Description & History

This compact little dog with the silky coat originally had the same ancestry as the Australian Terrier.

It is known that small blue and tan terriers were bred in Tasmania early in the nineteenth century. Dogs that had been taken to Australia by immigrants were mostly from the British Isles. It is thought that owing to their colouring and especially their size, these terriers are probably from the same stock as Yorkshire Terriers.

Later in the breed's development strains of the Dandie Dinmont were added to the Tasmanian strain. A bitch that was brought to England from Tasmania had a litter from a mating with one of this breed; some of her puppies were taken to Australia and it is believed they formed the foundation stock of the present day breed. As time progressed strains from the Skye Terrier were added to further improve the quality of the breed's coat.

The breed was not widely known outside Australia until the Second World War, when servicemen and civilians were stationed in Australia and New Zealand. After hostilities ceased the breed, which had become popular with American forces, was taken back by a number of men to the United States when they returned home.

The breed was known for a number of years as the Sydney Silky but in 1956 the Australian Kennel Club recognised them by their present name. It came to Britain in 1928 and was shown in 1930.

Rosamund Walters.

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