Silky Cairn

9-10 lbs
Cairn Terrier
Silky Terrier

The Silky Cairn is a designer dog, an intentional cross between two small but spirited terriers, the Cairn Terrier, developed on the rugged and rocky shores of Scotland, and the Silky Terrier developed by breeding Yorkshire Terriers to the larger Australian Terrier. These little canines are both quick moving and quick thinking, but their stubbornness and willful behavior may make them a more of handful to train than other dogs. Although they are great companions for older children, they are both too fragile and nippy for toddlers and very young children, and they may be bossy or scrappy in regards to other canines.

purpose Purpose
Companion, Earth Dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Cairn Terrier and Silky Terrier

Silky Cairn Health

Average Size
Male Silky Cairn size stats
Height: 11-14 inches Weight: 9-10 lbs
Female Silky Cairn size stats
Height: 11-14 inches Weight: 9-10 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Mitral Valve Dysplasia
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy (Lion Jaw)
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Hemophilia
  • Pyruvate Kinase (PK) Deficiency
  • Atopy
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Portosystemic Shunts
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Color Dilution Alopecia
  • Leukodstrophies
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examinations
  • Blood Tests
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Electrocardiograph (ECG - measures rate and rhythm)

Silky Cairn Breed History

The Silky Cairn is the combination of two varieties of terrier, the Cairn Terrier, a rugged terrier from the rocky shores of Scotland and the Silky Terrier, a tiny companion terrier that was developed in Australia. Until terriers were separated out into Dandie Dinmont and Skye Terriers 1873, all of Scotland’s terrier type dogs were lumped together under the heading of Scotch Terrier. The Cairn Terrier is classified as a subcategory of Skye Terriers, a category which also includes the West Highland White Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. They were first imported into the United States the same year that they were recognized by the American Kennel Club, 1913. The Silky Terrier was developed in the early 1900s in Australia, by importing Yorkshire Terriers to mix with the native Australian Terriers in order to improve their overall coat quality. Initially referred to as both the Silky Terrier and the Sydney Terrier, sometimes even as the Silky Sydney Terrier, this breed was first recognized as it’s own breed in 1906 in New South Wales. There was a great deal of variation between individual Silky Terriers at the time, at least in part because the intermixing of Australian, Yorkshire, and Silky Terriers continued even after the breed standard was drawn up in 1926. Legislation introduced by the Kennel Control Council of Victoria barred any further crossbreeding of the three terrier breeds and the size and ear conformation became more stable. The breed standard was updated in 1959 to reduce the size range from six to twelve pounds down to between eight and ten pounds.

Silky Cairn Breed Appearance

The Silky Terrier and the Cairn Terrier are fairly similar in appearance. Both are small dogs who are longer than they are tall with lightly built bodies that are also sturdy enough to find and dispatch vermin such as rats, mice, and even snakes, and this will hold true for the Silky Cairn as well. This crossbreed typically has a flat, somewhat wedge-shaped head with almond-shaped or round eyes that are either dark brown like the Silky Terrier or hazel like the Cairn Terrier and small triangular ears that stand upright from the head. The muzzle of the Cairn Terrier is just a tiny bit shorter and wider than that of the Silky Terrier and their coats can vary somewhat from the long, silky, single-layer coat of the Silky Terrier to the shorter, double-layered coat that the Cairn Terrier sports, with soft, short undercoat covered with a profuse outer coat of hard, weather-resistant fur. 

Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Silky Cairn eyes
brown Silky Cairn eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Silky Cairn nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Silky Cairn coat
brown Silky Cairn coat
cream Silky Cairn coat
fawn Silky Cairn coat
gray Silky Cairn coat
blue Silky Cairn coat
white Silky Cairn coat
silver Silky Cairn coat
brindle Silky Cairn coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Silky Cairn straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Silky Cairn Breed Maintenance

The coat of the Silky Cairn should be fairly easy to care for, regardless of which coat they inherit, but there will be some differences in how the coat is cared for. The single-layered coat of the Silky Terrier generally requires washing about once a month, whereas the short, rougher coat of the Cairn Terrier should only be washed every few months to avoid damaging the texture of the coat. Both will need brushing two to three days a week, although in the case of the Cairn Terrier this is more to remove dead hairs and in the case of the Silky Terrier it is to remove tangles. The nails should be trimmed twice a month or as needed, and this small dog will be prone to tooth decay so the teeth will need to be brushed daily.

