Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Skye Terrier General Appearance: The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity: agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level-he is twice as long as he is high-he is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs. The hair well feathered on the head veils forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. He stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. He is strong in body, quarter and jaw. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - The ideal shoulder height for dogs is 10 inches and bitches 9½ inches. Based on these heights a 10 inch dog measured from chest bone over tail at rump should be 20 inches. A slightly higher or lower dog of either sex is acceptable. Dogs 9 inches or less and bitches 8½ inches or less at the withers are to be penalized. Proportion - The ideal ratio of body length to shoulder height is 2 to 1, which is considered the correct proportion. Substance - Solidly built, full of strength and quality without being coarse. Bone is substantial. Head: Long and powerful, strength being deemed more important than extreme length. Eyes brown, preferably dark brown, medium in size, close-set and alight with life and intelligence. Ears symmetrical and gracefully feathered. They may be carried prick or drop. If prick, they are medium in size, placed high on the skull, erect at their outer edges, and slightly wider apart at the peak than at the skull. Drop ears, somewhat larger in size and set lower, hang flat against the skull. Moderate width at the back of the skull tapers gradually to a strong muzzle. The stop is slight. The dark muzzle is just moderately full as opposed to snipy. Powerful and absolutely true jaws. The nose is always black. A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify. Mouth with the incisor teeth closing level, or with upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower. Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Long and gracefully arched, carried high and proudly. The backline is level. Body pre-eminently long and low, the chest deep, with oval-shaped ribs. The sides appear flattish due to the straight falling and profuse coat. Tail long and well feathered. When hanging, its upper section is pendulous, following the line of the rump, its lower section thrown back in a moderate arc without twist or curl. When raised, its height makes it appear a prolongation of the backline. Though not to be preferred, the tail is sometimes carried high when the dog is excited or angry. When such carriage arises from emotion only, it is permissible. But the tail should not be constantly carried above the level of the back or hang limp. Forequarters: Shoulders well laid back, with tight placement of shoulder blades at the withers and elbows should fit closely to the sides and be neither loose nor tied. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Legs short, muscular and straight as possible. "Straight as possible" means straight as soundness and chest will permit, it does not mean "Terrier straight." Feet - Large hare-feet preferably pointing forward, the pads thick and nails strong and preferably black. Hindquarters : Strong, full, well developed and well angulated. Legs short, muscular and straight when viewed from behind. Feet as in front.
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Coa t: Double. Undercoat short, close, soft and woolly. Outer coat hard, straight and flat. 5½ inches long without extra credit granted for greater length. The body coat hangs straight down each side, parting from head to tail. The head hair, which may be shorter, veils forehead and eyes and forms a moderate beard and apron. The long feathering on the ears falls straight down from the tips and outer edges, surrounding the ears like a fringe and outlining their shape. The ends of the hair should mingle with the coat of the neck. Tail well feathered. Color: The coat must be of one over-all color at the skin but may be of varying shades of the same color in the full coat, which may be black, blue, dark or light grey, silver platinum, fawn or cream. The dog must have no distinctive markings except for the desirable black points of ears, muzzle and tip of tail, all of which points are preferably dark even to black. The shade of head and legs should approximate that of the body. There must be no trace of pattern, design or clear- cut color variations, with the exception of the breed's only permissible white which occasionally exists on the chest not exceeding 2 inches in diameter. The puppy coat may be very different in color from the adult coat. Therefore, as it is growing and clearing, wide variations of color may occur; consequently, this is permissible in dogs under 18 months of age. However, even in puppies there must be no trace of pattern, design, or clear- cut variations with the exception of the black band encircling the body coat of the cream colored dog, and the only permissible white which, as in the adult dog, occasionally exists on the chest not exceeding 2 inches in diameter. Gait: The legs proceed straight forward when traveling. When approaching, the forelegs form a continuation of the straight line of the front. The feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. The principal propelling power is furnished by the back legs which travel straight forward. Forelegs should move well forward, without too much lift. The whole movement may be termed free, active and effortless and give a more or less fluid picture. Temperament: That of the typical working terrier capable of overtaking game and going to ground, displaying stamina, courage, strength and agility. Fearless, good-tempered, loyal and canny, he is friendly and gay with those he knows and reserved and cautious with strangers. Disqualification: A Dudley, flesh-colored or brown nose shall disqualify.
