Skye Terrier

  • Overview

    Only a lucky few own this rare breed. These distinctive-looking little guys are tough to find — fans in their Scottish homeland worry that they may soon become extinct. Their movie star good looks and calm, sensitive personalities make them worth the effort to track down. Skyes are long little dogs who stand about 10 inches tall and weigh between 25 and 40 pounds.

    These floppy looking little dogs are amusing in their dignified carriage and thoughtful behavior. Their unmistakable coat and reserved, loving personalities make them unique and worthwhile companions.

  • Personality

    Skye Terriers might appear silly-looking, but they are serious little dogs who are slightly less playful than most of their terrier cousins. That's not to say they are boring, however. Skye Terriers love exploring more than other forms of exercise, and they will bravely blaze trails and follow scents while hiking with their owners. They are canny little fellows, especially in their relations with others.

    Even though they can be more reserved in their mannerisms, these little dogs do not like to be neglected. They are hesitant to trust strangers or to warm up to new people, but once they do, they crave attention and love. Skye Terriers love to feel like they are part of the family, and they enjoy being taken seriously for their capabilities as a thoughtful and discerning companion. If they are left alone for too long, they will indulge in their naughtier habits like digging, barking and making mischief. Their ratting instincts cause them to hunt down and even kill smaller pets and animals, so supervised playtime is best.

  • Coat Care

    Alex Katz's "Sunny #4" painting of a Skye Terrier hiding under his floppy ears and veiled eyes has immortalized Skyes' characteristically mysterious visage. Skyes can be prick-eared or drop-eared, but they sport a long beard and apron that hides their eyes. Their body coat hangs straight down and parts onto either side from their head to their tail. They have a thick double coat. Their short, dense undercoat fits close to the body. Their hard, flat overcoat hangs straight down all over the body for about 5.5 inches. Skye Terriers come in a variety of colors and shades, but their noses and ears should always be black. Their blue, fawn, black, cream and gray coats can be solid or vary in shades of the same color along their body, but should be clearly defined at the ends. Not only will the coat maintain its color, but it will hang and move properly with this jaunty little dog.

Brushing

The Skye's coat does not need to be routinely clipped, but it will require frequent brushing, bathing and even trimming to lie properly and look beautiful. Skyes should be brushed with a pin brush or a long-toothed comb at least several times a week. His long hair should always be brushed before baths to avoid tangles. Once his hair tangles, it is almost impossible to untangle. The long coat will definitely benefit from frequent washing and combing.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but drop coated dogs usually should be bathed more frequently, most commonly every three to eight weeks. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Hair Clipping

The long coat will definitely benefit from frequent washing and combing. Occasional trimming and washing around the eyes, ears and mouth will help the Skye stay comfortable and look his best. The Skye also appreciates having the hair between his toes trimmed to avoid discomfort and make walking with his small paws a little easier.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Occasional trimming and washing around the eyes, ears and mouth will help the Skye stay comfortable and look his best.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.