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The Skye Terrier: A Plucky Little Pup With A Big Heart

February 15, 2024

Did you know that there are currently 190 breeds in the AKC? Each one of these Very Good Boys possesses its own unique charm and personality. One pup that gets some time in the spotlight in February is the Skye Terrier. This plucky little guy definitely deserves our attention: he’s one of the most endangered breeds! A local Markham, ON vet offers some insight into this Scottish dog below.

What Is The Skye Terrier? 

Skye Terriers are cute, fluffy little dogs with long, silky coats. Many have upright ears, but some have floppy ears. Their most iconic feature is undoubtedly their distinctive “fringe,” a curtain of hair that partially covers their eyes. Fido’s cute bangs not only added to his appeal, but also served a practical purpose, shielding him from the harsh Scottish weather.

Fido is longer than he is tall. In general, these guys aren’t very big: they rarely grow taller than 25 centimeters. The males usually weigh around 16-18 kilograms, while girls weigh 12–14 kilograms. They can live up to 15 years. 

Do Skye Terrier Dogs Make A Lot Of Noise?

Fido’s size and activity requirements make him an excellent choice for apartment dwellers. However, some of these guys do bark a lot.

What Is The Skye Terrier’s Temperament?

Skye Terriers are renowned for their loyalty and affectionate nature. They form very strong bonds with their humans and, though small, can be quite protective of their loved ones. While they may be reserved around strangers, they are not aggressive and generally warm up pretty quickly.

Like many terriers, Skye Terriers are intelligent, and respond well to positive reinforcement during training. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Skye Terrier?

Skye Terriers have some great qualities. They don’t require a lot of exercise and are very devoted to their humans, though rather nonchalant with strangers. 

There are a few possible downsides, though it’s really a matter of opinion and preference. These guys don’t always get along with other dogs, particularly unfamiliar ones. It’s also important to note that Fido is a bit stubborn, and is also very independent. He has a passion for digging as well.

What Is The Origin Of The Skye Terrier?

Fido’s name reveals quite a bit about his history. The breed has been around since the 1500’s. They come from the Isle of Skye, which lies off the northwest coast of Scotland. These tough little dogs are descended from small Maltese-like dogs that were brought over by shipwrecked Spanish Armada sailors in the 16th century. Over time, those dogs were bred with local Scottish terriers. The result, the Skye Terrier, was originally put to work hunting foxes and badgers. They are quite good at that: due to their small size, they can fit into dens. 

Why Is The Skye Terrier So Rare?

Fido is currently quite rare. This wasn’t always the case, though. They became very popular with British royalty in the mid-16th century, and soon became favorite pets of the nobility. Queen Victoria bred Skye Terriers in her royal kennels. The pups became very popular at that time.

Unfortunately, that popularity didn’t last. The dogs have since fallen out of fashion and are now being overshadowed by small designer dogs, like the Doodle breeds. In fact, they now rank near the bottom of the AKC’s breed roster in terms of popularity, and are listed as one of the UK’s most endangered dog breeds. 

What Are Some Famous Skye Terriers?

There aren’t very many! In fact, we only know of one: a special Scottish pooch named Greyfriars Bobby. This incredible canine’s story has captured many hearts over the years. The devoted little dog was the loyal companion of a night watchman named John Gray. After Gray passed away in 1858, his faithful pet not only followed his funeral procession, but then refused to leave his gravesite. Despite attempts by locals to coax him away, Bobby continued to return to the spot. Eventually, they gave up and built a little shelter for him. The loyal pup remained there until his death 14 years later.

Today, there is a statue in Edinburgh honoring the faithful canine. The statue is located near Candlemakers Row and George IV Bridge, outside of Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Gray was buried. 

Walt Disney actually made a film about him: 1961’s Greyfriars Bobby. The movie was remade in 2005 as The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.

How Much Grooming Do Skye Terriers Need?

Since Skye Terriers are so shaggy, you might think they need a lot of grooming. However, it really depends on Fido’s lifestyle. If your pup spends most of his time indoors, he may only need occasional baths. However, dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in muddy areas, will need more frequent ones. You’ll need to be careful when bathing your pet. Don’t scrub or rub too hard, and use a gentle shampoo. Otherwise, you could break those silky hairs. You may also need to dilute the doggy shampoo.

Your furry pal will need to be brushed weekly with a comb or soft brush, as otherwise he will develop mats and tangles. You don’t have to clip his coat, but you may want to trim his bangs, especially if any locks are getting into his eyes. Regular nail trimmings are also necessary for your furry friend, as is keeping his ears and teeth clean. Ask your Markham, ON veterinarians for specific advice.

How Healthy Are Skye Terriers?

Skye Terriers tend to be quite plucky and robust. The AKC does not recommend any specific tests. However, these guys are susceptible to a few things, including intervertebral disc disease and eye disorders. Your veterinarian may also recommend screening for cancer, autoimmune disease, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia. Follow your Markham, ON veterinarian’s recommendations.

Keep in mind that Fido’s long locks can hide a lot, so you’ll need to check for parasites and skin problems, as you may not be able to see them. This is easy to work into cuddle time. 

How Much Exercise Do Skye Terriers Need?

For Fido to stay healthy, he will need proper exercise. However, he can get a pretty good workout just running around on his short little legs, and can easily tire himself out just running around the house. Therefore, you won’t have to take your dog for long walks. A few short walks and daily play sessions will be sufficient.

There are a few things to be aware of as far as exercise goes. Skye Terriers have elongated spines, which puts them at risk of back injuries. Just going up and down stairs or jumping onto hard surfaces can lead to injuries. These pups should never jump from high heights. They can even hurt themselves just jumping onto hard surfaces or excessively going up and down stairs. Ask your Markham, ON vet for specific advice. 

Conclusion: A lively, intelligent, and charismatic little dog, the Skye Terrier makes a wonderful pet and can be quite well-suited to apartment living.

If you have questions about caring for a Skye Terrier, do not hesitate to contact us. As your local Markham, ON pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care for your furry friend.

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