Skye Terrier


A small to medium sized Skye Terrier
Skye Terrier Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)10-14in (25-36cm)
Weight25-40lbs (11-18kg)
Hair Colour(s)
Lifespan12-14 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size3-6
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftLow

The Skye Terrier is a small to medium sized, sturdily built dog. The body is relatively long with very short legs, large forward-pointing feet and a long tail. The head has a strong muzzle, a black nose, upright ears (usually) and dark brown eyes. The distinctive coat is long and coarse with a softer under coat, and the colouring varies and includes black, grey, fawn and cream. A famous example of a Skye Terrier is Greyfriars Bobby, who spent 14 years guarding his master's grave.


Skye Terriers are relaxed but lively little dogs. Playful and full of character, they are fiercely loyal and make great companions and family pets, and often form close bonds to a particular family member. They require a fair amount of time and attention to keep them happy and must be socialised properly in order to reduce their natural overly suspicious tendencies. These are intelligent little dogs that can also be independant and a little stubborn and bossy, and so are perhaps best suited to those with some prior experience of dog ownership and training, rather than for novices. Skye Terriers are good with older, more considerate children because they will not tolerate rough handling or play, and early socialisation is required around other animals and pets becasue they can be dominant and will tend to chase smaller animals, including cats. These dogs are very suspicious of strangers and will often bite those that try to touch them. Whilst this makes them effective watchdogs, this behaviour will need monitoring and reducing through proper socialisation.

History & Skills

Skye Terriers originate from the Isle of Skye off the Scottish Coast and have a history dating back to the 1600s. It is thought that a Spanish ship that happened to be carrying Maltese dogs foundered against rocks, and after breeding with local terriers, the Skye Terrier was born. Initally bred to hunt vermin, these dogs became popular in the 1800s, especially with the royals such as Queen Victoria. These days they remain popular as companions and pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Skye Terriers tend to live between 12-14 years, and are a relatively healthy breed. However, some of the health problems associated with this breed includes hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, allergies and autoimmune problems. Premature closure of the distal radius or growth plate can also be a problem if puppies are allowed to jump around too much, which can lead to arthritis in later life.


Skye Terriers are medium shedders and so may not be suitable for those suffering from allergies. Their grooming requirements are fairly low, and the coat will need brushing a few times each week to prevent matting and tangling and to keep it in pristine condition, with the occasional trimming when required.

Exercise & Environment

Skye Terriers tend to live indoors, where they are fairly active, and go not require a great deal of outdoor exercise. They can be suited to small homes, such as apartments, and do not necessarily require a large outside space. However, they will benefit from outdoor play and a regular walk like most dogs. Seeing as they tend to to chase other animals and are pretty fast and agile, outside areas must be secure and they should only be walked on the leash.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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