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Skye Terrier

Country/Date of Origin: Scotland/1600s

Relatively unchanged for four hundred years, the Skye Terrier is a product of the harsh and demanding Outer Hebrides Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. The long coat offered the dog protection from the weather and the dangerous animals such as the badger, fox and weasel that he hunted. Rarely seen now, the Skye was the most popular terrier in the world until the end of the 19th Century. Skyes were one of the foundation breeds of the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Terrier of the Western Isles

AKC Group: Terrier

Breed Club: Skye Terrier Club of America

Rescue Club: Skye Terrier Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • Long, lean and lanky, this short legged terrier has a body that is twice as long as it is high
  • Height: 9-10 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 19-23 pounds
  • Ears, which can be either drop or prick, are not altered. Prick ears are much more common than drop ones
  • The long tail, which is carried in a downward curve, is not altered


  • Friendly and loyal to those he knows but reserved and cautious with strangers
  • The Skye has an aloof personality even within its family circle
  • Not recommended for children or homes with other pets
  • May be overprotective with property


  • Double weather resistant coat. Outer hairs are long, wiry and lay flat.
  • The undercoat is short, dense soft and woolly
  • Any solid color is allowed and a dark muzzle and ears are prized. The most common colors are varying shades of gray and cream
  • Hair on the head is shorter and softer than elsewhere and forms a veil over the forehead and eyes
  • Body hair is parted along the midline of the back and must be at least five and a half inches long. It may take three years for a young Skye to develop the proper length coat
  • Requires professional grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Overall a healthy breed
  • Some hypoplasia of the larynx
  • Occasional colitis and bowel irritations reported
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Low exercise requirements make the Skye an ideal city or apartment pet
  • Part of the breed's popularity is due to the affection Queen Victoria lavished on her Skye, Boz
  • Skyes often bring a smile to observers because their long body and apron of hair concealing their feet gives them the appearance of caterpillars
  • The motto of the Skye Terrier Club is "Wha daur meddle wi' me" or "Don't mess with me"

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