The Skye Terrier Club

The Skye Terrier Club (STC) Takes Health Research Seriously

The STC has long monitored the health situation of the Skye Terrier breed and did, therefore, set up a very successful gene bank with Dr Cathryn Mellersh at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in 2006. The aim was to hopefully get DNA tests developed for inherited diseases sometimes occurring in this precious, numerically endangered breed. Two hereditary conditions are of concern, namely Renal Dysplasia (RD) and Liver disease/ Skye Terrier hepatitis (STH). Cases are thankfully not common, but it is obviously very important to try and prevent them if possible.

Two new cases of the liver disease did occur in 2012 and they were both referred to The Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge. More cases were sadly soon added, which enabled Dr Penny Watson at Queen’s to perform histology research on liver samples from those dogs in 2013. This research was continued in 2015, after a few more dogs were found to suffer from the disease.

Members of the STC have done much fundraising, and generous donations from UK and abroad have also been received from people caring about the breed. This has enabled the research to be paid from the Skye Terrier Club Health Research Fund (STCHRF).

There are now enough samples from affected dogs and work will quite soon start at the AHT to try and develop a reliable DNA test. This is also being funded by the STCHRF. Such a test would be invaluable to future breeding programmes. Tested dogs will be identified as either Affected, Carriers or Clear. This information will then be published in the Kennel Club’s Breed Record Supplement and also added to each dog’s health testing result on their KC registration details, which can be found on MateSelect, as in other breeds. Breeders can then avoid to unknowingly breed together two dogs, who both carry the disease causing gene and future births of puppies with the liver disease can thereby be prevented.

The Club deeply hopes and prays that the research will be successful in tackling this condition. The same will then hopefully be done for RD sometime in the future. Many Thanks to all, who have supported this effort with financial contributions. Further donations are also always welcome and can be done via PayPal on the website of the Skye Terrier Club.

Maud Hawkes BSc(Hons)Animal Science
Chair of Skye Terrier Club Health Committee

The Skye Terrier Club

London and Home Counties Terrier Club

The London and Home Counties Terrier Club was established in 1964 to promote the interests of all terrier breeds in London & the Home Counties, which consists of the Counties of London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

The club’s annual Open show schedules classes for all terrier breeds, including puppy, post-graduate and open classes for Skye Terriers. This year, the club have introduced a special stakes class for Vulnerable Breeds – with prize money on offer for 1st-3rd place! The Skye Terrier Club are sponsoring rosettes for the Skye classes this year and it would be great to see a good entry for the show.

Best in Show and Best Puppy in Show qualify for the National Terrier Club Open Show Dog of the Year, or Open Show Puppy of the Year Competition Finals 2015.

Best in Show, Reserve Best in Show, Best Puppy in Show, Reserve Best Puppy and Best Veteran in Show qualify for the Kent Super Dog Competition 2015.

The show will be held on Sunday 13th September 2015 at Lockmeadow Market Hall, Barkers Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 8LW. The show opens at 9am, judging starts at 10am.

Entries close Monday 11th August 2015

Download the schedule here.

Download the entry form here

Find out more about the London and Home Counties Terrier Club, including membership details, at

Skye Terrier Club Calendar 2016

Skye Terrier Club 2016 Calendar

Ever wondered what a Skye in motion might look like? If so, 2016 can be full of running, jumping, dancing, swimming and frolicking Skyes with the Skye Terrier Club calendar. See what Skyes get up to in their spare time – from obedience demonstrations, days out on the beach to volunteering as Pets as Therapy dogs – and maybe get some inspiration for your next Skye adventure!

Calendars are priced at £7 + postage and packaging. P&P is charged at three rates: UK for those living within the United Kingdom; EU for those living in Europe, and; International (Int) for those living outside of the EU. Please use the buttons below to select your calendar and postage rate – all payments are handled by PayPal for security and peace of mind.




















The Skye Terrier's Homecoming Statue

Royal Reception for Island Terriers

Skye Terriers from around the UK gathered for the unveiling
Skye Terriers from around the UK gathered for the unveiling

The largest gathering of Skye Terriers for many years met at Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye on Thursday 24th July to witness the unveiling of a statue to this very rare breed by HRH The Princess Royal.

Aptly named ‘The Homecoming’ the unveiling of the statue of two life size Skye Terriers was witnessed by over 40 Skye Terriers and their owners, who had travelled from all over the UK and as far away as the USA to join in the celebration of the breed in its native homeland.

