly help your little Silky become smarter and perform fun tasks like opening the door, picking up a specific toy, or simply do little tricks. However, this can be impeded if he suffers from diseases that may affect his normal life. Common health conditions may include:

Silky terriers have a life expectancy between 12 and 15 years if they are taken care of properly which also includes grooming. Although the development of certain diseases may arise, the best thing to do is to visit your vet right away for a prompt diagnosis. Medications can help your doggie cope with the symptoms, live a normal life, and perform tasks and activities that can make him happy and at the same time disciplined. Who wouldn’t want the best for this cute little pooch, right?

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Daily exercise produces endorphins which can improve your dog’s memory and brain function. If you feel lazy to take him out on your morning stroll or play some games, always think about the health benefits he can get especially if he joins shows or needs to have a weight loss! Their need for exercise depends on their energy level, so don’t tire them out too much! Remember that Silky Terriers come in small packages. 

Top 4 Facts About the Smartness of the Silky Terrier

  1. A Silky Terrier’s brain can be compared to that of a 2 and a half years old child.
  2. Averagely, he can learn over 165 words which may include other forms of signals. This is almost as high as that of “top tier canines” who can learn 205 words.
  3. If there is a competition for treats and rewards, the Silky has the potential to outsmart other dogs.
  4. He can count up to five.
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Silky Terriers are born smart, curious, playful, and adventurous. They only need a committed owner who will nudge them to their best state. It is important not to be too obsessed with making your poochie smart to the point that he gets exhausted or his feelings ignored and not considered. The process of making them smarter dogs should be fun, enjoyable, and meaningful. 

If you plan to get another Silky, you can check from reputable breeders who can give you a healthy breed of Silky Terrier complete with health clearances and other papers. You may also try visiting an animal pound. This place is filled with dogs of huge potential and they only need someone to choose to love them and help them live better lives. It could be you!