Skye Terrier

Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier adult © Shutterstock

The Skye Terrier is a bold, lively, intelligent and stylish (just look at that coat!) Scottish breed of dog. This fancy little canine was bred to hunt vermin and, therefore, still holds a significant prey drive to this day, which can be problematic. While this fearless breed can certainly make for a loyal and affectionate companion once trained, it’s best matched with a confident owner who knows how to work with an independent Terrier breed.

Key facts about the Skye Terrier

Life expectancy :

5

17

10

12

Temperament :

Playful Intelligent Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The Skye Terrier originates from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, and is now one of the rarest breeds of Terrier in the world. The breed is believed to date back to the 16th century, when it was loved by royals, including Queen Victoria, for its lavish, luxurious coat and ability to catch vermin. Sadly, it’s widely believed that the Skye Terrier will face extinction in the next few decades, unless a renowned effort is made to revive the breed.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers

Section

Section 2 : Small sized Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Skye Terrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 10 and 10 in

    Male : Between 10 and 10 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 22 and 26 lb

    Male : Between 22 and 26 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    Blue
    Red
    Sand

    Type of coat

    Long
    Hard

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    The Skye Terrier is a small dog with short legs, whose body length is roughly double its height. Despite being a small dog, it’s well-built and sturdy. The tail is long and beautifully feathered. The head is long with a tapered muzzle and a subtle stop. The eyes are small and dark, the ears are pointy, feathered and erect, while the nose is black. The beautiful, long, silky coat is this breed’s defining future.

    Good to know

    There was once a Skye Terrier called Greyfriars Bobby, who is famous for his incredible loyalty. After his owner died, he guarded the grave day-in-day-out for 14 long years, until he also grew old and died. Now, they’re peacefully buried next to each other - adorable!

    Temperament

    • 66%

      Affectionate

      Around other dogs and strangers, the Skye Terrier is suspicious, alert and sometimes scrappy. Yet with a respected owner, it’s completely different - loyal, loving, affectionate and good-natured.

    • 100%

      Playful

      Loves to play with its owners, but may be too strong-willed and dominant to play with children.

    • 66%

      Calm

      This breed is one of the calmest of the Terrier group, known as being introspective and often serious.

    • 100%

      Intelligent

      A smart breed with a particularly impressive memory.

    • 100%

      Hunter

      The Skye was bred to hunt vermin and holds some serious prey-drive. While solid training and a strong recall can help, this breed will always be a hunter at heart.

    • 100%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      The Skye can be extremely wary of strangers. It’s vital to socialize this breed from a young age to avoid extreme shyness and suspicion of new people - in fact, unsocialized Skye Terriers may even bite strangers!

    • 66%

      Independent

      Although firmly attached to its master, the Skye Terrier has a definite independent and strong-minded aspect to its personality and will challenge its owner and other family members. A confident, experienced and respectfully firm owner, as well as lots of obedience training, is essential.

      Behaviour of the Skye Terrier

      • 66%

        Tolerates solitude

        As with all breeds, the Skye Terrier must be used to being alone from a young age to tolerate solitude with patience.

      • 66%

        Easy to train / obedience

        The Skye Terrier is capable of becoming an obedient, well-behaved dog - though it will take lots of consistency and patience! This breed will try to test its owners and needs to be trained with confidence from the get-go. Aim for fun, short training sessions with plenty of food rewards and positive reinforcement. While it’s important to be firm with the Skye, always remain fair and never scold.

      • 66%

        Barking

        The Skye can be a little bit of a nuisance barker. It’s essential to train this breed to be quiet on demand, though it may take some serious patience!

      • 66%

        Tendency to run away

        As with most Terrier breeds, the Skye has a strong prey-drive and is likely to run after anything it deems prey. A strong recall is essential, though it may be best to keep this breed on a lead in busy public areas.

      • 33%