Silky Terriers, also known as Australian Silky Terriers, are relatively healthy dogs. Despite this fact, though, they are susceptible to a handful of genetic diseases, including something called tracheal collapse. Actually, most toy breeds suffer from tracheal collapse, much more than larger dogs do, though it is not unheard of to see tracheal collapse in larger breeds. This condition can be quite serious and must be treated by a qualified veterinarian. In some cases, a change in lifestyle and a regimen of medications may suffice to correct the condition, while in other, more serious cases, surgery may be necessary. [...]
The Silky Terrier, or Australian Silky Terrier, is classified in the Terrier group in Europe, but has been placed in the American Kennel Club's Toy group. Indeed, the AKC considers him a toy terrier that is somewhat longer than tall, relatively low set with an elegant bone structure. Despite his delicate appearance, the ideal Silky Terrier must be substantial enough to give the impression that he can hunt and kill rodents. The breed's name derives from its coat, which appears silky and for show purposes is parted and well-groomed. The Silky Terrier must give the impression of being curious and full of joy. [...]
All the major kennel clubs of the world classify purebred dogs into a number of different categories, or groups; both the names of these groups and the criteria for inclusion may vary from kennel club to kennel club. Indeed, there are a number of cases where one country includes a particular breed in a certain group, while another country includes that breed in a completely different group. What's more, the types and even descriptions of the various groups can differ between kennel clubs, even kennel clubs found within the same country! Given all this divergence, it's no wonder that there sometimes exists confusion as to how exactly classify a particular breed of dog. The Silky Terrier is an example of this confusion. Its name clearly states that there is something "terrier" about it, though many kennel clubs, including the AKC and Britain's Kennel Club classify it in the Toy group. Not everyone is in complete agreement with this classification, though; in America, the Continental Kennel Club classifies the breed in the Terrier group. So which is it? And what's the difference between a toy and a terrier? [...]
Thanks to good breeding practices and the absence of traits that could cause harm to the dog, the Silky Terrier is a relatively healthy breed. Like all breeds, though, there are some genetic conditions to which the breed is susceptible and which need veterinary care. One of these conditions is elbow dysplasia. The word "dysplasia" simply refers to some kind of abnormal development, while the "elbow" part of the condition obviously refers to the dog's elbow; hence, the condition involves the abnormal development of the dog's elbow joint.
In elbow dysplasia, various parts of the elbow joint may develop abnormally, with something like cartilage disruption or failure to fuse being seen often; these abnormalities usually lead to inflammation, an uneven joint surface, arthritis, lameness and joint swelling. Though the primary factor behind the condition is most likely genetic, the exact cause is still unknown; experts believe that more than one gene is most likely involved and that perhaps hormonal factors may play a part in the condition. Rapid growth combined with over-nutrition and trauma may also be triggering environmental factors. [...]
Another disease from which Silky Terriers suffer is called Intervertebral disk disease. This disease can either come on suddenly or can slowly develop in dogs; smaller dogs are more frequently affected than larger dogs. In this disease, there is a degeneration of the disks of cartilage that are found between the vertebrae and this can cause damage to the spinal cord. Depending on the severity and the duration of the damage, the dog may be able to slowly recover or he may become partially paralyzed.
The vertebral column is made up of a series of vertebrae through which the spinal cord passes; in order to prevent the individual vertebrae from rubbing against one another (which would wear down the bone and cause a great deal of pain), tough disks of a cartilaginous material are found between one vertebra and the next. These disks are made up of two different types of material; a soft, jelly-like material on the inside and a harder material on the outside. For reasons unknown, in Intervertebral disk disease, the jelly-like material begins to change consistency and becomes much stiffer. This stiff material puts pressure on and compresses the spinal cord; it could also erupt into the spinal canal. [...]
Silky Terriers can make wonderful additions to the family, especially if they come from good bloodlines and are properly trained. They are small dogs and don't take up a lot of space; they are also very conveniently easy to carry. They are very elegant, yet have a sturdy build, while their coat doesn't shed and is very pretty to look at. Silky Terriers are light on their feet, curious and will always keep you entertained. Finally, many owners are pleased that their Silky Terriers actually make pretty decent watchdogs.
Despite all their positive aspects, Silky Terriers have their downside, as do all breeds. While they are more elegantly built than terriers and look a little fancier, they possess that wacky terrier temperament. They are somewhat yappy, a bit bossy, very stubborn and independent, love digging and are extremely high-energy, to the point of almost being hyperactive. Don't let the small dainty look of these terriers fool you! They are by no means lap dogs and need a good amount of exercise and stimulation to keep them happy and out of trouble. Their exercise and stimulation must involve you, as they are very attached to their family, so you must find time no matter what your schedule to engage in frequent interactive games with your Silky Terrier. [...]
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. [...]
So you see a 10 pound Silky Terrier and the last thing you think is "Hey, what a great watchdog!" Silky Terriers are not large, muscular, threatening looking dogs and they don't have deep, powerful barks that will scare away the bad guys; dogs don't need to look like Dobermans, Great Danes, or Saint Bernards to make good watchdogs. Actually, some of those large, imposing breeds make horrible watchdogs! All a dog needs to be a decent watchdog is the tendency to be somewhat wary of strangers and new situations and the inclination to bark when it senses someone or something new on the way.
Some big, lumbering breeds are gentle giants; they hate barking and they love everyone, not to mention they're often oblivious to anything new happening in their surroundings. This description doesn't fit the Silky Terrier. The may be small, but they're extremely alert, surveying and keeping tabs on everything that goes on around them. Thanks to their terrier personality, they tend to be a bit yappy and will vocalize substantially to communicate their curiosity at new developments; their insatiable curiosity is another characteristic that makes them excellent watchdogs, as they never let anything slip by their scrutiny. They are also quite standoffish in nature and are somewhat wary of strangers; this makes a stranger approaching their home or family worthy of being scrutinized and barked at. [...]
One of the scariest conditions that Silky Terrier owners, or any dog owner for that matter, have to sometimes deal with is canine epilepsy. This is a neurological disorder in which the dog experiences seizures, ranging in severity from very mild to very severe, while the owner stands by, feeling helpless. It seems like the tendency to develop epilepsy is inherited in the Silky Terrier breed, as well as in other breeds; some dogs only have one or a few seizures throughout their life, while other dogs unfortunately experience seizures regularly.
Essentially, epilepsy involves convulsions that are triggered by brain neurons firing suddenly, excessively and in an uncoordinated manner; this firing cause involuntary contractions of muscles and/or strange behavior. Though the exact cause of the uncoordinated firing is unknown, many experts believe that it may be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters, the chemical substances responsible for transmitting messages from one neuron to another. If your dog experiences an epileptic episode, he could present with a variety of behaviors, including a far-away look, twitching, barking, falling, defecating, paddling his limbs or urinating. These seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and usually appear quite suddenly. [...]
The Silky Terrier was developed mainly from crosses between Australian Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers; indeed, the breed seems to show a blend of characteristics from these two breeds.
The Silky Terrier was originally known as the Sydney Silky Terrier, but its name was officially changed to the Australian Silky Terrier in 1955.
In most kennel clubs, the Silky Terrier is classified as a Toy, though it does demonstrate some terrier personality and it was purportedly used as a ratter. The American Continental Kennel Club classifies the breed in the Terrier group. [...]