This breed gets its name from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, where they were first bred. They are one of the rarest breeds of Terrier. They date back to the 16th century and were a popular breed amongst the upper classes, though their popularity within the lower classes also soon grew. There are two types of Skye Terrier, the drop eared and the prick eared. Their long, short body shape made them ideal for catching vermin such as foxes, rates and otters. Today they are classed as a threatened species. It is estimated that the breed could become extinct within the next 50 years if a concerted effort is not made.
The soft look of the Skye Terrier is deceiving, these are brave little dogs that will always stand up for themselves, no matter who the opponent is. They are good with other children and dogs if brought up in the house together with them, though they will be wary of strangers at first. They make for a good watchdog and will sound the alarm when anything is up. They are loyal towards their family and those close to them, they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long so be sure to get them used to the idea of being alone for short periods of time whilst they are still young. Early socialization is also a must otherwise they may get aggressive when other dogs are around.
Training needs to be firm and consistent yet at them same time positive and kind. Treats, games and any type of reward will make training even more fun for them. They can learn quickly if they put their minds to it, though sometimes they won’t be in the mood and no progress will be made. Recall can sometimes be a problem and it is best to walk them on a leash or in a secure area. They have a high prey drive and will chase after any small, moving animals that they spot. They have good memories and will remember everything that they are taught.
Skye Terriers will happily walk for miles on ends alongside their owners. A moderate walk each day will be enough to keep them in shape. They aren’t over-demanding when it comes to exercise, but will always be happy to go out and explore. They do well in Earthdog and agility competitions.
Their long coats need regular brushing, but aren’t high maintenance. Brushing a few times per week paired with the occasional bath will be enough. The hair around their mouth and eyes will need some extra care.
Skye terriers are loyal and plucky dogs, surprisingly strong and very courageous. This makes them good watchdogs - like most terriers they like to have their voices heard! They are likely to become attached to one particular person, and although they will be happy enough with other family members they are likely to avoid strangers, whether human or any other species.
This is a hardy breed that suffers few major health problems. Premature closure of the distal radius can sometimes be seen, which causes malformation of the leg. Other possible problems include cancer, autoimmune disease, intervertebral disc disease (pressure on spinal cord which can cause paralysis), allergies and digestive problems.
- Status: Endangered
- Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years
- Weight: 25 - 40 lbs
- Height: 10 -11"
- Rare: Yes
- Coat: Long
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
- Size: Small
- Energy Level: Low
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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