The most loyal dog in popular culture in the United Kingdom - Greyfriars Bobby - was a Skye terrier, a Scottish breed which has been popular for about 500 years. Why is a breed which used to be a common sight on Scottish streets now on the Kennel Club's list of the most vulnerable native breeds?
According to Gail Marshall, secretary of the Scottish branch of the Skye Terriers Club, there are now just 3,000 to 4,000 of the dogs in the world. Here in the US the Skye Terrier is number 171 on our Most Popular Dogs in America list. Nowadays the Skye Terrier are facing some challenging times.
"The Skyes are being forgotten about," Marshall says. "People just don't know about them."
Tracing the origin of the breed is almost impossible, what is certainly true is the Skye Terrier is certainly one of the oldest Scottish breeds and was long seen as a wonderful companion. One story about the Skye Terrier’s origins claims that canine survivors of a Spanish Armada shipwreck off the island of Skye bred with local terriers, producing a strain with a long, silky coat.
The Skye Terrier is also the subject of famous Scottish folklore. Greyfriars Bobby was the Skye Terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner in 19th-century Edinburgh.
Skye terriers have a very loyal and friendly character. They are very glamorous. Their coats are very attractive. The breed has been steadily declining in popularity in the past decades.
Thank you to our friends at the Kennel Club for sending this story our way.