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Skye Terrier

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Group Terriers (KC)

Origin / History The Skye terrier is named after the Isle of Skye, an island off Scotland’s western coast. It was long believed that it came from the Maltese dogs on board a Spanish ship that crashed on the island in the 1600s, but recently found texts show that it had existed long before the fabled shipwreck. Although its origins remain unknown, the general belief is that the Swedish Vallhund brought by the Vikings mated with the local terriers to produce the present-day breed.

The Skye was highly valued in its native island, but its spread to the rest of Scotland was rather slow. This may have been because of its long coat, which proved to be a hassle to the owner and a handicap in the field. Eventually, however, its hardiness and hunting ability came to be appreciated, and by the 19th century it had become a favorite even among England’s elite. The breed was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1887 and accepted by the United Kennel Club in 1993.

Appearance The Skye has a long, flowing double coat covering most of the body. The undercoat is short, dense and woolly, and the topcoat straight and somewhat coarse. The AKC requires the hair to be at least 5 ½ inches long, except on the head and face where it is considerably shorter. The ears are erect and well-feathered; the feathering often reaches down to join the rest of the coat.

Colours Acceptable colors are black, grey, blue, silver platinum, cream, and fawn. The coat should be solid-colored at the base but may have varying shades of the base color throughout. There should be no markings except on the muzzle, ears and tail.

Temperament Skyes have the temperament of a typical terrier: strong and hardy, fast and agile, playful to the point of hyperactivity. They tend to be more serious than other terriers, though. They are generally friendly and good-tempered, but may be a bit shy around strangers. They are very loyal and affectionate around their families. Often considered to be a one man dog. They like to bark, but will not bite or attack unless provoked.

Height and Weight 23- 27 cm in height and 8.5 - 10.5 Kg in weight. Males are slightly larger at the top of the ranges.

Common Health Problems One of the most common problems is Skye limp, a bone disorder that causes a painful limp and bowed legs. This is due to their disproportionately short legs and may be aggravated by overexertion. Degenerative disc disease is also fairly common, affecting as many as 10% of adult Skyes. Other health risks include mammary cancer, autoimmune disease, and htperthyroidism.

Living Conditions Skyes will do fairly well without a yard, as long as they have ample room to romp and play indoors. Like most dogs, however, they need their share of fresh air and should be taken out once in a while. They thrive best in cool climates.

Exercise Requirements This breed requires very little exercise; in fact, too much of it can be unhealthy for the dog. Physical activity should be limited in the first ten months, as this can affect bone development and cause major problems later on. Adults should be taken on daily walks and may be allowed to run off the leash in a large fenced area.

Training Requirements Skyes can be a bit self-willed, but should be trained in the first few months to prevent behavioral problems. Once trained, they can learn very fast and will easily pick up new ideas. Early socialization is also important; otherwise they may grow up excessively shy and suspicious of strangers.

Life Expectancy A healthy Skye can live from 12 to 15 years.

Grooming Although it grows a fairly long coat it only needs attention twice a week. Some owners have the coat clipped short, which helps reduced grooming time and is easier to clean after muddy walks. Skyes are a rather high-maintenance breed. The outer coat should be brushed regularly to prevent matting. It takes some time for the puppy coat to give way to the adult coat, and the transition is often marked by heavy shedding. The ears are prone to infection and should be cleaned regularly.

Famous Examples

CompleteDogsGuide Comment A very strong minded dog which is often devoted to one person. Not easy to train.

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More Skye Terrier Information: Check out our Skye Terrier Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.

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