Skye Terrier

The breed is named after its ancient homeland, the Isle of Skye, Scotland. This land is rugged and threatening and required a dog which was equal to the environs.


Known variously as the Glasgow Terrier, the Paisley Terrier and the Clydesdale Terrier, the breed has moved from humble beginnings into the heart of style and fashion. Its elegant demeanor and proud carriage early on made it a favorite of aristocrats.

None less than Queen Victoria herself was a devotee of the Skye which she bred and which were maintained in the royal kennels. Some have been immortalized in the paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer but the most famous is Rona II, the Skye featured in the William Nicholson portrait, Queen Victoria and Skye Terrier.

In the United States, the first of the breed to be registered was a bitch named Romach that was whelped in 1884.


The breed is agile, loving of its family and select friends but wary and standoffish with strangers. The Skye Terrier always remembers a friend and never forgets an enemy.


The words “long, low, lank and level” describe the essence of the breed. With a shoulder height of 10 inches/25 cm and a body length twice that, plus a tail which is correctly carried as an extension of its topline, the desired signature proportions of this unique breed are maintained.

The Skye’s ears may be held pricked or dropped — both are equally acceptable. The prick ear is erect, not large, high on the head and slightly wider at the peak than at the skull. In the drop ear the leather is larger, lies flat against the skull, and is capable of only slight forward movement when attracted, not unlike a proper Beagle ear.

Covered from head to toe with a heavy, weather-resistant, protective coat, the Skye Terrier’s ancestors hunted among the crags and cairns of their homeland. The proper coat is made up of long heavy outer hairs and a soft, blanket of undercoat. The breed’s allowable colors range from black through gray and silver to cream.


The Skye Terrier is generally healthy and appears to have no hereditary problems. The breed matures very slowly and young dogs do not have big robust bodies until they are three or four years old. The Skye often finds it difficult to see because its hair falls over its eyes, so many fanciers hold the hair back in a barrette.

Special Care and Training

Since the Skye’s front legs are slightly bent to curve around the deep chest, the legs require some care. The young Skye Terrier should not be allowed to go up and down stairs or to jump off furniture or any high place, as this could put strain on the immature bones of the front legs. It is sensible to hold back the long hair from the eyes with a rubber band and to brush the coat carefully each day. It is best to start training the Skye in basic obedience while it is still young.


The Skye will happily settle in any surroundings provided that it has human companionship and should not be isolated in a kennel. Similarly, Skye Terrier puppies cannot be raised successfully in a kennel situation and they must be handled from birth. Special attention should be paid to the forty-ninth day of life when it is thought that the human-dog bond is formed. Each puppy should spend time with a human away from its siblings if it is to develop into a mature dog that loves company.

Gallery of Skye Terrier