Skye Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Loyal and affectionate, the Skye terrier does not bestow devotion on anyone. It will please its family and others whom it holds in high regard, but with outsiders, it is likely to be standoffish.

Skye Terrier At a glance
The Skye Terrier Dog Breed

Some trace this breed back to a Spanish shipwreck near the Isle of Skye where farmers mated surviving Maltese dogs with local terriers. 


Weight Range:

Male: 35-40 lbs.
Female: 25-30 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 10 in.

Female: 10 in.


Long back, upright ears (naturally), floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: <30 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 12-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Moderate Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Vermin hunting


Length: Long
Characteristics: Straight, double coat, hard coat
Colors: Black, blue, gray, silver, fawn, cream
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Terrier
UKC Classification: Terrier
Prevalence: Rare

Skye Terriers are sometimes described as "big small dogs." One look reveals why.

These elegant dogs have a large body and head atop relatively short legs. When standing on his hind limbs, an adult Skye terrier reaches up to a person's thigh or even higher, depending on the individual's height.

The breed comes in two varieties: the prick ear and the drop ear. The prick ear Skye's ears are set high on the skull and point upward. The drop ear Skye's ears are somewhat larger, set lower, and point downward. Either way, the ears are well covered with hair, and hair also flops over the eyes.

The Skye terrier has a soft undercoat and a long, hard, straight outer coat. Coat colors range from black to platinum, with all shades of gray in between. In addition, some Skye coats are fawn or cream-colored. The ears, muzzle and tail are darker than the rest of the coat, unless the coat is black.

The Skye terrier is about 10 inches tall and weighs from 25 to 40 pounds.


To those whom he chooses to love, the Skye terrier is adoring, affectionate and, above all, loyal. However, this dog does not bestow such devotion on just anyone. He will be eager to please his family and others whom he holds in high regard; with the rest of humanity, he is likely to be standoffish.

Skye terriers are known to be somewhat willful. They have minds of their own and generally are not submissive, timid or fearful. They are alert and protective of their people and territories, and they like to bark.

Living With:

The Skye terrier's tendency to be suspicious of strangers needs to be moderated with as much socialization as possible, preferably when he is a puppy. By exposing the Skye to as many different people, places, and situations as possible, one can temper his pickiness with people and his unease in new situations.

Training the Skye terrier can be a bit of a challenge. Crucial to the success of any obedience training is an attitude that is all business, in which the trainer leaves no room for negotiation by the independent-thinking Skye. This does not mean the use of physical discipline but rather a confident and consistent attitude from the trainer.

The Skye terrier likes to chase, so use caution when he is around other small animals. He may not take kindly to other dogs. Despite his love of the chase, he needs less exercise than other breeds and makes a good apartment dog.

This dog needs a good weekly brushing to prevent the coat from becoming matted.

Skye terriers live an average of 10 to 12 years.


Skye terriers originated centuries ago on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. They were bred by farmers to be working dogs charged mainly with hunting vermin. Reportedly, the foundation for the breed came from a Spanish shipwreck near the island; among the reported survivors were Maltese dogs that farmers mated with the local terriers. By the mid-1800s, Queen Victoria's fondness for the breed made the Skye a favorite among British aristocrats.

The Skye terrier's devotion to his human companion is legendary, thanks to Bobby, a Skye whose master died in 1858. For the next 14 years, Bobby stayed near his master's grave in the cemetery at Edinburgh's Greyfriars Kirk (Church). The townspeople fed the dog, and the city's lord provost bought Bobby a license. After Bobby died, philanthropist Baroness Burdett Coutts arranged to have a bronze statue of the dog erected outside the churchyard gates. The statue has stood there since 1873. Nearly a century later, the dog’s story was featured in a movie.

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