Australian Silky Terrier


Brief History
The origins of the Australian Silky Terrier may never be known. All we have are myths and stories to the creation of this piece of Australiana. Our story begins sometime late in the 19th Century with settlers and farmers intent on breeding a vermin and snake hunting terrier, that eventually produced the Australian Terrier which came in two distinct forms. One with a coarse wiry coat and the other with a soft textured coat.

The soft coated type was crossed with the Yorkshire Terrier to develop the blue and tan colour and to improve the texture and length of coat.  He was known as the Silky Terrier or Sydney Silky, until 1959 when the newly formed Australian National Kennel Council endorsed the breed’s name, ‘The Australian Silky Terrier’, and he is one of the ‘fair dinkum’ Australian native breeds.

Average Life Span
When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 10 to15 years.

The Australian Silky Terrier is not your typical lap dog, rather an animated dynamo, curious and high spirited. He should display terrier characteristics embodying keen alertness, activity and tenacity. They are a robust breed and are generally very happy souls who love to play.  However, they also have a mischievous side and although regarded as quite intelligent, loyal, and trainable, they still retain the determined demeanour of their larger terrier cousins.

General Breed Description
The Australian Silky Terrier is moderately low set, of medium length with a degree of refinement, but of sufficient substance to deter domestic rodents. He has a keen expression and a silky body coat, which gives him a glamorous appearance.  Prospective owners are surprised to find their new puppy has been born with a black and tan coat. The characteristic blue and tan colour should be established by 18 months of age. A mature dog’s coat should be flat, fine, glossy and of a silky texture with a part running down the middle of the back. Coat colour comes in all shades of grey-blue with tan markings on the head and legs. The richer these colours the better.

Coat and Care Requirements
The Australian Silky Terrier does require some maintenance, but it is not onerous for such a glamourous dog. They have a fondness for a grooming session, if this routine is started at a young age.  Basic grooming should include bathing, brushing, and combing of their coat on a regular basis.  Brush their teeth at least once or twice a week. Trim nails once or twice a month if he does not wear them down naturally.

Height: 23 to 26cms (9 to 10ins), Females may be slightly less.

All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Australian Silky Terrier is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. In the past, there have been instances of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Luxating Patella, Legges-Calves Perthes (LCP) and Juvenile Cataracts.

Australian Silky Terriers are known to maintain a youthful ‘never grow up’ attitude throughout their entire life.  Therefore, they need to be kept busy and will excel in obedience, agility and earthdog trials. They need early socialisation where they are exposed to different people, sights, sounds and experiences. They are equally matched to suburban life or as an addition to the farmyard. They integrate well into the modern family that likes an active lifestyle.

In Conclusion
Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs.  With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular, the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to Dogs Australia Breed Standard: 


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