Skye Terrier

Type: Terrier

Height: 9 - 10 inches.

Weight: 19 - 28 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years. This breed is relatively long-lived.

Litter Size: 3 - 6 puppies.

Country of Origin: Scotland

Activity: Indoors - Low. Outdoors - Medium.

Watch-dog: Very High. Skye Terriers are a very alert breed.

Guard-dog: Low

Description: The Skye Terriers have style, elegance and dignity. They are agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Twice as long as they are high, they are covered in a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body. Their most prominent feature are their ears which are much larger than their cousins, the Cairn Terriers. They are smaller dogs, but very long. Skye Terriers are low to the ground, and their fur falls to the floor. They can have either prick ears or drop ears, although the prick version has been much more common than a hundred years ago. Their eyes are brown and their nose is black, but one might never know this considering their fur covers their face. They can be either black, blue, dark or light gray, silver platinum, fawn or cream colored. Skye Terriers are agile yet strong dogs who are loving to their family and selected friends. Their motto is remember your friends and never forget your enemies. This breed is rather choosy about who they will be friendly towards, and often are suspicious of or uninterested in anyone but their owners. They can be trained to get along with other pets, but are otherwise unfriendly towards them. They get along with older children who can respect them, but once again, do not enjoy being touched by anyone but their owner unless they have approved. The Skye Terrier is an excellent watch dog, being very alert and responsive to unusual things. They are sensitive, reactive and calm dogs. Inside they are quiet and outside they are very active. Confident and dignified, this breed is not for everyone. A terrier-experienced owner is suggested.

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Colors: Black, dark or light gray, fawn or cream, all with black points. They often have black points on the ears and muzzle and tip of the tail.

Coat: Long, hard, straight, flat and free from curl, with a short, close, soft woolly undercoat.

Temperament: Skye Terriers are loyal and lively. They are dignified, serious, and calm. Skyes are fearless, active, and confident. They are sensitive but wary of strangers. Skye Terriers are not dogs that will sit back and take injustice, they will react if provoked. They are good with children as long as the children are older and the dog is socialized. They are more one-pet animals, as they do not get along well with other animals. They can be suspicious or uninterested in people other than their owner.

With Children: Yes, as long as children are older and well-behaved, as they do not liked to be teased. This breed will react if provoked.

With Pets: No, needs training to accept other pets.

Special Skills: Once was used to hunt foxes, badgers and otters, today they are a family pet.

Care and Training: Regular brushing is needed for Skye Terriers with a good pin brush or metal comb. Minimal bathing is required. Keep hair around the eyes and mouth clean, check ears regularly, and make sure skin stays clean. Exercise should consist of a short to moderate walk on a daily basis, they do not require a lot of exercise. Train Skye Terriers with mutual respect, fairness and consistency. Puppies need to be socialized with human contact away from their siblings. They should also be socialized and trained with other pets and dogs to make sure they are kinder towards them when they get older.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Low.

Special Needs: Grooming, fenced yard, leash, positive but firm training, socialization.

Living Environment: Skye Terriers are suitable for apartment living as long as sufficient exercise is given. Fortunately, they do not require extensive exercise. A quiet home environment is best for a Skye Terrier. They are the happiest if surrounded with family companionship, but are not very friendly to strangers. The best owner for this breed would be a terrier-experienced owner living in an apartment, suburban area or country. The breed is rather adaptable to different places.

Health Issues: Premature closure of distal radius, copper toxicosis, and hypothyroidism.

History: Developed in possibly the sixteenth century, they are named after their ancient homeland the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides which is off the coast of Scotland. They are thought to be relative to the Cairn Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Scottish Terrier and Sealyham Terrier. Queen Victoria is said to have bred the Skye Terrier in her royal kennels. There are a few theories to the origin of the breed. First, some believe the Waternish Terrier was the real beginning Skye Terrier, which was an ancestor of the Cairn Terrier and the Australian Terrier. Others believe the breed originated from Maltese type dogs that came from a shipwreck, and went to land and bred with the native dogs in the 1600s. The Maltese shipwreck theory is one that has plagued many dog breed origin theories. The breed was originally called the Terrier of the Western Islands, eventually finding his way to the largest island in the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye. Apparently an old Scottish motto has helped describe the history of the changes in the breed, referring to the fact that one should not mess with a good terrier. The Skye Terrier was originally bred to go to ground after badgers, foxes, otters and rabbits. They haven't changed much since their previous years, although one difference is that their ears used to be more often drop than erect. Only until 1890 did the erect ear become popular and the drop ear become hardly seen anymore. For a time, the Cairn Terrier and the Skye Terrier were believed to be the same breed, with Cairns simply being called Short-haired Skyes. There is a story of a famous Skye Terrier named Bobby. In 1858, a shepherd without family or friends died and was laid to rest in Greyfriars' Churchyard in Edinburgh. His little dog stayed and slept on his grave for many years. The dog would not leave him, except to go the cafe that he and his owner used to go to every day. He would go there, get a meal, and return back to his masters' grave site. The little dog was so dedicated that he stayed there until he died years later. A monument was erected for the dog's incredible vigilance and faithfulness near the churchyard.

First Registered by the AKC: 1887

AKC Group: Terrier Group

Class: Terrier

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 3), KC(GB), UKC