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Skye Terrier

Group: Terriers (Group 2)
Club: Sporting Terrier Club of Victoria Inc (Group 2)
Contact: Kerry Hellsten
Phone: 0432 764 470

About the Skye Terrier


Background The first written description of the Skye Terrier was by Dr Johanne Caius, court physician to Edward VI, Queen Mary and Elizabeth I, who penned "A cur brought out the barbarous borders from the uttermost countries northward which by reason of length of heare makes show neither of face nor body". The Skye is an ancient breed, originally developed to hunt otters, fox and badger on the Islands of Skye and Colonsay. They were reportedly the "aristocrats", belonging to the Laird and not kept with the other hunting dogs. The breed reached its height of popularity after Queen Victoria acquired her first Skye in 1842, and is immortalised in many Landseer paintings. The most famous Skye Terrier was Greyfriars Bobby who, after the death of his master John Grey in 1858 in Edinburgh, remained to guard the grave until his own death in 1972 at 16 years. All efforts to provide him with a permanent home failed and he remained at the graveside during winter and summer. His loyalty and devotion was recognised by the Lord Provost who granted him a special collar and licence. Bobby is immortalised by a statue outside the gate of Greyfriars Churchyard. There are two varieties of Skye - the prick ear and drop ear.

Average Lifespan When considering a Skye, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. Skye can live up to around 15 years of age.

Breed Personality/Characteristics/Temperament The Skye Terrier is cautious and reserved with strangers, requiring careful, early socialisation to mould their independent character. The Skye Terrier is happiest as a house dog and is devoted to their family, although will generally attach themselves to one particular family member. They are very selective about who will receive their love and affection, but to earn a Skye’s love and respect is its own reward. The Skye Terrier is very intelligent, learning quickly and doing well in obedience, however as they get bored quickly it can be difficult to keep them interested. They are a good watchdog.

Compatibility With Other Pets The Skye Terrier will not look for a fight, but if provoked can be a ferocious adversary. Dogs kept together will establish their own hierarchy; however entire males will vie for top spot and may have to be separated. They will accept other animals if brought up with them from an early age, or if socialised correctly with them. 

Care Requirements The Skye Terrier has a thick double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and harsher topcoat. The coat will require a good brush with a pin brush and comb once a week, an occasional bath, toenail trim, and trimming of the hair between the pads. If grooming is practised on a regular basis, despite the profuse coat, they are not a difficult dog to maintain. The Skye Terriers love their walks and will benefit from a daily 20-30 minute walk. They are equally happy at home, as long as they are with the family.

Please Take Note Socialisation of the Skye Terrier must be taken seriously otherwise they may resent being handled by strangers. Your puppy should be trained at an early age to lie on his side for grooming, as this will make the experience much more pleasant for the groomer and dog. As the Skye Terrier is a slow maturing breed with large, heavy bone for his size, puppies under one year should not be encouraged to walk long distances or allowed to jump off furniture. To do so could permanently damage the soft growing bones.

Ideal Owner/s The owner should be happy to have the dog in the house as Skye need to be with their family. Skye, especially males, can be dominant, therefore require a master who will ensure their dominance is kept in check. Puppies are fine with children if brought up with them, although children should be taught not to poke and pull at the puppy. As with all dogs, young children and pets should always be supervised when together.

In Conclusion Now you know a little about the Skye Terrier and have decided this is the dog for you or you want more information, make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs.

Registered Breeders