Silky Terrier

Type: Terrier

Height: 9 - 10 inches.

Weight: 8 - 11 lbs.

Life Span: 13 - 16 years. The Silky Terrier is a long-lived breed.

Litter Size: 3 - 5 puppies.

Country of Origin: Australia

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High. Silky Terriers can be very barky. They may announce a strangers' presence in their shrill voice.

Guard-dog: Very Low


Description: The Silky Terrier who is also known as the Australian Silky Terrier has been bred as a lively, energetic companion. They are confident, entertaining little dogs who have a charm all their own. They are a terrier true to form. A one-family dog, they are very obedient and very adept pupils. Easily trained and scrupulously clean, Silky Terriers' loyalty will make them enjoyable and entertaining companions. They will hunt vermin if given the chance, but are very affectionate toward their owners. They are very keen, intelligent and somewhat yippy. They do like to bark to announce the presence of strangers, but can get along as long as they are socialized when they are young. Silky Terriers are independent and territorial to an extent, but are friendly and affectionate with their owners and friends. Silky Terriers are short and long terriers, being a mix of the Skye Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. Unlike the Yorkshire, however, the fur does not reach the feet but stops right before them. Silky Terriers require a lot of coat care and grooming if they are to be shown in the competition ring. They come in colors of blue and tan, grey, and blue and tan with a silver topknot. Their topknot is apparent but not covering the face. The Sydney Silky is a perky and entertaining breed.

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Other Names: Sydney Silky, Australian Silky Terrier

Colors: Blue and tan, gray, blue and tan with silver-blue top-knot. Tips of hairs should be darker than the roots. The blue and tan coat is parted down the middle from head to tail.

Coat: Being 5 - 6 inches, it is straight, fine, flat, and glossy. Although long, the coat does not reach the feet like the Yorkshire Terrier's coat does. They have only a single coat and therefore can get a chill if left in cold weather. They have a topknot but no long hair on the face.

Temperament: Silky Terriers are spirited, friendly, and self-assured. They are confident and yappy, much like the Yorkshire Terrier. Silky Terriers are possessive of their territory and can be independent. They are relatively obedient if properly trained, however, and are excellent at problem solving. They are very intelligent and learn quickly. The Silky Terrier is strong-willed and may become intolerant of strangers touching them if not socialized. They are keen, generally friendly, and lively. They require quite a lot of attention and interaction among their human family.

With Children: Yes, the Silky Terrier tolerates children if handled properly, best if raised with them.

With Pets: Yes, makes an excellent companion for other dogs. Not good for smaller pets.

Special Skills: Ratter and family pet.

Care and Training: A big commitment is required to keep the Silky Terrier's coat lustrous and in top condition with no matting. Daily combing and brushing and regular shampooing is necessary. After bathing, they need to be dried completely. Do not let them get chilled. Trim their coat occasionally, keep the hair on the legs and knees trimmed short. Remove hair from their eyes by tying a topknot. They are an energetic dog who enjoys extended play sessions. They need regular exercise to maintain a well sense of being. Puppies should be accustomed to brushing early. Puppies should also be socialized and trained early on. If not, they may become territorial, bossy and unfriendly toward strangers.

Learning Rate: High. The Silky Terrier responds best to positive reinforcement. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Attention, grooming and socialization.

Living Environment: Apartment living is fine for the Silky Terrier as long as they have sufficient exercise. They are small, compact dogs that will announce their presence, however, and guard their territory. Adequate space should be provided as well as training to ensure a compatible Silky Terrier. The best owner for this breed would be a firm but positive owner living in either the city or suburbs. This breed is rather adaptable to many situations.

Health Issues: Collapsing trachea, genetic eye disease, both malignant and benign tumors, cataracts, Cushing's disease, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, Legg-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, and pancreatic disease.

History: Developed in Sydney, Australia, the exact origins of their ancestry is unknown. They are thought to be a cross between the Skye Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier. What is known is that they have been crossed by the Australian Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier, with maybe some Scottish Terrier in them. There are seeral theories of their development. One theory is that, according to records, blue and tan terriers of about ten pounds existed on the island of Tasmania in the 1800s. In the 1820s, one of the female blue and tan terriers was taken to England and bred with a Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Eventually this progeny came back to Australia and became one of the key dogs to develop into the Silky Terrier. From this the breed is said to have bred with the Skye Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. MacArthur Little had a kennel of this breed, and when he moved to Sydney the breed was subsequently called Sydney Silky Terriers. Silky Terriers were once called the Sydney Silky. The name was only changed in 1945. In New South Wales the breed standard was accepted in 1906, while in Victoria a different standard was drawn up and accepted. After much discrepancy, the official breed standard was ironed out in 1962. Three years earlier, in 1959, the breed was accepted by the AKC. Developed as an urban pet they are still a good ratter and are adept at killing snakes. Today the breed is known as the Silky Terrier in America, the Australian Silky Terrier in Australia, and the Silky Toy Terrier in Canada.

First Registered by the AKC: 1959

AKC Group: Toy Group

Class: Toy

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 3), KC(GB), UKC