Breed Type: Terrier
Country of Origin: Scotland / UK
Size: Small Medium (25cm high but very long, average weight 13kg)
Care Requirements: Low Medium
Exercise Requirements: Low/Medium
LifeSpan: 13-15 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet preferably with older children.
The Skye Terrier was initially bred on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides. Typically they would accompany a pack of hound dogs they were in pursuit of animals that will typically run initially that when an opportunity presents they will enter an underground burrow. Animals can employ this tactic include rats foxes otters and badgers.
The Skye Terrier was thus bred to be tough, a tenacious hunter, to be an excellent digger with very strong front legs and be short to allow to enter the burrows. Though members of the hunt, though not hound dogs are typically a hunter would only have a single Skye Terrier or maybe two. Instead of being relegated to the outdoor hound kennels, they were generally kept as family pets sleeping inside thus making them somewhat of a cross working dog/pet.
They were not well-known outside the Hebrides until Queen Victoria began her own breeding program when she realised what wonderful characters they were as all as being an excellent addition to a hunting party.
Clearly terrierlike in appearance with an expressive terrier face and lively movement their most obvious characteristic is that a small height and long length. There are generally no more than 25 cm high at the Withers and a proportionally slightly more than twice as long as tall.
The have a straight back line with a deep chest which powered their strong bidding muscles used to widen foxholes to get to their prey. Because of this deep chest their forearms are curve slightly in order to fit around it. They have a long tail which is covered in thick fur, the furthering on which make their tales seem to blend into their back far further back than where it actually does. This is both the front and rear feet along with very strong nails all well suited to digging.
The head is typically held high with long powerful jaws again both traits typical of terriers. Ears may be prick or drop, the prick eared versions are medium in size and carry high on the skull and the drop years which are lower and hang flat against the head. Neither version is preferred in the show ring over the other though the prick eared version is more common these days as was this version that Queen Victoria (mentioned above) preferred and she favoured these are her breeding program.
In all other ways the prick and drop you types are more or less the same in physical size and appearance
The Skye Terrier was bred in a cold area and typical of such breeds has double coated fur. There undercoat is short and soft and is covered by a hard straight topcoat which is straight and lies flat against their body. The coat is long averaging around 14 cm, with short hair on the head which covers the forehead and eyes with moderate bearding.
The sheer beauty and impressiveness of this coat as well is its two layers makes them poor candidates to shaving when kept in hot climates so they are far better suited as a cooler weathered pet.
the Skye Terrier coat comes in fawn, blue, light or dark grey, cream as well is black with black points on their ears tail and muzzle. They may however be any solid colour with an amount of shading especially like the colouring on their belly and lower legs as long as there is an nose I clearly black. The coat should not have any patterning other than this colour highlighting on the underside of their body though a small white spot is permissible on their chest.
Whilst their coat is resistant to tangling this does not mean immune to tangling in the coat should be brushed at least two or three times a week. As stated previously their coat should not be trimmed to keep them cool and in any case if you intend to show them their coat needs to natural in length and fall.
Skye Terrier is a wonderful personable characters. They are curious and intelligent as well is being loyal and dependable. They do not respond well to either overly strict disciplining or a timid overly affectionate approach. To do far better than the light yet predictably firm owner who will give them equal amounts of affection, guidance and boundaries. Calm and dependable by nature they seek out individuals who reflect this.
Whilst they are very intelligent and trainable they are not herding or gundogs they will happily participate in long military drill style training sessions. That said, you will achieve a lot with them in short and fun training sessions at 20 min or so several times a week. They do love to please and are eager competitors often doing well in obedience trials dog agility events and anything that involves tracking.
Their short legs and muscular build means they are greatly less energetic can say Jack Russell terrier so whilst they will require an exercise regime such as a walk around the park that require hours of running around to satisfy and tire them out. Because of their warm coat and low exercise needs they make excellent apartment living dogs in cold climates
As a breed bred for a purpose they are incredibly healthy with few known genetic problems to be able to the breed. As with all long backed dogs they should not be encouraged to jump from heights assistance too much strain on their back and this is especially more so when they are puppies. Their deep chest and terrier muscling however does provide their back with a lot of support and they very rarely suffer from problems with their back unless they are involved in some sort of an accident when younger. They certainly have nowhere near the back issues that long backed hound dogs such as the daschund and Basset Hound sometimes experience.
There are several types of cancer that the breed is apparently susceptible to such as mammary cancer as well is a type of blood vessel cancer, but though more common in this breed and in others it is still exceptionally rare.
Suitability as a Pet
Skye Terrier is make excellent companion animals and a wonderful indoor dogs. Because of their low exercise requirements especially for a terrier in their quiet nature is that a good pets for someone living in an apartment or with mobility issues. They will get along with other household pets if they introduced carefully. They will be happy to receive the attention that children can supply them with however they may not take kindly to the rough treatment that very own children can dish out so ensure young children are well supervised around them.