The Skye Terrier is a breed native to the UK that has been classified by the Kennel Club as ‘vulnerable’. Vulnerable breeds typically register less than 300 puppies in any one year – for many years, Skye Terrier puppy registrations in the UK have been below 100, and are often far below 50.
Dedicated members of the Skye Terrier Club and enthusiasts of this wonderful breed have in recently years taken it upon themselves to do as much as possible to raise the profile of these wonderful little dogs. Many, many people have given their time, commitment and enthusiasm to the breed in a variety of ways. Many people have gone out of their way to promote the many fantastic qualities of their dogs, showing the public just what Skyes are capable of achieving.
The Skye Terrier Club felt that it was time to recognise and honour some of these amazing people. The My Versatile Skye Breed Ambassador Award is awarded annually to a Skye and human partnership who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in promoting the adaptability, versatility and all-round awesomeness of the Skye Terrier. Winners have their names etched onto the beautiful Breed Ambassador Shield and receive a special certificate thanking them for their ongoing dedication to the Skye Terrier Breed. Here is our roll of honour.
This year the Skye Terrier Club would like to recognise the work that Elaine Donini Hersey and the late Dennis have done for Skyes, in breed showing, rally obedience and his work as a therapy dog. Dennis excelled in every discipline of his career and he has demonstrated how truly versatile Skye Terriers can be. Through his work he touched the lives of many people who may not otherwise have know what a Skye was, and we are proud to recognise his contribution to the breed. Thank you, Elaine, for your continued dedication to Skye Terriers and the work you now carry on with Dennis’ relatives to promote our wonderful breed!
Social media platforms can reach a whole new audience for the breed and having positive and fun role models for Skyes across the world is a great way to show how much fun and how adaptable the breed can be. This year the Skye Terrier Club would like to recognise Foxy and Bali (and Susan Ritvo Falvey!) for their fun, friendly and adaptable characters that they display through various social media channels (Instagram and Facebook). They show the world what living with Skyes is like and what positive and adorable members of the family Skyes can be. The Skye Terrier Club hopes that the Digital Ambassador Award 2017 goes some way to recognise Foxy and Bali’s achievements for the Skye Terrier Breed and we look forward to following their antics for many years to come!
The Breed Ambassador Award for 2016 was awarded to one of the youngest junior handlers of Skye Terriers in the world. Tumanova Polina and her Skye Terrier Lapochka compete in canine freestyle to music in the young handler category. They have competed at national and international events, most often winning their category with their imaginative routines. Polina handles her Skye using reward-based methods and you can really see how close they are to one another when they dance – Lapochka never takes his eyes from his handler!
Their partnership really demonstrates how intelligent and versatile Skye Terriers can be, and how they can benefit from thorough, kind training in any discipline. We hope to see Polina and Lapochka continue to compete as they both grow and develop into world class canine freestyle competitors. Congratulations from the Skye Terrier Club on all your amazing achievements so far!
Our Digital Ambassador award this year goes to Scruffy Nellie, a little Skye Terrier cross who was rescued from the streets of Kazakstan. Since being rescued Nellie has taken on the role of Diplomatic Dog to the British Consulate, travelling the world with her handmaiden and man servant. Currently sunning herself in tropical Guyana (a far cry from her ancestral home in Scotland!) Nellie has even met Royalty when she shook paws with Prince Harry!
Nellie’s transformation from abandoned stray to hard working diplomat shows how resilient Skye Terriers can be, and how much affection they have to give. We love reading about Scruffy Nellie’s adventures on her very own blog and hope that she continues to enjoy the good life after a bit of a rocky start. Keep up the great work Nellie!
The Breed Ambassador Award for 2015 was awarded to two Skyes and their owner who have all worked tirelessly for the benefit of the breed for a number of years. Not only does Moira Barrass have extensive experience of owning, showing and breeding Skyes (along with other breeds) but she also spends a great deal of time promoting the breed at local schools. Kelly and Hanna are both regular visitors to their local Primary School Classes, where they teach Edinburgh children about Greyfriar’s Bobby and his unending loyalty. You can read about one of Kelly’s visits, and the children’s reaction to it, on our members page.
Moira also attends many Skye Terrier Club events, including the Bobby’s Day annual celebrations, and in 2015 she and Hanna even had a feature on STV! The feature was screened during the evening prime time, making it a great piece of publicity for the breed. Sadly, Kelly has recently passed over the Rainbow Bridge, having spent many years as a companion and breed PR officer. Hanna stands in the wings waiting to take over the mantle but at present is devoting some time to being a mother to her first litter of puppies, some of whom we hope to see in the show ring later this year. It is with great pleasure that we award the Breed Ambassador Award to Moira, Kelly and Hanna for all their hard work and dedication, and we wish them all (and the puppies) the best of luck and health for the future.
