Silky Terrier (or Silky) is a true Australian dog breed; the Silky Terrier was derived from the crossing of imported Yorkshire Terriers with native Australian Terriers. Although the first breedings were done to improve the coat and color of the Australian Terriers, the offspring of these mixes soon became popular and known as Sydney Silky Terriers. The Silky Terriers were bred together until they bred true to type and the breed was established. The first regional breed standards were created in the early 1900s, with a national breed standard adopted in 1926.
The Silky Terrier is a toy terrier, standing only 9 to 10 inches tall and weighing 8 to 12 pounds. The body is longer than it is tall at the shoulder and is refined as benefits a toy breed, yet sturdy enough to hunt rodents. The head is wedge-shaped, with dark almond-shaped eyes and upright, Vshaped ears. The tail is docked. The coat is silky, straight, shiny, and long, yet does not fall to floor length as the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat does. The coat is parted down the backbone from head to tail and is blue and tan. Grooming the Silky Terrier takes a little effort, as the coat can tangle, especially if the dog is active. Brushing and combing the coat once a day will keep it looking wonderful. Many Silky Terrier owners trim the dog’s feet and the area under the tail to help keep the dog clean.
Although the Silky Terrier is an alert, active little dog—very much a terrier—she is not as busy as many of the other terrier breeds. Daily aerobic exercise is still important, though. A Silky Terrier isn’t hyper, but they do have tons of energy and love to play fetch, go for long walks, and in general, be involved in whatever the family is doing! Silky Terriers should be exercised on leash or in a fenced-in area. If a squirrel or rabbit is spotted and the dog is off leash, she will be after it in a flash, and no amount of calling will bring her back. Training should begin early.
Silky Terriers are intelligent dogs (with just a touch of a stubborn streak) and need guidance. Teach basic obedience as well as household rules, and then continue training. Silky Terriers thrive in many dogs sports, including agility, flyball, go-to-ground competitions, and obedience competition. The breed is a favorite for many serious canine sports competitors because of its intelligence, terrier tenacity, and natural athleticism. At home, without regular training and an activity to keep her busy, a Silky Terrier will find something else to do and her owner may not appreciate it!
Silky Terriers are great companions for active people who understand the breed’s nature and who want a dog to do things with. The Silky Terrier dog breed does not do well when isolated for long hours. These dogs can be barkers and when left alone can be problem barkers. They can also be mischievous. They are good with children who treat them with respect but are not always good with other dogs. Silky Terriers should not be trusted with small pets; remember, these dogs are vermin hunters. The Silky Terrier breed does have some health concerns, including knee problems, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, Legg-Perthe’s disease, and epilepsy.