The Skye Terrier is a small dog breed with a distinct general appearance. It is twice as long as high, low to the ground and profusely coated, distinctive physical attributes of a working breed displayed in elegance and beauty. It features a long head that tapers gradually to a black nose. It has dark brow, closely-set eyes, prick or drop ears with teeth that forms a regular scissor bite. Prick ears are erect and well-feathered while drop ears hangs straight down, lying flat and close at the front. It has a strong jaw with regular scissor bite and a long, slightly crested neck that aids in dispatching out its prey from the ground. The front and back legs are short but muscular cushioned by thickly padded feet, with forefeet larger than back feet. The double coat is made of short, close and woolly undercoat with long (about six inches), hard, straight and flat topcoat. It has feathered hairs on the forehead to protect the eyes from injuries. Coat colour ranges from black, dark or light grey, fawn, and cream with black points.
The Skye Terrier is the oldest breed of dog that originated from Scotland and was named after its native origin, the Isle of Skye. It was first documented in the 1500s and was known as an effective hunter. There are numerous theories regarding the origin of the breed. One theory claims that it descended from dogs brought by Spanish sailors shipwrecked off the island of Skye which eventually bred with local terriers. However, this theory is hard to prove because it took place a long time ago, but the Skye terrier was known as such three hundred years ago. The breed was used to bolt foxes, badger and wild cats from the cairns and rough ground and for hunting of otters. It was made popular during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1840 when the queen herself started breeding both the drop- and prick-eared Skyes in her royal kennels. It quickly became a favourite among the nobilities. One of the most famous Sky terrier was a 19th century dog named “Bobby” from Edinburgh, Scotland who is said to spent a great deal of time on his master’s grave, John Gray, leaving only for a brief of time for meals at a nearby restaurant and may have spent colder winters in nearby houses. It was adopted by the Edinburgh city council and was laid to rest in 1872 not far from his master’s grave. Today, the Skye terrier is mainly a companion and family dog, very well adapted to living in country or town.
The Skye terrier is a pleasant, cheerful and affectionate breed. Bred as a hunter, it is very bold, courageous and independent. When it comes to working, it is rather more serious about its job than most terriers are. It is also rather suspicious of strangers; it does not like to be touched by them and may have a tendency to bite. The Skye Terrier likes to bark which makes it a good watchdog but can be quite annoying to neighbours especially if it will live in an apartment.
The Skye Terrier requires broad early socialization both with people and other animals to prevent the breed from growing up with an overly suspicious character towards strangers. Training should be consistent and with respect.
Grooming requirement is low because the coat of the Skye Terrier is resistant to tangling which only requires at least once a week of brushing. The coat between and around the toes and pads should be trimmed.
The Skye Terrier has a lifespan from 10 to 12 years and in general, it is considered a healthy breed. It suffers from a medical condition known as achondroplasia (drawfism) and is affected by several health problems including Skye limp or puppy limp. Degenerative disc disease – the degeneration of the intervertebral disc of the spine is also a common problem for short-legged dogs. In addition, mammary cancer (tumour in the mammary gland) is a leading cause of fatalities in the breed along with malignant tumours of the blood vessels (Hemangiosarcoma.) Other health concerns include autoimmune disease and hyperthyroidism.
Experts recommend foods that contain a mixture of ocean white fish with horse meat, poultry, wheat, corn and potato. This breed requires a very high content of fatty acid in its diet.
Exercise requirements are low, daily exercise such as short walks or a romp off the leash in a well-secured open space will keep the Skye Terrier in excellent shape.However, vigorous exercises should be avoided for puppies between 8 to 10 months. It should not be kept outdoors but will easily adjust to either an apartment or country living. It is suitable for an apartment living if it is well-maintained. It is relatively active when indoors and will do fine without a yard.
It has a playful character and does well with older, more considerate children but typically does not tolerate teasing. A strong hunting instinct makes it a poor companion to other small animals as well as other dogs, where it can be a bit dog-aggressive.