Approved February 10, 1990 Effective March 28, 1990
JUDGING THE SKYE TERRIER BY KAREN L. SANDERS
Photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club
O ver the past several years, the Skye Terrier Club of America (STCA) Board of Directors has been work- ing toward the final development of an Illustrated Breed Standard. A new, breed amplification has already been developed and approved and the nec- essary drawings are well underway. It is our strong desire to finally complete this project in time to introduce it at a Special Judges Education Seminar we plan to host in conjunction with our Diamond Jubilee Show (100th National Specialty and 75th year as an AKC Mem- ber Club) over the Montgomery County Kennel Club weekend in October 2013. Given the wonderful opportunity provided us by ShowSight Magazine to highlight our breed in this issue, I
have developed this article on judging the Skye Terrier, with the input of the STCA Board, to include some of the key elements of our new, Board approved Breed Standard Amplification. Addition- ally, I have included comments taken from an article prepared by the pre-emi- nent Skye Terrier Breeder Judge of more than 50 years experience, Mr. Walter F. Goodman. This article, which focuses primarily on breed proportion and balance, is one provided to attendees at Judges Education Seminars because these are key elements that speak to the essence of Skye judging. It is our sincere hope that those who read this article will find the material of use. The official breed standard for the Skye Terrier describes the general appearance of the breed as follows:
“The Skye Terrier is a dog of style, elegance and dignity, agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle. Long, low and level—he is twice as long as he is high—he is covered with a profuse coat that falls straight down either side of the body over oval-shaped ribs. The hair well feathered on the head veils forehead and eyes to serve as protection from brush and briar as well as amid serious encounters with other animals. He stands with head high and long tail hanging and moves with a seemingly effortless gait. He is strong in body, quarter and jaw.” It is this critical paragraph that describes breed type. According to Mr. Goodman: “Type is breed character. It is the combination of distinguishing features, which add up and make the
“TYPE IS BREED CHARACTER. IT IS THE COMBINATION OF DISTINGUISHING FEATURES, WHICH ADD UP AND MAKE THE INDIVIDUALITY OF A BREED.”
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individuality of a breed.” Skye Terriers are long and low and their breed type can be abused by fanciers. Type should not be a matter of personal preference, but an adherence to desired breed char- acteristics as stated in the Standard. There are variations in size or bone, but substantially, type should remain con- stant. Those Skyes that adhere closely to the written word are obviously near- er to correct type.” Mr. Goodman then goes on to describe balance, style and soundness as follows: “Balance, perhaps, is easier to under- stand, since there are clear dimensions involved. A correct Skye is well pro- portioned—length of head to length of neck, to length of back and tail and height. A Skye with correct proportions can look short-backed. A Skye who may be lower with a shorter neck and head, but the same length of back as the latter dog is unbalanced. Skyes can be too long as well as too short. Usually a properly proportioned dog stands out because of correct balance. Style becomes the next ingredient. It comes from that proper balance combined with showmanship and personality. A dog of lesser quality but with showmanship tends to conceal many of his faults. Soundness is more difficult to describe. In dog show parlance, sound- ness refers to proper action or move- ment. The standard is quite specific as to shoulder placement and front assem- bly as well as the rear quarters. It tells us what to expect as the dog moves towards you or away from you or as you view it in profile. To me, a proper mov- ing Skye is not only sound but typey. In other words, a correct Skye is a sound Skye. Skyes should drive from behind. If the front seems unable to keep up, it means that the front assembly is not completely correct. Often the question- able movement of the topline is the give-away of labored action. Equally unpleasant is a lack of drive from the quarters. This is every bit as unsound and not typey.” Key elements in our new Skye Ter- rier Breed Standard Amplification also speak directly to the major elements of breed type, balance, proportion and soundness and are as follows: 1. The ten inch height standard for Skyes has been retained in the Breed Standard since it was first approved by the AKC in 1938. Although Skyes, like many other breeds, have become larger over time, this height standard remains in place because it is a major element of breed type. As regards pro- portion, overall balance is paramount. Size and length of head, neck, back and tail must be in proportion to overall body height and length to complete the
Photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club
