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Skye Terriers: A Spotlight On A Rare Dog

February 15, 2024

Did you know that Skye Terrier Day is February 21st? The Skye Terrier is a pint-sized pup with a big personality. Originally from the foggy Isle of Skye in Scotland, these endearing canines make fiercely loyal companions. Fido certainly needs the attention of that special day: though once held dear by royalty, the breed is now endangered. A Rockbridge, VA veterinarian shares more about this delightful Scottish breed below.

Is The Skye Terrier Rare?

Yes! As a result of the current trend of small designer pooches like the Doodle, Skye Terriers haven’t fared well in recent years. They are now one of the UK’s most endangered dog breeds, ranking near the bottom of the AKC’s breed list as far as popularity.

What Does A Skye Terrier Look Like?

The charming Skye Terrier boasts a luscious, lengthy coat and comes in various shades such as black, blue, gray, and cream. Fido’s ears can either stand up or flop down. Many of these pooches have long bangs, or fringes, which can obscure their eyes.

These dogs are not very big, but they are longer than they are tall. Most of these lovable pups measure under ten inches in height. Males typically weigh between 35-40 pounds, while females weigh 25-31 pounds. Like many other small breeds, these guys have a pretty long lifespan: they can live up to 15 years with proper care.

What Is The Origin Of The Skye Terrier Dog?

Fido’s origins are in his name: Skye Terriers come from the Isle of Skye, off the coast of northwest Scotland. In the 16th century, Spanish Armada sailors brought ashore some small white dogs, similar to the Maltese. These soon mixed with Scottish Terriers. That fateful crossing led to the development of the Skye Terrier.

Originally used for hunting foxes and badgers, these plucky little dogs became very popular during the Victorian era. In fact, Queen Victoria bred Skye Terriers in her kennels! That royal stamp of approval gave Fido a great publicity boost. By the mid-16th century, many of the nobility owned Skye Terriers. In fact, some of the first dog shows featured them. They were accepted by the AKC back in 1887.

Which Skye Terriers Are Famous?

As far as famous Skye Terriers, well, there aren’t many to choose from. However, we do know of at least one notable Skye Terrier, a pup by the name of Greyfriars Bobby. This loyal dog was extremely devoted to his owner, John Gray, a Scottish night watchman who passed away from tuberculosis in 1858. Bobby remained loyal to Gray even after Gray’s death. He caught the attention of the locals by following his owner’s funeral procession and then remaining by his gravesite afterward. Despite numerous attempts by others to lure him away, Bobby always returned to his master’s resting place. As a tribute to his loyalty, the townsfolk built a small shelter for him. This became his permanent home until he passed away.

Today, there is a statue dedicated to Bobby in Edinburgh. It’s located between Candlemakers Row and George IV Bridge, near Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Gray is buried. The devoted pup’s story has touched many hearts over the years. In 1961, Walt Disney made a movie about him, which was titled Greyfriars Bobby. It was remade in 2005 as The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.

Do Skye Terriers Have Health Issues?

Although Fido is generally quite hardy, he is at risk from a few specific health issues, such as intervertebral disc disease and eye problems. The AKC does not provide specific recommendations for tests, but it is a good idea to consult your Rockbridge, VA veterinarian on this. You may be advised to have your canine buddy screened for common conditions, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia.

Keep in mind that Fido’s long coat can conceal many problems. It’s important to inspect your pooch regularly, and check for things like parasites, cuts, swelling, and skin problems. (Fortunately, this can easily be done during cuddle time.)

As with any pup, you’ll need to keep an eye out for any signs of illness or injury. Contact your Rockbridge, VA veterinarian immediately if you notice anything unusual.

Are Skye Terrier Dogs Hyper?

Skye Terriers need proper exercise to stay healthy. Your little buddy may get pretty tired just running around on those short legs, so you will not have to take him on long walks. A few short walks and daily play sessions will do it.

It’s important to note that not all exercises are safe for these guys. Skye Terriers are highly prone to back injuries, because of their elongated spines. They can injure themselves just by going up and down stairs or jumping onto hard surfaces. Stick with safe options. Consult your Rockbridge, VA veterinarian for more information.

Are Skye Terriers Noisy?

While some pups are quieter than others, Skye Terriers do sometimes bark to express themselves. Make sure your pet has lots of toys to entertain himself with, particularly when he’s alone.

How Much Grooming Does A Skye Terrier Need?

Although Skye Terriers are rather shaggy, their grooming needs actually vary depending on their lifestyle. If your pup mostly stays indoors, you won’t have to worry too much about keeping him clean. However, if he loves to play in mud puddles and/or spends a lot of time outdoors, you will need to bathe him more often.

When bathing your canine buddy, it might be a good idea to dilute Fido’s shampoo. Also, don’t scrub or rub too hard. Otherwise, his hair may break.

Aside from that, you’ll need to brush your furry friend regularly with a soft brush or comb to prevent mats and tangles from forming on him. You can carefully trim your pup’s bangs back if that cute fringe is blocking his vision. Regular nail trimming and ear cleaning are also essential. 

Consult your veterinarian for specific advice about your pet’s beauty care needs.

Do Skye Terriers Make Good Pets?

As to whether Fido is a good pet, that depends on what you are looking for. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes! It’s important to find a good match.

There’s a lot to love about these little dogs. In spite of their size, Skye Terriers have a larger-than-life character. These adorable little dogs are really cute and fun and are well-suited to a variety of households. They’re smart and cuddly, require little exercise, and are extremely loyal to their owners. They’re also a great fit for apartment dwellers, due to their small size.

A few things to note: The Skye Terrier may not be a good fit for families with very young children, since he can be stubborn. They can also be prone to conflict with other dogs, especially those they don’t know. In addition, Fido tends to dig a lot. If you want to have a Skye Terrier and a garden, you’ll need to section up your yard. 

Conclusion: A Skye Terrier is not just a beautiful dog with a distinctive appearance, but is also a loyal companion. Sadly, these charming pups are now endangered.

Our Rockbridge, VA pet hospital is dedicated to providing your pet with the best care possible, so if you have any questions about the Skye Terrier, please feel free to ask!

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