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The Noble Skye Terrier

With ancestors who were a breed of tenacious terriers, most often used for ratting (hunting vermin), the Skye Terrier has become less a working dog and more a dignified companion animal»since the latter part of the 17th century.

Long before the reprieve from work, however, the Skye Terrier had an involved life and unique start: it is said that the first Skye Terrier came from ancestors who survived the wreck of the Spanish Armada, swam to shore of the Isle of Skye , and mated with the terriers living there in North-western Scotland in 1588. For the next hundred years, the breed spent its days hunting badger, fox, stoat and other predators and vermin.

It is also said that while the Skye Terrier has developed to the Cairn Terrier, it shows better, having»possibly»been bred with Clydesdale terriers to appear with a coat and stance (and overall look) that is more profound, more dignified, more sophisticated and at the same time calmer than the game and lively Cairn has. Though still bred for these physical and temperamental characteristics in Scotland and also in England, the Skye exists in limited numbers.

But those that do live among us do so mostly in retired capacities. The Skye Terrier, that is, at 9 to 10 inches and 19 to 23 pounds, is no longer a highly skilled tracker and hunter but is still a highly skilled watchdog, devoted and loyal to its human charges. With high intelligence and a lively temperament, then, it needs to do some activity, such as exercising on daily walks and having enough room to move energetically»whether in a city or country setting.

And though the Skye Terrier needs minimal bathing (as it is prone to dry skin and allergies), this noble breed also needs a fair amount of grooming. The long hair needs pin-brushing or metal combing on a weekly basis, and needs to have its long forehead and eyebrow locks clean, free of mats, and unobtrusive to its ears (which can get infected if blocked).

But the exercise and grooming requirements are minimal for such a noble breed, one that was owned by such royalty as Queen Victoria»so the care (and the love, of course) of this loyal, lively, loveable and loving Skye Terrier is much deserved and well worth it.

Stephanie Hetu
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