Physical characteristicsThe Australian Silky Terrier very much resembles its English ancestor, the Yorkshire Terrier. These two breeds are often confused because they share the same long silky coat, erect V-shaped ears, dark eyes along with dark eye rims, black nose, and tail carried rather high. The easiest way to recognize them from each other is to look at the body shape. Viewed from side, the Silky Terrier is rather "oblongish" (the body is slightly longer than tall) while the Yorkie is a more square-shaped dog. The Silky Terrier is also slightly larger and heavier. It weighs 8 to 11 pounds with an average height 9 to 10 inches.
Note: the tail is usually docked in the USA whereas docking tails is illegal in most part of Europe.
TemperamentEnergetic, curious, confident and loyal. The Silky Terrier isn't a dog for everyone but for those who are willing to deal with the dog's sometimes difficult temperament and to devote a great deal of time and attention to their companion. The Silky has a great desire to be around its family. As a terrier, this breed is active, keen, smark, quick, and delightful. Good watchdogs. Many individuals are downright stubborn. The owners need to have strong personalities and to be firm, calm, consistent and confident pack leaders who are able to establish rules and discipline the dog must follow. Otherwise, they run the risk of being dominated by what looks like a pretty little dog but can actually be a "holy terror". An early socialization with other animals is necessary to avoid combativeness toward other dogs and aggression toward non-canine animals including cats. Silkies tend to dislike children who treat the dog disrespectfully (which includes prodding, pulling the ears and the tail and so on).
Coat and groomingThe single coat is long, silky, glossy and straight. It hangs down from the dog's back to its sides. The hair around the face is long as well, which can be problematic if left untrimmed. Gathering it into a topknot can help if you don't want to trim this hair. The legs should have short hair from the pastern and hock joints to the feet. As there is no undercoat, the Silky is less likely to develop mats than other dogs. Nonetheless, daily grooming is still necessary even for non-show dogs.
This breed comes in blue and tan colours. The blue may be silver blue, pigeon blue or slate blue. The tan is deep and rich; it should appear on the muzzle and cheeks, around the base of the ears, on the legs, feet and around the vent. The blue is darkest on the tail.
HealthGenerally healthy, although this breed can sometimes be afflicted with cataracts, intervertebral disc disease, Legg-Perthes, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, diabetes, epilepsy, and tracheal collapse. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
Other interesting factsThe Silky Terrier was created in the late 1800s by crossing the Yorkshire Terrier with the Australian Terrier. The goal was to improve the coat colour of the blue and tan Australian Terrier. The Australian Terrier and the Silky Terrier were the same breed for many years until AKC eventually recognized them as two different breeds in 1959.
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