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Australian Silky Terrier Breed History

Breed Fact Sheet | Dogs4Sale/Puppies4Sale | Stud Dogs/Dog Profiles | Breeders

Many different theories have been given over the years regarding the origin of the Australian Silky Terrier. The true origin is clouded because little, if any true records exist from the late 19th century when the silky first appeared.

In the early colonial days, travel to Australia from England took many months. Space on the ships was restricted, as was the amount of food that could be carried. So except for a few working dogs, most carried breeds on the ships were short-legged Terriers. Such as the Sandy Rough Coated Scotch Terrier, Paisley Terrier, Sky Terrier, Clydesdale Terrier and Waterside Terrier. These were interbred over the years to produce a Broken-Coated Terrier.

From this stage there are several theories regarding the production of the Silky Terrier. One theory is that in the early 1800's Broken- Coated dogs with blue body colour and tan markings were developed in Tasmania. They were excellent watchdogs, alert and with an instinctive reaction to bark at any approaching strangers. Between 1820-1830 some Broken-Coated Terriers were exported to England. These were mated with the Dandy Dinmont Terrier. Some of these offspring were imported back to Australia by
Mr. McArthur Little. The result can be seen in the soft silver topknot of the Australian Silky Terrier. Several had developed a softer coat and were referred to as the Soft Silky Coated Terrier. In following years, two separate strains of Terriers were developed, one the Australian terrier and the other Soft Coated Terrier although similar in colour.

In the early 1900's fanciers of these Soft Coated Terriers preferred a longer and even softer and smoother coat to enhance the dogs attractiveness and draw it away from the rugged Terrier appearance. This is where the Yorkshire Terrier was introduced to the Soft Coated Australian Type Terrier to produce the Australian Silky Terrier.

The second Theory still follows the thought that the Australian Terrier originated from the cross breeding of the Broken Coated Terrier and the Dandy Dinmont Terrier. This resulted in the early Australian Terriers having a silky soft silver topknot. Years later the Australian Terrier Breeders cross bred larger Yorkshire Terriers with the Australian Terrier to improve the blue and tan colouring which was lacking. The results of these matings introduced a new breed, the Australian Silky Terrier. The cross breeding between the three breeds continued for many years until prohibited.

In 1904 a Silky Terrier and Yorkshire Club was formed in Melbourne, where a breed standard was written for both breeds. Sydney followed with their own Silky and standard two years later.

In 1932 the Kennel Control Council of Victoria prohibited cross breeding between the Silky, Australian and the Yorkshire Terrier to protect Breed identity as small Silky Terriers were becoming difficult to separate from large Yorkshire Terriers.

On 30 th March 1959 the Australian National Kennel Council approved and adopted a standard for the breed and changed the name to the Australian Silky Terrier. During the drafting of the national standard, the Silkies were weighed measured in height and size; colour was defined as blue and tan or grey blue and tan and body conformation was defined.
The standard was later amended in the 1970's to include fawn topknots acceptable. Several other theories exist, but we believe that parts of both stories are non-fiction and combine to represent the true origin of the AUSTRALIAN SILKY TERRIER. Who Knows?


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