The Silky Terrier, also known as the Australian Silky Terrier, the Sydney Terrier, or simply the "Silky," was developed in Australia, as you might guess – although its ancestry comes from Great Britain. Closely related to the Yorkshire Terrier and Australian Terrier, the Silky Terrier actually came about by accident. In the late 19th century, Australian Terrier breeders were trying to improve the color of the breed's tan and blue coat. What resulted were offspring that were sometimes shown as Australian Terriers, and sometimes as Yorkshire Terriers or "Yorkies." A third variation of the offspring was called Silky Terriers, and those "Silky Terriers" were selectively bred to achieve the true breed of today.
The Silky Terrier is a little dog – but it's not a lapdog. Should you choose to adopt a Silky Terrier as a pet, remember that your little family member has a mind of his or her own and is a Terrier in every way. Slightly larger than a Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky looks delicate – but is not; curious and full of energy, this little dog will put you through the paces!
Originally developed in the 1800s in Australia, the Silky Terrier is the result of an attempt to breed blue and tan Australian Terriers with improved coat colors. The puppies born of these attempts were originally shown as three different breeds – the Australian Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and Silky Terrier – whereupon the Silkies were separated and bred together until the new Silky Terrier breed was established. Ultimately, American soldiers during World War II brought Silky Terriers home with them, and the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1959. The standard was set in 1962 and updated again in 1967.
Today, the Silky Terrier is primarily a companion dog (and always has been), but like most Terriers, it's also excellent at catching vermin and most certainly could be used for that purpose.
Small and fine boned, the Silky Terrier has a long, silky blue coat five or six inches in length with red or tan markings. Most often, the long hair is parted down the center of the back. Silky Terrier puppies are born black and then develop their markings later.
Ears are erect and V-shaped, the dark eyes almond shaped and always with an expression of inquisitiveness, with ever-prevalent curiosity. These physical characteristics give this high-spirited little dog an alert appearance – which it most certainly lives up to.
It's considered a toy breed but is actually relatively large for this characterization: in adulthood, Silkies reach 9 to 10 inches at the shoulder and weigh 8 to 11 pounds in adulthood.
Tiny, catlike feet and a short tail that is usually docked in the US enhance its delicate appearance – but again, it is anything but delicate. This sturdy little dog can handle a lot, although of course care should be taken (especially around small children) to handle your little pet with proper care.
Think "spunky," and you've got the Silky Terrier's personality down pat. Affectionate, perceptive and courageous, the Silky is also very intelligent and easily trainable. Always interested and eager to learn, the Silky is full of energy and needs a lot of exercise.
Your little pet will be very dedicated and devoted to you as long as you keep in mind that this little dog can become, well, a spoiled rotten brat if you don't keep a firm hand. Silky Terriers, like other small breeds, can develop what's called Small Dog Syndrome, whereby they become spoiled children who think they're in charge. As long as your puppy knows he or she is not the boss and not in charge, though, you'll be fine. Just make sure to remain strict and never let your pet get away with being demanding or willful. Gentle discipline through tone of voice is necessary to keep this from happening, and obedience classes can also help.
What's important to remember is that although little dogs are indeed little, they're not babies and they can get out of hand. A little dog like the Silky who develops Small Dog Syndrome can become dangerous around small children because they can bite – and they will most certainly bark a lot and become a nuisance. Dogs with this syndrome can also pick fights with other dogs, further causing problems.
Properly socialized and disciplined, though, the Silky Terrier is an absolute delight. Insatiably obsessed with discovering new things, but always eager to please, the Silky is nothing but charming and delightful, as long as your pet knows you're the boss.
It's worth noting that even well-socialized Silkies can sometimes be untrustworthy with small children who don't treat them gently simply because they feel threatened or can be physically hurt. Therefore, it's wise not to leave your Silky alone with young children; instead, supervise carefully and make sure your little pet is protected. He or she is indeed physically sturdy and can handle a lot – but can still be hurt.
Silky Terriers adapt most successfully in both houses with single, devoted owners, as well as large rambunctious families as long as certain precautions are taken. Because the Silky is a Terrier by nature, your pet cannot be trusted with small pets that are instinctively prey for them (gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.) Because of that, do not keep small pets like these in the same household with your Silky. In addition, your puppy should be socialized from the beginning to get along well with other non-canine pets like cats, so that they don't pick fights or chase them.
Silky Terriers are very strong dogs and live 12 to 15 years on average in good health. They can be prone to certain genetic disorders like Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease which causes disintegration of the hip joint, a condition able to be corrected through surgery, and luxating patellae, or dislocation of the kneecap.
Your Silky's beautiful hair is very prone to tangles, and you'll need to comb and brush his or her long, silky fur for about 15 minutes a day to keep it in good condition. Regular bathing and conditioning of the fur is also necessary, to help keep the smooth texture. The coat should be trimmed regularly, and hair on the legs from the knees down trimmed short. If you choose to keep the hair over your pet's eyes long, tie it up in a top knot so that your pet can easily see. The Silky does not shed to any great degree.
AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Silky Terrier.
Retrieved May 26, 2013.
Australian Silky Terrier.
Retrieved May 26, 2013.
Silky Terrier (Sydney Terrier) (Australian Silky Terrier) (Silky Toy Terrier).
Retrieved May 26, 2013.
Retrieved May 26, 2013.
Group Classification: Toy (America), Terrier (Europe)
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Lite Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 8-11 pounds
Height M: 9-11 inches
Weight F: 8-11 pounds
Height F: 8-10 inches
Litter Size: 1-4 puppies
Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Blue/Tan, with silver highlights on the fur near the eyes. Puppies are generally born with black coloration which develops into blue over time.
Silky Terriers are at their best when living indoors in smaller urban or suburban areas. You'll need to walk them once or twice a day, of course, but they don't necessarily need a yard in which to run around or a great deal of space. The average Silky Terrier will be perfectly happy finding non-destructive things to do indoors.