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  • Temperament: Courageous, Good-Tempered, Canny
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 178 of 194
  • Height: 10 inches (male), 9.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 35-45 pounds (male), slightly lighter (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Skye Terrier standing in three-quarter view facing forward
Skye Terrier head in three-quarter view
Skye Terrier head facing left
Skye Terrier lying in three-quarter view facing forward
Skye Terrier coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity: agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level-he is twice as long as he is high-he is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs. The hair well feathered on the head veils forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. He stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. He is strong in body, quarter and jaw.

HEAD

Long and powerful, strength being deemed more important than extreme length. Eyes brown, preferably dark brown, medium in size, close-set and alight with life and intelligence. Ears symmetrical and gracefully feathered. They may be carried prick or drop. If prick, they are medium in size, placed high on the skull, erect at their outer edges, and slightly wider apart at the peak than at the skull. Drop ears, somewhat larger in size and set lower, hang flat against the skull. Powerful and absolutely true jaws. The nose is always black. A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify. Mouth with the incisor teeth closing level, or with upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower.

BODY

Neck – Long and gracefully arched, carried high and proudly.The backline is level. Body pre-eminently long and low, the chest deep, with oval-shaped ribs. The sides appear flattish due to the straight falling and profuse coat. Though not to be preferred, the tail is sometimes carried high when the dog is excited or angry. When such carriage arises from emotion only, it is permissible. But the tail should not be constantly carried above the level of the back or hang limp.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders well laid back, with tight placement of shoulder blades at the withers and elbows should fit closely to the sides and be neither loose nor tied. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Legs short, muscular and straight as possible. “Straight as possible” means straight as soundness and chest will permit, it does not mean “Terrier straight.” Feet – Large hare-feet preferably pointing forward, the pads thick and nails strong and preferably black.

COAT

Double. Undercoat short, close, soft and woolly. Outer coat hard, straight and flat. 5½ inches long without extra credit granted for greater length. The body coat hangs straight down each side, parting from head to tail. The head hair, which may be shorter, veils forehead and eyes and forms a moderate beard and apron. The long feathering on the ears falls straight down from the tips and outer edges, surrounding the ears like a fringe and outlining their shape. The ends of the hair should mingle with the coat of the neck. Tail well feathered.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong, full, well developed and well angulated. Legs short, muscular and straight when viewed from behind. Feet as in front.

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skye terrier illustration

About the Skye Terrier

Long, low, and level, this unique earthdog is among the AKC’s most distinctive-looking breeds. Skyes stand 9 or 10 inches high and feature a long, flat-lying coat and peekaboo hairdo. They’re known for big, feathery ears that stand up like bat wings, but Skyes can also have “drop ears,” which lie flat against the large, long head. Beneath the profuse coat are short, muscular legs and a deep chest. When seen in profile, these elegant but substantial terriers are twice as long as they are high.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Skye Terrier

Find a Puppy: Skye Terrier

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Care

NUTRITION

The Skye Terrier requires a high-quality dog food appropriate to his age and activity level. Your vet or breeder will be able to help you choose what to feed.
Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The Skye’s long, luxurious double coat appears more challenging to maintain than it actually is. It does require weekly brushing and combing with a soft or pin brush and a long-toothed comb to keep it free of tangles, but the breed requires no trimming in the form of clippering or scissoring, and the coat should be kept in a natural condition. Nails should be kept trimmed short; usually a trim every couple of weeks to a month is sufficient. Ears should be checked at least weekly and cleaned of any excess wax or debris to avoid ear infections that dogs with drop ears can be prone to. Baths can be given as needed—usually once a month will be enough. Do not scrub the coat during shampooing, as that can cause it to mat.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

The Skye Terrier has minimal exercise needs and will usually be content with whatever level of activity is comfortable for his owner. Even a short daily outing will benefit him both physically and mentally. They enjoy play-sessions and participating in canine sports with their people, and the breed can be found competing in dog shows and agility, obedience, and earthdog events.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Skye is a very intelligent but strong-willed breed, calmer than many of the terrier breeds. They are amenable to training, provided it is consistent and done in a positive manner. They are sensitive to correction and will withdraw from harsh or negative training methods. Like all terriers, they can be stubborn, but they enjoy interaction with their human and are eager to please. The Skye is reserved by nature and should be well-socialized from a very young age to ensure a happy and outgoing personality. For those who understand the breed’s temperament and raise the dog with love and proper training and socialization, there is no more delightful companion.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

