Blog #13 – The rare Skye Terrier

The Skye Terrier as the name suggests, is from the Isle of Skye on the north west coast of Scotland and is the largest in a group of islands known as the inner Hebrides. It’s believed that these types of terriers – small, rough haired, long bodied and short legged dogs existed in Scotland as early as the 14th century.

The origin of the breed is shrouded in mystery and it’s unclear what breeds played a part in the creation of this little terrier. Some people believe that Maltese type dogs swam ashore from a Spanish shipwreck and bred with native terriers on the island to create the ancestors of the Skye. Another account, claims that the Skye is the result of Swedish Vallhund type dogs taken to the island by the Viking’s and crossed with local terriers.

The breed like all terriers was originally used on a variety of vermin including foxes, badgers, martens and wild cats.

The Skye Terrier was the progenitor to the now extinct Paisley/Clydesdale Terrier which was meant to be a pet/show version of the Skye, bred in main land Scotland during the 1800’s. Later, the Paisley/Clydesdale was used to create today’s well known small pet terrier, the Yorkshire Terrier.

At one point the Skye Terrier was extremely popular and well known due to being owned by people like Queen Victoria of England. The American Kennel Club registered the breed as early as 1887 but its popularity has dwindled significantly since. There are now huge concerns over the breed as it’s considered the most endangered breed of all of the British native breeds. It’s believed to be under threat of extinction due to the low numbers of puppies being born and bred every year.

The Skye is one of several terrier breeds that seem to have been forgotten by the Terrier community.

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