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Southlake Animal Hospital
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Call us today! 219-942-0909

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Merrillville, IN 46410

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Dog Breed Spotlight: The Skye Terrier

February 15 2024

Did you know that the Skye Terrier is one of the most endangered dog breeds? This charming little guy really deserves some extra love and attention. Though Fido was once very popular, he’s now become very rare. Read on as a local Merrillville, IN veterinarian gives some insight into this adorable and very special Scottish dog.

Basic Breed Info

The Skye Terrier is a very cute little dog with a long, silky coat and a plucky character. They are usually more long than tall. In general, Fido isn’t very big: these little guys rarely exceed ten inches in height. Males will usually weigh between 35 and 40 pounds, while females are between 25 and 31 pounds. Like many smaller dogs, they are usually quite long-lived, and can live for up to 15 years.

How Healthy Are Skye Terriers?

Skye Terriers are usually hardy and healthy. The AKC doesn’t recommend any specific tests on them. However, they are somewhat prone to certain health issues, such as Intervertebral Disc Disease and eye problems. Your veterinarian may also recommend screening for some common conditions, such as cancer, autoimmune disease, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for your furry pal’s veterinary care.

Keep in mind that Fido’s long locks can hide a lot. Check him regularly for parasites and skin problems, since you may not be able to see them. (This is pretty easy to incorporate into doggy snuggle time.)

How Much Exercise Do Skye Terriers Need?

Like any other dog, Fido will need proper activity to stay healthy. You won’t have to take your canine friend on long walks, though: he can tire himself out very quickly just by running around the house on those short little legs. A few short walks and daily play sessions will suffice.

You will need to be careful with the type of activity you allow your pet to enjoy. Skye Terriers are prone to back injuries, due to their elongated spines. Puppies can hurt themselves simply by going up and down stairs or jumping onto hard surfaces. In fact, because of their long and low structure, Skye Terriers can suffer disc injuries very easily. Puppies should never be allowed to jump from any height. Landing on hard surfaces is also dangerous for these guys. Ask your Merrillville, IN veterinarian for more information.

Are Skye Terriers Good Pets?

We have canine patients of all shapes and sizes, and we love them all. It’s important to understand that there really are no good or bad breeds; it’s just a matter of finding the best match for you. Fido may be a perfect match for one household, and a complete mismatch for another.

That said, these guys do have some great qualities many find appealing. For one thing, they don’t need much exercise. Skye Terriers pack a lot of personality into small bodies, and can be very cute, fun, and lovable. They also tend to be very cuddly and affectionate with their owners, though they can be nonchalant with strangers. They’re also very, very cute.

There are a few possible cons to consider here. For one thing, these little dogs can be quite feisty, despite their small size. It’s also important to note that Fido can be a bit stubborn and is very independent. He’s also fond of digging. The Skye Terrier does not always get along with other dogs, particularly strange ones. They may not be suitable for very young children. 

Noise level is also something to consider. While Fido’s size and activity needs make him a good choice for apartment dwellers, he may not be the quietest dog in town. Some of these guys do bark a lot, especially if they are bored or lonely.

What Is The Origin Of The Skye Terrier?

Fido’s name reveals quite a bit about his history. The breed originates from the Isle of Skye, which lies off the coast of northwest Scotland. Skye Terriers have been around since the 1500s and were originally used to hunt foxes and badgers. Fido proved to be quite good at this, as his small size helped him fit into their dens.

Skye Terriers became popular with British royalty during the mid-16th century. Queen Victoria was also a fan of them: she bred them in her royal kennels. The royal attention helped Fido become a very popular pet in England. The breed was featured in some of the first dog shows, and joined the AKC in 1887.

Unfortunately, Fido’s early popularity did not last. In fact, the dogs are now near the bottom of the AKC’s breed roster in terms of popularity. They are now quite rare, and are listed as one of the UK’s most endangered dog breeds. The current trend of small designer dogs, such as the Doodle dogs, isn’t helping them any.

What Are Some Famous Skye Terriers?

There aren’t many celebrity Skye Terriers, but we do know of at least one: Greyfriars Bobby. This little pup was the loyal companion of a night watchman named John Gray. After Gray died from tuberculosis in 1858, the faithful dog followed his master’s funeral procession. He then refused to leave Gray’s grave, despite attempts by locals to coax him away. No matter what, the cute canine faithfully kept returning to the spot. Eventually, a little shelter was made for him. He lived there until his death 14 years later.

Today, there is a statue honoring this extraordinarily devoted dog. The statue is near Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, where Gray is buried. The loyal pup’s story has won thousands of hearts, and even captured the attention of Walt Disney. The heartwarming (or perhaps heartbreaking) tale was twice made into movies. The first time was Disney’s 1961 film Greyfriars Bobby, which was remade in 2005 as The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.

How Much Grooming Do Skye Terriers Need?

Skye Terriers have a shaggy coat, so you might think that they need lots of attention here. However, unlike most breeds, it actually just depends on Fido’s lifestyle. If your canine companion spends most of his time indoors, he probably won’t need too many baths. If he spends a lot of time outside, particularly in muddy areas, you’ll need to bathe him more often. When bathing your pet, don’t scrub or rub him too hard: that could break his hairs. Also, use a gentle shampoo. Ask your Merrillville, IN vet for specific recommendations.

Regardless of how often you bathe your dog, regular brushing is a must. Otherwise, Fido will develop mats and tangles. You don’t have to clip his fur, but you may want to gently trim any bangs that are getting in his eyes. It’s also important to clip your furry friend’s nails and keep his eyes, ears, and teeth clean. 

In conclusion: Even though the Skye Terrier is no longer very popular and is, in fact, endangered, these lively, intelligent, and charismatic little dogs can make wonderful pets. They can be a great match for apartment dwellers. 

As your local Merrillville, IN pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care for your Skye Terrier. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care.