Skye Terrier

Dedicated, fearless, and clever


Dedicated, fearless, and clever

Long, low, and sleek, the Skye Terrier is twice as long as he is tall. With a profuse, straight coat down his sides and over his eyes, the Skye’s extraordinary appearance turns heads wherever he goes. The breed has existed for over 400 years and belongs to AKC’s Terrier Group.

The Skye was developed in the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands to seek out and kill fox, otter, and badger. The breed’s long coat and facial hair protect him from injury and rainy weather. But more than a vermin hunter in a fancy coat, the Skye Terrier’s devotion to his people is legendary.

During the Victorian era, the breed became an aristocratic favorite for his calm, tenacious, but gentle and dignified demeanor. Today the Skye Terrier is a rare breed.

The most famous Skye was Bobby, who remained at his owner’s grave for nearly fifteen years until his death in 1872. A statue in Edinburgh, the book, and Disney movie, Greyfriars Bobby extols the dog’s faithfulness. ~Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Breed Standard

Official Standard of the Skye Terrier

Skye Terrier Club of America

General Appearance: The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity: agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level-he is twice as long as he is high-he is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs. The hair well feathered on the head veils forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. He stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. He is strong in body, quarter and jaw.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Size – The ideal shoulder height for dogs is 10 inches and bitches 91⁄2 inches. Based on these heights a 10 inch dog measured from chest bone over tail at rump should be 20 inches. A slightly higher or lower dog of either sex is acceptable. Dogs 9 inches or less and bitches 81⁄2 inches or less at the withers are to be penalized. Proportion – The ideal ratio of body length to shoulder height is 2 to 1, which is considered the correct proportion. Substance – Solidly built, full of strength and quality without being coarse. Bone is substantial.

Head: Long and powerful, strength being deemed more important than extreme
length. Eyes brown, preferably dark brown, medium in size, close-set and alight with life and intelligence. Ears symmetrical and gracefully feathered. They may be carried prick or drop. If prick, they are medium in size, placed high on the skull, erect at their outer edges, and slightly wider apart at the peak than at the skull. Drop ears, somewhat larger in size and set lower, hang flat against the skull. Moderate width at the back of the skull tapers gradually to a strong muzzle. The stop is slight. The dark muzzle is just moderately full as opposed to snipy. Powerful and absolutely true jaws. The nose is always black. A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify. Mouth with the incisor teeth closing level, or with upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower.

Neck, Topline, Body: Neck – Long and gracefully arched, carried high and proudly. The backline is level. Body pre-eminently long and low, the chest deep, with oval-shaped ribs. The sides appear flattish due to the straight falling and profuse coat. Tail long and well feathered. When hanging, its upper section is pendulous, following the line of the rump, its lower section thrown back in a moderate arc without twist or curl. When raised, its height makes it appear a prolongation of the backline. Though not to be preferred, the tail is sometimes carried high when the dog is excited or angry. When such carriage arises from emotion only, it is permissible. But the tail should not be constantly carried above the level of the back or hang limp.

Forequarters: Shoulders well laid back, with tight placement of shoulder blades at the withers and elbows should fit closely to the sides and be neither loose nor tied. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Legs short, muscular and straight as possible. “Straight as possible” means straight as soundness and chest will permit, it does not mean “Terrier straight.” Feet – Large hare-feet preferably pointing forward, the pads thick and nails strong and preferably black.

Hindquarters: Strong, full, well developed and well angulated. Legs short, muscular and straight when viewed from behind. Feet as in front.

Coat: Double. Undercoat short, close, soft and woolly. Outer coat hard, straight and flat. 51⁄2 inches long without extra credit granted for greater length. The body coat hangs straight down each side, parting from head to tail. The head hair, which may be shorter, veils forehead and eyes and forms a moderate beard and apron. The long feathering on the ears falls straight down from the tips and outer edges, surrounding the ears like a fringe and outlining their shape. The ends of the hair should mingle with the coat of the neck. Tail well feathered.

Color: The coat must be of one over-all color at the skin but may be of varying shades of the same color in the full coat, which may be black, blue, dark or light grey, silver platinum, fawn or cream. The dog must have no distinctive markings except for the desirable black points of ears, muzzle and tip of tail, all of which points are preferably dark even to black. The shade of head and legs should approximate that of the body. There must be no trace of pattern, design or clear- cut color variations, with the exception of the breed’s only permissible white which occasionally exists on the chest not exceeding 2 inches in diameter. The puppy coat may be very different in color from the adult coat. Therefore, as it is growing and clearing, wide variations of color may occur; consequently, this is permissible in dogs under 18 months of age. However, even in puppies there must be no trace of pattern, design, or clear- cut variations with the exception of the black band encircling the body coat of the cream colored dog, and the only permissible white which, as in the adult dog, occasionally exists on the chest not exceeding 2 inches in diameter.

Gait: The legs proceed straight forward when traveling. When approaching, the forelegs form a continuation of the straight line of the front. The feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. The principal propelling power is furnished by the back legs which travel straight forward. Forelegs should move well forward, without too much lift. The whole movement may be termed free, active and effortless and give a more or less fluid picture.

Temperament: That of the typical working terrier capable of overtaking game and going to ground, displaying stamina, courage, strength and agility. Fearless, good-tempered, loyal and canny, he is friendly and gay with those he knows and reserved and cautious with strangers.

Disqualification: A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify.

Approved February 10, 1990 Effective March 28, 1990

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