Silky Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

JUDGING THE SILKY TERRIER By Florence A. Males Weeblu Silky Terriers A ssuming you’ve read the Silky Terrier Standard and understanding that the Silky originated, (breeding of the Aus- tralian Terrier to the

Yorkshire Terrier in the late 1800s) in Australia, I’ll try to give an overview of what I look for when judging the Silky. Foremost in my mind when they come into the ring, I want the proper tempera- ment. I prefer to have all entries go around before being tabled, even single classes. Th is not only gives the dog a chance to become familiar with the ring, but does a lot for me as a judge. A Silky Terrier should go around with the air of a Ter- rier, alert and aware of his surroundings. Th e Silky standard states, “…shyness or excessive nervousness to be faulted, the manor is quick, friendly, responsive”. Th is is not always “showmanship”, but “tem- perament”. Th e term, “he won because he is so showy”, may only be that the dog is true to its standard. Temperament in any breed is of major importance and all should be speci fi c to their breed. At this time, I can also assess the size, color, out- line and balance. When viewed from the side on the table, you can see size and substance of bone, proportions, and the length of coat. I’m big on proper size, (no more than 10 inches at the withers) as its part of type and, as stated in the standard, “of re fi ned bone structure, but of su ffi cient substance to suggest the ability to hunt and kill domestic rodents”, for which most Silkys are very good. So, not as fi ne as the York- shire Terrier or as heavy as the Australian Terrier. If being shown on the grass, you get a false sense regarding the length of coat. It should follow the body outline. “It should not approach fl oor length” and should be “well groomed but not SCULP- TURED,” in other words, the coat should look as natural as possible.

Th e dogs with the proper silk texture have to be careful in their grooming. Silk is strong; therefore it does not break eas- ily. So, it can be so long that careful trim- ming is required, but again, to look natu- ral. As for head hair (the Silky having the Yorkshire Terrier in its immediate back- ground), it should not resemble the glam- orous Yorkie by having excessive head and

facial hair. Th ey should have fairly clean muzzles, ears, feet and short hair on the docked tail with dark hair on the tip as in the Australian Terrier. Going to the front of the dog, I cup my hands behind the ears and jaws. Th is gives me a chance to view head shape, eyes, nose and shape of ears. When viewing the eyes, pay close attention to shape as a dog with


“The Silky should have good body substance which they get from the Australian Terrier. The coat texture is SILKY as is the Yorkshire Terrier.”

thick dark eye rims can appear to have eyes that look round when at a distance. You then check for a strong and well aligned, scissors bite. Th is is where our fi rst serious fault comes in, “An undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault”. Th e rest of the exam is similar to many other breeds with the exception of bone and coat texture. Th e Silky should have good body substance which they get from the Australian Terrier. Th e coat texture is SILKY as is the Yorkshire Ter- rier. We have all types of coat, from soft to wooly and some coarse. A true silky coat will have sheen or as the standard says, “glossy”. It re fl ects the light, where incorrect coats are dull! It should be a single and straight coat. Silk also has a cool touch, where wooly is warm. Don’t check the topline on any single coated dog that is parted down the body, by running your hand back and forth on the topline. It is not necessary and only messes up the coat and can then give a false picture of the topline going around. A single coat lies fl at, so view the topline while the dog is moving!! Th ere are two statements being used today which I feel are important to judg- ing. Th e fi rst is, “examine on the table and

