Grooming Your Silky

Grooming an Australian Silky Terrier by James W Camac


The Australian Silky Terrier is one of those breeds that most Australians would know.  Some older Australians may know them as the Sydney Silky. The straight silky long coat is one of the important features of the breed.  It may also be the feature that attracts most owners to the breed.

I first became involved in Australian Silky Terriers as a child as my parents have had the breed since 1968. So I grew up watching and learning how to maintain the coat most of my life.

As the name of this breed implies, the coat and its presentation play an important part of the breed. To ensure your Australian silky Terrier is presented correctly, it is best to thoroughly understand what makes this breed stand apart from other breeds.

The breed standard clearly sets out what a judge looks for when judging the breed.

For starters, the breed standard is the general appearance describes the coat as “the parted straight silky hair presents a well groomed appearance”. Then in the coat description of the standard, “the coat must be flat, fine and glossy and of silky appearance. The length of the coat must not be so long as to impede the dog’s action and should allow daylight to be seen under the dog. The front and hind feet are to be free of long hair”. Reference is also made to the tail, “should be free of feathering”.

To achieve the correct coat as described in the standard, there are a number of steps that are vital to maintain the coat. Grooming for the show ring is more intense and is required more often than the grooming of the coat for the family pet. But the principle is the same for both show ring and a pet.


It is important for you and the dog to be comfortable so I recommend using a suitable sink, bath tub or hydro bath, which has plenty of room.

Use a dog shampoo suitable for a soft silky coat. Wash the dog well then rinse a couple of times ensuring you get all the shampoo out of the coat. Then add a conditioner, again, use a conditioner suitable for a soft silky coat. Rinse thoroughly.

Wrap the dog in a towel and gently dry the coat to take out most of the moisture. Remember do not rub the coat back and forth as this will mat the coat. Once the most of the moisture has been removed it is very important to thoroughly dry the coat with a warm air dryer while running a brush and comb through the coat. Always remember to brush towards the ground. If you do not use a dryer the coat will matt very quickly.

Regular Brushing

On a regular basis the coat must be brushed to keep it free of mats and knots. I recommend a bristle brush and metal comb.

When you start grooming a Silky, brush and comb the underside of the dog removing any mats and tangles. Leave the top coat until last to finish with a straight flat coat.

Brush from the top of the head and work your way down to the neck. Then work your way along the dog, keeping the straight parting in the coat along the spine of the dog, always brushing towards the ground.


There are specific points to an Australian Silky Terrier listed in the standard that separate this breed from its ancestors, the Yorkshire Terrier.  The Australian Silky Terrier is trimmed in a way so it can be clearly identified from a Yorkshire Terrier and the main points of this are the areas, foreface, feet and tail. All of which can be hand stripped, scissored or done with electric clippers.

Ears - The Australian Silky Terrier should have clean ears, entirely free from long hair.  Clip the inside and outside of the ear starting from the bases to the ear tip, scissoring the sides of the ear to keep the “V-Shape”.

Foreface – Silkies should have a clean foreface. Remove long hair from the stop, along the muzzle and down to the corner of the top lip.

Feet – The front and rear feet are to be free from any long hair. Clip between the toes and up to the stopper pad, remembering to keep the nails short.

Tail – Should be free from feathering unlike the Yorkshire Terrier. Scissor the tail and leave no more than an inch of feathering to prevent the tail from looking flag like. Also remember to keep the vent clear of long hair.

After the show coat maintenance – With a show silky, it is a good idea to put an oil/ conditioner through the coat after the show. This will help prevent the coat from becoming brittle and/ or tangled and assist with maintenance between shows.


The tools needed to groom a Silky are basic so there is no great outlay. You will need a steel comb, bristle brush, pin brush, scissors, toe nail clippers and if you can’t strip, then use electric clippers.

It is a good idea to start grooming at an early age, this will help your dog become more comfortable and will make your job easier. When you have spent time grooming your silky, your satisfaction will be  knowing how good your dog looks, and the dog’s satisfaction is having the one-on-one closeness with you while being groomed.

Then sit back and enjoy this great little Aussie breed.

Contact Details

James W Camac
Cardigan, VIC, Australia
Phone : 03 53448238
Email : [email protected]