The Breed Ambassador Award for 2014 was awarded to a Skye and human paring that had quite literally travelled the length and breadth of the UK in a bid to promote the breed and rally support. Eric and his beloved Skye, Greer, resided in London – and Greer made it her mission to ensure that everyone in and around the capital was suitably smitten with Skyes. She travelled on public transport as though it were her own private carriage, and thought nothing of taking a leisurely wander around an inner city park. In 2013, Eric and Greer set about a mission to raise the profile of the breed through putting together a documentary. Aptly titled ‘Save Our Skye’, preparation and filming work involved Eric and Greer travelling from their London base to visit Skye Terrier owners, breeders and enthusiasts all over the country – from the South Coast, to Wales and Scotland – Greer even took part in the great Walk Across Skye in 2013, raising money for the Homecoming Project as well as getting some great documentary footage. Never one to miss any excitement, Greer even managed to sneak into the special birthday celebrations held after the walk by ‘hiding’ under one of the long tables. I think everybody knew she was there but her endearing qualities won out and the management didn’t evict her. As well as taking on this epic journey, Eric and Greer became something of social media pioneers for the Skye Breed – the Save our Skye page has over 900 friends from all over the world.
Sadly, at the end of 2014 Greer was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a devastating turn of events for a Skye so physically active and who served as an inspiration to so many of the people she met. Although she passed over the Rainbow Bridge in early 2015, it is with great pleasure that the Skye Terrier Club awards Eric & Greer with the Breed Ambassador Award for 2014, in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the future of the Skye Terrier breed. A special thanks go to Eric for attending the Club show in September to be presented with the award.
The Breed Ambassador Award was first awarded at the end of 2013. This was a huge year for the Skye Terrier breed and the Club. Members and supporters had walked the length of Skye, with their Skyes, to raise a huge amount of money in support of the Homecoming Project. Other members had made and sold craft items, some had donated money or sponsored the walkers. Enthusiasts from all over the world had come together to help raise money and support the breed. And, a Skye Terrier won the Terrier Group at Crufts. A huge increase in interest in the breed resulted, with many articles in many newspapers. It was a busy year! It was so busy that we couldn’t choose just one winner of the Breed Ambassador Award and so we had two – two Skyes and their owners who orchestrated and contributed to so much of what happened in this year.
Donald (Ch. Skylander’s Wee Man of Storr) not only served as inspiration for the drop-eared Skye of the Homecoming statue, but with his human Margaret Samuel he was instrumental in raising the breed profile this year. He walked across Skye and showed liked a trooper but Donald also works as a Pets as Therapy dog attending venues to dish out cuddles, and is part of the Tailwaggers Dog Display team. I don’t think there was an animal-related event at which Donald wasn’t present this year, from Discover Dogs to the Gatcombe Horse trials. Margaret also trains Donald (and her other Skyes) in a variety of dog activities including Rally and Agility (when Donald decides he wants to), and Donald achieved his Platinum Versatility Award in this year too. Donald shares the award for 2013 with another Skye who worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the breed. Sula (Ch. Esgia Sula’s The Late Edition) and her human Cathie were regulars at meet the breed events, the Bobby’s day gathering in Edinburgh, they took part in the walk across Skye, and it was Sula’s (or maybe Cathie’s?) watchful eye that presided over much of the Homecoming project. Sula even visited the quarry to select the granite plinth for the Homecoming Statue – and a very fine choice she made! Around all of this, Sula still found the time to attend breed shows, gain her Championship title and then continue the Skye legacy by having a litter. We salute the excellent work of these two (four!) Breed Ambassadors and thank them for their dedication.
The competition in 2013 was so tough that we also made a Special Commendation Award. This went to a young handler whose enthusiasm and dedication to the breed has been outstanding. Thomas Hasker trains and handles his Skye Mop in agility and runs his veteran agility Skye, Poppy in junior competition. In 2013 he joined the walk across Skye, received several clear rounds and judges special awards at agility shows, attended the Young Kennel Club summer camp and competed in junior handling, grooming and agility. Thomas and Mop achieved their Platinum Versatility Award in this year, whilst Poppy achieved her Silver. And this was all before Thomas began competing in breed exhibition with his puppy, Toffee! An outstanding contribution to the breed for a young man under the age of 11 indeed. We hope that Thomas continues to adore Skye Terriers and competes with his girls in many different disciplines in the coming years. Well done Thomas!