The Skye Terrier is an old and dignified dog breed originating, as have so many terriers, in Scotland. First bred on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides, this dog was bred to go to ground to hunt aggressive predators, such as foxes, otters, and badgers. more...
They were the aristocrats of the farm dogs, not left out with the other herding and ratting animals, but often kept in their owners' homes, a rare privilege as most working dogs would not be allowed inside.
The Skye was first popularized outside their home island in 1840s when Queen Victoria began breeding the dogs. Before then, the drop-eared variety was the most popular, but the prick-eared is now the most common, partially because of the Queen's love of the type.
The Skye Terrier is often called "a large dog with short legs", and their height of 10 inches (25 cm) at the withers is deceptive, as they are twice as long as they are tall, generally 20 inches (51 cm) long in a properly proportioned dog.
The head is held high, and should be both long (but not snipey) and powerful, with strong jaws typical of the terriers. The dark eyes, closely set, should be alert and intelligent.
The body is long and low, with a level backline and a deep chest. The tail is long and well feathered, carried either low or level with the back, in which case it may be mistaken for a continuation of the back. The forearms curve slightly around the large chest, and the hindquarters are muscular and well developed. The Skye should have long "hare" feet, pointing forwards, with strong nails.
The Skye is double coated, with a short, soft undercoat and a hard, straight topcoat, which must be flat against the body and free of curl. The ideal coat length is 5 1/2 inches (14 cm), with no extra credit for a longer coat. The shorter hair of the head veils the forehead and eyes, forming a moderate beard. The ears should be well feathered and, in prick-eared examples, the hair should fall like a fringe, accenting the form, and blending with the side locks.
Fawn, blue, dark or light grey, cream, and black with black points (ears, tail, 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 should be no further patterning on the body, but a small white spot on the chest is permissible.
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. In the drop type, the ears are set lower, are larger, and should hang flat against the head.
The Skye Terrier coat is resistant to tangling, and needs to be brushed at least once a week. The Skye should be kept natural and untrimmed.
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