judge on the ground”, the second is some- thing like, “ fi nd the dogs of good breed type and then the soundest of these”. When I have the dog gaited up and back, I want to see a fairly loose lead which allows the dog freedom of movement. Upon their return is where you assess the placement of the ears either by allow- ing the exhibitor to bait for expression or doing it yourself. Th en on the go around, you again get to look the proportions, bal- ance as well as topline. Th is includes the tail carriage and set. When the dog is in a standing position, the tail can go to a two o’clock position. Th e standard reads, “ Th e tail is docked, set high and carried at twelve to two o’clock position”. In my ring, I want the dog to show itself. A Silky is not a statue. If this is done, you lose some of the character of the breed. Being a Terrier, I prefer to have the handlers stand with the dog, realizing they must get down or bend over to groom after the examination, but not for any length of time. As for color, the Silky standard allows any shade of blue from a dark slate to sil- ver. However, with that blue body coat, the dog must have good tan on its face (muzzle, between and slightly over the eyes), ears, legs and around the vent. Th e hair on the top of the head (fall/topknot) is to be silver or fawn. Th e fall should be clear in color as an adult, free of dark shad- ings, but may not be on a puppy. However, the puppy should show signs of breaking without any black hairs. So, when you look at the expression, the face and ears should be tan with the fall a lighter con- trast of fawn or silver (important to breed type). A beautiful sight when correct, and is another thing that shows the di ff erences between the Silky and the Yorkshire Ter- rier. Silkys are born black and tan, so that many times you will see black on the ends of the blue body coat and the fall. Th is is just a maturing process. At the end, I like to place them in the order I think I want

them, go around together, and occasional- ly you might change a placement. I believe you learn by comparison and you certainly judge that way. Mr. W. A. (Fred) Wheatland, a pioneer of the breed, stated, “ Th e Silky must be of Australian Terrier Type, as distinct from Yorkshire Terrier. Any leaning must go toward the Terrier type rather than sole- ly to the Toy type”. Meaning the Silky is more Australian Terrier in type, but with the silky coat of the Yorkshire Terrier. Another important quote, “Look for the good points in your dogs, and put them up for their virtues and not down for their defects”. Words to judge by!


My start in Silky Terriers was in 1971, opening up my whole world in dogs. Being fortunate to start with a nice bitch, exhibiting and

breeding (some of the top winners of their day) was to follow. My prefix is Weeblu and is found in many of the top winners of the breed. I started judging in 1990, but was then hired by the AKC as an Executive Field Representative, covering mainly shows in the Northern California area. After 16 years in that position, I retired and returned to the world of judging and now I’m approved for the Toy and Non-sporting groups. Included in my many club a ffi lia- tions, I have always been a strong sup- porter of Judges’ Education at the breed level, serving as Education Coordinator for the Silky Terrier Club of America prior to my employment with the AKC, and now, back in that position. I thank “Showsight Magazine” for asking me to write this article and sharing my views of this wonderful breed.



By Norma Baugh

Physical Characteristics S breed as ‘terrier and small, ‘V’ shaped, erect ears give proof to their alert attitude. A silky has a level topline with a docked tail carried at the 12 o’clock to 2 p.m. posi- tion. Dark, almond shaped eyes with keen expression. Th e blue and tan coat is single, straight and flat. Th e tight, cat like feet are indicative for the breed as is the raising of one front foot when on the alert. Average life span is between 14-17 years. Approxi- mate weight is 10-11 lbs. with height at approximate 10 inches. Temperament Silkys need owners who are the ‘alpha’ of the pack or they will ‘take over’ the position themselves. A Silky is a very good alarm dog who is cautious and protective of ‘their family’. A Silky is very smart, brave, loving, energetic, curious, stubborn at times, tenacious and can, at times, resist training but … with proper positive train- ing the learn quickly. Th ey are very food driven and will work for attention. A Silky does need early socialization to all types of outside activities—people, dogs, travel. Silky make wonderful pets for children who are good with animals. Not all Silkys are good around small children as they can be a bit robust and over powering for the under 5 child. Silkys can become pro- tective when not properly socialized and become a ‘fear biter’. ilky Terriers are fine boned but with substance of mus- cle. Built low to the ground and slightly longer that height at should. A wedge shaped head defines the At Home Silkys are very energetic and active. Definitely need a secure fenced yard. It is never advisable to leave your Silky for long times in the ‘fenced yard’ as they will become bored and ‘look’ for people to be with. Th ey can be escape artist. 232 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014

