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Skye Terrier

The Skye Terrier is a long-bodied, low to the ground dog of robust build and a long, hard, straight coat. Ears may be pricked or dropped.

12 – 15 years
16 – 18kg
25 – 26cm
The coat comes in black, dark or light grey, fawn, cream, all with black points.
A small white spot on the chest is occasionally seen
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Might not like other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

Skye Terriers have long backs and short legs, making them prone to spinal disorders;
Intervertebral disc disease: a condition where there is abnormality in the discs which act to cushion the bones in the spine. The discs can dislodge or burst, which puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord leading to back pain and weakness or paralysis of the limbs.
Angular limb deformities: caused by asynchronous growth of a pair of bones, which appear bowed or rotated and may result in pain and lameness.

They can also suffer from:
- Patellar luxation
- Elbow dysplasia¹ which is where the elbow joint does not develop normally which can lead to joint damage and pain
- Copper associated chronic hepatitis²  which is a progressive inflammatory disease of the liver that is caused or worsened by high levels of copper 
- Ectopic ureters³ which is where the ureters (the tubes that a dog's urine passes through) do not enter the bladder in the correct position which causes incontinence.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

¹A. K. Lappalainen et al, 'Radiographic evaluation of elbow incongruity in Skye terriers', 2016, Journal of Small ²G. Hoffmann et al, 'Animal Practice Copper‐associated chronic hepatitis in Labrador Retrievers', 2006, Journal of Internal Veterinary Medicine 
³L. K. Ho et al, 'Clinical Outcomes of Surgically Managed Ectopic Ureters in 33 Dogs', 2011, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association


Devoted to their owners, the Skye Terrier is typically a one-person dog. Strong willed and determined, they can be suspicious of strangers but are devoted to their owner and should be good tempered and cheerful, lively and with a sense of fun.

Did You Know?

  • Most people have heard of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier famous for his dedication to his owner, so much so that he sat at his owners grave-side in Greyfriars Churchyard for 14 years until he died of old age. 
  • Most people don’t know that the character ‘Dougal’ from the 1960’s children’s television show ‘The Magic Roundabout’ was (probably) a drop-eared Skye Terrier.
  • Sir Edwin Landseer (a painter and sculptor best known for the lion sculptures in Trafalgar Square) created a great many paintings of Skye Terriers and his work helped to popularise the breed during the Victorian era.
  • Skye Terriers were incredibly popular with the aristocracy in Victorian England and apparently duchesses would be ashamed to be seen walking without one in the park.
  • It’s thought that Mary, Queen of Scots had a Skye Terrier (though some believe it was a Maltese) and when she was beheaded, her loyal dog hid beneath her petticoat.
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