Brushes for Silky Cairn
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Silky Cairn requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Silky Cairn Temperament

The Silky Cairn, like most terrier breeds, is a plucky and spirited canine with a ready bark. They are hardy and active so make good companions for older children, but younger children and toddlers may present a problem due to the animal’s diminutive size and the terrier's tendency to display jealous or possessive behaviors in regards to toys and food. The Silky Terrier is not typically friendly with other canines and may be bossy or scrappy, however, the Cairn Terrier tends to add a little more tolerance in regards to  other dogs. They do have a strong prey drive and are likely to take after anything that scampers or scurries so it is important to keep them securely on a leash when exercising outdoors. While these dogs are quick to learn, many of them display stubborn, willful, or opinionated behaviors, making them a bit more challenging to train, particularly when it comes to house training. 

Silky Cairn Activity Requirements

While this hybrid is quite small, it is also quite energetic, and it tends to require more daily activity than most other dogs of this size, generally around an hour of vigorous activity per day. Exercise for these little dogs is most effective if broken up into several smaller sessions throughout the day, and along with brisk walks at the park or around the neighborhood, they may enjoy activities such as advanced obedience training, earth dog trials, and rally sports, and if the weather is bad, they are small enough to be entertained by like indoor fetch or hide and seek. Silky Cairns may make suitable companions for apartment dwellers if they are provided with plenty of exercise as well as early socialization and training. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Silky Cairn Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.80 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$25.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Silky Cairn Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Silky Cairn size stats at six months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 7.5 lbs
Female Silky Cairn size stats at six months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 7.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Silky Cairn size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
Female Silky Cairn size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Silky Cairn size stats at 18 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
Female Silky Cairn size stats at 18 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs

Silky Cairn Owner Experiences

6 Years
3 People
House & Yard
She loves to play fetch with her many toys.
We got her as a rescue when she was 4 years old. She is absolutely sweet and has become my wife's shadow. She loves her walks throughout the day, but refuses to go out in the rain. She is also petrified during a lightning and/or thunderstorm, and we don't know why. She is a wonderful pet.
1 year, 11 months ago
16 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Long walks
We got her as a rescue at 3 years old. She immediately like the dog we had at the time a brusslesgriffon mix although she liked to eat alone when we first got her, but she got over that quick. A very energetic dog love the out doors in the summer she just sits on the deck in the sun. She is the sweetes dog and was very easy to train, knowing alot of trick but will only do them if she so feels
2 years, 1 month ago
12 Weeks
2 People
Great bread, keeps me on my toes, very loving, extremely socialable, very smart,
5 years, 4 months ago
8 Years
2 People
My little Silky Cairn is very shy, intelligent, and opinionated. She definitely has a defined personality and lets us know if she wants to play or needs anything. She's very smart, but she is more difficult to train then our Westie likely because our Silky Cairn isn't as much of a people pleaser. Pippa is shy, and she remembers everyone who has been to our house and her friendliness varies on how well she knows them. She's the sweetest little nut when she's comfortable with you. Definitely a breed that needs love and affection, but it isn't hard to give.
4 years, 3 months ago
11 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Road trip
Dog Parks
He's very sweet and active. I've had him for about 10 years and he has not stopped being energetic and happy. He does get aggressive about sharing toys and food with other dogs. He loves playing with all types of size dogs and may think he is bigger than he actually is. For him, he is very good about knowing how much food he should eat so there is always food in his bowl which is very lucky for us. His hair gets pretty long especially in the eyes so we get him groomed about every other month or a couple of months. For us, he was easy to train but harder when he was younger.
3 years, 2 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd