Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier is an Australian breed of dog. It is classed in the Toy group in its country of origin and some other countries, but is classed as a terrier in Europe.



Australian Silky Terrier appearance

Weight: 8-11 pounds
Height: 9-10 inches (23-25 cm.)
Coat: Fine, silky, shiny hair without undercoat, very prone to tangles and mats unless frequently groomed
Litter size: 3-5 average 4
Life span: 12-15 years

The average Australian Silky Terrier is about at the withers, and weighs about . Its head is longer than that of the Australian Terrier but shorter than that of the Yorkshire Terrier. The coat is with a silky texture.


Australian Silky Terriers are bred as house dogs, so tend to have a strong attachment to their owner and owner's family, coupled with a slight suspicion of strangers and strange dogs. They are very good watch dogs.

If a visitor is welcomed by the owner most will completely accept the visitor and try to get attention from them.

These dogs are very sensitive to voice tone. A loud deep tone will frighten them, and a high squeaky shriek will make them freeze.

According to

The Australian Silky Terrier is friendly to all the family, but will usually attach itself to one member and be friendly with the rest. It will tolerate strangers, but no more than that. It will love children if raised with them, but it doesn't enjoy being fussed over or being treated like an animated toy and prefers to be treated as an equal.


The Silky is generally believed to have developed by crossing the Yorkshire Terrier with the Australian Terrier in Sydney in the 1890s, but breed historians point out that the Australian Terrier was itself still a developing breed at the time of the Silky's emergence, and, since no early records were kept (as is the case with so many dog breeds) it is likely that other crosses occurred as well. There were also breeding experiments with these crosses in the state of Victoria; it is suggested that Australian and Silky Terriers were first exhibited at the Melbourne Royal in 1872 as "Broken-coated Terriers, Black and Tan", however, the breed is not mentioned in The Dog in Australasia, Walter Beilby's 1897 book.

Certainly it is documented that whatever the outcrossing, puppies evidencing rough and silky coats appeared in the same litters at the turn of the 20th Century. The Australian Terrier, Harsh or Silky coated, was first exhibited at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1902.

Different breed standards appeared in the 1920s; in or about 1924 the Kennel Club requested a designation of Australian Terrier, Hard Coat and Australian Terrier, Soft Coat but the breeders rejected the proposal.

Before puppies were registered on the Stud Books, a judge was required to inspect litters to determine which puppies were to be registered as Sydney Silkies, which were Australian Terriers and which were Yorkshire Terriers.

20th Century canine council legislation brought an end to the crossbreeding; eventually Silky puppies were intrabred and the breed was stabilized.

The official name for the breed in Australia became the Australian Silky Terrier in 1955. The breed club was established in 1959.

Notes and References

  • History, Origins and Development of the Australian Silky Terrier George Holmes. One of several essays appearing in Australian Made: Australian Breeds Feature, privately published, mid-1990.
  • Silky Terrier History from the AKC website

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