Skye Terriers are a fairly rare breed of dog, first introduced to the British Isles. Nowadays, few people can boast of knowing them. This dog has a truly toy appearance, but under it are real defenders, formidable guards for their master.
The first mention of the Skye Terrier breed dogs appeared on the Isle of Skye, which is part of the Hebrides group – this is how the animal got its name. According to historical data, Spanish travelers brought small dogs with rather long hair there, and already the natives began to actively cross the dog with local terriers. That’s how Skye Terriers were born.
A complete description of the breed was first made in the 16th century, it was given by John Caius, a cynologist well-known at that time, in the book On the Dogs of England.
He said that in ancient times, these unusual animals were bred for hunting – they worked great for badgers, ferrets, foxes and many other burrowing animals.
Years later, the Skye came to England, where it quickly became one of the most popular breeds. A great contribution to their distribution was made by Queen Victoria, who, being delighted with the unusual appearance of dogs and their working characteristics, created several kennels for breeding these dogs in 1842.
The upheavals of the first decades of the last century did not go unnoticed by the sky terrier population. – already after the First World War, the number of animals decreased sharply, but in the 30s the number began to increase again – this became possible only thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts who threw all their strength into continuing the breeding development of these dogs. Gradually, the breed came to America and Japan, where it was rated very highly. In 1959, the animal appeared in Moscow, but did not receive much distribution – in our time, there are very few dogs of this breed in Russia, however, as in European countries. According to statistics from 2010, Skye Terriers were in 160th place in the number of registrations of newborn puppies, despite the fact that there are only 167 breeds in the official list.
Currently, cynologists are making a lot of efforts to popularize the breed, to attract the attention of breeders and exhibition organizers to it.
This is interesting: in Scotland, in the city of Edinburgh, a monument to the Skye Terrier was erected – it was erected in memory of the faithful dog named Bobby.
There is an amazing and sad story about this animal – when the owner of the dog died, the dog refused to eat and drink for two weeks, came to the grave of its owner and died without leaving it. He was also buried there, so that after life the dog could connect with his beloved master.
Description of the breed
At first glance, Skye Terriers make the most pleasant impression. This is a very elegant and graceful dog that looks like a small squat dog with short legs and a slightly elongated body. In accordance with the official standard, his body is decorated with rather long flowing hair, which often falls on the eyes of animals – but this does not in the least prevent the dog from being able to navigate the terrain perfectly.
Skye terriers have sharp eyes and sensitive ears.
The overall portrait of this cute pet is complemented by a black nose and a “smiling” muzzle. The past of a hunter today is far behind the Skye, but today it is more like a companion dog and a favorite of the public – a cute and well-groomed dog that wins the hearts of others with devotion and exceptional beauty.
Skye terriers are classified as small terriers. In accordance with the breed standard, the animal is distinguished by:
- large and slightly elongated head;
- muzzle of the classic “terrier” type in shape;
- small ears with a rather high fit, covered with thick hair, erect;
- bite like scissors;
- nose dark grey, almost black;
- the eyes are not small, but also small, the shape is oval, the color of the iris depends on the color of the coat and can vary from light to dark shades of brown;
- neck of medium length;
- elongated body;
- body length reaches 1 meter;
- sternum oval;
- forelegs and hind limbs are straight, shortened, muscular and well developed;
- the coat is smooth, elongated, thick soft undercoat;
- the suit can be solid or tan;
- coat color can be gray, blue (blue), black, white or red;
- males in height reach 27 cm, body weight approaches 11 kg;
- females are lower – their height does not exceed 22 cm, and their weight is 8 kg.
This funny dog has typical terrier traits – dogs are strong, independent, very brave and at the same time cautious. These pets are desperately devoted to their owner with all their hearts, but it is not so easy for people to win the favor and love of such a dog, he does not give it freely. The Skye Terrier is very selective in terms of personal sympathy and the choice of whom he will serve, but once he has made his choice – his devotion will be all-encompassing. As a rule, they take one family member as the owner and follow him around like a shadow, but at the same time they treat the rest of the household with exceptional respect.
