The Skye Terrier is a dog breed officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887. The dog gets its name from where it originated – the Isle of Skye. How this specific dog breed came to an island off the western coast of Scotland is unknown. The most likely scenario is that a shipwreck brought dogs to the island, who eventually bred with the local dogs. Local residents had bred these dogs for centuries to help flush out rodents.
Nonetheless, Skye Terriers remained a local dog breed for centuries before the AKC gave it an official place in its classifications of purebred dogs. The AKC's recognition of the Skye terrier's purebred status resulted from a popularity craze begun by British Royalty. Many royals had Skye terriers, the most famous of which was Mary Queen of Scots who reportedly had a pet dog who never left her side, even during her execution. Over the next three centuries, the Skye terrier was a local breed until people in America started wanting them.
For about a generation after the AKC recognized the breed, the popularity of the Skye Terrier swept through British Commonwealth countries and became an internationally known dog breed.
- Skye Terriers are only one of 31 specifically named terrier breeds across 3 categories— toy, small, and medium.
- All terrier breeds came from farms as work dogs and have similar character traits. For example, loyalty and the desire to hunt for rodents are prevalent among all terrier breeds.
- Skye Terriers have an average lifespan of between 12 and 15 years.
- They have a soft undercoat and a straight, wiry outer coat. This double coat was developed by breeders who needed a dog to work outside in the Scottish weather.
- This breed is known for its long, feathery hair and bat-like ears.
- Skye Terriers are short and stout dogs. They are almost twice as long as they are tall.
- The Skye Terrier's stout low-to-ground shape is another example of a dog bred to rustle rodents from hiding.