Because of their long and low structure, Skye Terriers are prone to disk injury, and Skye puppies should never be allowed to go up and down stairs excessively or jump onto hard surfaces from any height. Skyes also can be susceptible to skin allergies. Owners should closely monitor their Skyes for any potential signs of cancer, as mammary cancer and hemangiosarcoma can occur in the breed. Other conditions that are occasionally seen include autoimmune disease, hip dysplasia, and luxating patellas. Responsible breeders screen potential breeding stock for health conditions that can affect the breed.

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • No recommended health tests
Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier

History

Skye is the largest, most northerly of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides islands. In the 1600s the rugged, hard-coated terrier bred by the island’s farmers to control the fox and badger population became a favorite of British nobles, an unusual development for a working farm dog. The peak of Skye popularity came in the late 19th century, when Queen Victoria championed the breed. These were the days, a historian wrote, when “a duchess would almost be ashamed to be seen in the park unaccompanied by her long-coated Skye.”

Did You Know?

The Skye Terrier was a fashionable pet of all degrees after being accepted in court, by the Kings and Queens of England.
Originally, the drop eared variety was favored for this work, but later, in the nineteenth century, the prick eared variety became more popular as a pet and show dog, partly as a result of Queen Victoria's fondness for the breed.
The famous Skye Terrier, Greyfriars Bobby was so devoted to his master John Gray, even in death, for fourteen years Bobby lay on the grave only leaving for food.
The Skye was much favored as a house pet of the Scottish lairds and eventually gained considerable status with the English aristocracy. There was a time when any self-respecting duchess would have been ashamed to be seen in the park without her fashionable Skye Terrier.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity: agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level-he is twice as long as he is high-he is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs. The hair well feathered on the head veils forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. He stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. He is strong in body, quarter and jaw.

HEAD

Long and powerful, strength being deemed more important than extreme length. Eyes brown, preferably dark brown, medium in size, close-set and alight with life and intelligence. Ears symmetrical and gracefully feathered. They may be carried prick or drop. If prick, they are medium in size, placed high on the skull, erect at their outer edges, and slightly wider apart at the peak than at the skull. Drop ears, somewhat larger in size and set lower, hang flat against the skull. Powerful and absolutely true jaws. The nose is always black. A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify. Mouth with the incisor teeth closing level, or with upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower.

BODY

Neck – Long and gracefully arched, carried high and proudly.The backline is level. Body pre-eminently long and low, the chest deep, with oval-shaped ribs. The sides appear flattish due to the straight falling and profuse coat. Though not to be preferred, the tail is sometimes carried high when the dog is excited or angry. When such carriage arises from emotion only, it is permissible. But the tail should not be constantly carried above the level of the back or hang limp.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders well laid back, with tight placement of shoulder blades at the withers and elbows should fit closely to the sides and be neither loose nor tied. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Legs short, muscular and straight as possible. “Straight as possible” means straight as soundness and chest will permit, it does not mean “Terrier straight.” Feet – Large hare-feet preferably pointing forward, the pads thick and nails strong and preferably black.

COAT

Double. Undercoat short, close, soft and woolly. Outer coat hard, straight and flat. 5½ inches long without extra credit granted for greater length. The body coat hangs straight down each side, parting from head to tail. The head hair, which may be shorter, veils forehead and eyes and forms a moderate beard and apron. The long feathering on the ears falls straight down from the tips and outer edges, surrounding the ears like a fringe and outlining their shape. The ends of the hair should mingle with the coat of the neck. Tail well feathered.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong, full, well developed and well angulated. Legs short, muscular and straight when viewed from behind. Feet as in front.

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skye terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 037
CREAM Check Mark For Standard Color 076
FAWN Check Mark For Standard Color 082
GRAY Check Mark For Standard Color 100
PLATINUM Check Mark For Standard Color 319
SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 176

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