A Silky may live in apartment but will need plenty of walks and ‘could’ be a bark- ing problem as they will ‘alert’ to noises they hear outside. ON LEASH ALWAYS. Silkys are a ‘single’ coated breed (mean- ing no undercoat). Grooming is minimal but a daily brushing is required to keep mats and tangles from forming. A weekly bath (or when needed) followed with a leave in conditioner is good. A little tidy upkeep on the ears, feet and tail is really all that is needed. Medical Conditions Overall very healthy dogs but any of the below may appear occasionally: • Cataracts • Epilepsy • Diabetes • Pancreatic disease • Legg-Perthes disease • Luxating patellas • Cancer and noncancerous tumors Interesting Fido Facts A Silky is said to never forget a face and I have found this to be very true. housebreaking can be a challenge as you must be very consistent in your training. A Silky must be an integral part of your ‘family’ as they will not be happy (and neither will you). Silkys are very active and do very well in Agility or fast paced events. A bit of basic obedience is always necessary, but it really is too structured for the Silky terrier personality. A very young puppy is not the best in homes with very small children or very elder- ly. An adult may work better in these

A Silky really ‘cutting’ threw the poles during an agility trial. They love the fast-paced event and challenge—but…they also enjoy frustrating their ‘trainers’.

situations if properly socialized at young age. Men generally enjoy a Silky as they are not a ‘foofoo’ dog but a ‘real dog’ and given the opportunity they will prove it daily. History of the Silky Terrier Silky Terrier Breed Originated in Aus- tralia. In breeding the Australian Terrier the breeders were occasionally having ‘soft coat- ed’ pups in their litters. Some decided they liked this look and interbred with Yorkshire Terriers to increase the coat factor for single coated pups with the same black and tan markings. What evolved is a breed between the Australian Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier in size and coat type. Th e first Silky Terri- ers went by several names in the di ff erent states within Australia. Some being called the Australian Silky Terrier while other areas called them the Sydney Silky Terrier. As the breed became more stable and bred true to type, a dog of approximately 10 inches at the shoulder, blue and tan in color, a silky single

haired coat and resembled an Australian Terrier body more than a Yorkshire Terrier evolved. A silky is longer in body than height at shoulder, a strong wedge shaped head, erect ears sitting on top of the head, a strong set of teeth and strength of muscle to do the job of keeping the home clear of varmints. Th e breed is a free spirit with free move- ment and friendly nature. Th ere is still some confusion today as to name of the Silky Ter- rier. ONLY in the United States is the breed known as the ‘Silky Terrier’ by AKC. In all other countries it is known as the Australian Silky Terrier and even in the terrier group in many countries. In 1959 AKC was about to recognize both the Australian Terrier and the Australian Silky Terrier. AKC made the decision to drop “Australian” o ff the Silky Terrier and to place the Australian Terrier in the Terrier Group while the Silky Terrier was placed in the Toy Group. None the less, a Silky is a terrier and never doubt this when making the decision to own one.

A Silky at their most glamorous and posing for the camera. They do love having photos taken as it means ‘I am the center of attention’.

A l itter of four Si lky Terr ier pups at 6 weeks of age. Pups are born black with tan markings and go through many color changes before adulthood. Ears general ly go erect 8-12 weeks of age. 234 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014

THE SILKY TERRIER A Breeder’s Perspective


By Pam Laperruque

have been asked to discuss the Silky Terrier for purposes of education on breed type. This discussion will be from a long time breeder’s observations of the breed as it is presented in

