History of the Silky Terrier Breed
In the late 1800s, Yorkshire terriers first arrived in Australia from England. The Yorkies, with their steel-blue and tan coat, were bred with terriers already located in Australia as an urban pet. The crossbreeding was an attempt to improve the native terrier’s blue and tan coat while maintaining its hearty form. The resulting dog’s size and coat length was a perfect transition between its two parent breeds. Since both the Yorkshire terrier and the Australian terrier were fairly new breeds, this interbreeding produced some classification issues. Some members of the resulting breed were shown as Yorkshire terriers and others were called Australian terriers. A few were listed under the new name of “silky terrier,” since it was felt that they were the start of a new breed altogether. The breed was developed in two parts of Australia, and the appropriate weight of the breed was greatly disputed. In 1926, a compromise was accepted, and a standard was written to include the silkies from both areas. Initially known as the Sydney silky terrier, its name was changed to Australian silky terrier in 1955. On March 25, 1955, the first official meeting of the Sydney Silky Terrier Club of America was held. In July, the club changed its name to the Silky Terrier Club of America shortly before the AKC recognized the breed. The silky is not a rare breed, but it has not gained much popularity among dog fanciers.
Size and Appearance of the Silky Terrier
The silky terrier, a toy terrier, remains a working terrier at heart. It is low to the ground and longer than it is tall. It looks petite, but maintains the ability and strength to kill small rodents. The silky has small cat-like feet and upright triangular ears. Its silky coat is straight and long, following the outline of its body instead of hanging all the way to the floor. Its coat is colored in blue and tan or gray with darker ends. The coat may also be blue and tan with a silver-blue top-knot.
Silky Terrier Temperament
This spirited little dog acts like a typical terrier – playful, active, and bold. The silky can be stubborn and mischievous, and its bad habits include digging and excessive barking. It is an intelligent breed that makes an excellent traveling companion. The silky terrier tolerates children if it is not teased and does better if it is raised with them. It can be aggressive towards other dogs, but enjoys the companionship of other family pets. This breed is smart, curious, and territorial – a combination that makes for a good watchdog.
Silky Terrier Recommended Maintenance
The coat of the Silky Terrier requires constant maintenance in order to prevent matting and keep its shine. Daily brushing and regular shampooing is necessary. The coat must be thoroughly dried to prevent chills. Occasionally trim the fur, keeping the hair on its legs short. Its coat is odorless with little to no shedding. The silky is more energetic than most toys. It likes a moderate walk, but prefers time to explore on its own in a safe area. If not exercised regularly, it will grow bored. This terrier is not suited for outdoor living and can do well in an apartment with sufficient exercise. It is an intelligent breed that responds well to positive reinforcement.
Silky Terrier Health
• Life span: 11 – 14 years
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: intervertebral disc disease, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, Legg – Perthes
• Occasionally seen: diabetes, epilepsy, tracheal collapse
• Suggested tests: elbow, knee