OVERVIEW OF THE SILKY TERRIER
Combining the domineering and affectionate nature of a Yorkshire Terrier with the playful and intelligent characteristics of an Australian Terrier, the Silky Terrier is a highly energetic dog that originated in Australia in the late 1800 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1959.
At around 10 inches tall, the Silky Terriers are toy dogs with striking steel blue and tan coats that cover most of their body and give them a distinctive look. They have large, almond-shaped eyes and small, pointed noses. Their ears are erect and pointed at the tips, which makes them look alert even when they’re not paying attention to anything specific.
Because of their appearance, many people confuse Silky Terriers with Yorkshire Terriers — but they are actually quite different. Silky Terriers have a longer, more muscular frame than the Yorkies, and have a wedged-shaped head with profuse hair parted in the middle. They also have darker, more intense eyes, and a more powerful and sharp jaw than their Yorkshire cousins.
Despite their small size, the Silky Terriers are natural-born hunters with bold and feisty temperaments. They can help you ward off rodents, gophers, and small-sized vermin — especially helpful if you live in an urban area. Additionally, these clever dogs serve as excellent watchdogs, alerting their owner to any intruders with their loud bark.
If you’re an apartment dweller, be aware that this breed can easily cause problems with neighbors. Silky Terriers are known for their high vocality and can be noisy at night. This behavior is, however, easily curbed with training techniques and positive reinforcement.
Unlike other toy dogs, the Silky Terriers are no mellow lapdogs. They require plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to remain happy and healthy. If they’re not getting enough exercise, they tend to have behavioral problems that can become hard to manage if it’s not nipped in the bud.
Talking about behavioral problems, the Silky Terrier is known for being a bit stubborn and independent. They have minds of their own and can be difficult to train. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, they will reward you with their loyalty and affection.
SILKY TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
Weighing 8 to 10 pounds, Silky Terriers are small dogs, but they still need proper nutrition to stay healthy. Depending on age, build, metabolism, and activity level, you may need to feed it half to three-fourths of a cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. Be sure to feed your Silky a diet that’s high in protein and low in fat, as this will help it maintain muscle mass and stay lean. Besides giving them a well-balanced meal, you should also feed them dog supplements that are rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes. This will help him stay healthy and strong, as well as prevent any health problems down the road.
When buying food for your Silky Terrier, look for one that’s specifically made for small-breed dogs. It should contain no more than 20 percent protein, which is ideal for this breed. The rest of the ingredients should be made up of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy nutrients. To avoid any allergic reaction, you must avoid food made with soy, wheat, and corn. If you’re unsure about what food to buy, speak with your vet about what brands are best for Silky Terriers.
COMMON HEALTH CONCERNS
Although Silky Terriers are known to be a healthy breed, they are still prone to certain ailments. Here are some common health issues that you may need to watch out for:
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD)
Often found in small-breed dogs, this is a degenerative hip disease in which the blood supply to the femoral head is interrupted, causing the femoral head to disintegrate. This condition usually affects one leg at a time and causes lameness, pain, and stiffness.
To diagnose LCPD correctly, your veterinarian will perform X-rays on your dog’s hips to look for signs of inflammation, or damage to the articular cartilage within the hip joint itself. After the diagnosis, surgery may be recommended if there is damage to the joint or if your dog has severe pain that interferes with his mobility.
Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap (patella) is displaced and can slip out of position, causing lameness and pain. Patellar luxation occurs most commonly in small-breed dogs because they have proportionately shorter limb bones, and thus less leverage to hold the kneecap in place. If left untreated, patellar luxation can cause permanent disability and pain in your Silky Terrier’s leg.
To prevent this condition from occurring, you should keep your dog’s weight in good shape, avoid jumping and strenuous activity, and provide daily exercise. You should also get your dog’s hips X-rayed before breeding to rule out this condition, as it can be hereditary.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when your dog doesn’t produce enough insulin, or his body doesn’t use it properly because of an autoimmune disease, or pancreatic dysfunction. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss despite increased appetite, and lethargy. You may be able to manage the disease with diet and exercise changes, but some dogs need medication or surgery.
Tracheal collapse is another potentially serious condition that can affect Silky Terriers. Tracheal collapse occurs when the trachea (windpipe) becomes partially or completely blocked by mucus or other material, preventing air from flowing through properly. This causes coughing fits that may lead to vomiting, exercise intolerance, and even death if left untreated.
Before buying a puppy, it’s important to check the health clearance certificates to avoid any hereditary disorders. You must take into consideration the breed’s predisposition to hip dysplasia, as well as other health conditions that are common among the specific breed. You should also ask the breeder about any testing they have done on the parents of the puppy, including hip and eye exams.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR SILKY TERRIERS
Just like other dogs, Silky Terriers are highly territorial and protective of their space. As such, the best way to keep them safe is to crate-train them. This will not only help your dog feel secure in his own home, but it’ll also make it easier for you to leave him alone while you’re at work or running errands.