ideal picture. Dogs must be at least twice as long as they are high to achieve ideal proportion. Anything less than the required two to one length to height ratio must be faulted. Substance is another critical element of breed type. Skyes must be solid in every respect yet not coarse, strong of bone and yet ele- gant. Any virtue exaggerated becomes a fault. Bitches should be a feminine ver- sion of the breed standard. 2. The Skye’s front assembly bears approximately two-thirds of the dog’s weight and as such, correct structure is critical both in terms of overall move- ment and soundness and as a work- ing Terrier. The chest is deep and the sternum is prominent. Legs are strong boned, short and muscular and should be placed well under the dog to best support the breed’s deep chest and strong head. Shoulder blades, while tightly placed at the withers, should not touch. The upper arm should be equal in length to the well laid back shoulder blade and to the lower leg. The ideal angle of upper arm to shoulder blade is approximately 90 degrees. In the ideal front assembly, a plumb line dropped to the ground from the point where the shoulder blade meets the withers would touch the point where the elbow meets the lower leg and then parallel the lower leg to the ground. A short upper arm is a fault. When a dog is set up with elbows set properly, two or three fin- gers (depending on hand size) should fit comfortably between the front legs at the wrist. 3. While the breed standard dis- cusses color in some detail, two key elements need to be kept in mind. First, coat color in a Skye is among the least important breed considerations other than that all Skyes should have darker colored points (ears, muzzle and tip of tail). Second, Skye Terrier coat colors typically include variations
of the same color family. These varia- tions are most noticeable in the dark- est and lightest of the allowable coat colors (black, platinum, light silver and cream coats) but as long as the dog is one overall color at the skin, they are completely acceptable. 4. Skyes should be gaited at the trot with the legs moving in parallel planes. Viewed coming forward, the forelegs should have good reach and form a con- tinuous straight line. Viewed moving away, the hindquarters travel straight forward and this should be evident by watching the rear feet pads. Viewed from the side, the dog should maintain a level topline. Reach and drive should be well balanced with the gait easy, fluid, light, effortless and almost floating. In summation, the “Essence of the Skye Terrier” is that the ideal dog must be both sound and a possessor of cor- rect breed type. Essentials require that movement must be fluid and effortless and that the Skye carry a strong, level topline. Anything less is typically an indicator of poor front/rear construc- tion and/or poor condition. Skyes must also possess both good substance and elegance, be well balanced in their height to length ratio, and carry a dou- ble coat including a hard, lank topcoat. In judging the Skye, any dog lacking these notable requirements, listed as follows, should be seriously penalized. NOTABLE REQUIREMENTS • Correct front and/or rear con- struction and good condition. • Level topline, particularly while dog is on the move. • Correct balance between strength of bone and elegance without exaggeration of either element. • Correct balance (at least 2 to 1) in proportion. • Double coated with a hard, lank topcoat.
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THE PERFORMANCE SKYE TERRIER
Sabrina in agility.
by ELAINE HERSEY
S kye Terriers are among the old- est of terrier breeds. Th ough not high in popularity rankings today, the Skye was the most widely known of all the terriers down to the end of the 19th century. Queen Vic- toria’s early interest and Sir Edwin Land- seer’s paintings featuring the breed helped attract attention. Th e Skye Terrier was first registered with the AKC in 1887 and was one of the most important breeds at American bench shows before the turn of the century. Other than somewhat of an increase in size, they look pretty much the same today as they did hundreds of years ago. Skye Terriers were bred to take care of farm vermin in their native land, the Isle of Skye o ff the coast of Scotland. Anyone who has the opportunity to share their
life with a Skye is fortunate and the breed currently enjoys a small but passionately devoted following. Conventional belief is that Skyes are independent by nature and not easily taught. In reality, Skyes are very devoted and fiercely loyal to those they love and are very trainable. Given the chance and with creative instruction, Skyes very suc- cessfully participate in competitive Obe- dience, Agility, Rally and Tracking, as well as being great Th erapy dogs. Skye Terrier owners must understand that the breed is sensitive to correction and, while needing firm guidance, must be treated fairly. Skyes tend to be reserved by nature and require ongoing socialization from birth to ensure a happy and outgoing per- sonality. We have found that competing
in performance events is one way to help achieve this. Skyes are not necessarily easy to train, but if they are convinced there’s a reason to do something they are happy to com- ply. Th ey are also very smart and easily bored once they learn an activity. Drilling a Skye with too much repetition is usually counter-productive, as is having sessions run beyond a certain point. Patience and positive reinforcement is necessary, with an abundance of praise. For any level, find- ing an instructor with experience working with terriers can be a challenge, so own- ers need to advocate for what they think is best for their dog. Skyes enjoy putting their own spin on things, so sometimes the finer points of an obedience exercise is lost on them.
