Although silky terriers and Yorkshire terriers, more commonly called Yorkies, are closely related, several differences separate them, especially relating to their hair type. As you may have guessed, the silky hair is the softer of the two. But Yorkies are significantly more popular than silky terriers, according to the American Kennel Club, they are one of the most common dog breeds.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two terriers’ hair type is its texture. As suggested by the name, silky terriers have very fine, soft hair. Yorkie hair is a bit more rough in texture, though still glossy and smooth when the animals are regularly groomed and well cared for. Neither silkies nor Yorkies shed, instead growing hair that they lose a little at a time, usually during grooming. Yorkie coats are a bit heavier than silky coats.
Yorkshire terrier coats exhibit a very distinct blue and tan or golden-brown coloration. Feet, heads and chests exhibit the golden-brown color, while the hair along their backs and tails is slate blue. Silky terriers also have the tan faces and feet, but their coats range in color from light blue through pigeon blue and slate blue, and as well as a variety of other blue hues. Silkies do sometimes turn brown as they get older, though there is no way to tell whether this might happen when the dog is young.
Both silkies and Yorkies have hair capable of growing down to the ground. However, if owners are following show standards, they will cut a silky’s hair significantly shorter than a Yorkie’s. While a Yorkie’s coat should be allowed to grow to the ground for best effect, silky terrier show standards dictate that the coat be trimmed so that the feet are exposed and the coat never quite touches the ground. When allowed to grow, silky hair tends to be a bit longer than Yorkie hair simply because Yorkies are smaller.
Both dogs require regular grooming, especially if you allow their coats to grow long. When coats are shorter, dogs require less brushing, but still benefit from regular maintenance to prevent tangles and mats. Silky hair tends to mat a little less readily than Yorkie hair, which, when long, needs brushing daily to avoid unsightly tangles. However, silkies also require more bathing than Yorkies.
Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.