Australian Silky Terrier: Training and Attitude

The Australian Silky Terrier is one of the dog breeds recognized by the FCI. He is listed there in Group 3, Section No. 236.


There are two breeds of the Silky Terrier, both of which were permitted for many years: prick ears and hanging or flap ears. Now only the prick-eared Silky Terrier is officially recognized, although the lop-eared breed is at least as popular. Both native Australian Terrier breeds, Silky Terriers and Australian Terriers, were bred in the 19th century by crossing various English Terrier breeds.

The Australian Silky Terrier breed can be traced back to the well-known and very widespread Yorkshire Terrier and the powerful, courageous Australian Terrier. The two were crossed with one another and a breed was obtained which is very similar to the two original animals.

Unlike the other terriers, however, the Silky was not bred for a specific purpose, but solely for the pleasure of its future owners. There is evidence that rough-coated blue and tan terriers weighing around 4kg were used as guard dogs around Tasmania as early as the early 19th century. The bitch that came out first from the mating, which was characterized by a very silky coat, was taken to England and crossed there a few times with the Dandy Dinmont Terrier.

An indication that still points to the influence of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the typical, slightly lighter mop of hair in the Australian Silky Terrier.


A great lover of these small breeds, Mr. Mc Arthur Little, acquired one of these offspring and endeavored to further improve this small, newly created breed. These offspring were the actual progenitors of the Silky Terrier and when he emigrated to Sydney with his kennel, he crossed his dogs with Australian, Skye Terrier, and Yorkshire Terriers and the name Sydney Silky Terrier came about for these dogs.

From the Dandie Dinmont, they have the silkier coat, a longer back, and the disposition to a rounded backline and high hindquarters. But the Skye Terrier also has the disposition to silky hair, which is faulty for this breed, so breeding selection for this Skye fault also contributed to the desired coat of the Silky Terrier.

In turn, the small size and the blue color of the Silky were most likely consolidated from the Yorkshire Terrier. In principle, the Silky Terrier is a systematically planned and bred animal, because the different types of terriers have been crossed again and again with the intention of breeding a dog that combines the best characteristics of all breeds.

Australians wanted a dog that was smaller and easy to keep indoors. The Silky Terriers were created with a preference for hunting smaller rodents such as e.g. B. mice and rats used, but they were also used successfully and enthusiastically for snake hunting. It was documented as early as 1872 that Broken Coated Terriers were exhibited in Melbourne (that’s what the Silky Terriers were called at the time).

At that time there were 2 classes that differed only in their weight. Lighter dogs up to 3.5 kg and heavier ones weighing more than 3.5 kg were shown. Up until the turn of the century, the lighter Silky or broken-coated-blue terriers were predominantly bred. The first Australian Terrier Club was renamed in 1904. From then on it was called the “Victorian Silky and Yorkshire Terrier Club”.

The new breed that was created was called the Victorian Silky Terrier; the club was based in Melbourne. A short time later, in 1906, another club was established in Sydney, Australia. He called the new breed the Sydney Silky Terrier.

Both clubs laid down breed standards, which, however, differed greatly from one another in many respects. Only in the 1950s, after intervention by the Australian Kennel Control Council (AKCC), was an agreement reached on a common, uniform breed standard and the designation Australian Silky Terrier.

The worldwide spread of the Australian Silky Terrier happened slowly and in small steps. Between 1930 and 1940, the first copies made their way to Europe and the USA. But in 1954 there were only fewer than 50 of these dogs in the United States.

The size of the Silkies also gives an indication of their direct ancestors, at 23cm to 26cm at the shoulder they are right between the Australian Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier, with the body ideally being 1/5 longer than it is tall.

Appearance and Size

Like its cousin the Australian Terrier, the Silky has a docked tail that is set high and carried either erect or semi-erect. Although bred purely as a house dog, the Silky can’t hide its terrier origins and even according to the standard it can still be used to hunt rats, mice, and snakes.

This pronounced hatred of any harmful small animal as well as his proud and self-confident demeanor characterize a typical terrier. Although the AKC has classified the Australian Terrier as a terrier, the Silky Terrier is assigned to the toy group (miniature dogs).

Australian judge Frank Longmore said that the Silky Terrier is the “little dog that fits into any home, no matter how big or small the previous dog was.” With a size of up to 26 cm, the Australian Silky Terrier belongs to medium-sized dogs. It is relatively compact and low standing. Its weight can be up to 5.4 kg.

Characteristic of this breed is the silky hair, to which it also owes its name. The hair is very smooth but fine and shiny. It comes in the colors blue and tan (blue and tan), or in gray-blue. The intense colors are appreciated more than the somewhat paler ones. At birth, Australian Silky Terriers are basically black; they then have their final fur color at the age of 2 years.

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