(aka: Australian Silky , Sydney Silky)
Silky Terrier Description
The Silky Terrier is a small, compact, dog with small, erect ears, and a sweet yet alert expression. The coat of the Silky Terrier is luxuriously silky (hence the name), and is long and fine. The coloring of the coat is blue and tan. These dogs weigh in at around 10 pounds and reach around 9-10 inches in height.
Lively, spirited, and full of energy, the Silky Terrier is a confident and charming little dog with plenty of character. These are friendly and cheerful dogs, and are very adaptable and intelligent. Training the Silky Terrier shouldn't be too much of a problem, as they are quick to learn and responsive, making them ideal for inexperienced owners as well as the more experienced. These dogs may be small but they have plenty of courage and a curious streak. They are also very keen on digging, which is why a secure and safe area is necessary for him to play and exercise in when he is not on a leash. The Silky Terrier can sometimes be bossy, and needs an owner that will be assertive and firm yet positive. The Silky Terrier thrives on the attention and affection of his owner, and is not the right choice for those with little time for their pets.
Housebreaking the Silky Terrier may prove difficult, and owners should look out for his possessive streak when it comes to his belongings and food. You should socialize your Silky Terrier early on to promote a stable temperament and sociable personality, as some can grow to be suspicious. The Silky Terrier gets along well with children, but is best around older, gentle children as he doesn't take kindly to boisterous kids and being handled roughly. They will get along okay with other pets, but may be quarrelsome with dogs of the same sex. He does have a tendency to chase other animals, even if they are bigger than him. He will bark to announce visitors, and can make an effective watchdog.
The Silky Terrier is not a particularly high maintenance dog, despite his silky, long coat. You can brush the coat every few days to keep it looking silky and smooth. Occasional clipping or trimming can help to keep the coat a little shorter, and you should trim the hair around the bottom for hygiene reasons. These dogs are low shedders, and are well suited to those with allergies.
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.
Silky Terriers, being terriers, are highly trainable--but being terriers, they're also highly resistant to certain forms of training. Abusive training is obviously not the best course of action, as is negative reinforcement (i.e. shouting at your dog or inducing "shame" responses for bad behavior). Surprisingly, repetitive training is also not the best option--while some breeds thrive on repeating and mastering complicated, puzzle-like behavior patterns, the Silky Terrier, being somewhat pushy and arrogant, will simply resent and resist your training efforts if they start to bore him or her.
Despite all of these barriers to training, Silkies are quite trainable. What you'll want to do, then, is follow two general courses of action: start your training as early as possible, and make sure to vary your training routine in order to keep your Silky's interest.
Starting your training as early as possible is a good idea simply because Silkies--like all dogs--tend to become more set in their ways as time goes on. Once a dog is set in his or her ways, then the dog's natural stubbornness becomes an opponent when you try to change any problematic behaviors that may have developed. The dog might have learned, for example, that the proper way to groom its nails and teeth is to scratch and chew furniture--and your efforts to teach the dog that it's only supposed to scratch and chew designated toys becomes a conflict between you and the dog, rather than a new idea for the dog to puzzle out and incorporate into his or her life. You won't be able to solve all obedience issues by starting training early, of course--but you can solve a great deal of them and save yourself some patience and effort for the others.
For training Silkies into their adult years, it's a good idea to vary the daily training routine in order to combat the Silky's dislike of repetitive instructions. A good idea might be to break down the Silky's training into three or four distinct sections per day--general obedience, housebreaking, proper behavior toward humans, and tricks (or whatever categories you find the most useful for your particular Silky.) Switch between sections whenever your Silky starts to show signs of resisting training--whenever the Silky begins "acting out", wandering away, or even showing signs of "reverse training" (or acting in a manipulative way toward his trainer--or you.) And throughout the training process, remember to use a positive motivational system rather than a negative one--train by offering treats, praise, rewarding activities, or play, rather than by offering harsh language or unpleasant sensations (water bottle spraying or the like.) If you can keep the Silky's pride from kicking in--and if you can keep its active mind engaged through a variety of training exercises--you can go a long way toward curbing some of the energy and willfulness of the Silky Terrier.
There are a number of health problems linked to the breed. Some of these include Legg-Perthes, luxating patella, epilepsy, collapsing trachea, and allergies. The parents of the Silky Terrier puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.