© Tapio Eerola

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The home of Skye Terrier, as it is of many modern Terrier Breeds, is in Scotland. More precisely, Skye Terriers originate from the North-Western Scotland, from the Isle of Skye, the largest of the islands of the Inner-Hebrides. The breed is old, but it was very rare outside its native island until the middle of the 17th century. According to an old legend, the ancestors of the breed were short-legged, profoundly coated Maltese dogs that were the only survivors from the disastrous wreck of the Spanish Armada outside the Hebrides in 1588. These dogs met the local terriers on the Isle of Skye, mixed with them and from this combination started the history of our Heavenly Breed.

Originally, Skye Terriers were working terriers, and the Skye’s profound coat has been its protection in the demanding fields of the Isle, where these terriers were hunting badgers, foxes and other smaller predators. Since the end of the 17th century, Skye Terrier has mostly been a companion and pet. This development began when the aristocracy of Britain, including Queen Victoria, had Skye Terriers as pets. Probably also Clydesdale Terriers were used to give the breed more profound coat and elegance, and eventually also its size increased. The original working terrier has developed to the today’s Cairn Terrier. While the Cairn Terriers have retained their gamy outlook, the Skye Terrier is more sophisticated, fancy-looking and glamorous dog. This has also changed the character of these two breeds, and when Cairn Terriers are lively, in the tip of their toes and extremely alert, Skye Terriers are more calm, noble, but still show the true Terrier spirit when needed.

Today, Skye Terriers still exist and are bred in their native island, and there are several breeders in Scotland as well. In the Great Britain, The Skye Terrier Club has gathered together all Skye breeders and fanciers in the British Isles, as well as from abroad.

© Petteri Kitti

Skye Terrier does not belong to the popular breeds in any part of the world. Therefore the overall breed population is quite limited and the same ancestors near and far are common in pedigrees in Central Europe, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Australia and the United States of America. Twice during the last century (1900-1999), a representative of our breed has won the Terrier Group at Crufts, the main championship show of The Kennel Club. The latest occasion was in 1992. Skye Terrier has once been chosen Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in the USA, in 1969. The main event for the FCI countries, the World Show, has seen during the 1990s three different Skye Terriers winning the Terrier Group, and one of these winners was bred in Finland (Finnsky Oliver).

Finnish Skye Terriers are generally known of their excellent quality. Finnish-bred Skyes have gained champion titles at numerous FCI World Shows, and in Britain and the USA. At the Westminster Kennel Club Show Finnsky Oliver was the winner of the Terrier Group in 1996, and in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 the BOB winner at this main event has been Finnish-bred. Finnsky Oliver was twice the winner of the National Specialty of the STCA and Skye Terrier of the Year of STCA. He has also been the top producing sire in the USA. His son, Finnsky Xcalibur, won the STCA National Specialty four times. Xcalibur was Skye Terrier of the Year in the USA in 2001 and number four Terrier.

Another top producer, 1997 Skye Terrier of the Year in the USA was of Finnish-British breeding (Mariquita Flashxclusive). His sire was GB CH Finnsky Teamwork with Mariquita, one of the top producers in the UK. The other GB CHs bred in Finland are Glimmer in Shadow of Skyeline, Best of Breed at Crufts in 1986, GB CH Finnsky Xit, BOS at Crufts in 2005 and GB&JSY CH Finnsky Future With Petwalk, Crufts Best of Breed 2007. There are succesful Finnish-bred Skye Terriers in Central Europe and in Australia.