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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Skye Terrier Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Skye Terrier Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Skye Terrier

The appeal of having a pet with a unique appearance is something that a lot of people feel, but few can actually tolerate the maintenance that comes with such rare breeds. The Skye Terrier is the perfect little dog that fits into almost all households, whether it be in a small city apartment or large ranch house. This breed was once bred for English royalty, but unfortunately aren’t nearly as popular as they once were.

Breed Overview


8 – 12 inches


25 – 45 pounds


12 – 15 years


Colors: Grey, blue, fawn, black

Suitable for:

Anyone looking for a unique and low-maintenance dog


Loyal, loving, energetic, independent

While every breed has its own challenges, the Skye Terrier is incredibly loving and easy to care for. In fact, once training is complete, the hardest part of owning them is over and the rest of your time spent with them will be a breeze. Unless you’ve been exposed to them for years and years, you probably know very little about Skye Terriers. This guide is going to fill you in on everything there is to know about this rare dog breed.

Skye Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-pawSkye Terrier Puppies

Even though the Skye Terrier is small from the time they’re puppies well into when they are adults, they have quite a bit of energy and are extremely inquisitive. Still, they start to settle down once they mature and are trained just as most other dogs would be. It is important to expose them to lots of different people and animals from a young age to help them become as social as possible.

Skye Terriers don’t have too many health issues, meaning that they’ll get to spend a long, healthy life with you and your family. Some complain about their tendencies to bark a lot, but again, training can help with most of these issues. They are stubborn, though, and you’ll have to remain patient and give them lots of praise for good behavior.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Skye Terrier

Terriers tend to be wildly independent, so don’t be shocked if yours is a bit aloof around strangers. Even though unfamiliar people aren’t their favorite, they are completely devoted to their families and highly affectionate. Don’t be offended, however, if they favor one family member over the others.

Skye Terriers love to play, but they don’t have to have a ton of room to do so. They’ll most likely take control of the play session and refuse to do anything else. Even though they are a bit stubborn, it’s only because they are so smart. This is both a good and bad thing when you’re trying to train them.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

While Skye Terriers fit in well with some families, that doesn’t mean they are suitable for all families. Households with young children in the house might have to be careful when these dogs are energetic and playful. They have been known to snap at humans that don’t respect their boundaries. Because they’re energetic, they could easily knock a small child down without thinking twice about it.

Despite having a lot of energy, they don’t have a ton of stamina. This means that those who live in small apartments can still have this dog as a pet without having to worry about giving them the appropriate amount of exercise that may require lots of outdoor space.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Skye Terriers can certainly be friendly towards other pets, but that doesn’t mean that they will be. In general, these dogs prefer only the company of their human family members. There have been successes if they grew up with another family dog that has been around from a young age. However, introducing new pets to the family could be a bit of a challenge because they are a little bit possessive of some people. Either way, it is possible for them to make friends, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can never bring another pet into the home.

divider-multiprintThings to Know When Owning a Skye Terrier:

This dog breed is rarer, so you likely don’t know all that much about owning a Skye Terrier unless you owned one in the past. There are definitely a few things you should know about raising them before committing to one.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Skye Terriers don’t actually eat as much as a lot of other dogs do. This isn’t really by choice seeing how they will eat almost anything put in front of them. It’s due to their small size and issues with obesity. They don’t require a ton of food as it is, but if you let them free-feed, then you could be facing a whole lot of health issues that you’d be better off avoiding.

Skye Terriers tend to feel their best when given a high-protein diet with lots of fat and fiber. This helps to keep the dogs full and energized without making them pack on the pounds.

Exercise 🐕

High energy dogs usually require a lot of exercise. Neglecting their exercise needs is only going to make them have behavioral issues. Thankfully, Skye Terriers get tuckered out easily, and a few short play sessions throughout their day should be plenty enough movement to get rid of some of that excess energy.

Training 🎾

Training is where most dog owners struggle the most with this breed. Proper training is incredibly important because of how hardheaded these dogs can be. If you don’t get their bad behaviors under control from a young age, then you could be dealing with them for the rest of their lives. Skye Terriers like to be in charge, but you must persist and continuously let them know that you are the alpha. If you aren’t confident in your ability to train a dog, then consider investing in services that can give you the most help possible.

Grooming ✂️

The hardest part of grooming these dogs is keeping their long coats silky and free from matting. You don’t need to bathe them until they are visibly dirty, but they do benefit from daily brushing. When you do decide to wash them, try to use gentle soaps that won’t damage their fragile hair strands. Other than that, caring for them is pretty basic.

Health and Conditions 🏥

In general, Skye Terriers are pretty healthy and don’t have too many issues that you’ll have to deal with. The most important thing to remember about their health is that you cannot overwork them at a young age because it could damage their growth plates, and you cannot let them overeat because of all the issues that come with obesity.

Minor Conditions
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Lens Luxation
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune disease


Male vs Female

There aren’t too many differences between male and female Skye Terriers. Males are a little bit taller and heavier, but there isn’t too much of a difference other than a few pounds and inches. Females also tend to be a little shyer around strangers than the males. Either way, what you see is what you get with both the males and females.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Skye Terrier

1. Skye Terriers are one of the most loyal dog breeds.

If loyalty means anything to you, then you couldn’t make a better pet choice than purchasing one of these dogs. Many people, past and present, have spoken highly about the loyalty of this breed. While some of the legends aren’t true, there is something to be said about a dog who sticks by your side no matter how bad a situation gets.

2. They have become one of the most endangered dog breeds in England.

Isn’t it funny that a dog that was once bred for royal families in England is now one of the most rare? If we aren’t careful, their numbers could dwindle even further to the point that they become extinct.

3. Skye Terriers were first found in Scotland.

These dogs were bred in Scotland and found on the Isle of Skye. As you can see, their origin is where they got their name. Skye Terriers, like many other terrier breeds, were used for hunting small game such as foxes and badgers. Their prey drive is relatively high, and they were exceptional hunting dogs for hundreds of years. This behavior does create some problems with pet owners today, but no one can deny that they perform exactly what they were bred to do.

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

It’s unfortunate that these dogs are becoming less common. Skye Terriers are a wonderful breed that so many people would enjoy if they just gave them a chance. Their loyalty is enough to convince some people to buy them, but it is a challenge to find someone who breeds them. If you’ve been lucky enough to come across the opportunity to buy one, and you are willing and able to provide them with their health and lifestyle needs, then bringing these dogs home is a choice that you won’t regret.

Featured Image Credit: Sevostyanaova Tatyana, Shutterstock

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