Silky Terrier- Breed Facts, Information & History

silky hair terrier

Silky Terriers are small-sized dogs that have gained popularity because of their adorable appearance and human hair. Because of their size, they have been registered under the Toy Group by the American Kennel Club.

These dogs can live in an apartment setting as long as they are constantly provided with human company. The energy levels of this breed are at an all-time high; they can run a marathon and still not get tired. This is why the Silky Terrier needs daily physical exercise to burn off energy. When it is not playtime, it is ideal to give them dog puzzles for mental stimulation and to avoid boredom.

Early socialization is important for developing the skills necessary to interact with other pets and animals. They are loyal and intelligent which makes training very easy as long as you are persistent. If you are prone to allergies, the Silky Terrier is the right option for you as a pet as it is a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Healthy Silky Terriers can live a happy life for 13 to 15 years.

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About the Breed

silky terrier

The Silky Terrier dog breed was initially used as working dogs and played its role in herding livestock and retrieving objects. Given the small size of these dogs, they were able to go through narrow spaces and rough terrain. This made them ideal working dogs. In the shipyards of Sydney, they are also known to have worked as renegades.

Later, the Silky Terrier served the miners. Their small size helped miners in clearing out small passages and entrances, tunnels, and underground burrows.

In the 20th century, Silky Terriers made their first appearance in dog shows. Soon enough, with their charming personality, they were able to earn the place of famous show dogs. In the United Kingdom, they received “championship status” in the year 1933. Today, these dogs are either great pets or serve as popular show dogs.

History of the Silky Terrier

australian silky terrier

The Silky Terrier dog breed has a very clear history. They are said to have originated in Australia anywhere between 1891 and 1899. They are a result of the crossbreeding of the Australian Terriers with the Yorkshire Terriers. However, the breeding process was not intentional but was actually an effort to improve the coat color of the Yorkshire Terrier.

Initially, some of the Silky Terrier dogs looked like Australian Terriers while others looked like Yorkshire Terriers. In order to create the Silky Terrier look that exists today, the interbreeding process was carried out until the Silky characteristics were obtained. Today, the Silky Terrier has the size, weight, and coat length that lies somewhere in between that of a Yorkshire Terrier and an Australian Terrier.

In Sydney, New South Wales, a breed standard was developed by a few Australian enthusiasts for the Silky Terrier. This was in the year 1906. The standard prescribed what the dog breed would look like, how it should behave, and the way it should move. In Victoria in the year 1909, another standard was established.

However, both the standards contradicted one another, especially in terms of the ear type and weight of the Silky Terrier. In 1926, the latest version of the standard was drawn up by reaching a middle ground on the previous two versions. This is valid to date and is accepted by breeders in the United States and Australia.

Based on the origin of the Silky Terrier, it was initially termed the Sydney Silky Terrier. However, later in the year 1955, its name was changed to the Australian Silky Terrier. It still has the same name in Australia. However, in the United States, it is known as the Silky Terrier.

The Silky Terrier dog breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1959. It stands as the 78th dog breed that was registered with the AKC.

Silky Terrier Facts

Now that you have become familiar with the Silky Terrier breed and its origin, let us take a look at a few fun facts about this dog breed that you are sure to find interesting.

silky terrier breeders
  1. Out of all the dog breeds, the Silky Terrier is the smallest dog in terms of size
  2. For people with allergies, this is a good pet option because the Silky Terrier is hypoallergenic
  3. The popular movie star Benji was a Silky Terrier dog and featured in multiple movies during the 1970s and 1980s.
  4. Wishbone from a popular TV show called “Wishbone” and Eddie featured in the movie called “Frasier” are other popular Silky Terrier celebrities.
  5. Silky Terrier dogs have a strong prey instinct. If left unleashed, you will find them chasing other dogs, rodents, cats, and sometimes even squirrels.
  6. Their hair is characteristically similar to that of humans, which makes them an attractive pet option
  7. The Silky Terrier entered the United States in the era of the Second World War
  8. They are registered under the Toy Group by the American Kennel Club. This is because of their small size in comparison to other dog breeds.
  9. Fizo was an 8-year-old Silky Terrier dog that received the Australian Purple Cross of Bravery in the year 1996. This was because the dog helped protect its owner’s 9-year-old child from a snake attack.

