The Skye Terrier is a Scottish terrier that has been a favorite of British royalty. They are a small breed that only stands between 9 and 10 inches tall and they weigh between 19 and 23 pounds. They have a long, flat outercoat that comes in shades of black, gray, cream, and fawn with black points on their ears and on their muzzles. This dog is active and loyal. They are not the best breed to have when you have young children as they can be a bit snappy when teased. They also prefer to be the only pet in a household.
The Skye Terrier, native to the Isle of Skye in Scotland, was bred to be a fearless working terrier. It was used to track otter, badger and fox. Terriers were needed wherever there were vermin and the best of these little dogs came from the far west coast of the Highlands of Scotland.
It is almost impossible to trace the origin of the breed; to do so one has to piece together all the relevant information which has survived, mainly by oral tradition. However, it is generally believed that the Skye Terrier is the oldest of the Scottish Terriers dating back to the sixteenth century. Today’s Skye, Cairn, Scottish, and West Highland White Terriers evolved from these original hardy, little terriers.
The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity. It is agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level, it is twice as long as it is high. It is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs.
The breed’s hair is well-feathered on the head that veils the forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. It stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. It is strong in body, quarter and jaw.
Lively yet laid back, the Skye Terrier is a courageous dog with fierce loyalty and devotion when it comes to his family. The Skye Terrier often forms a particularly close bond with one person, and is very in tune with the emotions of his owner. These dogs thrive on the attention and love of their owners. This is not the right breed of choice for those with little time to devote to a pet.
Standoffish by nature, Skye Terriers need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become extreme wariness or suspiciousness, which can lead to bad biting habits. The Skye Terrier has powerful jaws and is not a dog to be trifled with. They need extensive socialization while they are young, or they will be very wary with strangers. They will sometimes bite at strangers and do not want to be petted by them.
Terriers cannot usually be trusted off-leash. They will take off, oblivious to your frantic shouts, after anything that runs. Skye’s who have owners that allow them to believe they are pack leader to humans often do not like to be touched by strangers and may bite. Do not allow this breed to developed Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is the boss, or they may also be a bit dog-aggressive and bark obsessively.
The Skye Terrier is a sweet breed but because of their hunting instincts to chase, Skye Terriers are not good with small animals. They can also be aggressive with other dogs. Owners should provide a safe, enclosed area for the Skye Terrier’s exercise or plan to exercise the dog on leash at regular intervals during the day. Rules must be set in your home for them. However, they are good for older people because they require little exercise. They can live in an apartment and are active in the house so a yard is not necessary. Like most terriers, they can be very independent and stubborn.
Maintenance needs are high since they have very long hair. They require constant brushing to prevent matting.