Choosing a Skye Terrier

The Skye terrier hails from Scotland and is an uncommon breed in the United States. A symbol of loyalty, the Skye terrier is a loving companion and noble dog but still a terrier at heart.

History and Origin

The Skye terrier originated in Scotland, from the Isle of Skye, in the 1600s. Legend has it that at that time, a Spanish ship wrecked off the coast of the Isle of Skye. Maltese dogs that survived the wreck bred with local terriers and the Skye terrier was born. This breed was developed as a working terrier to protect the fields from badgers, foxes and other small vermin. Eventually, the Skye terrier became a favorite of British royalty and the breed became more of a companion than a working dog.

The most famous Skye terrier was named "Bobby". This dog was a symbol of faithfulness and loyalty. After his owner died, "Bobby" stayed by his graveside for 10 years as the townspeople fed and cared for him. After his passing, a statue of "Bobby" was erected.

In 1887, the Skye terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the terrier group.

Appearance and Size

The Skye terrier is a long and low dog with a deep chest. The head is long with a slight stop. The muzzle is dark with a black nose. The eyes are brown and close-set and the ears are usually erect but can be pendulous. The tail is long and feathered and hangs down.

The coat of the Skye terrier is straight, long and flat forming a beard and apron on the head. The undercoat is typically soft and woolly. The ears and tail are well feathered. The color of the coat can be solid black, blue, grey, fawn or cream with black points on the ear, muzzle and tail tip. A small amount of white on the chest is acceptable.

The adult Skye terrier stands around 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 25 pounds. His length should be twice his height.


The Skye terrier is a loving and loyal companion dog. The breed is known for his spunk, courage and playfulness. Cautious and reserved around strangers, the Skye terrier is a good watchdog and will bark when strangers approach their territory. Some can be headstrong and stubborn but most are sweet and gentle with a noble streak.

Home and Family Relations

The Skye terrier is a great family dog that does well in the city or country and prefers to spend as much time as possible with his family. The breed can do well with children if introduced to them at an early age.

Skye terriers can live happily in an apartment as long as they are taken on daily walks. This breed can live with other pets if introduced at an early age but may chase household cats and some can be dog aggressive.


The Skye terrier is easy to train and can excel in obedience but can be difficult to housetrain.

Special Concerns

The Skye terrier does not like to be left alone with nothing to do. They are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors. As with other terriers, this breed tends to dig and bark if bored. This dog should not be allowed to roam off leash since he may chase small quick little creatures.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The Skye terrier is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. Premature closure of the distal radius, which is an orthopedic disorder of the forearm leading to a curved leg, has been reported.

The average life span of the Skye terrier is 12 to 14 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.