Saturday, December 07, 2019
The skye times mobile

The oldest terrier breed in Scotland comes home to Skye later this month for its big event of the year.

The Skye Terrier Club holds two single breed shows each year. The Open show is held in April and the group's premier event, the Championship show will be held on Saturday 24 September at Kyleakin Community Hall.

Judging the event will be Finnish expert, Kari Jarvinen and terriers from across the UK are expected to take part.

The main event is open to spectators and their will also be a Platinum Pageant, fun dog show the following day ( September 25) which will take place from 1.30 to 3pm. It is open to all dogs and is free to enter. to find out about both events follow the link here

This is what the club themselves have to say about the breed:

"The Skye Terrier takes its name from island and the breed is known to go back to the fourteenth century at least.

"Terriers were needed wherever there were vermin and the best of these little dogs came from the far west coast of the Highlands of Scotland. It is almost impossible to trace the origin of the breed; to do so one has to piece together all the relevant information which has survived, mainly by oral tradition, for hundreds of years.

"It is generally accepted that canine survivors of a wrecked man-of-war from the Spanish Armada bred with local terriers, producing a strain with a long, silky coat. Lady MacDonald of Armadale Castle certainly owned a kennel of terriers of this type. While the story is decidedly romantic there are a few discrepancies which ought to be considered. It is true that many ships from the Spanish Armada of 1588 found their way home blocked and had to sail round Britain, pursued by the English; several of these ships certainly came to grief on the hostile reefs around the coast of Scotland.

"The island of Raasay, just off Skye, is supposed to have been a haven for some of the survivors, who made their homes there, so it may be possible to believe that a dog or two could have survived. How many would have been allowed aboard a man-of-war is debatable, however. In any case, the Macdonalds did not have a castle at Armadale until 1815, though the ruins of kennels remain from that time.

"So where did the Skye Terrier originate? It is unlikely that the tradition of the Armadale connection would have remained if it contained no truth whatsoever. However, the presence of terriers on the island is recorded prior to 1588, so we have to search further back in time. It is worth bearing in mind that the Western Highlands were first settled by the Picts from Ireland, followed by the Vikings. The Viking invasions were not all pillaging and raping as some stories suggest; the Vikings left their homes in Scandinavia to find a place in which to live and many settled as far south as the Isle of Man.

"Studies of the Vikings have shown that they took with them dogs which may also have had an influence on how the Skye Terrier developed. If one looks at the Drever, or Swedish Vallhund as it is better known in Britain, whose history goes back to the Viking times, one can see that the body shape is similar to that of the Skye. Though the Valhund is much more closely linked with the Corgi, the similarity to the Skye is one which must be considered.

"We may have something for which to thank the Vikings! Vallhund colouring is different, but brown Skyes are known to appear from time to time so we cannot dismiss the connection too hastily. Certainly Eilean A’Cheo, the Misty Isle, is well named, since the source of the Skye Terrier breed is hidden in the mists of time." 


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