Australian Silky Terrier

Last updated November 2013

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Medium length, moderately low set, compact with refined structure; sufficient substance to suggest ability to hunt and kill domestic rodents. Straight silky hair parted from nape of neck to root of tail, presenting a well-groomed appearance.


Terrier-like, keen, alert, active.


Very friendly, quick and responsive.

Head and skull

Of moderate length, slightly shorter from the tip of the nose to between the eyes than from the same point to the occiput. Head strong and of Terrier character, moderately broad between the ears; skull flat and without fullness between the eyes, with fine silky top-knot, not falling over the eyes. Nose black.


Relatively small, oval, never round or prominent, dark, with a keen, intelligent expression.


Small, V-shaped with fine leather, set high, pricked, entirely free from long hair.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth even and not cramped, lips tight and clean.


Medium length, refined and slightly crested, fitting gracefully into the shoulders. Well covered with long, silky hair.


Shoulders fine, well laid back, well-angulated upper arms fitting snugly to ribs. Elbows turning neither in nor out. Forelegs straight with moderately refined, round bone, set well under body with no weakness in pasterns.


Moderately long in proportion to the height of the dog. Level topline at all times (both standing and moving). Chest of moderate depth and breadth. Ribs well sprung, carried well back. Loins strong.


Thighs well developed. Stifles well turned; viewed from behind, the hocks well let down and parallel.


Small, well padded, cat-like, turning neither in nor out. Closely knit toes with black or very dark toenails.


Previously customarily docked. Docked: Carried erect; not over-gay. Free from long feathering. Undocked: Carried erect, not over-gay. Free from long feathering. Length to give an overall well-balanced appearance.


Free, straight and true without slackness at shoulders or elbows. Hindquarters have strong propelling power with ample flexibility at stifles and hocks. Movement neither too close nor too wide.


Straight, flat, fine and glossy; silky texture. Length of coat 13-15 cms (5-6 ins) from behind ears to set-on of tail desirable. Length of coat must not be so long as to impede the dog’s action and should allow daylight to be seen under the dog. Front and rear feet free from long hair. Fine silky ‘top-knot’, not falling over eyes. Long fall of hair on foreface undesirable.


All shades of blue and tan. Colours rich and well defined. Lighter blue colours must display dark blue roots. Blue on tail very dark.

Distribution of blue and tan as follows: Silver-blue or fawn top-knot. Tan around base of ears, muzzle and on side of cheeks. Blue from base of skull to tip of tail, running down forelegs to near knees and down thighs to hocks. Tan line showing down stifles, and tan from knees and hocks to toes and around vent.

Black colouring permissible in puppies. Blue body colour, established by 18 months of age and free from tan or bronzing. Tan markings free from smuttiness.


Height: Dogs. 23 to 26 cms (9 to 10 ins) at the withers. Bitches can be slightly less. Weight in proportion to height.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.