They were also able to see a new display on the Skye Terrier at the Museum of the Isles in the grounds of Armadale Castle.

The Skye Terrier is Britain’s most endangered native breed of dog*. To raise awareness and promote greater understanding of the breed the Skye Terrier Club have spent the last two years raising money for a permanent statue to be created.

The life-size bronze statue of a ‘prick-ear’ and a ‘drop-ear’ Skye Terrier has been sculpted by the renowned, Wiltshire based artist, Georgie Welch and cast by Pangolin Editions, Europe’s leading sculpture foundry. It now stands at a view point looking towards visitors as they walk down a footpath overlooking the water and is mounted on a granite base hewn from a local quarry on Skye and gifted to the Club. The plinth is low to allow visitors, in particular children, to touch and interact with the work.

L-R: Sculptress Georgie Welch, Skye Terrier Club Chairperson Jenny Kendrick, HRH The Princess Royal and Club Patron Christian Landolt
L-R: Sculptress Georgie Welch, Skye Terrier Club Chair Jenny Kendrick, HRH The Princess Royal and Club Patron Christian Landolt
Local schoolchildren produced drawings of Skyes that were on display during the unveiling
Local schoolchildren produced drawings of Skyes that were on display during the unveiling










Commenting on the day, Jenny Kendrick, Chair of the Skye Terrier Club said “We are delighted and greatly honoured that the Princess was able to unveil the statue and took so much interest in the breed. The Skye Terrier is often called the ‘heavenly breed’ and they certainly brought heavenly weather with them. We would also like to thank Clan Donald for all their support and as the dogs are part of the island’s heritage we hope that ‘The Homecoming’ will give the thousands of visitors, from home and overseas, who visit Armadale Castle’s grounds and museum every year a greater knowledge and understanding of these intelligent, loving and loyal dogs”.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, added: “The addition of this beautiful Skye Terrier statue, appropriately named ‘The Homecoming’ in its homeland gives the thousands of visitors who flock to Armadale Castle each year the chance to learn more about these loyal dogs whilst taking in the beautiful surroundings of the castle, museum and grounds.

HRH The Princess Royal and Club patron Christian Landolt
HRH The Princess Royal and Club patron Christian Landolt

“Skye attracts thousands of visitors each year to take in its beautiful scenery, wildlife, history and culture and the addition of this unique sculpture at one of its star attractions can only add to the region’s appeal.”

For more information on The Skye Terrier Club, explore the pages of this website. For more stunning photos and stories of the day, please visit the Facebook page ‘Skye Terrier Club’.

*The Skye Terrier topped the Kennel Club list of endangered breeds in 2013. They estimate there are only 400 of the breed left in the UK and figures for the registration of puppies fell to a record low of just 17 puppies in 2013. The Kennel Club’s list of endangered native breeds monitors those whose numbers are below 300 puppy registrations each year, which is thought to be a suitable level to sustain a population. An ‘at watch’ list monitors those between 300 and 450 registrations per annum that could be at risk if their numbers continue to fall.


The Right Puppy for You

Sourcing a puppy can be an exciting time – you’ve met many dogs at events around the country, explored many breeds and decided that a Skye is the one for you. But the work does not end there, now you have to find a breeder and you may have to wait for that breeder to have a litter. The Skye Terrier Club recommend finding a responsible breeder, but what does that mean?

What Do Responsible Breeders Do?

The Kennel Club recommends that a breeding contract be in place between owners of breeding bitches and dogs to ensure that there are no misunderstandings regarding obligations. They also recommend that breeders produce a Buyer’s Contract when rehoming their puppies.

A Responsible breeder is one who puts the health and welfare of their dogs and puppies before anything else. They may be members of the Skye Terrier Club, and they may be members of the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder’s Scheme. They will also have committed themselves to a certain standard of care that strives towards producing healthy, happy puppies that maintain a healthy gene pool.

Members of the Skye Terrier Club will see that:

  • The dam (mother) has been properly raised and is at least 2 years old before she is bred from
  • Prior to breeding the dam will have been DNA swabbed and will have a general health check to ensure she is in good health (all members are encouraged to have ultrasound scans of the kidneys done prior to breeding – please see our Health Pages for more information on this breed health scheme)

Once the decision to breed has been made a responsible breeder will then go on to select a mate. This will take into consideration a wide variety of factors including conformation, temperament and genetic diversity. The breeder will research the potential mate and its lineage for signs of any health concerns and will compare the pedigrees of the dam and potential mate. The breeder will ensure that sire (father) has also had the required health checks and that he is also in good health.

