The Australian Silky Terrier is thought to have been bred from crossing the Yorkshire Terrier with the Australian Terrier. This mix of the two breeds was meant to produce a toy dog with the gentle qualities of a small house pet and the inquisitive character and hunting skill of a terrier. Families who have Silkies will attest to the effectiveness of the cross.
It is obvious from the coloring of the Australian Silky that a Yorkshire Terrier had a part in its development, for it carries the gun metal blue coloring with rich tan points and silvery blue topknot quite similar to the Yorky. When the dog is born he is much darker and as he grows the tan markings fade to a lighter fawn shade and the gun metal blue becomes quite silvery. The ” Silky Terrier” is called the Australian Silky Terrier in Great Britain and in Australia, but is called the “Silky Terrier” elsewhere. In any case, the dog is definitely a terrier and meant to have the attributes of a terrier as far as its ratting and rodent killing abilities and in the case of the country of Australia, the little terrier is adept at killing snakes. The Silky is smaller than an Australian Terrier but larger than a Yorkie and the skull and muzzle are not as broad nor heavy as the Australian Terriers’, nor as long as the Yorky. In short this little dog has an almost equal mix of the qualities of the two breeds.
The coat care is simple enough, he requires a daily brushing and an occasional bath. Of course as always nails should be trimmed on a regular basis. The ears are erect and need only an occasional cleaning as they are not prone to ear infections. The hair on the face presents a bearded look and there is always more care on this type of muzzle as far as keeping the whiskers free of bits of food. Trimming can be done if necessary but his coat is easy to comb since it is exactly what it is called : “silky” and there is no undercoat. It lies flat to the body and does not tangle in the manner of a double coat.
The little dog is highly intelligent and is definitely a one family dog. It is wary of strangers and makes a good watch dog. When properly introduced it will accept strangers into the household but still will not be overly friendly. He is a very clean house pet and will get along with other animals in the household if he is raised with them. Of course the terrier temperament will come out if he is confronted and he can certainly do a good job of defending himself when necessary. Obedience competitors have found that the Silky is competitive in the Obedience ring and he is a favorite in the Conformation ring in most of the European countries, more so than in the United States.