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Introducing The Silky terrier

Small But Feisty

    Just over four decades ago, the late Mrs.Marion Wait first saw Silky Terriers competing in a U.S. show and decided she just had to have one, or two, and she started to introduce the breed to Canada. What attracted her to the breed was its compact size of 9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder, and its wonderful outgoing attitude to life. Weighing in at about 10 pounds, the
Silky is small enough to fit into apartments and to travel with easily on holidays. But there is nothing small about this breed's personality! Silkys are very 'full of themselves' and consider themselves to be the most important beings on the face of the planet - and few Silky owners would argue that point with them.

    They are a friendly and outgoing dog when greeting strangers when out on a walk, but can be a little territorial on their own property. They are typical terriers in that they are courageous and spunky, but this is tempered with a delightful, softer side; they will come and peer anxiously up into your eyes if they suspect you aren't feeling well or that something is upsetting you. I have known of many active, on-the-go Silkys who have stayed day after day lying on the bed to keep their person company when the person has been ill. Once the person is up, so is the Silky - raring to go and get into mischief.

    For the most part, Silkys are easily trained - although they are not slow to sense a weakness if the owner is new to dogs, and are more than likely to try to exploit the situation if they think they can get away with it.

    One very talented lady who has proven that Silkys can be taught just about anything is Heather Somers of British Columbia.                                                                                                
 Heather took her first Silky, "Gayna", through just about everything she could find to do. "Gayna" was the first Silky to earn a degree in Tracking (yes, Tracking!) and I believe is still the only one to have earned her TDX. She also holds degrees in Flyball, Agility, also earned her Certificate of Gameness (going down a hole after a rat) although Heather was later told she couldn't add the degree to Gayna's name as Silkys weren't eligible to compete!, and her Canine Good Citizen degree. To top it all off she has her Utility degree in Canada, her CDX in the U.S. and is a Canadian Champion to boot! Heather has even worked "Gayna" and some of her descendants, with herding sheep. They did very well too, thank you very much, and Heather has the photo's to prove it! "Gayna's" kids and grand-kids have benefited from Heather's training techniques and have Obedience degrees, Canine Good Citizen certificates, Tracking degrees and conformation Championships shared among them. This isn't to suggest that everyone's Silky can achieve all of the above - without the patience and the training and the dedication, the average Silky isn't going to accomplish this. It does show however that the breed is intelligent, trainable and able to keep up with very active people.

    If your activity level doesn't lead to doing the above, a Silky can get all the exercise it wants - right in your own home. A large number of Silkys seem to be born with tennis balls in their mouths. (And if you think the whelping dams don't complain about it, think again!!) Your best bet is to get a nice comfortable spot on the sofa, or a nice easy-chair, that has a nice clear path down the hall. This is your 'station'. Settle in, grab a tennis ball, and start throwing. You won't have to move from this spot for unending hours upon unending hours. Your Silky will be perfectly happy to keep bringing it back to you, over and over and over and over... (it's a good idea to read a book or watch television while you are doing this because, although your Silky will find this to be incredibly fun, you may find it gets a little boring after a while - go figure!)

    If you are the macho type and think a Silky Terrier is much too Sissy a dog for you to own - get over it! Numerous couples have purchased a Silky "for the wife", because the "he-man" husband doesn't want anything to do with this "toy" dog. Guess who ends up taking the dog everywhere he goes, car rides, fishing trips, even just out to the garage while he works on the car? Uh-huh, the husband. Guess who gets down on the floor to play with the dog face to face? Right Again. Guess who brags about his dog at work and to his friends, how clever and smart and feisty he is? That's right - the "he-man" husband. Many now report that after having shared their lives with a Silky, they wouldn't want to own anything else.

    Silkys also make very elegant showdogs. With their tan faces and points, and their lovely blue coats, Silkys make an extremely beautiful picture as they float into the ring. For the most part I have found that Silkys will self-stack, which certainly makes life easier for the handler, and most just love to get into the ring and strut their stuff. Trimming is limited to feet, the ears, the tail and some tidying up on the face, and it doesn't take long to do it once you've got the hang of it.

    I hope I've given you an idea about how wonderful Silky Terriers are
(okay, so I'm a wee bit prejudiced!).

(This article first appeared in Top Dogs magazine. Author: Debby Nelson)

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