Dog Breed Spotlight: Celebrating The Skye Terrier

Here at Coit Hedgcoxe Animal Hospital, your Plano, TX animal clinic, we love celebrating all of the various pet holidays on the calendar. February has quite a few of them, including Skye Terrier Day. Fido definitely needs our attention: he’s one of the most endangered dog breeds around! Here’s some insight into this Scottish dog from a local Plano, TX vet.


What Is The Origin Of The Skye Terrier?


The breed originated on the Isle of Skye, which is off Scotland’s northwest coast. They are believed to have existed since the 1500s, and were originally hunting dogs. Because of Fido’s small size, he was able to fit into foxes and badgers’ dens, which was very helpful back then. 


How Much Grooming Do Skye Terriers Need?


Skye Terriers are pretty shaggy, so it may seem that they require a lot of attention in this area. However, unlike with most breeds, this really depends on Fido’s lifestyle. Your canine buddy may not require too much beauty care if he spends most of his time indoors. If he spends a lot of time outside, especially in muddy areas, he will require more frequent baths. 


When bathing your pet, you’ll need to be careful not to break his hairs. Don’t scrub too hard, and use a gentle shampoo. Your veterinarian may also recommend diluting the shampoo. 


Your canine buddy should be brushed weekly with a comb or soft brush, otherwise it will become matted and tangled. You don’t need to clip his fur, but you may want to trim any locks that get in his eyes.


Keeping your furry friend’s ears clean is also important, as is trimming his nails. Be sure to ask your Plano, TX veterinarian for specific advice.


How Healthy Are Skye Terriers?


There are no specific tests recommended for Skye Terriers, as they tend to be quite plucky and robust. However, they are at risk for Intervertebral Disc Disease and eye problems. As well as screening for cancer, your veterinarian may also recommend screening for some other conditions, like skin allergies, autoimmune disease, and hip dysplasia.


It’s worth mentioning that Fido’s long hair can conceal a lot. It’s important to check for parasites and skin problems, as you may not be able to see them.


Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding your pet’s veterinary care. In between appointments, keep an eye out for warning signs of sickness. Contact your Plano, TX animal hospital right away if you notice anything amiss. 


Are Skye Terriers Endangered? 


Unfortunately, yes, they are. Fido was popular with British royalty in the mid-16th century, and soon became favored pets of the nobility. Queen Victoria was a fan of the breed: she bred Skye Terriers in her royal kennels. At one time, Fido was very popular in England. He was even featured in some of the first dog shows. In 1887, he joined the ranks of the AKC. 

Unfortunately, Fido’s early popularity did not last. The Skye Terrier has fallen out of fashion and is now being overshadowed by small designer dogs like the Doodle breeds. Today, the dogs are listed as one of the UK’s most endangered breeds, and rank near the bottom of the AKC’s breed roster when it comes to popularity. 


What Does The Skye Terrier Look Like? 


The Skye Terrier is a cute, long-haired pooch with a small body and a big personality. Overall, he isn’t very large: these little guys rarely get any higher than ten inches in height. Fido is longer than he is tall. Like many other small breeds, Skye Terriers are quite long-lived, and can reach up to 15 years of age. Males typically weigh 35–40 lbs (16–18 kg), while females may weigh 25–31 lbs (12–14 kg). They all have long hair, but some have floppy ears, while others have upright ears. 


Does A Skye Terrier Bark A Lot?


Fido is not the quietest pup on the block. While his size and activity needs make him a good choice for apartment dwellers, sometimes he does become a bit of a problem barker. This is definitely something to consider before adopting one. 


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Skye Terrier?


Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. There really are no bad breeds: it’s just a matter of finding the right match for you. These little dogs are very determined and plucky. Even though they are small, they are quite feisty. They’re also really, really cute.


That said, these guys do have some great qualities. All in all, these dogs are very fun and lovable. They also tend to be quite affectionate with their owners. They don’t need much exercise, and tend to be very devoted to their humans, if a bit nonchalant with strangers. 


On the down side, Fido is quite stubborn and very independent. Additionally, he is rather fond of digging. Skye Terriers don’t always get along with other dogs, especially strange ones. They may also not be suitable for families with very young children.


What Are Some Famous Skye Terriers?


One of the only—if not the only—famous pups in this group is Greyfriars Bobby. This loyal dog was the constant companion of John Gray, a night watchman. After Gray passed away from tuberculosis in 1858, the little dog followed his funeral procession and stayed by his grave. Despite attempts to remove him, the devoted pup kept returning to the spot. Eventually, a shelter was built for him. He stayed there until his death 14 years later. Today, a statue honoring him can be found in Edinburgh, near Greyfriars Kirkyard, which is where Gray is buried. 


The touching story of this incredible dog has captured many hearts over the years and even inspired Walt Disney to make a movie about him. The 1961 film was titled Greyfriars Bobby. In 2005, it was remade as The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.


How Much Exercise Do Skye Terriers Need?


Fido will need proper exercise to be healthy, just like any other dog. However, he can get tired quickly on those short little legs. He can actually get a pretty good workout just running around the house! You won’t necessarily have to take your canine companion for long walks. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t take him on strenuous hikes or walks, as he could tire out very easily. 


There are a few other things to keep in mind as far as activity and playtime. Skye Terriers’ long and low structure makes them very susceptible to disc injuries. You may want to get pet ramps or stairs for Fido, to keep him from jumping on and off beds and couches. Puppies can even sustain injuries just by jumping onto hard surfaces. Ask your veterinarian for specific care tips.


In Conclusion: Skye Terriers are lively, intelligent, charismatic little dogs that make wonderful pets, and are especially well-suited for apartment living. Even though they were once a favorite of royals, these plucky pups are now so rare they are considered endangered.


Do you have questions about caring for your canine buddy? Have you recently adopted a Skye Terrier? As your local Plano, TX pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care. Please feel free to contact us anytime. 

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