The spirited, gay and lively Sydney Silky Terrier is a real Aussie — a grand little dog of Australia’s own breeding. This charming little Australian is easily the most popular house pet in all parts of the continent.
Few Sydney Silkies reach great heights as show dogs, rarely winning the big prizes, despite their great numerical strength. Sydney Silky Terriers are classed as “toys” by show authorities but are all terrier in nature and constitution.
They have no superior as ratters and mousers in the home, will chase cats from the garden, and keep a sharp watch on the movements of strangers entering the premises.
Bright and companionable, they make ideal pets for children and are perfectly happy to sit beside an elderly invalid, giving genuine devotion and companionship.
The breed is largely the result of the Australian Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier cross.
Types at first were mixed and caused breeders many headaches. However, the breed eventually became “fixed” and well-established, and good class specimens were seen at most shows.
Unfortunately, some breeders persisted in crossing Australian and Yorkshire Terriers, and these little fellows lost a great deal of favor.
Much of the blame for this can be placed on the controlling bodies of the day, which accepted the progeny of these matings as “purebreds” — in some cases Australian – Sydney Silky and Yorkshire Terriers were all registered. Some came from the one litter.
In recent years, stringent measures have been adopted to prevent this stupidity, and the average type has improved enormously as a consequence, but traces of these earlier crossings are still to be seen.
Underweight specimens, golden top knots, heavy face and leg furnishings, are all indicative of Yorkshire Terrier blood. Short, rather harsh coat, wide ear placement and coarseness point to the infusion of Australian Terrier blood.
Most breeders realize that the use of this stock will be harmful to their kennels, and are culling heavily in an effort to produce the true-to-type stock.
Unfortunately, a keen demand exists for “Yorkshire” type Silkies, namely, dogs weighing about six to seven pounds, with a long face and leg furnishings.
A number of backyard breeders are breeding puppies of this type to meet that demand. Many of these find their way into the show ring, and the breed gets a bad name as a consequence.
The best overseas market for the real Australian Sydney Silky is the United States. People who come here seem to be fascinated by them, and many a good one has crossed the Pacific in company with visiting mat men.
The Sydney Silky, in common with the Cattle Dog and Kelpie, has the disadvantage from an overseas selling angle that it has different official names in various States. This causes confusion and retards sales.
The Sydney Silky is extremely hardy and retains its full activity and senses to a ripe old age.
Daily coat care is essential if they are to look attractive, but this takes up only a few minutes, and should not be any trouble to the keen dog lover.
The hair is parted from behind the eyes, straight down to the set-on of the tail, and the hair is brushed straight downwards on either side of the body.
Dogs which are groomed consistently have almost a “natural” part after a while and can be brushed with a fairly soft brush to maintain gloss and life in the coat.
The standard weight of the Sydney Silky Terrier is from 6 to 12 pounds. Generally, about 9 pounds is considered ideal. Oversized or under-sized specimens should be discouraged for reasons given earlier.
The head is wedge-shaped, of fair length, with a level mouth, dark, sparkling eyes which should look straight ahead (not set obliquely in the skull).
The ears are set on high and carried erect, and while the hair on the face is fairly short and tan in color, a top-knot of silver or silver-blue hair is most characteristic of the breed.
The hair should not have any pronounced “fall” over the eyes as in the case of the Yorkshire Terrier, but plenty of lengths is desirable in the lighter tan hair on the cheeks.
The neck is of fair length, set into sloping shoulders, and the front is straight and clean.
Forelegs should be quite straight viewed from front or side, and feet should be firm and well padded. The dog should stand firmly on its toes and soles.
The body is of moderate length, back straight and the tail set on high. This is docked fairly short, about two-thirds of the tail is removed. Hindquarters are well rounded, muscular, with nicely turned stifles, and the feet should turn neither inwards or outwards when the dog is in motion.
Ribs are well sprung with plenty of depth right through. A sharp cutaway is undesirable.
The coat is very fine and silky in texture, with a body coat about six inches in length. The coat is a hard steel blue color, although silver blue is accepted. The hair on the front, underparts and hindquarters is tan, and the richer in color the better.
The hair on the ears, face and legs should be short and rich tan in color. Long hair on these parts indicates Yorkshire Terrier blood, and should not be encouraged.
The dog must be lively, gay and have plenty of terrier spirit. He is a real “Aussie,” and we have every reason to be proud of these grand little dogs.