“...SKYES VERY SUCCESSFULLY PARTICIPATE IN COMPETITIVE OBEDIENCE, AGILITY, RALLY, AND TRACKING, AS WELL AS BEING GREAT THERAPY DOGS.”
Brian holding a dumbbell.
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Brian’s Obedience titles.
Dennis in Rally.
Rigidity won’t work, so the handler can’t initially be worried about perfectly straight sits, or flawless heeling. We integrate nov- ice training into daily life, so that it seems natural to our Skyes. Upper levels of obe- dience training require more strategy and training time, but is time well spent. Skyes are an uncommon sight competing at any level in the obedience ring and are sure to attract public attention. We have success- fully titled a number of our Seamist Skyes in Novice and Open Obedience, as well as trained for the ultimate goal of Utility. Back in the 1970s, Beverly Hayes actu- ally attained Utility titles on several of her Northridge Skyes. For those people who think that com- petitive obedience is perhaps a bit too rigid for them and their Skye, Rally Obedience is a good alternative. Perfect heel position is not required and the novice class is all on lead. At every level—Novice, Advanced and Excellent, the handler may talk to and encourage their dog throughout the course. Th is helps create a real connection
between handler and dog, something that Skyes thrive on; ours love it. Th ere are cur- rently several Skyes competing in the Rally ring and at least one has earned his Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title. Darlene Sumner competes with her two Skyes, Sabrina and Norman, in agility. Darlene and Sabrina have competed sev- eral times at the prestigious AKC/Eukanu- ba National Agility Championship. Dar- lene says, “Agility and Skye terrier are not normally seen in the same sentence. But, believe it or not, they are quite capable and can be quite good at it. Th eir body struc- ture was developed for rugged terrain to kill vermin, thus they have the ability for jumping, climbing the A frame and twist- ing through the weaves. I prefer to jump at a preferred jump height of 4" less than their regular jump height and to do run- ning contacts, especially for the A frame. Both keep less stress on their long backs. “Training, in my opinion, should always be short in time and long in patience. Use the best treats you can and praise highly.
All training is done in baby steps and always ending on a positive note. Th is is where their loyalty to their people pays o ff . Skyes will usually focus primarily on their person.” Skyes don’t tend to have excitable dis- positions and a Skye with basic training and good socialization can fairly easily transition into therapy dog instruction. Th ey are a moderate size, so they are not as overwhelming as a larger breed may be to some people, or too small to be consid- ered fragile. Th eir size makes it easy to lift them to be petted, or settled onto a bed for someone who may be infirm. Skyes are generally not a breed that is familiar to most people, so introducing one is a good conversation starter. Skyes are great listeners and can be a reassuring influence for children who need companionship in reading programs, or even in a therapist’s o ffi ce to o ff er quiet comfort. We have four Seamist generations of certified therapy (TDI) Skyes and one with an AKC THDA title. Whatever the chosen activity, therapy visits are among the most rewarding expe- riences to have with your dog. As with a number of AKC breeds, there is concern about the low registration num- bers for Skye Terriers worldwide. Unfor- tunately a Skye Terrier most likely isn’t a breed of dog that comes to mind for some- one looking for a performance or therapy dog. Th ey are not suitable for everyone, but no breed of dog is. Skyes are terrific all round dogs with unique and endearing personalities. If they could be seen as the versatile dogs they are, it would go far in improving their popularity. For those of us who love the breed, there is no other dog that compares to them.
“SKYES ARE GENERALLY NOT A BREED THAT IS FAMILIAR TO MOST PEOPLE, SO INTRODUCING
ONE IS A GOOD CONVERSATION STARTER.”
