By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 21st March 2024

Skye Terrier


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 21st March 2024

One of the most endangered native dogs of the UK, Skye Terrier, is also one of the most important and oldest of the terrier breeds, with an elongated body that is double the size of its height, long head, tapered muzzle, brown to dark eyes, and with ears erect and rarely floppy. With only 30 individuals of the breed born in 2005 in the UK, it is the country’s one of the ‘Vulnerable Native Breeds’, which might face extinction within 4 decades from now.

Skye Terrier Pictures

Quick Information

CoatDouble, dense, straight, long
ColorBlue, fawn, light to dark grey, blonde, black
Group (of Breed)Terrier, Hunting Dog
Lifespan12 to 14 years
Weight/SizeMale: 35 to 40 pounds; Female: 25 to 30 pounds
Height10 inches (average)
TemperamentAffectionate, intelligent, loyal, aggressive, playful
Country of OriginScotland
Litter Size5 to 9 puppies
Good with ChildrenNo

Video – Skye Terrier Puppies Playing:


The Skye Terrier is a breed that rose to popularity since the reigns of the British Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, with a pet terrier hiding under the petticoat of Mary, Queen of Scotts, during her execution ordered by the former queen, while the latter made it popular with her strong liking for the breed, which made it an extremely stylish pet amongst the aristocrats, and hence amongst the commoners too. Originating in the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland for protecting the farm by hunting down badgers, foxes, otters etc., preying on livestock. History has it that, during a ship wreck in the 1600s, near the island of Skye in the Hebrides, the few Maltese dogs onboard that could withstand the destruction, mated with the local terriers, thus giving birth to the Skye Terrier dog breed.


Formerly known as the Terrier of the Western Isles, the Skye Terrier mixed with several dog breeds, and has breeds like the Cairn Terrier prototypes, that were formerly included in its class. The other popular mixes are:

  • Scottish-Skye Terrier – (Scottish Terrier x Skye Terrier mix)
  • Skypoo – (Poodle x Skye Terrier mix)

Temperament and Behavior

This hardy, attention-seeking terrier is on one hand loving, affectionate, loyal, happy and brave, but stubborn  and willful on the other, at times, unless handled by the owner with authority, without which it might develop ‘small dog syndrome’, trying to induce its own authority. This might further lead to worse situations like excessive barking, suspecting strangers, attacking, aggressiveness, or even biting. They are fearless hunters and would attack animals like rodents but more of a house pet and do not enjoy living outside of its owner’s house. Being suspicious to people, they make a good watchdog.



The Skye terriers need a fair amount of daily exercise like moderate walks outdoors, which they do enjoy. However, caution has to be taken not to let very young puppies, those that are not older than at least 8 to 10 months, jump, climb, or exercise frequently or indulge in long walks, which might easily interfere in the free growth of their bones, resulting in bowed legs and painful limps. Allowing them to play freely is recommended after they are matured.


To avoid the coat from matting, this average shedder needs their coat be brushed about twice a week, which is necessary when the coat is not trimmed like the owners dwelling in warmer regions frequently do. Do not bath frequently like most terriers need to keep their coat soft, however, cleaning the area surrounding their mouth and eyes is necessary.

Health Problems

Otherwise a healthy breed, a few general diseases like the Degenerative disc disease is common amongst short-legged dogs, with which, probably 10% of these dogs would be affected. Also, other few syndromes like hyperthyroidism, hemangiosarcomas and autoimmune disease do occur, mammary cancer has been recorded to be the leading causes of the death of these dogs, just like spleen cancer stands next to this.


Train them to socialize as a puppy to avoid behavioral issues, as discussed above (see ‘Temperament and Behavior’), including destructive and noisy behavior. Deliver positive reinforcement techniques consistently, so that the puppy might never think it can get away by ignoring your commands, or else, they would repeat this time and again.


Not being too much of an active dog, they do not need high calorie foods, and hence, go for such dog foods meant for less active breeds, especially the dry dog foods which might keep away their dental hazards, although wet food too being fine, both can be served half a can in the morning as breakfast. Inversely, 1 3/8 to 1 7/8 cups of high-quality food, divided into two meals sounds good. Change your dog’s drinking water leftover every day, and wash the bowl. Supply them with vitamins and supplements only if it is required or has been prescribed, else not.

Interesting Facts

  • A Skye terrier called “Greyfriar’s Bobby” said to have been guarding its master Constable John Grey’s grave for 14 years, and were fed by the locals until its death at age 16, after which, a statue of the dog was erected for display in Edinburgh.
  • This terrier got recognition by the AKC back in 1887, and later, were displayed in dog shows too.
  • This dog was so much of a status symbol that, it would be a matter of prestige of the English Duchesses, if others would see her without her pet Skye terrier.
  • Presently, the popularity of the Skye terrier has dropped so much that, many people are even not aware of this breed even by its name.

2 responses to “Skye Terrier”

  1. Becky smith says:

    How old are prick eared skye pups when theyre ears stand up please.they all droop in very young puppies.

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