Silky Terrier Appearance

Silky Terriers are adorable in terms of their appearance, with a size so small that they appear to be squatting toward the ground. Their chest size is somewhere between the medium to the wide range and goes as far as their elbows.

silky terrier breed

Structure and Features

The structure of their bones appears to be delicate but they have strong thigh bones and muscles. They have short legs that give way to almost feet that resemble those of cats.

Their skulls are flat and longer than their muzzles. Their small ears are placed high on their wedge shaped head and are pointed upright. When it comes to their eyes, their shape is almond-like and they are alert and small. They have docked tails and dar-colored noses.

Size

silky australian terrier

Silky Terries are small-sized dogs with the male dogs slightly taller than the females. Typically, female Silky Terriers are 9 inches tall while male dogs have a height of 10 inches. Given the size of this dog, it is classified as a Toy Dog by the AKC.

Weight

silky terries

The weight of Silk Terrier male dogs is heavier than that of females. Female Silky Terriers have a weight of anywhere between 8 and 10 pounds. However, the male dogs of this breed have a weight of 9 to 11 pounds on average.

Given the size of the dog, the weight may vary. However, if you have any concerns about your dog being overweight or underweight, it is best to consult a vet.

Coat 

The most distinctive feature of the Silky Terrier dog is its long, shiny, and healthy coat. The dog has earned its name due to the silky hair that is characteristic of its coat. The quality of the hair is almost human-like.

Unlike the coat of the Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky Terrier’s coat does not touch the ground and limits itself to the size of the body. The typical length of the coat is around 5 to 6 inches. If this was not enough, the best part about this dog is that its coat has a low-shedding quality.

When brushing, part the coat that the middle in order to avoid matting.

silkies dog

Color

Silky Terriers are born with a solid-colored black coat. However, as they age, the coat can have markings of different colors as well. The most common color for dogs of this breed is tan and blue.

The American Kennel Club recognizes the following combinations of coat color for the Silky Terrier: black and tan; blue and tan; blue, silver, and tan; and gray and tan. It can however have markings of red, gold, cream, white, and fawn colors as well.

Silky Terrier Temperament and Personality

silky dog breed

Silky Terriers are the most confident and friendly dogs that you will come across. They have the energy levels of more than ten dogs combined in one. You can make the dog run a marathon and it will still not get tired. So if you are looking for a dog that can accompany you during your morning or evening walks, or go with you on your next adventure, the Silky Terrier is the perfect option.

Given that these dogs are very energetic, you will find them digging your freshly mowed and well-maintained lawn or backyard. However, if they are provided with enough physical exercise this might not happen.

The Silky Terrier is not a barking dog, but if it finds the owners in the way of danger or if it comes across strangers, it will bark to alert. It is forthcoming and pleasant towards everyone and is not shy or timid in any way.

It is important to keep the dog leashed when it steps outside a fenced area. This is because it has a prey instinct and will find itself running after anything small, furry, and moving.

Silky Terriers are great with children. However, because they are small furry dogs, they can be easily injured by rough playful children. Hence, they are safer in the company of older children who are mature enough to take care of a dog the size of a Silky Terrier.

Silky Terrier Health and Care

Over the duration of its life, the Silky Terrier dog breed is prone to certain illnesses that are not that common in other dogs. It is important to be aware of these health problems before going out and buying a Silky Terrier.

silky terreir

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease concerns the joint of the hip. It is a condition where the supply of blood to the rear leg bone called the femur is reduced. This causes the head of the femur bone to break down, which means that the connection to the pelvis is disintegrated.

The earliest signs of this disease are limping and muscle atrophy. It most commonly occurs in a Silky Terrier puppy of 4 to 6 weeks old.

The best way to remedy the condition is medical surgery which might end up helping your dog in getting rid of any pain.

Patellar Luxation

Patella means knee joint and luxation is a condition in which any part of the dog’s anotomy is dislocated.

