This is an elegant, small/medium terrier that is long-bodied and low to the ground: the adult male Skye stands at approximately 25-26cm and is around 105cm from nose to tailtip. Females are slightly smaller. The weight range for the adult is 16-18kg. The long coat is hard and straight. It is shorter on the head and falls over the eyes but does not impede vision. The ears can be up or down, and are well feathered with hair. The coat comes in several colours (see the breed standard).
Originally from the Isle of Skye, in the Hebridean islands off the north-west of Scotland, the Skye Terrier dog breed was used for pest control and dates back to around the 1500s. Dogs who survived a shipwreck from the Spanish Armada are thought to have bred with local Scottish terriers to produce a long-coated dog similar to the Skye of today. The Scottish terriers may have been early Cairn Terriers, and others may have had Swedish Vallhund ancestry, from the Viking colonisation of the region.
The Skye Terrier is typically a one-man dog, devoted to his owner. This strong-willed dog can be suspicious of strangers, but should be good-tempered. Obviously, early socialisation is essential – not only with people but with other dogs and pets.
The most common health problems encountered in the Skye Terrier is a forelimb bone problem that occurs in growing puppies. Like other breeds with short legs and long spines they are also predisposed to spinal disease.
Unlike many terriers that are active and always on the go, the Skye dog breed is quite lazy and only needs about an hour's daily exercise.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The double coat consists of a short, soft undercoat and a hard, straight topcoat that should be long without affecting the dog's movement. Grooming the coat two or three times a week will prevent tangles and mats from forming. Do check the coat after a walk, as it can act as a broom!