Conformation is not a question of beauty but of ensuring that the dog is physically capable to live a healthy life as a pet, working or show dog. A healthy dog is a well-made dog.

Over the past two decades Skye Terrier Club members and breeders have been involved in the importing of new lines into the UK. The importation of semen for artificial insemination and of puppies into the UK has widened the gene pool and imports of dogs and semen are continuing. As a result, the puppies being produced today are typically genetically diverse. More importantly, as the widening of the gene pool continues it will enable responsible breeders to continue to produce healthy puppies for many more generations.

Puppies Are On Their Way

Most Skye bitches whelp naturally without veterinary intervention but occasionally there are complications. A responsible breeder will make sure that a bitch in whelp receives any help she might need as soon as possible.

Once all health checks have been completed, pedigrees have been compared and the mating has taken place a responsible breeder will continue to protect the health and welfare of the pregnant dam. Her diet will be monitored to ensure she is receiving the best nutrition to support herself and her unborn puppies. Later in the pregnancy she may receive an ultrasound scan to give an indication of litter size. She will be provided with an adequate whelping (birthing) space and she will be monitored closely for signs of labour. During the whelp she will be monitored and veterinary intervention will be given if necessary.

FatherSonOnce the puppies have arrived, the dam will continue to receive the correct nutrition so that she can continue to make enough milk for her pups and support her own bodily needs. The puppies will also be monitored and handled daily, weighed and wormed regularly and once old enough they will be vet checked. A responsible breeder will also begin to socialise their puppies – they will introduce them to sights and sounds around the home, to other family animals and to visiting friends, and they will provide daily human contact. This is an incredibly important process that every puppy needs and deserves.

When Can I Take One Home? 

Once you have found a breeder you may find that you have to wait for them to have a litter. Once they have a litter you may be invited to view the puppies at 5/6 weeks old. This can be a wonderful experience as you should be able to see the entire litter, with their mother (and possibly their father too).

The breeder will ask you questions about your home life, your experience with dog ownership and training and what you hope to get out of owning a Skye. This is to help the breeder to match you up with the most suitable puppy.

The breeder may draw up a Buyer’s Contract, and may have a clause in this contract that makes it clear that they will take the puppy back if your circumstances change. Some things are beyond anyone’s control and responsible breeders will step in to help with the care or rehoming of one of their puppies, no matter how old the dog may be.

You should be able to see how the puppies interact with each other, with their mother, with their humans and with the visiting humans. This is your chance to ask the breeder more questions about how to continue the socialisation process and correctly care for your puppy, but please be prepared to answer the breeder’s questions too!

Puppies should remain with their littermates and mother for at least the first 8-9 weeks of their lives. This is because there is a sensitive period stretching from around 3 weeks old to around 9 weeks old in which puppies learn all manner of social behaviours that they need in order to be happy, well adjusted dogs. The best place they can learn these behaviours is with their mother and littermates. A responsible breeder may let you view puppies as early as 5 weeks but they will not separate the puppies from their mother until at least 8-9 weeks old.

Things to be Aware of

When you are searching for a puppy or considering having a puppy from a breeder, it might be useful to think about the following questions.

  • Is the breeder a member of the Skye Terrier Club, or the Assured Breeder Scheme? If they are, have they complied with the regulations of the scheme(s) they are involved in?
  • Is the breeder able to tell you about the parents and family lines, in detail? This includes health issues, temperament and achievements in the family.
  • Has the breeder performed the necessary vet checks on the parents prior to breeding and can they show records and certificates that confirm this?
  • Have you been able to see the puppies with their mother at the breeders’ premises? If the breeder is the owner of both mother and father, have you had the opportunity of meeting the father as well?
  • Is the litter registered with the Kennel Club? If it is registered, are there any endorsements placed upon the puppies? If there are endorsements, the breeder should explain what these mean to you. If the litter is not registered with the Kennel Club, has the breeder explained why?
  • Can the breeder provide details of the puppy’s diet, worming history and veterinary checks?
  • Has the breeder begun a program of socialisation with people, other animals, household sights and sounds and have they provided you with advice on how to continue this once you get the puppy home?ItwasntMe
  • Can the breeder offer you advice about caring for your puppy, about living with and training a Skye? If they have, do you feel confident that this support will be ongoing and that if you approached the breeder with a question or query they would help out as best they could?
  • Has the breeder asked you questions about your lifestyle, your reason for wanting a Skye and what you will hope and expect from your new puppy?

If you are interested in adding a Skye Terrier to your household then please contact the Skye Terrier Club. We will be able to put you in touch with breeders in your area who will be more than willing to talk to you, answer your questions and let you meet their dogs. Getting to know your breeder, and allowing them to get to know you, is the best and most effective way of ensuring that you get a healthy, happy puppy that is suitable for your personal circumstances.

Skye in Full Coat

Grooming the Glamorous Skye

Many people meeting Skyes the first time assume that their beautiful coat takes a lot of work to keep. While it looks spectacular, the Skye coat is also hardy and functional and can be controlled perfectly with weekly brushing.

The Skye Terrier has a double coat comprised of a soft, downy undercoat and a longer, harder topcoat. They have shorter, slightly softer fringing on their ears and head forming a veil that does not limit their vision as the hair naturally falls into a centre parting. When in full coat the only part that is trimmed is the fur between the pads on the feet.

Essential grooming equipment for the Skye coat: a pin brush, a long-toothed comb, a pair of dog scissors (you can buy curved and round-ended versions so that accidents do not happen) and a pair of nail clippers.

Skye owner and dog groomer Julie explains how she keeps her male Skyes in full show coat:

Grooming the Skye
Stages of Grooming

“I have two cream Skye terriers in full show coat, and my trade is a dog groomer, so it comes easy for me to maintain them.

I bath them every week in an oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. I dry with a dryer and use a pin brush so not to split the jacket, then use a long pin comb to finish off, lifting the coat in sections so that any tangles can be dealt with.

Only trimming is underneath and around the feet and a light tidy around the bum area just for the hygiene purpose, this is done with curved scissors so no accidents happen by digging in.

If you want to keep a full coat then pinning the hair back helps to keep the hair out of the eyes, if you’re not showing then trimming the hair around the face will make things easier.

If your Skye terrier is just a pet then finding a good groomer to trim your dogs coat down will make less work, owning a Skye terrier doesn’t mean you have to keep a full coat.

Nails need trimming regularly either with nail clippers or dremmel, this needs to be introduced at a very early age as most dogs can take a dislike to this procedure.

Teeth is a very important job and needs doing every week and this also needs to be introduced early, just buy a medium tooth brush and play around the puppies mouth with the brush then progress to the teeth gently as teething can be painful, tropiclean gel is a good product this can be used on its own or placed on the tooth brush.

My dogs enjoy their walks over the moors and they do get muddy and wet, but a good coat will take all of this if looked after.”

Pin the fringe up when not showing
You can pin the fringe up when not showing

While a weekly grooming session can easily control the Skye coat and prevent tangles, for the pet Skye you may prefer to have the coat trimmed shorter. Pet Skye owner Sarah explains how her dogs are trimmed:

“I have two Skyes, a cream dog and a silver bitch, who go to the groomers twice a year – once at the beginning of Spring and once part way through Summer. Because they have different coat textures they have slightly different clips.

My cream dog has a very fine, woolly undercoat so the groomer takes him quite short. The ear fringes and beard are trimmed, and feathering is left on his tail but the veil on his head and his face fur are trimmed right back. My silver bitch has a similar cut but she keeps more of the veil on her head and face and she has short ‘boots’ left over her feet.

Between clips I brush them once a week to ensure the coat stays tangle free, and I trim their nails when required. I usually only have to trim their dew claws as the other ones tend to wear down when they’re out and about. I also trim the fur between their pads on their feet.”

Pet trims can save time and look adorable
Pet trims can save time – but don’t forget to brush the fringes and feathers to prevent tangles!

Just because Skyes are long coated, don’t think that they aren’t terriers by nature. They love nothing more than being out and about and getting…filthy. And because the coat is very robust it can cope with the elements and with bathing to clean them. Here are Florence and Oscar enjoying their walks on the beach and in the countryside. If you come along to one of the Skye Terrier Club shows you might even see Oscar and his coat in the show ring.


Greyfriar's Bobby, Edinburgh

The Drop Ear Skye Terrier

Dog shows began in about 1860 and from then on it is possible to trace all the winners up to the present day through the official Stud Books. The earliest show dogs came from Scotland, some of them actually from Skye. Drop ears were in the majority until the turn of the century, when exhibitors favoured the prick eared variety. This is still the case today. Despite this preference the drop ear appears occasionally, though on the continent of Europe this seldom occurs because of the strict regulation which came into effect in 1934 forbidding the interbreeding of prick ears to drop ear dogs.

Continue reading The Drop Ear Skye Terrier