If a Skye Terrier is brought up in a home with children from early childhood, he will be friendly to kids.
In relation to strangers, this dog is restrained, even shy, so the socialization of the animal from the very first days of life is of fundamental importance. This dog will never endure if it is picked up and squeezed by someone other than the closest people. It is very important from the first days of life to teach the dog obedience and discipline, since the independent disposition of the animal in the absence of training will make the dog simply uncontrollable. Skye is sensitive to reprimands, but will never show humility.
Dogs of this breed will become an attentive guard for their home, and for the owner – an excellent protector.
The Skye Terrier has an average need for physical activity, so the animal needs daily walks. The dogs really excelled at tracking and agility exercises.
These funny pets are very cheerful and friendly, but despite this, in the house they behave quietly and submissively, they are able to sit near their owner for several hours.
With other pets, dogs coexist quite peacefully, especially with other dogs.
The only exceptions are rodents – at the sight of these animals, the voice of distant ancestors makes itself felt and the hunting instinct wakes up in the skies.
In general, Skye Terriers can be described as loyal, loving and idolizing companions who can be serious, funny, cheerful and quiet. In any case, human attention and reciprocity are important for him.
The northern origin of Skye Terriers endowed the dog of this breed with strong immunity and excellent health. In favorable conditions, they live for quite a long time – up to 20 years. However, these dogs, like many others, are prone to some hereditary and acquired diseases:
- pathologies of the musculoskeletal system – most often become the result of a sedentary lifestyle;
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract – occur when the dog is fed incorrectly;
- skin inflammations – often occur in pets with insufficiently competent care of the animal’s coat or with an unbalanced diet of the dog.
Conditions for keeping
Skyterers, due to their small size and moderate need for activity, can be kept both in a private house and in a small city apartment. But at the same time, not everyone can become its owner.
The fact is that this dog will only obey the person who will be an authority for her, so the owner must be a strong spirit and self-confident personality.
The animal is suitable for athletes and people leading an active lifestyle, he will gladly accompany his owner during walks and morning runs. But noisy families in which the household does not have time to raise a dog and a full-fledged walking should give preference to other breeds. Skye is not suitable for a child as a toy, since the animal is unlikely to like the constant desire of the kids to play, touch and rumple the pet, and this dog is also not suitable as an interior decoration.
It is not recommended to purchase a breed for older people, as well as for those who prefer to lie on the couch in front of the TV all day.
What to feed?
Please note that it is necessary to feed the Skye Terrier from the stand, which must be raised as the animal grows – this will allow you to develop the correct posture of the animal.
Young dogs are fed often, but in small portions, while you need to ensure that the pet’s stomach does not swell from food, and the baby himself, even after eating, remains prone to games. Until the puppy reaches 2 months of age, he is fed 5-6 times a day, then the number of feedings is gradually reduced, so that by six months the pet can be transferred to 2 meals a day. Usually in the morning they give lighter food – for example, kefir with crackers, cottage cheese or cereals, and for dinner they offer a dog mash, consisting of meat, vegetables, cereals, eggs and greens.
The meat should be lean – beef, veal, rabbit or horse meat, a couple of times a week, high-quality offal is allowed (liver, heart, jelly from chicken feet). Meat products can be given raw, but if you cannot be 100% sure of their freshness, then it is better to pre-boil or stew. Fatty lamb and pork should not be included in the menu – this will have the most adverse effect on the stomach and pancreas of the dog.
In no case should you give bones, you should not include poultry meat in the menu – it often causes an allergy in a dog.
Please note that minced meat is usually poorly digested by puppies, therefore it is advisable to give meat products finely chopped.
Meat should make up about 70% of a dog’s diet, with the remaining 30% coming from other foods.
