Silky Terrier Dog Breed
Aliases: Australian Silky Terrier, Sydney Silky
|Life Span:||14 to 16 years|
|Litter Size:||Average of four puppies|
|Group:||Toy (America), Terrier (Europe)|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Blue/Tan, with silver highlights on the fur near the eyes. Puppies are generally born with black coloration which develops into blue over time.|
|Male Height:||9-11 in (23-25 cm)|
|Male Weight:||8-11 lbs (4-5 kg)|
|Female Height:||8-10 in|
|Female Weight:||8-11 lbs (4-5 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Silky Terriers are at their best when living indoors in smaller urban or suburban areas. You\'ll need to walk them once or twice a day, of course, but they don\'t necessarily need a yard in which to run around or a great deal of space. The average Silky Terrier will be perfectly happy finding non-destructive things to do indoors.|
The Silky Terrier--the dog that looks like a Yorkshire Terrier, is genetically closest to the Australian Terrier, and that has an energetic, curious, and temperamental personality all its own. The Silky Terrier isn\'t a dog for everyone by any means--but to those who are willing to go along with the Silky\'s sometimes difficult temperament and those who are willing to devote a great deal of time and attention to their Silky, the Silky\'s level of energy and loyalty can make it an ideal dog for a variety of purposes.
As we said, the Silky Terrier physically resembles a Yorky in many respects. The two breeds share the same tuft of fur near their face, the same long, silky coat, and the same basic capability for hunting rodents and aggressively controlling their territory, driving out strangers and rival animals. However, the Silky Terrier also rises above some of its closest relatives in the Toy class of dogs by its authentically friendly and confident demeanor--although the Silky will bark at strangers, it won\'t compulsively bark even at people it knows well. This makes it a versatile dog for anyone who lives a largely indoor life--the Silky is confident and energetic enough to be an enjoyable animal, but also loyal and dependent enough to be a good friend, watchdog, and companion. (Not only that, but the Silky\'s coat rarely gives off a "dog smell"--yet another advantage of this remarkable, if challenging breed.)
Silkies have long, straight coats that hang down from the back of the Silky to its sides. The fur around the feet should be short and well-trimmed. The Silky also has long hair around its face, which is considered problematic if left untrimmed. This hair can either be trimmed into a V-shape and left to hang along the sides of the face, or it can be gathered into a topknot.
The Silky Terrier\'s origins are somewhat mysterious. The common belief is that the Silky Terrier was created by cross-breeding Yorkshire Terriers with Australian Terriers, but this is likely an incomplete story--the Australian Terrier hadn\'t been fully developed in the late 1800s when the Silky Terrier is often said to have emerged.
The Australian Terrier emerged as a full-fledged breed around 1902--but emerged in two varieties, the Harsh or the Silky-Coated Australian Terrier. Over time, this multiplicity of coat types began to be considered the hallmark of two separate breeds of dog, rather than simply two variants of the same breed. So the Silky-Coated Australian Terriers began to be bred amongst themselves, resulting in the eventual emergence of the Silky Terrier as a breed in its own right by the mid-20th century.
Like many terriers, the Silky Terrier can be something of a handful if its owners don\'t know what they\'re doing. Terriers are almost without exception highly intelligent, highly willful, and highly energetic--which can lead, if the dogs are improperly handled, to all sorts of destructive mischief, problem barking, biting, or worse.
That\'s the worst-case scenario. With the Silky Terrier, however, a best-case scenario is much more likely: a scenario in which you and your Silky can interact positively, channelling your dog\'s native energy into effective training, watchdog duties, or positive interactions with your children.
This best-case scenario is helped along by the Silky\'s native friendliness and willingness to bond with human beings. This is best accomplished in the early years of a Silky\'s life, of course, but anyone who\'s willing to take the time to work with a Silky and show it the appropriate affection will reap the Silky\'s affection and loyalty in return.
There are a few exceptions to this, of course: Silkies tend to dislike children who don\'t keep on their best behavior, and they especially dislike children who treat the Silky disrespectfully--meaning children who pull ears or tails, or who try to take away and keep away the Silky\'s toys or food. If you have children who can be reasoned with, consider yourself lucky--and consider getting a Silky Terrier for your family. If your children can\'t be reasoned with to behave appropriately toward a Silky, however, avoid the Silky Terrier as a family pet--they can easily become more trouble than they\'re worth.
You\'ll also need to be careful when introducing your Silky to other household animals. Like many terriers, Silkies can be extremely territorial and aggressive--even when they\'re the new animal in the territory!--and they can frighten and even harm even fairly innocuous household pets, like mice or hamsters. If you want to introduce a Silky into an already-crowded home environment, make sure to do it gradually--and try to do it when the Silky is still a puppy, and when its ability to learn about the world around it is still at its highest point. Keep the Silky in its own room, and only introduce it to the other animals in its environment on a slow yet steady schedule. Gradually, familiarity will take over, and your Silky will accept the other animals in its environment as companions--which simplifies your job as owner and peacekeeper greatly, and which helps your Silky and your other animals to avoid injuries. (Not a trivial issue, given the general tendency of all terriers to attack even animals who greatly exceed them in size--a great deal of bravery, obviously, but also an extremely high veterinary bill for you or the unlucky opponent.)
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Silky Terrier ranks #108 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Silky Terriers are prone to a few health problems, including:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Yeast dermatitis (a skin disorder)
- Patellar luxation (disorder which causes the kneecap to shift out of alignment under moderate stress)
- Legg Calve Perthes Disease (temporary bone degeneration in growing puppies, commonly cured through enforced rest)
- Storage Disease. This is the most serious of the health problems Silky Terriers face, as it attacks the nervous system and is often fatal. Make sure to check up on your dog with regular veterinary visits in order to head off this problem as early as possible.