Bobby is commemorated in Edinburgh with this statue.
They are described as "a low, hardy terrier" but, in reality, the modern Skye is anything but hardy. The breed barely exists outside of the show-ring and there, sadly, the set of the dogs' ears is way more important that its ability to be useful on a smallholding on the windswept Isle of Skye.
Today, the Skye Terrier is one of the most inbred, most endangered native UK breeds, dead on average by just 11 years old (terrible for a terrier). It is blighted by several different cancers, auto-immune disease, renal dysplasia, Skye Terrier hepatitis and back problems (the last no huge surprise given the show-ring selection for a dog with short legs and a long back). It also has a high-maintenance coat - not always the case historically.
|© Michal Maňas|
What breeders and the KC should be doing of course is planning a careful outcross - if, that is, there is truly enough appetite to stop this breed sliding into oblivion.
And that's because it is ethically unacceptable to continue to breed Skye Terriers without an injection of new blood when there's such a high propensity for suffering.
Are there any enlightened breeders planning an outcross for this breed - perhaps to its more hardy, more moderate cousin the Cairn Terrier?
Please let me know.