a big difference. I have always felt that the eye is drawn to a squarer dog as it looks more balanced. The Yorkshire is a square breed and therefore has longer legs proportionately. I bring this to your attention to help you understand correct proportion in the Silky. It is easier to breed a good topline in a shorter back. But it is possible to get good toplines in rectangular dogs. The Silky should also have a moderately long muzzle (more like a Terrier) which is distinctly dif- ferent than the Yorkshire. Silkys are a toy terrier. They should have an air of conf idence. When I started in this breed it was not unusual to have the judges bring the dogs to the center of the ring to “spar.” This act truly brings out the beauty of the Terrier type. If your dog would not spar it did not do as well as those who did. I really miss this part of exhibiting and wish they would bring it back. I assume this has been discour- aged as we are in the Toy group and oth- ers might f ind this disruptive. Coat and texture are really impor- tant. It should be straight, silky and have beautiful shine. When you put your hands on a true silk coat you will know it and never forget it! It is hard to breed and should be rewarded when found. Do not let color confuse you. An important fact not mentioned much anymore but rec- ognized by “older” breeders is that the Silky is a tri colored dog. Th e body is blue and can be any shade from silver blue to slate blue. Th e body blue should not have gold hairs in it. Th is has become a problem again and seems to pop up every 10 years or so. Breed- ers need to pay attention to this. Th e tan appears on the muzzle, cheeks, around the base of ears, on the legs, feet and vent. Tan is tan and not red. Tans can get too dark and red. Th e topknot should be silver or fawn and should be “lighter” than the tan points. Th is contrast is important and thus creates the tri color. Th e topknot (no preference for either silver or fawn) should not have any smut color in it. No gray or black in the top- knot of older dogs. Puppies start out with

black hair on their heads and as they mature they “clear” color. Do not penalize a pup- py for this although you want to see some clearing which will show at the part. I would like to bring up a few points that I feel need attention. The head should be strong with a wedge shape. The stop is shallow . The eye small, dark, almond shaped and has dark pigment. We have heads that are deep in stop, short in muzzle and wide between the eyes with round non pigmented rims. This expression suggests “toyish” and is not correct. I interpret the standard to mean the Silky is of toy size with more terrier characteristics. Light eyes are a serious fault . In the standard the f irst word describing head is “strong” and it calls for a piercingly keen expres- sion. The ears are another problem in this breed. The f irst word in the stan- dard describing the ear is “small”. They are v-shaped and set high on the head. They are not to be leaf shaped or rounded at tips. They are carried erect without “any” tendency to f lare off the head (low set). Ears in our breed need work on size and set. For years I felt the breeders made strides in improving them and we saw lots of pretty ears. It has now gone the other way. Some ears set us back 25 years. Topline is another important mention. It is level. A roach, dip or high in rear topline is a serious fault . Th e tail is set high and carried at twelve to two o’clock position. Th e tail is docked . Ideally, it should neither be gay in carriage (over the back) nor held down. Feet should be small and catlike (round). They should have well arched toes. Be mindful of splayed feet, long pasterns and bowed front legs. I still see east and west fronts (feet facing opposite directions). Hocks should be short. Hopefully my observations will be helpful to anyone involved or interested in the Silky Terrier. My comments are solely meant to be constructive as I love and admire this breed.

the ring today. This is strictly my inter- pretation of our breed and meant to be “food for thought.” It is not meant to be negative in nature but rather to be help- ful. My perspective comes from over 35 years of involvement with Silky Terriers. To start off this discussion I would like to point out that as breeders we do not always get exactly what we set out to produce. We combine our best knowl- edge and educated guesses when breed- ing and we hope for the best. Breeding dogs is truly an art and it takes years to produce consistently. Of course there are always exceptions and some hit the jackpot immediately, but this is not usu- ally the case. Mostly it takes time and patience. Hopefully we present to the fancy the best of what is produced. I would encourage newer breeder/exhibi- tors to only keep and show their best and not try to f inish everything in a lit- ter just for the sake of doing that. We are the guardians of our breed and depend on the judges to f ind and reward the best of our exhibits. That is why knowl- edge through education is so important. The Silky Terrier entry is smaller in numbers in the Toy group and therefore we do not get the attention other breeds receive. I do feel the Silky is frequently overlooked. They are not taken as seri- ously as breeds that enjoy much larger numbers. It is up to the breeders to change this and make the judges look at and really appreciate our breed by bring- ing them truly outstanding exhibits. The overall appearance of the Silky and the f irst impression are impor- tant. Balance and type should set him apart and he should not be mistaken for a Yorkshire Terrier. The fact that he is moderately low set and one f ifth longer than tall (more rectangular) is

