Skye Terrier

The Skye Terrier is a breed of dog that is a long, low, hardy terrier.

The Skye Terrier is double coated, with a short, soft undercoat and a hard, straight topcoat. The ideal coat length is 5 1/2 inches (14 cm), with no extra credit for a longer coat. The shorter hair of the head veils the forehead and eyes, forming a moderate beard. The ears should be well feathered and, in prick-eared examples, the hair should fall like a fringe, accenting the form, and blending with the side locks.

Fawn, blue, dark or light grey, blonde, and black with black points (ears and muzzle) all occur. They may have any self colour, allowing for some shading of same colour on the body and a lighter undercoat, so long as the nose and ears are black. There should be no further patterning on the body, but a small white spot on the chest is permissible.

Except for the shape and size of the ears, there is no significant difference nor preference given between the prick- and drop-eared types. When prick, they are medium sized, carried high on the skull and angled slightly outwards. In the drop type, the ears are set lower, are larger, and should hang flat against the head, with little or no muscle movement forwards and backwards.

The Skye Terrier coat is resistant to tangling, and needs to be brushed at least once a week. The Skye should be generally kept natural and untrimmed; however, minor trimming of the coat between and around the toes and pads can help avoid problems due to trapped dampness or twigs, pebbles, mud, etc.

Being an achondroplastic dog breed with extremely short legs, the Skye Terrier has particular health concerns. The most preventable is often called Skye limp or Puppy limp, and it is due to premature closure of the distal radial growth plate. If a Skye is exercised too often, too young, especially before 8 months, they can damage their bone growth, leading to a painful limp and possibly badly bowed legs. Jumping up and down from objects, climbing over objects, running, even long walks, are all things to be avoided for the first 8 to 10 months to prevent later problems and allow for correct closure of the growth plate.

Degenerative disc disease is also a common problem in short-legged dogs, and as many as 10% of Skyes will suffer from it.

Mammary cancer is the leading cause of Skye Terrier deaths, with Hemangiosarcomas (a malignant tumour of the blood vessels), Autoimmune disease, and Hyperthyroidism as other concerns of the breed.

Overall, the breed is still considered quite healthy, and the average lifespan is 12–15 years.

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