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WHY NOT A SKYE By Karen L. Sanders I n 1962, Skye aficionado Dr. E. S. Montgomery famously wrote: “ Th e true value of the Skye Terrier is evinced by the tenacious grasp which he has on the a ff ections of all those who century with Queen Victoria herself own- ing many Skye and the famed artist, Sir Edwin Landseer, including some of the Queen’s dogs in family portraits.
Perhaps the most famous Skye of all is Greyfriar’s Bobby, immortalized in the 1959 Disney film named after the dog him- self. When Bobby’s master died and was buried in Edinburg in Greyfriar’s Church- yard, Bobby refused to leave him and as the story goes, spent the rest of his life each night on his master’s grave. Today, a statue of Bobby sits in front of the Inn (now called Bobby’s Bar) where Bobby was fed. While the breed is now small in num- ber, most major US dog shows today will have its entry of Skyes and there is a core of dedicated breeders working hard to see that the breed survives. So, why not a Skye? I have been captivated and smitten with this wonderful and unique breed for more than 35 years and truly believe a Skye can be a “right fit” for many families. Neither too large nor too small, the Skye is a true dwarf breed, that is to say a big dog on short legs. Males typically weigh between 35 and 40 pounds at maturity and girls are typically in the 27 to 34 pound range. Good temperaments are critical as the typical Skye nature is to be reserved, quite laid back and cautious with those they don’t know. At the same time, they
have ever owned, bred or exhibited him.” Th us, if you could own a dog that was highly intelligent, immensely loyal and devoted, a real charmer with a unique appearance among the terrier breeds, and generally free of many of the congeni- tal problems that impact other breeds, then why not! Historically, Skyes were recognizable as such as far back as the 16th century, though they were considerably smaller than today’s dogs. Named for his native home, the Isle of Skye o ff the northwest coast of Scotland, Skyes were typically owned by Scottish lairds and were work- ing dogs kept to go after such animals as badgers, otters and foxes. Th ey were also closely related at this time to the other early Highland breeds, the Cairn, Scottish and West Highland White terriers. Prized for their loyalty, courage and tenacity, as the story goes, Mary Queen of Scots was accompanied to her execution by her wee Skye Terrier that, reputably, would not leave her, hiding under her skirts. Th e Skye Terrier breed, which includes both a prick and drop ear variety, became extremely popular during the 19th
are very smart, sensitive and easy to live with. Ongoing socialization is an absolute must to maintaining good temperaments with the reward being an incredibly loyal and loving family member. A number of today’s Skyes do wonderful work as ther- apy dogs attesting to their adaptability. Many also hold obedience, agility and even tracking titles. Given the mature Skye’s long flowing coat, upkeep is also an oft expressed con- cern of potential owners. Essentially I have found the Skye to be a “wash and wear” breed requiring much less work than the typical short-coated terrier. Th e number one requirement is that a Skye be kept clean and feet trimmed. While any mats found need to be removed promptly, daily brushing and grooming is not a must. A third question that generally comes up is whether or not Skyes have back problems. Unlike other dwarf breeds such as Dachshunds, back issues appear to be a rarity. If, having read this article you are now convinced to take a look at the possibility of acquiring a Skye, I highly recommend you go to the Skye Terrier Club of America (STCA) website (www.stca.us/) and con- tact us to help you find a responsible breed- er. Check out our Code of Ethics which all members must sign and adhere to. Should you ultimately purchase a Skye, I know you will wonder how you ever managed to do without!
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IDEAL SKYES AS DESCRIBED BY NOTED BREEDERS & JUDGES courtesy of the SKYE TERRIER CLUB OF AMERICA
BY SANDRA GOOSE ALLEN S tand back from the table, look at and evaluate the profile, outline and attributes of the Skye. Look at the length of the back, topline and overall balance. Push the hair back with your hand to expose the head and eyes. The head should be long and powerful, moderate back skull tapering to a strong muzzle. There should be a slight stop. Bite that is either level or slightly overlapping. Prick or Drop are the beautiful ears of this breed. Prick ears are medium in size and placed high on the skull. Drop ears are somewhat larger and lie flat on the head. Eyes should be dark brown, medi- um in size. The nose is always black. Arched neck, the level topline and the strong, well muscled loin—the tail should be a continuation of the topline. The shoulders should be well laid back with tight placement at the elbows. You should feel the substantial and sturdy bones of the legs. The chest should be deep and broad with well-sprung ribs and depth of chest extending approxi- mately to point of elbows. The deep brisket is well filled. Straight front legs should curve slightly around the chest. The hindquarters should be well- angulated, muscular, and straight with well bent stifles and well let down hocks. Feel the texture of the coat. It should be double, hard, straight and flat. The Skye shows in all of its beauty on the ground. The legs should precede straight for- ward. The dog should have good reach in front and extension behind. He should move with head high, smooth flowing, effortless with elegance. His topline should remain firm. When the dog is coming toward you, you want to see two front legs and a pow- erful forechest. Going away, you want to see good angulation and powerful back legs traveling straight forward.
