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The Skye Terrier Shop

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Skye Terrier Breed Summary

Confident, Alert, Intelligent, Affectionate and Loyal

Now considered one of the most endangered dog breeds, these powerfully built little terriers were once the darlings of Victorian society. Kept by farmers in the Skye Islands to hunt and kill badgers, foxes, and otters these dogs caught the attention of English royalty. Bred in the kennels of Queen Victoria, this breed reached its peak of popularity in the late 1800s and now ranks 178th in popularity. These dogs make relatively good apartment dogs with moderate exercise needs, but they have been known to develop problem barking. Intelligent but independent, these dogs can be a challenge to train, and although they are generally amicable with family, they can be aloof with strangers and aggressive towards other dogs.
Kennel Club Group Terrier
Lifespan 12 - 15 Years
Height (at the withers) Male and Female 9.5in - 10in
Weight Male and Female 35lb - 45lb
Coat Long, Straight, Dense coat
Color Black, Gray, Cream, Fawn, Blue, Silver and Sable
Eye color Brown
Common health issues Intervertebral Disc Disease, Hepatitis, Occipital Dysplasia
Other Names Terrier of the Western Isles
This is an exceptionally loyal and devoted breed, but they have an independent streak that can make them more challenging to train, and they can become possessive of their owner. They are generally affectionate and friendly with their families, but they can be suspicious of new people and animals. Early and extensive socialization may help mitigate these traits, and obedience training will help them to focus their energy in a positive way. The Skye is a high energy breed, but short daily walks or vigorous play sessions can expend this energy fairly easily. They can be prone to problem barking but otherwise make fairly good apartment dogs. This breed should not be left unattended in a yard as they are quick diggers with a high prey drive and can easily get into trouble when left to their own devices. Although these dogs are fine companions for older children, many Skye Terriers have a tendency to snap at younger or rowdier children.
The Skye Terrier was developed on the Isle of Skye in northwestern 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.