Breed Standard and Characteristics of the

Silky Terrier

History of the Breed

The Silky Terrier has also been known as: The Sydney Silky Terrier, The Victorian Silky Terrier, The Soft & Silky Terrier, The Silky Toy Terrier.          

The Silky Terrier is originally from Australia and was developed late in the 19th century by crossing native Australian Terriers with Yorkshire Terriers. Breeders wanted to improve the color of the Australian Terrier, and it was generally agreed upon at the time that the Yorkshire was best suited to the job. The resulting litters, however, tended to be split between puppies resembling Australian Terriers and puppies resembling Yorkshires. Fortunately, a precious few seemed to inherit the desired traits from both breeds, and these dogs were bred together to perpetuate a new breed, the Silky Terrier.          

A standard was created for the Silky Terrier in Sydney in 1906. Another, slightly different standard, was developed in the Australian province of Victoria in 1909, but the two were finally revised and reconciled in 1926. The Kennel Control Council of Victoria also introduced canine legislation in 1932 to prevent cross breeding—and further confusion—between the different types of terriers. A breed club was established in Australia in 1959.          

American soldiers stationed in Australia during World War II were attracted to the Silky Terrier’s distinct appearance and brought them back to the US as pets. The Silky Terrier was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1959, and the definitive standard for the breed was established in 1962. In March of 1955 the Sydney Silky Terrier Club of America was established, although the name was changed to the Silky Terrier Club of America in July of that same year. Still known as the Australian Silky Terrier in its native land, the Silky Terrier continues to be very popular both as a companion and as a show dog.          

The Silky Terrier was recognized as a breed of its own around 1900. The first two Silkys came to America in early 1930's. The popularity of the breed in America owes much to photography (The National Geographic Magazine, Feb. 1936).          

By the mid 1950's enough Silky Terriers had come into the United States that there were clubs formed and exhibitions started in the Miscellaneous Class at American Kennel Club recognized shows. The breed owners promoted the breed and demonstrated consistency in reproduction through several generations. The reward was that Silky Terriers were recognized by the AKC as a breed in 1959.

Personality Traits of the Silky Terrier

The Silky Terrier dog breed exemplifies the expression "small dog, big personality." Weighing just eight to 10 pounds when full grown, he's tough and confident, perhaps because of his heritage as a hunter of small prey. Beneath the feistiness, however, is a loving  companion who loves to stick close to his person.