Did you know that the Skye terrier is one of the oldest and least known of the terriers? Queen Victoria was in love with this breed and contributed to its popularization among aristocrats in the middle of the 19th century. The most characteristic feature of these friendly dogs is their long hair and large ears, also covered with a smooth, hard coat.
They are extremely affectionate and dependent, which together with their small size and low need for physical activity makes them ideal as a companion pet for the elderly. They enjoy indoor life, so they are happy in a small city apartment.
Characteristics of the Skye terrier breed
In addition to their small size, Skye terriers are distinguished by an elongated, low body. In fact, according to the official standard, they must be twice as long as they are tall. Their legs are short but strong and their chest is deep. Its head is long and moderately wide, with a symmetrical muzzle and very expressive eyes.
They are usually brown. Their ears are large in relation to the size of the head and can be drooping or erect. If drooping, they will be larger and lower set. In both cases they are covered with a smooth and hard hair that also covers the eyes. The tail is medium sized and is heavily fringed.
- Height between 25 and 26 cm in males and between 20 and 24 cm in females.
- Weight between 16 and 18 kg in males and between 12 and 14 kg in females.
- Long hair and consists of a double coat. The internal corresponds to a short, soft and very dense coat. The outer coat is long, smooth and hard. The most common colors are black, blue, gray, fawn and cream with dark markings. However, there are Skye terriers in other solid shades with paler undercoat and black ears.
- Affectionate and familiar character
- Good health but with a tendency to suffer from osteoarthritis.
- Estimated life expectancy between 14 and 14 years.
Temperament of the Skye terrier
They are very affectionate and dependent. However, they belong to the category of one-master dogs. Therefore, they are particularly attached to one member of their family. They dislike spending time alone and, in fact, are very prone to separation anxiety or destructive behavior if they feel neglected.
Despite their small size, they are brave and stubborn and can be aggressive with larger dogs due to competition, social hierarchy or territoriality. It is not convenient to leave them alone with pets smaller than them because they like to chase, nor with children because they tend to bite if they feel attacked or bothered.
They do not like strangers and will not hesitate to be cold to them. Consequently, it is more than advisable to socialize them from puppyhood and expose them to interaction using positive training, as they are very sensitive to punishment. Their training should be based on canine obedience using rewards.
What care does the Skye Terrier require?
As you can imagine, the Skye’s long hair is the most important part of the care required by these dogs. On the one hand, because it tends to tangle easily and on the other hand, because the beard tends to rust when in contact with food and water. Therefore, it is necessary to provide them with a special feeder and drinker for dogs with long ears.
They should be brushed 3 or 4 times a week, every 2 or 3 days. They lose a lot of hair, and brushing will control their discomfort. Before brushing, with a wire-tipped brush and without a ball on the tips, you should spray the coat with the moisturizer. Dissolve the moisturizing paste in water and once mixed, put it in a spray bottle.
Bathe him every 15 days with a shampoo of intense hydration and ph7, because it is the most similar to the ph of his skin. Making sure that his skin is free of dermatitis, he will not scratch and this will prevent tangles from forming. The ears should be sanitized with a specific cleanser. With 30 minutes of physical activity every day they stay happy and healthy.
History of the breed
Skye terriers come from the island that gives them their name, located in the United Kingdom very close to the Scottish coast. Despite being one of the least known terriers, it is true to say that they are among the oldest of their family. The most widespread theory points to a Spanish shipwreck near the island in the 16th century as the origin of the breed.
As a consequence of this shipwreck, local farmers began to crossbreed their terriers with Maltese. Historically they have been used as hunting dogs for vermin or burrowing animals. It was Queen Victoria who popularized them among the aristocratic classes around 1840.
Curiosities of the Skye terrier
A tan-haired Skye terrier named Bobby did not miss a single day, for a whopping 14 years, to his appointment with the cemetery of the Greyfriars Kirk Church in Edinburgh. The reason for such fidelity was none other than the fact that his owner was buried there.
Upon his death in 1873, Baroness Burdett Coutts ordered the construction of a statue at the gates of the cemetery to pay homage to the dog. Years later a film was made to tell Bobby’s touching story.