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Skye Terrier Breed Summary

Confident, Alert, Intelligent, Affectionate and Loyal

These doggies originate from the Isle of Skye, which is where they get their name from, and are thought to be one of the oldest breeds native to Scotland, dating back to the 14th century! Many believe that the breed are descendants of dogs that survived a shipwreck during the Spanish Armada in 1588 and that they mated with local terriers to result in the Sky Terriers we see today, although this is mainly just a legend as many were thought to have existed on the Island before this. They were thought to have originally been bred to control vermin as well as chase down game which they were very good at. They have not changed much through time and even Queen Victoria was big fan of the breed! They were finally recognised in 1993 although numbers of them are relatively low. For this reason, anyone wanting one of these guys would have to be put onto a waiting list.

Kennel Club Group Terrier Group
Lifespan 12 - 15 Years
Height (at the withers) Male and Female 23cm – 25cm
Weight Male and Female 8.5kg – 10.5kg
Coat Long, Straight, Dense coat
Colour Black, Grey, Cream, Fawn, Blue, Silver and Sable
Eye colour Brown
Common health issues Intervertebral Disc Disease, Hepatitis, Occipital Dysplasia
Other Names Terrier of the Western Isles

These doggies, true to their Terrier natures, are very tenacious and love to dig and bark - much to the dislike of potential neighbours! However, they are a very affectionate breed and absolutely love 'hoomans', though they normally form the strongest bond with one person, often being referred to as 'one owner' dogs. They can be little off with smaller children and so would best suit a home with older children. But they do love to be involved in everything that goes on in the family home and will always warn their owners of anything suspicious that goes on. For this reason, they make fantastic watch dogs. Because they love 'hoomans' so much, they don't like to be left alone for too long as this can lead to them developing separation anxiety and thus destructive behaviours. For this reason, they need someone to be around for most of the day. However, for the right family, they make lovely family pets.

The Skye Terrier was developed on the Isle of Skye in north western Scotland to hunt badgers, foxes, and otters in their dens. These tough little dogs would even take to the water in pursuit of their quarry, and they retain their fearless and canny nature to this day. At some point in the middle of the 16th century, this people-oriented breed gained the attention of English royalty, and they quickly gained popularity among the elite in the region. In 1842 Queen Victoria acquired a Skye Terrier and began breeding them in her vast royal kennels shortly afterward. During this time these little Terriers became exceedingly popular in England, not just among the royals, but among the common people as well, and this popularity was bolstered by the devotion of a Skye Terrier by the name of Greyfriars Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby was the constant companion of a night watchman by the name of John Gray from 1856 until 1858 when John died of tuberculosis. Bobby followed the procession to his master’s new resting place and refused to leave until his death fourteen years later. Skye Terriers were present in some of the first major dog shows in Birmingham in the 1860s, and the first breed club formed in 1876. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887. The popularity of the breed has waned since the 1800’s, and they are considered a rare breed. They still have a loyal and devoted fan base appropriate for such a loyal and devoted dog and still remain competitive in most major dog shows.