This disease is more commonly known as “slipped stifles.” It occurs in small dogs and leads to the dislocation of the knee joint. This happens usually in the hind leg of the dog. When the joint slides in and out of place it causes extreme pain to the dog. Hence, you might find your dog limping or limiting movement.

Fortunately, in most cases, the dog can have patellar luxation and still lead a normal life.

Diabetes Mellitus

This is a disease in which the sugar levels in the blood of the dog cannot be regulated. Common symptoms of this condition are excessive drinking and urinating. In most cases, there are also instances of boosted appetite and weight loss. Insulin and proper diet help in keeping diabetes mellitus in check.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological medical condition that is mostly inherited. It results in seizures that can range from mild to very extreme.

Clear symptoms of epilepsy are rigid limbs, hysterical running, hiding, stumbling, falling down, and loss of consciousness.

However, seizures can be a result of other medical conditions as well. Hence, it is best to take your dog to the vet for the proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Tracheal Collapse

This is not a very common condition in Silky Terrier dogs but is known to occur. It happens when the cartilage of the dog is weakened and the respiratory passageway narrows down or flattens. This leads to the blocking of the airway and reduces the dog’s ability to breathe properly.

If you see your dog producing strange sounds while coughing or displaying signs of fainting, or suddenly reducing exercise levels, it is a clear indication of tracheal collapse.

The treatment of this disease includes cough suppressants, steroids, and antibiotics. If none of these work, it is recommended to go for medical surgery. For dogs with tracheal collapse, it is best to use a harness in place of a normal dog collar.

Health Clearances

In addition to the above, you should get health clearances from the breeder for hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and eye diseases.

With appropriate care and attention, Silky Terriers can live a healthy and happy life for 13 to 15 years.

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The best kit for dog owners who want to get their dog’s breed breakdown and genetic health screening

Silky Terrier Training

silky terrier dogs

Silky Terriers are known to be very willing, attentive, and intelligent students. They pick up behavior and commands very easily. However, given the smartness of these dogs, it is important to stay persistent with your training methods. If left on their own for a couple of days, they are intelligent enough to make and follow their own set of rules.

The training sessions should be short, consistent, and deploy positive reinforcements. These dogs respond very well to dog treats and praises.

If you are training the dog yourself at home, the most effective training method is crate training. In addition to being powerful, it also helps your dog secure and protected in case you are not keeping an eye on them. Remember to not keep the dog inside a crate for a long period of time as it will not enjoy staying locked up when awake.

It is important to start the training process when they are just puppies of 8 to 12 weeks old. This will help them gain the skills that they need from a very young age. Early socialization is also important for the Silky Terrier, to help them get along with other dogs, animals, and pets.

Conclusion

The Silky Terrier dogs are said to have originated in Australia anywhere between 1891 and 1899. They are a result of the crossbreeding of the Australian Terriers with the Yorkshire Terriers. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1959 and stand as the 78th dog breed that was registered with the AKC.

Silky Terries are small-sized dogs with the male dogs slightly taller and heavier than the females. The most distinctive feature is their long, shiny, and healthy coat. They are born with a solid-colored black coat. However, as they age, the coat can have markings of different colors as well. The most common color for dogs of this breed is tan and blue. The National Breed Club recognizes the following combinations of coat color for the Silky Terrier: black and tan; blue and tan; blue, silver, and tan; and gray and tan. It can however have markings of red, gold, cream, white, and fawn colors as well.

Silky Terriers are the most confident and friendly dogs that you will come across. They have the energy levels of more than ten dogs combined in one. They are great with children. However, because they are small furry dogs, they can be easily injured by rough playful children. Silky Terriers are known to be very willing, attentive, and intelligent students. They pick up behavior and commands very easily. However, given the smartness of these dogs, it is important to stay persistent with your training methods. If left on their own, they make and follow their own set of rules.

Over the duration of its life, the Silky Terrier dog breed is prone to certain illnesses that are not that common in other dogs. These include legg-calve-perthes disease, patellar luxation, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, tracheal collapse, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and eye diseases. With appropriate care, attention, and high quality dog food, Silky Terriers can live a healthy and happy life for 13 to 15 years.

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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