The Skye Terrier, also known as the Skye, is part of the Terrier breed group. The Skye is an elegant aristocrat originally bred as an exterminator on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye, which is the largest, most northerly of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides islands. The rugged Skye Terrier breed was developed in the 1600’s by Scottish Skye farmers to control the fox and badger populations. Strangely, this farm hunter breed became a favorite of British nobles. In fact, in the late 19th century, Queen Victoria of England championed the Skye Terrier.
Characteristics of the Skye Terrier
Here are some of the distinctive characteristics of the Skye Terrier that make him such a beloved companion.
Twice as long as they are high, the Skye Terrier is among the most distinctive-looking breeds. Their big, feathery ears stand up like bat wings. These are known as “prick ears”. However, some dogs in the breed can have “drop ears” that lie flat against the head. The Skye has short, muscular legs, a deep chest, and a thick coat. The males stand 10 inches tall and the females stand 9.5 inches tall. The males can weigh between 35 and 45 pounds, while the females are slightly lighter. This low, hardy terrier has a double coat with a hard, straight topcoat and a short, soft undercoat. His forehead and eyes are veiled by long hair on the head. Their coat can be fawn, blue, dark or light grey, blonde, and black with black points on the ear and muzzle. Some Skye Terriers have a small white spot on the chest.
The Skye Terrier has been described as courageous, good-tempered, and canny. A classic Terrier, the Skye is fearless, friendly towards his family, and cautious around strangers. The Skye Terrier is a clever and prudent pet who will study people carefully before deciding how he feels about them. Once he has decided to like someone, though, they will be pals for life. Some Skye Terriers have been used as cheerful therapy dogs in places such as nursing homes and children’s hospitals. This breed is a great family pet that can play well with children. He is sturdy enough not to become harmed by a majority of rough children’s play. He doesn’t make the best guard dog, though, as he is a bit too friendly with strangers.
Due to his small size, the Skye Terrier can be well suited for large home living or small apartment living. However, no matter the size of your home, your Skye Terrier will follow you around and will want to be with you at all times due to his separation anxiety. This breed can coexist with other dogs in the household, but he is fearless, so beware when it comes to large dogs- your Skye Terrier may think he is much larger than he actually is. Due to his tendency to chase rodents like most Terriers, the Skye Terrier is not an ideal breed for households with rodents as pets.
You can expect your Skye Terrier to live between 12 and 14 years of age.
Caring for the Skye Terrier
Let’s take a look at the proper methods of care for the Skye Terrier.
Your Skye Terrier will need to be fed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for his age- puppy, adult, senior, etc. Treats can be a valuable tool to use during training but avoid feeding your pet too many treats as this can cause obesity, which can lead to many other problems. Because Skye Terriers are especially prone to becoming overweight, table scraps should also be given sparingly and avoid especially those table scraps containing bones and contents rich in fat. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet’s diet or weight.
Despite his smaller size, your Skye Terrier will require quite a bit of exercise in order to maintain a happy, healthy life. Your Skye will enjoy at least one, and possibly two or three, 15-minute walks per day and will also enjoy playing freely and running around the yard to bond with his owner. Make sure the play area is always enclosed, however, because otherwise your pet may run off to chase something. Skye Terriers can tolerate both the heat and the cold very well, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your pet’s temperature too much.
Skye Terriers are intelligent, yet strong-willed. They are calmer than most other Terrier breeds and are trained best with consistency. They are, however, more sensitive than many breeds, and therefore special consideration should be taken when training your Skye. He will need consistency and positivity during training sessions so that he does not give up. The Skye will withdraw from harsh, negative training methods. It is best to praise your Skye for the things he does right rather than condone him too harshly for the things he does wrong. Overall, the Skye Terrier will enjoy any time with his owner and can be trained into a wonderful companion, despite his tendency toward stubborn behavior.
Though long and luxurious, the Skye Terrier’s double coat is easier to maintain than one might think initially. Your Skye will require a weekly brushing and combing with a pin brush and a long-toothed comb. This weekly grooming will prevent tangling and matting. The coat actually requires no trimming with clippers or scissors, so owners can take on the responsibility of grooming rather than taking their pet to a professional groomer most of the time. Your Skye’s nails should be trimmed every few weeks and his ears should be checked weekly. If his ears are dirty with debris or excess wax, you can clean them out with a damp paper towel. This will help your Skye avoid ear infections. Your pet should be bathed once a month but be careful not to scrub the coat during bathing, as this scrubbing motion can cause matting of the coat.
Skye Terriers are long and low dogs, and while this can be adorable, it can also cause problems such as disk injuries. To avoid disk injuries, Skye puppies should not be allowed to climb up stairs or jump onto hard surfaces. Skye Terriers can also be prone to certain types of cancers. Contact your pet’s veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about his health.