The Silky Terrier was developed mostly through crossing Yorkshire Terriers and Australian Terriers in the 1800s, though some dog fanciers believe that other crosses were included in the breed's development. All three dogs look very much alike and many people are constantly asking what the differences among the three breeds are. Silky Terrier owners are adamant about proclaiming their breed as an intermediate between the Yorkshire and the Australian Terrier and they pride their dogs on combining the best of two wonderful worlds.
Let's look at the Yorkshire first. This is the smallest and most finely built of the three breeds; it doesn't weight more than 6-7 pounds. It has the least amount of muscle mass out of the three breeds. Their skull is more rounded and dome-shaped, their eyes are somewhat larger and rounder and their muzzle is somewhat shorter. Yorkshires have a single coat that doesn't shed and they have ears that stand erect but that flare somewhat to the side of the head, with a slightly large base. Blue shading for Yorkshires should only be of the "slate" variety and show dogs have somewhat heavy coats that touch the floor. The Yorkshire is about the same in length and height and so it gives the appearance of being a square dog. Even though the Yorkshire is a small "terrier", it doesn't have much of the classic terrier temperament and enjoys being a pampered lap dog.
The Australian Terrier is the largest of the three, ranging in weight between 16 and 20 pounds. They are classic terriers and display the rambunctious, feisty and stubborn nature of a terrier. These dogs also have a broken coat, or a dual-layer coat made up of a coarsely textured guard coat and an undercoat; they shed their undercoat twice a year. They have more muscle mass than the other two dogs. Their coat also comes in solid red. Australian Terrier ears stand erect like the Yorkshire's, but they are much more high set than the Yorkshire's.
The Silky Terrier is seen by many to be a combination, or somewhat of a blending, of the characteristics of the other two breeds. The Silky head is shaped similar to that of the Australian Terrier's: long, wedge-shaped with a flat skull. Their eyes are shaped like almonds, much like the Australian Terrier's. The Silky weight range is in between that of the Yorkshire and the Australian Terrier, around 10 pounds; it is much more fine-boned than the Australian Terrier though it is more muscular than the Yorkie. Their coat is made of a single layer, like the Yorkie's and does not shed; it can be any shade of blue and should not touch the ground in competition. The ears of this breed are similar to those of the Australian Terrier, which are set high and erect. The Silky, while not a classic terrier, has quite a bit of the terrier temperament within him; he is by no means a lap dog and does not like to be pampered. They do not have the same square frame as the Yorkie and are somewhat longer than they are tall.