Skye Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

The Skye terrier is a stylish and elegant dog that is, first of all, a working terrier. It is solidly built, with substantial bone, and twice as long as it is tall. The Skye's short legs enable it to go to ground in pursuit of fox and badger, and the long back imparts flexibility within a confined space. Its strong jaws further aid it in dispatching its prey. Its movement is free and effortless. The hard outer coat and close undercoat afford protection from the teeth of its quarry as well as harsh weather. The outer coat lies straight and flat, 5½ inches or more in length.

The Skye terrier's soft look belies its tough nature. It is a fearless and a deadly rodent hunter. It is also a mild-mannered house pet, one of the few terriers calm enough to live in the city. It still needs daily exercise in a safe area or on leash, however. It is sensitive yet stubborn. The Skye is affectionate with its family but cautious with strangers. It gets along fairly well with other dogs in the same household but may not mingle well with strange dogs. It is extremely courageous and game and makes a good watchdog.

AKC RANKING 202

FAMILY terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN Scotland

DATE OF ORIGIN 1500s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION fox and otter hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 10 Weight: 35-40

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 9.5 Weight: 25-30

OTHER NAME none

Energy level Low energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance High tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

This is a hunting dog at heart and enjoys a daily outing, exploring in a safe area. It also needs a short to moderate walk to stay in shape. The Skye enjoys life as a house dog, and prefers not to live outdoors. Regular combing (about twice a week) is all that is needed to keep the Skye looking good. An occasional bath will not soften the coat too much, as is often the case with other terriers. The hair around the eyes and mouth may need extra cleaning.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: premature closure of distal radius
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 12-14 years
Scotland has long been a stronghold of small plucky terriers, and the Skye terrier is among the oldest of them. They developed along the west coastal area, where they hunted fox and otter from among the rocky cairns. The purest of these dogs were found on the Isle of Skye, and the dogs were thus dubbed Skye terriers. It was first described in the 16th century, when it was already noteworthy for its long coat. Some confusion exists in tracing its history because, for a time, several different breeds were grouped under the name Skye terrier. The true Skye terrier became prominent in 1840, when Queen Victoria fancied the breed, keeping both drop- and prick-eared dogs. This enhanced its popularity both in high society and among commoners, and the Skye soon came to America. The AKC recognized the breed in 1887, and it quickly rose to the top of the show scene. Despite this strong start and the breed's distinctive appearance, its popularity has waned, and it is now among the least known terriers. The most famous Skye of all time was Greyfriar's Bobby, who slept on his master's grave for 14 years until his own death; he continues his vigil still, being buried where he waited next to his master. A statue commemorates this most loyal of dogs.