- Fish. Preference should be given to low-fat varieties – hake or cod. River fish should not be given, it contains small bones and is often affected by helminths.
- Eggs. It is allowed to include in the diet 1-2 chicken egg yolks per week or one quail egg per day.
- Dairy. Milk itself can only be given to puppies up to two months, then it ceases to be absorbed by the animal’s body. After this age, preference should be given to low-fat cottage cheese, kefir or yogurt.
- Kashi. Sky terriers are usually given oatmeal, as well as boiled buckwheat or rice, corn grits and wheat are poorly digested in the dog’s stomach, and barley is not digested at all.
- Vegetables are very important for the full growth and development of the dog, it is best to offer Skye grated carrots, as well as cabbage and always fresh herbs (parsley, dill or celery).
- If the dog is good with fruits, then you need to include them in the dog’s menu as desired.
- It will be useful to add a little vegetable oil to the mash – it improves the condition of the animal’s coat.
- Do not damage the sea kale, which is saturated with B vitamins – the product helps to strengthen the immune system, enhances the growth and shine of the coat.
If you are going to feed your pet with dry food, then you should give preference to premium, super-premium or holistic products – they are made from the highest quality meat, contain a balanced composition and are enriched with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. In feed from the economy category, the content of preservatives, flavor enhancers and flavors is high.
You should not give dogs food from your table, as it is prepared using seasonings, pepper and salt, which is absolutely unacceptable for dogs.
It is also better to exclude too liquid soups, dogs do not perceive fatty, flour products, sweets in all forms, marinades and pickles.
The daily diet of a dog up to 6 months should be approximately 1/25 of the animal’s body weight, after 6 months – 1/20.
It is very important for a dog to get vitamins and minerals, especially in spring, winter and late autumn – usually veterinarians recommend complex preparations.
How to care?
Taking care of the Skye Terrier breed is quite simple, since these animals are distinguished by their unpretentiousness in food and care. The main thing that is required from the owner is to pay careful attention to his coat, the condition of his eyes, ears and claws.
The outer layer of each hair on the dog’s coat reaches 15 cm. The hair on the head is also long, since it is intended to protect the organs of vision. In order for the pet’s coat to always look well-groomed, it should be thoroughly combed 2-3 times a week, and during the molting period, this should be done every day.
It is best to use special brushes with metal teeth.
From time to time, you need to trim the animal, slightly shortening the hair to facilitate further care for them.
It is mandatory to cut the hair between the fingertips of the animal.
Skye Terriers are bathed once a week, for this you need to use special shampoos and conditioners of the highest quality – the use of human detergents is unacceptable.
The dog’s ears should be inspected at least once a week for inflammation, trauma and ear discharge, treated with an internal turn with a veterinary lotion or a weak solution of boric acid. Eyes are periodically wiped with infusion of chamomile. The claws of an animal, as a rule, grind off on their own, but if the dog walks mainly on soft ground, they will have to be cut off as they grow back.
Education and training
The independence and exceptional activity of the Skye Terrier breed makes some breeders think that these dogs cannot be trained and are completely untrainable – but this is not true.
The main advice that experienced cynologists give to newly-made owners is to be patient and persistent, only in this case, Sky will understand that you are not going to give up.
As soon as the realization of this fact comes to the dog, the ability to learn will immediately appear. It is very important to be persistent when raising an animal, but at the same time act gently and respectfully, your demands should in no case be combined with loud screams or, moreover, violence against the animal.
But you can’t be too pliable either – the Skye is very smart by nature, and they quickly calculate at what point the owner can give “weakness”.
In this case, the dog gets out of control very quickly.
As a rule, training comes down to learning the basic commands, as well as doing dog sports – sky terriers can develop tremendous speed and jump over obstacles up to one and a half meters high – it is no coincidence that these dogs have long become recognized agility champions.
See below for more information about the features of the breed.