Silkies are a careful mixture of two different breeds: the Australian Terrier, a small, coarse-haired terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier, which is responsible for the silky hair and the two hair colours – blue and tan. As with the Yorkshire Terrier, the hair grows long, but not to the ground. The hair follows the contours of the dog’s body.
The puppies are born black/blue with a small amount of tan on the snout, on the paws and possibly on the tail or underbody. By the time the dog is 18 months old, the hair should have changed to its proper colour. Some Silkies may, however, take a little bit longer.
The hair should feel like silk – cold to the touch but warm in the hand.
The paws, snout and tail should be free of any long hairs.
Unwanted long hair can be trimmed out with the fingers or removed with an electrical trimmer.
My Silkies enjoy being somewhat conceited and proud when they are groomed. They can stand still for hours while they are combed, brushed, trimmed or made ready for a show.
One absolute bonus point of this breed is that they do not shed hair when they are regularly combed or brushed. For this reason, they are quite suitable for asthmatics.
The Affectionate Silkies
Silkies are lively, easygoing and happy, always ready to have fun and play tricks. They understand everything you say and do – my Silkies can actually read my mind! The family in which they live is their pack, and this is something they love above everything. The world makes sense for them as long as they do not have to be alone, and instead with the people whom they love.
The Watchdog for the House
Silkies are domestic dogs, friendly to all members of the family, watchful and brave towards intruders. If someone should try to break into the house when no-one is at home, a Silky would never hesitate to defend the house and its possessions. They have very good ears and a rather strong bite. They hear strangers before they can reach the house. If this did occur, the Silky would rush the stranger barking loudly until help arrived.
I should perhaps mention that it can be somewhat dubious introducing a Silky to someone new. But as soon as the dog realises that the newcomer is accepted by the owner, it will also accept this person.
The Family Dog
Silkies love children and they love to play. As long as the game is fair, and they are treated with respect and love, they will respond with devotion. Silkies – much the same as other dogs – do not like to be annoyed or irritated. Remember: they are ultimately terriers, who are not afraid to defend themselves!
As with all dogs, you do have to scold them if they have done something naughty. It is very important that they know who their ‘boss’ is. Normally, it is very difficult to stay mad at them – they quickly come sneaking back, sit quietly down beside you with a little nose-push which says, “please be nice to me again“.
Our ‘General Appearance’:
We are compact (now what is that supposed to mean?!), finely built, moderately low dogs of medium length but still with enough substance to catch and kill any unwanted rodents around the house. The smooth, parted, silky hair gives a well-groomed appearance, as is expected from a pedigree dog.
Our Nature (Temperament and Character):
We exhibit the general character traits of a Terrier as well as keen alertness and we embody liveliness, health and capability.
Our heads are moderately long, and the distance between the tip of the nose and the forehead is somewhat shorter than the distance from the forehead to the hind leg (so, so). As to be expected from a Terrier, the head should be strong and moderately wide between the ears.
Our skulls are flat, without being full between the eyes, and covered in a fine, silky shock of hair which should not be allowed to fall into the eyes (long hair which falls over the eyes or onto the cheeks is objectionable). We have a black nose and firm, close-fitting, smooth lips.
Our jaws are strong, our teeth are regular and straight, and by no means crowded; the row of upper incisors closely overlaps the lower (people call this a scissor bite).
Our eyes are small, oval and as dark as possible. They should not protrude and should have a keen, intelligent expression (what does ‘should’ mean: we ARE intelligent).
The ears should be small, v-shaped and set high upon the skull; the ear leather should be of a fine structure. They should be pricked and free from any long hairs.
Our necks are of medium length, elegant and slightly crested, fitting harmoniously into the shoulders. It should be well covered with long silky hair.
The body should be moderately long in relation to the height at the withers of the dog. The topline should be level whether moving or stationary. A curved or sunken topline is a serious fault. We have strong haunches. The rib-cage is moderately deep and and moderately wide, our ribs are well curved and extend to the strong haunches.
The first three vertebrae should be straight or slightly bowed when standing erect but not pulled over the back. The tail should not be curled and its length should lend an overall balanced appearance. In Germany, the docking of the tail is prohibited.
Our forelegs have delicate, round bones, are straight and set well under the body. They should not show any weakness in the front pasterns.
The shoulder blades are of a fine structure, and should be well laid back; together with the well-angled upper arms, they should fit snuggly against the ribs.
Our elbows should neither be turned inwards nor outwards.
Our thighs should be well-developed and our stifle joints angled. Our hocks should also be well bent. When viewed from the rear, the hocks should be low to the ground and parallel to one another.
The paws are small, well padded and cat-like (what, cats?) with closely joined toes. The toenails should be black or very dark.
The mechanics (mechanics? But we aren’t robots): the movement should be free and straight-lined, without looseness in the shoulders or in the elbows; the paws or pasterns should neither turn inwards nor outwards.
Our hindquarters should have a strong propelling power, and the stifle joints and haunches should be very flexible (of course, this is why we are so fast). When viewed from the rear, the movements should neither be too narrow nor too wide.
(The most important thing): Our Coat
Our coat should be flat (heeeello, we don’t like perms!), fine, shiny and of a silky texture. It should not be so long as to hinder the movements or to impede the view under the body. The front and hind feet should be free of all long hairs.
All shades of blue and tan are acceptable, the more intense and defined the colours are, the better. Silver and white are not acceptable (we aren’t grey panthers). The blue on the tail should be dark. A silver-blue or fawn shock of hair is desirable. Blue and tan should be distributed as follows: tan around the base of the ears, on the muzzle and on the cheeks; blue from the back of the head to the tip of the tail, on the forelegs running down to the knees and on the hindlegs to the hocks. The tan runs in a line down over the knee joints and extends from the knees and the hocks to the toes, as well as around the anus. The blue colour on the body should be free of tan or bronze streaks. The tan coloured markings should be free from any unclean, smutty shadows.
Black colouration is permissible on puppies; the colour change to blue should, however, occur by 18 months of age.
Male dogs are about 23 – 26 cm (9 – 10 inches) at the withers, bitches are somewhat smaller. Which takes us back to where we were at the beginning: our true size is shown through our character!