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Skye Terrier

Terrier Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The Skye is a very old Terrier breed, having been recognizable as a specific type for nearly four centuries. Native to the northwestern islands of Scotland, it is named after the Isle of Skye. Virtually unchanged through the years, the Skye has been valued as both a game working dog and a family pet.
The Skye Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1993.

General Appearance

The Skye is a Terrier of style, elegance and dignity, while remaining agile and strong, with sturdy, substantial bone and hard muscle. The breed is long, low and level - the ideal body length to height ratio is 2 to 1, which is considered to be the correct proportion.

The breed’s profuse coat falls straight down either side of the body over the oval-shaped ribs. The hair is well feathered on the head, and veils the forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush, briars and serious encounters with other animals.

The head is held high. The long tail is hanging. Movement is seemingly effortless. Body, quarters and jaws are strong.


The ideal Skye Terrier is solidly built, with substantial bone, denoting strength and quality while never appearing coarse.

The Skye possesses the typical working terrier temperament, capable of overtaking game and going to ground, displaying stamina, courage, strength and agility. Friendly and gay with those he knows and cautious and reserved with strangers, the Skye is also fearless, loyal and canny.


The head is long and powerful. Strength is considered more important than extreme length.


The skull is moderately wide at the back and tapers gradually towards a slight stop.


The muzzle is strong with level jaws.


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.


The medium-size, close-set eyes are brown (preferably dark brown) in color. They are characteristically alight with life and intelligence.


The nose is black.


The gracefully feathered, symmetrical ears may be carried either prick or dropped. Prick ears are medium in size and placed high on the skull. They are slightly wider apart at the peak than at the skull. The drop ears are slightly larger in size and are set lower, hanging flat against the skull.


The long, gracefully arched neck is carried high and proudly.


The shoulders are well laid back. The shoulder blades are tightly placed at the withers.


The short, muscular legs are as straight as the chest will permit (not to mean "Terrier straight"). The forearms curve slightly around the chest. The elbows fit closely to the sides, being neither loose nor tied.


An outstanding breed characteristic is the long, low body. The topline is level. The chest is deep. The ribs are oval in shape, but the sides appear flat due to the profuse, straight-falling coat. The length of the body is in the ribcage, not the loin.


The strong, full, well-developed hindquarters are well angulated.


The short, muscular hind legs are straight when viewed from behind. No dewclaws.


Both fore and hind feet are large with thick pads. They point straight forward.


The long tail is well feathered. When hanging, the upper section is pendulous and follows the line of the rump. The lower section is thrown back in a moderate arc, but does not twist or curl. The tail is not carried above the line of the back.


The breed is double-coated. The short undercoat is soft and woolly. The hard, straight outer coat is flat and long.

The body coat has a part from head to tail and hangs straight down each side of the body The hair on the head, which may be shorter than the body hair, veils the forehead and the eyes and forms a beard and an apron. The long ear feathering falls straight down from the tips and outer edges, outlining the shape of the ears and surrounding them like a fringe. The ends of the hair mingle with the coat of the neck. The tail is well feathered.


Acceptable coat colors include: black, blue, dark or light gray, silver platinum, fawn and cream; all with dark points. Any of these solid colors may have shades of the same color or lighter undercoat, as long as the nose and ears are black. A small white spot on the chest is acceptable.

Height, Weight and Proportions

Ideal height, measured at the withers, is: males, 10 inches; bitches, 9½ inches.
Based on the ideal height, a 10-inch tall dog should be 20 inches long, measured from the breastbone to the rump.


Movement is free, active and effortless, presenting a fluid picture. When traveling, the legs proceed straight forward. When viewed from the front, the forelegs form a continuation of the straight line of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. The forelegs move well forward, without too much lift. The hind legs, which also travel straight forward, furnish the principal propelling power.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.

UKC Breed Standards: Skye Terrier

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised May 1, 2017

©Copyright 1993, United Kennel Club