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Skye Terrier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Skye Terrier
A Skye Terrier
Kennel club standards
The Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Skye Terrier is a Scottish dog breed that is a long, low, hardy terrier and "one of the most endangered native dog breeds in the United Kingdom" according to The Kennel Club.


Skye Terriers


The Skye is double coated with a short, soft undercoat and a hard, straight topcoat. The shorter hair of the head veils the forehead and eyes, forming a moderate beard. The ears are generally well feathered and, in prick-eared examples, the hair normally falls like a fringe, accenting the form, and blending with the side locks.


Fawn, blue, dark or light grey, blonde, and black with black points (ears and muzzle) all occur. They may have any self colour, allowing for some shading of same colour on the body and a lighter undercoat, so long as the nose and ears are black. There is generally no further patterning on the body, but a small white spot on the chest is relatively common.


Except for the shape and size of the ears, there is no significant difference nor preference given between the prick- and drop-eared types. When prick, they are medium-sized, carried high on the skull and angled slightly outwards.

Skye Terrier, light grey coat


In 1998, 'Skye terrier hepatitis' was described from biopsies of the livers of nine related Skye Terriers.[1] This condition is not known in any other breed and the aetiology is unknown. It causes severe liver disease with scar tissue formation that may progress to cirrhosis. Researchers with the Cambridge University Department of Veterinary Medicine found that the condition is not actually a form of hepatitis. Prognosis varies between dogs and no gene has been identified as causing the condition nor has any heritability been properly demonstrated.[2]


A statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a famously loyal Skye Terrier

These dogs were found on the Isle of Skye, and the dogs were then named Skye Terriers. Some confusion exists in tracing its history because, for a certain time, several different breeds had the same name "Skye Terrier". The loyal dog, said to have been present under the petticoat of Mary, Queen of Scots at her execution, has been ascribed as a Skye Terrier. In 1840, Queen Victoria made the breed fancy, keeping both drop-(floppy) and prick-(upwards) eared dogs. A colour lithograph of Skye Terriers was included in "The Illustrated Book of the Dog" by Vero Shaw in 1881.[3][4]

This increased its popularity and the Skye Terrier came to America due to this. The AKC recognized the breed in 1887, and it quickly appeared on the show scene. Its popularity has significantly dropped and now it is one of the least known terriers. There is little awareness of its former popularity.[5]

Under threat[edit]

There are concerns that the breed is under threat of extinction with only 30 born in the UK in 2005.[6] It is today one of the most endangered of the Vulnerable Native Breeds of that country. The breed may disappear completely within 40 years.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haywood, S.; Rutgers, H. C.; Christian, M. K. (1988). "Hepatitis and Copper Accumulation in Skye Terriers". Veterinary Pathology. 25 (6): 408–414. doi:10.1177/030098588802500602. ISSN 0300-9858.
  2. ^ "Skye Terrier Hepatitis". The Canine Genetic Centre. Cambridge University. Archived from the original on 29 April 2024. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  3. ^ Shaw, Vero (1881). Skye Terriers (Picture). Archived from the original on 6 December 2023. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. ^ Shaw, Vero Kemball; Stables, Gordon (1881). The Illustrated Book of the Dog. University of California Libraries. London, Paris, New York: Galpin & Co. p. 488. Archived from the original on 17 June 2020.
  5. ^ Coile, Caroline (2005). "The Terrier Group". Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds (second edition) (2 ed.). Barron's Educational Series. p. 352. ISBN 0-7641-5700-0.
  6. ^ Savill, Richard (5 July 2006), "Skye Seven raise hope for breed's survival", Daily Telegraph, archived from the original on 21 October 2021
  7. ^ Elliott, Valerie (12 June 2006), "Fight is on to save dogs that fell out of fashion", The Times