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I live in Sarasota, Florida and I have many hobbies including ten- nis, golf, reading and gardening and playing cards once in awhile. I began breeding and showing in 1960 and was very lucky to breed 58 AKC Champions of record and six all-breed Best In Show Lhasa Apsos. I have been judging since the early

no oblique tendency, longer than tall (about 1/5 longer) with a black nose and strong teeth in a scissors position. The coat is silky and single and follows the body outline, but should never approach floor length—a point I try to remind my exhibitors all the time! It is an easy coat to keep clean and well groomed. Plus the controversial sentence in the standard is tail—DOCKED. I have seen undocked tails that are straight up and now I am seeing them up and over the back lying on the topline. I admit it is a confounding situation and I have believed from the first day I saw the undocked tails that the parent club should amend the Standard as it probably is in the future, but not today. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? We judges have an obligation to the standard written by the parent club and using the day of the show to deter- mine our results. Believe it or not we take our decisions very seriously and do our best. 6. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? I have had a million funny things happen, but one of the best was when an exhibitor tried to tell me that some- thing NOT IN THE STANDARD was a disqualification in his breed after I had awarded BOB but then on more detailed conversation it turned out he had NEVER even read the standard!

(courtesy of

seventies and obtained all-breed status in 1997.

1. Small in stature, the Silky seems to be much bigger than he is. What about him makes him so com- manding in the ring? The Silky Terrier is a keen breed and always up there ready for anything and he shows it in his face and his expression and his comportment. His size, which is nine to ten inches tall, makes him so easy to handle in any situation be it a large home area or apartment living.

2. What makes him a great companion? He is fiercely loyal to his owners and family.

3. Describe the breed in three words. Spirited, loyal and easy keeper.

4. What are your "must have" traits in this breed? Must have features for me, according to the standard, are dark eyes and eye rims, ears small on top of head with

“The Silky Terrier iS a keen breed and alwayS up There READY FOR ANYTHING and he ShowS iT in hiS face and hiS expreSSion and hiS comporTmenT.”

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6. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? As in any breed, the greats of the past remain great! Most of today’s big winners are a product of devoted fanciers striving to improve the breed. I believe the greats in the breed today would be competitive any- where in the world! 7. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? The key to success in judging Silky Terriers is to have a clear understanding of all points in the standard. A relationship with one or more devoted breed mentors is critical. Add to that a never-ending desire to learn and expand breed knowledge! Approval to judge any breed is not an endorsement, only an opportunity for “on-the-job” training. It is a major responsibility and not one to be taken lightly! 8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? This is a wonderful breed with a large, devoted following. The breeders are a committed group dedicated to the health and betterment of their breed—they are to be commended! 9. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? Funniest thing ever experienced at a dog show? Unfor- tunately, they involve wardrobe malfunctions! The lady whose bloomers came down during the go around, causing a fall… or the gentleman, getting up off of the floor, splitting his pants down the back seam, who then proceeded to take his dog around the ring showing everyone at ringside that he had chosen to go comman- do on that day! wiTh GEORGE MILUTINOVICH

We split our time between homes in New- port Beach and Fresno, Califor- nia. I purchased my first AKC registered dog, a Pug, in 1966— 50 years ago! I have been judg- ing dogs since 1999.

1. Small in stature, the Silky seems to be much bigger than he is. What about him makes him so com- manding in the ring? A proper Silky is a true Terrier with a Terrier tempera- ment! He commands the attention of the judge and ringside alike! 2. What makes him a great companion? He is a great companion because he is a loyal, devoted member of his family!

3. Describe the breed in three words. Silky, Terrier and Toy.

4. What are your "must have" traits in this breed? Proper silky coat, a level topline, correct tail carriage, proper movement and a terrier temperament! 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? I believe breeders are doing a great job! Size can be an issue, but overall the quality is very good.

“The key To SucceSS in judging Silky TerrierS iS To have a clear underSTanding of ALL POINTS IN THE STANDARD.” t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& ' &#36"3: 


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