Silky Terriers have low set, toy-sized, light-boned frames covered in long, silky coats that can come in blue & tan or blue & red. They have long, wedge-shaped heads with black noses and V-shaped ears that point straight up. Their sharp, almond-shaped eyes have an eager expression, and their long hair usually outlines the eyes and parts down the middle of the forehead—this part runs all the way down the back to the tail. Slightly longer than tall, they have straight backs and tails that are usually docked and set high. Overall, the Silky carries himself in a lively, easygoing manner.
Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Silky Terriers are not your typical lap dogs. Keen, bold and independent, they have enough energetic spunkiness to fill an auditorium. Make that two auditoriums. Friendly and loving, they form strong bonds with the entire family, and their sprightliness and inquisitiveness makes them fun all-around pals.
Silkies are can be a little independent, needing elbowroom from time to time. But, they also crave activity, companionship and attention. Around the house, they really assert themselves. This comes off as self-confidence, not aggressiveness. Intensely protective and fearless, Silky Terriers have a relentless bark that makes them great watchdogs.
Silky Terriers get along very well with children, but they don’t have the patience for sudden moves and rough play. Also, they can sometimes be demanding and stubborn if they don’t get their way. Make sure they get plenty of exercise and attention, and they will have a consistently great attitude.
Silky Terriers can live as long as 15 years. A relatively healthy breed, some Silkies can develop diabetes and epilepsy. Grooming can take a little time and energy, but it’s worth it: Daily brushing and bathing can prevent their long hair from becoming tangled or matted. Some trimming is required, and some owners choose to tie their dog’s head hair in a bow so it doesn’t fall over the eyes.
The Silky Terrier originated when Australian breeders mixed Yorkshire Terriers with native Australian Terriers to improve the latter’s blue & tan coat color. In the early 1900s, two different standards for the Silky developed in different parts of Australia. By 1936, an organized standard was established to prevent the Yorkie and the Australian Terrier from further crossbreeding. Known for many years as the Sydney Silky Terrier, the name was officially changed to the Australian Silky Terrier in 1955.
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