Skye Terrier

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Skye Terrier

The hardy, long, low, and level Skye Terrier is a stylish and elegant dog, and it is “one of the most endangered native dog breeds in the United Kingdom”. They were developed to hunt and kill badger, otter, and fox, and now they are appreciated as versatile companion dogs.

Other Names None
Color Black, Blue, Cream, Fawn, Gray, Platinum, Silver
Height Males: 9-10 inches. Females: 7-10 inches.
Weight Males: 18-40 pounds. Females: 18-40 pounds.
Life Span 12-14 years
Personality Courageous, Good-Tempered, Canny
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #187
Groom Needs Daily
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog
Family Dog
Litter Size 5-9

Skye Terrier Pictures

Skye Terrier Video


The Skye Terrier doesn’t require much exercise, making it a good apartment dog. It is an intelligent dog, normally friendly around its family but recognizes strangers and keeps aloof from them. Skye Terriers are agile and elegant, in their sturdy bones are vast stores of strength. It stands with its head held up high and its tail relaxed, then when it moves it does so with grace. The double coat is made up of a soft wooly undercoat, covered by a lavish long topcoat. Skye Terriers come in colors of blue, fawn, black, platinum, gray, silver, and cream.

Being small dogs, the size difference between male and female Skye Terriers isn’t significant. Male dogs stand around 9-10 inches at the shoulder, slightly taller than the females. They weigh 35-45 pounds in general. Skye Terriers have a life expectancy of 11-14 years.

Living with Skye Terrier

The Skye’s long double coat looks as if it would be high maintenance, but no trimming is required and it can be relatively easily cared for. It does need weekly brushing and combing with a soft or pin brush and a long-toothed comb to keep it free of tangles. Usually, a bath every two or three times a week is helpful to keep the coat clean. The owner needs to pay attention to that be sure to brush or comb out any tangles before bathing the dog. Once the coat gets wet, it would tighten up and is more difficult to remove. Also, check and clean the dog’s ears every week for signs of infection, irritation, or wax buildup. Brush the teeth several times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria lurking inside. Besides, nails should be kept trimmed short, usually a trim every couple of weeks to a month is sufficient.

The Skye Terrier has minimal exercise needs and would usually be happy with whatever level of activity with his owner. Even daily walks will benefit the dog both physically and mentally. And they can adapt to any environment, from apartment to country home. The dog should be on a leash or in a securely, fenced yard when outside to so he’s protected from traffic and encounters with other dogs, toward whom he’s likely to express some dislike. The Skye Terrier puppy should not be over-exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. Because too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.

Generally, it is recommended to feed the Skye Terrier with one and a half to two cups of high-quality dry dog food every day, divided into two meals. And there should be clean and fresh water at all times. More importantly, the food amount should depend on the dog’s weight, size, age, and activity level. 

Some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

The Skye Terriers are prone to the following health conditions: disk injuries, autoimmune disease, hip dysplasia, skin allergies, luxating patellas, skin allergies, etc. 

Major concerns: none

Minor concerns: intervertebral disk disease, premature closure of distal radius

Occasionally seen: copper toxicosis

Total Annual Cost: $2876

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Training the Skye Terrier is not very easy, especially for the first-time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are essential when training the dog because they are sensitive to correction and will withdraw from harsh or negative training methods. But they enjoy reaction with their humans and are eager to please, same as other terriers. So puppies should be properly socialized to develop the amiable, outgoing personality that is characteristic of the breed. And for those owners who understand this breed’s temperament and raise the dog with patience and love and proper training and socialization, there is no more agreeable companion.


The Skye Terrier is of British origin, developed in the Skye Islands of northwestern Scotland. They were used to hunt badgers, otters, and foxes, also known for their tenacity in pursuit of their quarry. For many years, several different breeds were known by the name of the Skye Terrier, until subsequent separations took place over the years. Perhaps, this explains why the Skye Terrier breed has an obscure history. From the 16th century, the Skye Terrier had gained favor with the British Royals, being kept in majestic kennels. Queen Victoria was said to have acquired her first Skye Terrier in the 1840s and was known to have bred Skye Terriers in her large royal kennel. It was only a matter of time before the breed became a household affair in all of the United Kingdom.

The most popular Skye Terrier is Greyfriars Bobby, which was probably the reason for the popularity of the breed and its importation to the United States. The dog was loyal to John Gray, his master, who was a night watchman of the 1850s. Until John Gray’s death in 1858, Bobby had been a devoted companion dog, even followed the procession to his master’s funeral, and refused to leave the graveside till his own death.

By the 1860s, the Skye Terrier had joined the dog show circuit, especially as a strong competitor at the Birmingham dog shows. The breed club for the Skye Terrier was later formed in 1876 and, by 1887, it was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Since their days of fame in the 19th century, the Skye Terrier slowly receded into obscurity and is now considered one of the endangered native dog breeds of the United Kingdom by the Kennel Club.

Helpful Information


Breed Club Link:

Breed Club Rescue: Skye Terrier Club of America Rescue Committee

Breed Club Rescue Link: