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:
“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.”
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.”
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.