When choosing a crate for your Silky Terrier, make sure that it’s large enough for him to stand up and turn around comfortably. You should also consider getting a wire crate rather than one made from plastic or wood. This will allow your dog to see out into the rest of your home while still feeling secure inside his safe zone.
If you’re crate training your Silky Terrier, make sure that he has plenty of toys and chewable items to keep him occupied while in his crate. You can also try placing some treats inside the crate so that he’ll learn to associate them with good things.
For added comfort, you should also consider buying a comfortable dog bed and putting it inside the crate. This way, your Silky Terrier will have something soft and fluffy to sleep on and won’t get spooked in the middle of the night. The good news is Silky Terriers have a low tendency to drool, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning up puddles of slobber every other day.
Since these dogs are apt to get into mischief, you must also keep them in a dog house. A dog house will prevent him from running wild and getting into trouble while you are away. Just make sure to choose one according to your dog’s size, so he won’t feel cramped or uncomfortable.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR A SILKY TERRIER
If you have an active lifestyle and want a furry friend that can join you in your outdoor adventures, then Silky Terriers are perfect for you. The Silky Terrier is a lively, energetic dog that loves to play and dig around in the mud. They also require 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous walking and playing daily. This can be in one or two shorter sessions.
Although small in size, this breed has a very high prey drive and will try to wait patiently for an opportunity to dart after a squirrel, or even a bird when you’re out on a walk. To keep your dog in control while out on a walk, you must get a high-quality collar or a harness.
If you’re buying a collar for your Silky Terrier, start with a 14-inch one and see if that fits properly. Ideally, the collar should fit comfortably around your dog’s neck while leaving room for two fingers between the collar and his neck. The perfect size will allow enough room for the dog to comfortably breathe and not choke him, but won’t leave any slack that could get caught on something.
Additionally, you should avoid e-collars, prong collars, and choke chains. These collars are designed to correct a dog’s behavior through discomfort, and they can cause more harm than good if used improperly. Since these dogs love to nose around on their own, you might also benefit from a collar with a GPS (global positioning system) tracker.
Since these dogs are prone to tracheal collapse, you must avoid attaching a leash to the collar. Instead, use a back attachment harness to control his speed or movements. It also helps keep them from slipping out of their collar if they try to escape! After the walking session, you must remove the collar and harness to avoid any bald patches or irritation.
SILKY TERRIER TOYS
Besides regular walks, Silky Terriers also need a lot of playtimes to release their pent-up energy. If your Silky isn’t getting enough exercise and stimulation, it can become destructive or hyperactive. To keep your dog entertained, you must get some squeaky toys or chewing toys. Chewing toys will not only prevent your dog from ruining your furniture or shoes but also help keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Unlike other small breeds that are often labeled as hyperactive or high-strung, Silky Terriers are great at earth dog, obedience, and agility activities. An outdoor agility training kit can help provide mental stimulation and physical activity. Although these dogs are highly intelligent, they can easily get bored, so you’ll want to make sure they have things to do throughout the day. You can play fetch with your dog in your backyard or at the park. To keep your Silky active indoors, try teaching it tricks or games like hide-and-seek. You can also get an erratic ball that will bounce around the room and keep your dog’s attention for hours. Just don’t forget to give him treats as a reward for good behavior!
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR SILKY TERRIER OWNERS
A particularly distinctive dog breed, Silky Terriers have long, straight fur that lays close to their body. Unlike other dogs, they don’t shed too much, but they do need occasional brushing and grooming. While brushing a Silky Terrier on a daily basis isn’t necessary, it is important to brush them twice or thrice a week with a pin brush or a slicker brush to keep their coats healthy and free of tangles and mats.
There are certain times when you’ll need to use scissors on your Silky Terrier’s coat, but this should be used sparingly or you can ruin the soft texture of their hair. If there are small knots or mats in their coat that won’t come out using your brush, then take them to a professional groomer and have them taken care of.
As far as bathing is concerned, Silkys are quite low maintenance. You should give them a bath once every four to six weeks using a mild shampoo formulated for dogs with sensitive skin. Since these toy dogs love digging in the mud, you must also trim their nails once a month. For this purpose, you can use regular dog nail clippers, but you’ll need to be very careful not to cut them too short. To keep their oral hygiene in check, you should brush their teeth at least two times a week. This will help prevent bad breath and reduce plaque buildup down the road.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, cuts, and other signs of illness or injury. If you notice anything unusual, take your dog to a veterinarian right away.
SILKY TERRIER ACCESSORIES
Just like other dogs, Silky Terriers need to be well-equipped for the outdoors. Their small size makes them more vulnerable to the elements, so it’s important to get a waterproof rain jacket. For long hiking and camping days, be sure to pick a collapsible food bowl and a water bottle that’s easy to carry around. A collar with reflective stitching and an identification tag is also a must-have accessory for your mischievous pooch. And don’t forget to pack a pooper scooper to pick up after your furry companion.
For keeping their coat silky and shiny, get a slicker brush and a dog-safe shampoo. You can also adorn your female Silky Terrier with a cute bow after bushing her coat. Besides these essential items, give your new fur buddy lots of love and affection to keep them comfortable in their new home!