This is a terrier which you either love or mock, there’s no in between. They have their true admirers, or others who show little understanding. Never the less the breed in it’s own right stays exquisite.
Skyes belong to the oldest and well known Terrier breeds and originated from Scotland, also the home of the Scotties, Westies and Cairns. At the times of Queen Elizabeth the 1st the old kynologicals articles referred to the Skye as “ Scraggy dog from the North with an extremely long coat which make it difficult to define head or body".
Their popularity grew enourmously in the 19th century, mainly because Queen Victoria and her daughter-in-law Queen Alexandra both bred Skye Terriers at Windsor Castle and therefore the breed became very fashionable.For decades Skyes were the favourites of the high aristocracy of Europe. The Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia bred Skyes under her prefix „of Castle Oels“ and was registered in the TERRIER CLUB. Fürstin Pless used to go hunting wild boar in Oberschlesien with her Skyes.The parents of the present day King of Sweden and the Great Duchess of Luxemburg were also great lovers of the breed. So the Skye terrier is definately a " ROYAL TERRIER “.
In the meantime Skyes are now bred of course all over the world and the German Breeders can be proud of their potential. Some german Skye kennels are exporting breeding stock to other European countries, USA and even sometimes to GB. But the Skye Terrier is not a dog for everybody. It is sometimes difficult to find a suitable home for a puppy.They shouldn‘t go to families, that haven’t had any experience with dogs, because they need special affection, love and an understanding of their character. You always have to keep them occupied, they need a lot of attention and work to help them fully unfold. From their appearance the Skyes are elegant and noble but we shouldn’t forget that they are a demanding living creature and not there just for decoration. At the same time they are not so complicated as sometimes assumed, but you need a very special approach to these dogs. A subtle intuition by rearing and training: resolute and kind-hearted, but never unfair – a Skye would never forget it.Towards strangers Skyes are sometimes uneasy and should be treated with caution. On the other hand there are enough Skyes who are extremely friendly with strangers and especially children.The character is formed at a very early age, it starts in the welping box. Skye Terrier are devoted to " their people ". They are intelligent, affectionate and faithful.
The breed bears it’s name from the Isle of Skye, which is one the offshore islands on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. They were originally bred for hunting small game, foxes and otters.
These dogs have always been renowned for their particularly long coat but such a luxurious coat as nowadays is not required for a terrier which is used for the hunt. The Skye owes it’s long and plentiful coat to those breeders who have been breeding since the turn of the century.
Even in a report about the breed the story of „Greyfriars Bobby“ shouldn’t be missing.
It was the story of a Skye Terrier who after his master died, watched over his grave summer and winter for 14 years. Some tried to coax him away, others gave him food and the mayor paid his tax – which was paid in those days - At the end when Bobby died, they buried him in a flower bed beside his masters grave. This was in 1872.
In it’s body structure the Skye has the longest back of all the many Terrier varieties you can find in this family. The Skye should be long and low, but he must maintain an absolutely free and smooth movement. In comparison with other breeds, he has no problem whatsoever with his long back.
The head must have a good length, but must not be narrow. The eyes are brown and set quite close together giving an expression of confidence.
In Germany is the breeding of Skyes confined to the pricked ear variety and a mating with flapped ear dogs hasn’t been allowed for over 50 years. The ears are of medium size and are gracefully feathered.
The teeth are strong and should be a scissor-bite.The neck should be long and lightly arched, the chest deep and the legs short, straight and muscular. In the breed standard is a straight backline (topline) desired and when alert the tail should not be carried too high over the back. The feathers shoud be plentiful. In spite of the spacious ribcage (chest) the sides of the body should be flat which emphasizes the sleek dropping coat.
Author: Wiebke Steen