(Written by Georgia Hatton)
Despite appearances, Zym, Pet Treats Wholesale’s full time office dog, is not a yorkie; he is an Australian Silky Terrier - although you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise!
In the late 1800’s, Yorkshire Terriers were taken to Australia, where they were crossed with their native, and much more rugged, Australian Terrier - to produce the silky terrier. Primarily a companion breed, but one still capable of keeping their families safe from snakes and other animals.
Up until 1929 dogs from all three breeds could be born in the same litter, and were only separated by appearance into their different types once they were fully grown.
Although similar in height, and both have the long, soft, blue and tan coat, there are some differences between the breeds!
Silky terriers are generally larger, and heavier. Their heads are more wedge shaped - and teeth - so important in catching prey - are bigger. Other subtle differences include the shapes of the eyes and ears. In the breed ring, a silky terrier’s coat is cut shorter, and they don’t wear bows on their heads!
Although in the toy breed group with the UK kennel club, Silkies are true terriers at heart.
They are active and intelligent - but like all terriers, have a knack for finding ways to amuse themselves if you don’t!
Silky terriers are a great choice for owners who want adventure in a small package as they weigh around 5kg fully grown! But what they lack in size, they more than make up in spirit. They are fairly adaptable dogs - and Zym is just as happy to be out walking all day as he is curling up to sleep in the office - but daily exercise is a must.
Their long coats take a little work - with regular brushing being required - but they are completely none-shedding! And if the long haired look isn’t for you, they are just as cute in a shorter, more practical trim!
They are one of the rarest breeds in the UK - with just 11 being registered with the kennel club in 2021. They fare somewhat better in the US - where in 2021 they were the 116th most popular breed, ranking above the saluki, manchester terrier and english pointer to name a few. They are a healthy breed, with little to no breed specific health concerns, helped out by the small army of dedicated breeders using only the healthiest dogs in their lines.
As with all terriers, they can be noisy - Nothing gives Zym more joy than running around and barking - and should be well socialised with children and other animals from an early age. They have some prey drive, so take care to teach a good recall if you plan on letting them off their leads. Like all dogs, they respond best to positive reinforcement - make your training fun for them and you won’t find a more willing partner, no matter what it is you are trying to teach.
All in all, the silky terrier is an overlooked breed, but one that is a fantastic all rounder to suit a variety of families!