BY JUDY DAVIS In my mind’s eye, when I picture the perfect Skye, I see a dog who is, of course, long, low and level and of mod- erate size. A strong head with a perfect ear set sitting on a long arched neck that fits smoothly into well laid back shoul- ders. Perfectly level topline, whether standing or gaiting, tail held out as an elongation of the topline when moving. The look is of strength and elegance together but without coarseness. Beau- tiful long lank hard coat. A strong driv- ing rear that allows the viewer to see the pads of the rear feet. The differenc- es in the sexes should be apparent. Mas- culine dogs and feminine bitches. My ideal Skye is sound in mind and body, a pleasure to be around. BY WALTER F. GOODMAN The standard of perfection of any breed is a subjective interpretation. It is how one person pictures a breed’s writ- ten ideal. As a breeder of Skye Terriers for fifty years, I will attempt to keep this article objective. In general terms this is how I view Skye Terriers. Anna Katherine Nicholas is a good friend of Skye Terriers and the author of two fine books about the breed. She feels the key words in judging are type, balance, style, soundness, and condi- tion. “The ability to understand, rec- ognize, and evaluate these qualities is essential to judge;’ she says,and I agree with her completely. Type is breed character. It is the combination of distinguishing features which add up and make the individuality of a breed. Skye Terriers are long and low and their breed type can be abused by fanciers. Type should not be a matter of personal preference, but an adherence to desired breed characteristics as stat- ed in the Standard. There are variations in size or bone, but subsequently type should remain constant. Those Skyes
that adhere closely to the written word are obviously nearer to correct type. Balance perhaps is easier to under- stand, since there are clear dimensions involved. A correct Skye is well pro- portioned—length of head to length of neck, to length of back and tail and height. A Skye with correct proportions can look short-backed. A Skye who may be lower with a shorter neck and head, but with the same length of back as the latter dog, is unbalanced. Skyes can be too long as well as too short. Usually a properly proportioned dog stands out because of correct balance. Style becomes the next ingredient. It comes from that proper balance com- bined with showmanship and person- ality. A dog of lesser quality but with showmanship tends to conceal many of his faults. Soundness is more diffi- cult to describe. In dog show parlance, soundness refers to proper action or movement. The standard is quite spe- cific as to shoulder placement and front assembly as well as the rear quarter. It tells us what to expect as the dog moves towards you or away from you or as you view it in profile. To me a proper mov- ing Skye is not only sound but typey.
