Silky Terrier Guide

Toy Dog Breeds

The silky terrier is a miniature version of a working terrier, and as such retains the essential features of a vermin hunter. It is somewhat longer than tall, and though of refined bone, it should nonetheless have sufficient strength and substance to suggest that it could kill small rodents. The gait is free and light-footed; the expression is piercingly keen. The straight, single coat is silky and glossy, following the body outline rather than falling to the floor.

The silky terrier is no mellow lap dog. It is bold, feisty, inquisitive and playful, ever ready for action — a terrier at heart. It can be aggressive toward other dogs or pets. It is clever, but tends to be stubborn, and can be mischievous. It tends to bark a lot.

AKC RANKING 68

FAMILY terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN Australia

DATE OF ORIGIN Late 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION companion, small-vermin hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 9-10 Weight: 8-11

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 9-10 Weight: 8-11

OTHER NAME Sydney silky, Australian silky terrier

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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This is an active breed requiring slightly more exercise than most toys. It enjoys a moderate walk on leash, but especially likes the chance to nose around on its own in a safe area. Much of its exercise requirements can be met with vigorous games in the yard, or even house. Despite its hardiness, it is not a breed for outdoor living. Its coat needs brushing or combing every other day.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: intervertebral disc disease, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, Legg – Perthes
• Occasionally seen: diabetes, epilepsy, tracheal collapse
• Suggested tests: elbow, knee
• Life span: 11 – 14 years
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In the late 1800s, Yorkshire terriers were brought to Australia from England. These dogs had striking steel-blue and tan coat coloration and were bred with the native blue and tan Australian terriers in an effort to improve the latter's coat color while retaining its more robust conformation. Both the Yorkshire terrier and the Australian terrier were rather recent developments from crosses of a number of other terrier breeds. Some of the descendents from these crosses were shown as Yorkshire terriers and some as Australian terriers. A few, however, were exhibited under a new name — silky terrier — because it was felt that they were the beginning of a separate breed, intermediate in size and coat length between its parental stock. Interbreeding these silkies did, in fact, produce a true breeding strain within a short time. Because the breed was developed in two separate areas of Australia, separate breed standards were drawn up from each area in 1906 and 1910, with weight being the major disagreement. In 1926, a revised standard encompassing all areas was accepted, with accepted weights being somewhat of a compromise. The breed was popularly known as the Sydney silky terrier in Australia until its name was changed to Australian silky terrier in 1955. In America, its name was changed to silky terrier in 1955, just prior to its recognition by the AKC. Although not a rare breed, the silky terrier has been somewhat slow to attract admirers and is only moderately popular.
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