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The Skye Terrier originated from Scotland as a prized badger, fox and otter hunter. Weighing 18 to 23 pounds and standing 23 to 25 centimetres, this breed is friendly and loving toward its family but reserved toward stranger. It is better suited for families with older children that know how to handle dogs.
Are you thinking of getting a Skye Terrier? Here is a brief background of this elegant and dignified dog from Scotland.
The origins of the Skye Terrier can be difficult to trace because of varying stories. One belief is that it is an ancient breed having been around more than four centuries ago on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. Another story states that the breed came from the Maltese dogs that survived a Spanish ship that sank along the coast of the Isle of Skye. Also known as the Fancy Skye Terrier, the Clydesdale Terrier and the Silky Skye Terrier, it became a prized badger, fox and otter hunter. Queen Victoria fell in love with the Skye Terrier and bred it in her kennel for several years, making the breed very popular during her reign.
Today’s Skye Terriers have remained quite unchanged in terms of their physical appearance. The breed was recognised by The Kennel Club under the Terrier group in 1993. However, its numbers remain low and the Skye Terrier is included on the list of vulnerable native breeds in the UK.
The Skye Terrier is an elegant and dignified dog breed that is small yet hardy. Weighing 18 to 23 pounds and standing 23 to 25 centimetres, it is low on the ground and is twice as long as it is tall. Underneath its charming flowing coat is a powerful long head with a slight stop, a strong muzzle, a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite, a black nose, and dark brown medium eyes with a curious and intelligent expression. Its ears can either be pricked or dropped. It also has a long, slightly crested neck, broad shoulders, a deep chest, and a level back.
What makes the Skye Terrier more beautiful is its double coat comprising of a moderately long, straight, flat, and harsh outer coat, and a short, soft, woolly and close-lying undercoat. The hair on its head is shorter and softer with bangs veiling the forehead and eyes. It sports a fringe on the side as well as a beard and longer hair on its chest fondly referred as an apron. The accepted colours are solid black, along with grey, fawn and cream with black points.
When it comes to dog grooming, the Skye Terrier is high maintenance since its elegant coat requires daily brushing with a long-tooth comb or pin brush to avoid knots and tangles. It needs to be bathed every two to three weeks to keep the coat clean. Its muzzle has to be cleaned every after meal because food usually gets stuck in the hair and its teeth must be brushed daily, if possible, to maintain good oral health. Also trim its nails every two weeks or when you hear clicking sounds on the floor. Lastly, clean its ears as too much wax build-up can cause serious infections.
The Skye Terrier is a loyal, charismatic and affectionate dog to its owners. Although it gets along with everyone in the household, it tends to build the strongest bond with one person, usually to the person that takes care of it. Because of its adorable appearance, people are usually tempted to hold it and shower it with affection but it is actually not a friendly dog toward strangers. It can be aloof and would prefer to get to know people from afar before warming up to them. This characteristic makes it a good watchdog.
When it comes to children, it is not a big fan of younger ones and is better off to a family with more mature kids that know how to handle dogs. Regardless, parents must always supervise interactions and teach their children to treat all dogs with kindness. It usually gets along with other dogs as well as cats it grows up with but this does not apply to other people’s pets. Because of its high prey drive, owners must be cautious when it comes to smaller animals as they are often considered fair game.
The Skye Terrier is a full-fledge terrier, albeit calmer. It is feisty, prudent and wilful and would require a firm yet gentle hand. It is a sensitive breed but it is not submissive. It will thrive in a household with experienced owners that know how to handle this type of dog. Once it knows its place in the pack and rules have been set, you will appreciate how intelligent it is and how easily it learns. It is important for lessons to be short and constantly interesting as it easily gets bored.
A typical serving for an adult Skye Terrier is 1 to 1.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Keep in mind that as with other breeds, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. Always talk to your veterinarian to discuss the nutritional needs of your dog in the different stages of its life.
Typical calorie needs of adult Skye Terriers per day:
The Skye Terrier thrives on a diet rich in protein and low in carbs. The number one component of its food should be meat such as beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Carbs should come from complex sources such sweet potato, oats or barley and not from fillers with no nutritional value like wheat, soy and corn. Omega 3 and 6 will help keep its coat shiny and healthy.
Skye Terriers are generally healthy dogs that can live between 12 and 15 years. However, it can be prone to certain health issues such as allergies, eye problems, liver and kidney diseases, Skye Limp, Ulcerative Colitis, and Von Willebrand’s Disease. Not all Skye Terriers will suffer from these health issues but knowing about them is important.
In terms of exercise, the Skye Terrier will need at least one hour a day of physically draining and mentally stimulating activities considering that it is an energetic and intelligent terrier. When it is unable to release its energy or if it feels neglected, the breed will exhibit unpleasant behaviour like being destructive and noisy. Take time to do fun activities with it such as walking, jogging and playing interactive games. Also give it access to a secured back garden so it can let off steam as it pleases.
Since the Skye Terrier is on The Kennel Club's list of vulnerable native breeds, obtaining one may be a challenge. Interested individuals will have to be placed on a waiting list. The price of a well-bred pedigree Skye Terrier puppy usually starts at £500. With this said, make sure to do your research to ensure that the breeder is reputable and that you will get what you pay for.
The major expenses to consider when caring for a Skye Terrier include pet insurance (basic coverage cost £40 monthly, depending on your location and health of the dog), food and treats (£30 monthly), and routine vet checks and vaccinations (£800 annually). Initial costs for crate, beds, bowls, leash, toys, and other equipment will be around £200.
Are you sure the Skye Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Having second thoughts on owning a Skye Terrier? Our Pet Finder may help you find the best breed that complements your lifestyle.
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