Originally from the Isle of Skye where their name was derived, the Skye Terrier is a fearless and canny little dog that was used as a vermin catcher. Their low-slung build enabled them to go to ground on foxes or badgers, while their long hard coat protected them from undergrowth and the teeth of other animals. Although they may look like the fancy-pants of the Terrier group, they are in actual fact a tough little cookie with a powerful body and punishing jaws.

In addition to being a true working terrier, the Skye Terrier was much favoured as a house pet of the Scottish lairds and eventually gained considerable status with the English aristocracy. There was a time when any self respecting duchess would have been ashamed to be seen in the park without her fashionable Skye Terrier!


There are two varieties of the Skye Terrier – the prick ear and the drop ear. The prick ear type has ears that point upward and the drop ear type has larger ears that point downward. Both types have hair covering the ears as well as the eyes.

A soft undercoat sits beneath the long, hard straight outer coat of the Skye Terrier. Their coat come in assorted colours including black, gray, fawn and cream. The hair on the ears, muzzle and tail are usually darker than the rest of the coat, with the exception if the terrier is black.

Average lifespan

The Staffy is loyal, loving and generally a quiet, stable and trustworthy companion. It is important to remember that they were originally bred to be a fighting dog. This sometimes shows in their boisterous nature and in some circumstances a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs. They are suitable for being the only dog in the household or can live happily with other pets if socialized and given the correct obedience training at a young age. Puppy socialisation should include interaction with other dogs and with children.


Up to 15 years


Unswervingly loyal and devoted to those they love, but reserved and distrustful of strangers, the Skye Terrier is a one-man dog. They have an intelligent and inquiring mind, and demand lots of affection. They are best suited to adult households or those with older children. They may not get along with other pets so best to introduce them when they are young.

With their highly individual appearance and personality, the Skye Terrier is an extremely rewarding dog to own.

Grooming and care

The Skye Terrier will require regular brushing to avoid matting and to keep their coat clean and healthy.

Training and exercise

Early socialisation is essential as the independent Skye Terrier tends to be reserved with strangers. They love their walks and will enjoy up to 30 minutes of it daily.

Health concerns

For the latest research in breed-related problems in Skye Terriers, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.