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In other words, a correct Skye is a sound Skye. Skyes should drive from behind. If the front seems unable to keep up, it means that the front assembly is not completely correct. Often the question- able movement of the topline is the give-away of labored action. Equally unpleasant is a lack of drive from the quarter. This is every bit as unsound and not typey. BY MICHAEL J. PESARE In the nearly 20 years that I have been involved with the breed, I have had the good fortune of working with an established line of Skye Terriers that I have spent countless hours studying. With that said, what do I look for in a Skye Terrier? What are the attributes that are important to me? In my mind, strength is one of the hallmarks of our breed. When discuss- ing the importance of strength, my men- tor often said that, “You must always be vigilant to preserve strength in your line because once it is lost, it is lost forever.’ References to strength appear through- out our standard. However, our breed is the only Terrier breed to have the word “elegance” in the standard. There is a point where strength as a virtue can also lead to coarseness which is not what we are looking for in a Skye. The challenge for Skye breeders is to find a balance between strength and elegance. I believe that the original working pur- pose of the breed and the wording of the standard tilt in favor of strength. As a breeder, I am constantly striv- ing to preserve lowness. A Skye lacking in the qualities of dwarfism thus lacks breed type. The challenge for all Skye breeders is to preserve lowness while
at the same time always being vigilant not to lose angulation and soundness. A long, low, level Skye with sound movement is a joy to behold! Given the working heritage of the Ter- riers, heads are an attribute that define the breeds and I pay particular attention first to the head. A beautiful Skye head must be long and powerful. The power comes from width of backskull, breadth of muzzle and strength of underjaw. I want a handful when placing my hand on the topskull. I also want to feel strength when getting my hand’s on the dog’s muzzle. The head must also be attractive to me with parallel head planes and well- placed ears, in either variety. The strength of a Skye is also evi- dent in its prominent forechest, hard muscle and broad body. Again, you want to have a handful when feeling the Skye’s forechest. When considering the breadth of body, you should be able to balance a cup and saucer at any point on top of a Skye’s back. Our breed evolved primarily as a “digger”that went to ground to dispatch its subterranean foe. He also was used as a “squeezer” with the ability to work among the rocks of the Isle of Skye. A sound front assembly is vital with shoulders well laid back and with the upper arm the same length as the shoul- der blade. Because the forearm curves slightly around the chest, a heavier dog may very well have more curvature than a more refined bitch. This slight amount of curvature is a characteristic of dwarfism. Finally, when being judged, the first impression of a Skye is acquired by look- ing at the dog in profile. Balance is what makes our eye drawn to one exhibit
over another in profile. The Skye stan- dard calls for a dog that is twice as long in body as it is tall at the shoulder. A bal- anced dog with enough length of neck to balance the length of body. The many facets of the breed is what makes the Skye Terrier so appealing to those who love the breed. Under that long, striking coat is a strong, hearty Terrier with it working heritage intact. BY LAURA WEBER In my opinion, it is all about propor- tion and balance. If everything matches and is in proportion and balanced, even a slightly larger or smaller Skye will work for me. When I look at a Skye from across the ring I want to see a strong head, lovely arch of neck flowing into smooth shoulders and a strong level topline. They should look like a Skye. By this I mean that the proportions of head, body, length and height should be that of a Skye without any appearance of being boxy or tall or weak. With the Skye Terrier head, again, proportion and balance are my key words. The length and width of skull and muzzle should be in balance to each other and be in proportion to the body. Your hands on either side of the head should form a nice “pie” wedge with the length of skull and length of muzzle equal and the planes of each parallel. A strong forechest and some space between the front legs is important and can be easily measured by running a hand down the chest and dropping it to the table so that your fingers are between the front legs. Smooth shoulders with elbows tucked in—a length of rib long enough to carry the length of topline—a short loin and well angled rear—these all add up to a well constructed Skye Terrier. But the proof is in the movement and this is probably most important to me. I want a picture that can move. A Skye that is pleasing to look at when stand- ing, that can put it all together when in motion, shows me that what is under the coat is as good as what I see when it is stacked. To see a well proportioned Skye Ter- rier in full coat reaching and driving around the ring with a seemingly effort- less movement can take my breath away. When matched with a loving happy tem- perament, I don’t think our breed can be equaled.
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THOUGHTS ON THE BREED: SKYE TERRIERS with MICHAEL KOSS
1. Describe the breed in three words. Low, long and level.
2. How do you believe the Skye Terrier breed has changed from the time you began judging until today?
There are some very positive changes to the breed since I first got involved. Toplines are firmer, more strength of bone, and then breeders have done a wonderful job of breed- ing for better temperaments through better socializing of young puppies. 3. The late Skye Terrier Breeder/Judge and Terrier authority Sandra Goose Allen believed it to be essential to understand the essence of the Skye Terrier breed. What do you believe is the breed essence? It is long, low, level, elegant Terrier breed with a long, flowing coat. They get their elegance from strength of bone, a long neck, a long level topline which shows balance—both stand- ing and when on the move with good reach and drive. They can have prick ears or drop and there should be no favor over either. 4. Do you see any trends evolving in breed attributes and/or presentation? The attributes are the changes that I mentioned previ- ously. Temperaments, strength of bone and stronger toplines. In presentation (our breed should be shown in its natu- ral state), we are beginning to see the disturbing trend where some exhibits have become overly sculpted and/or “THEY GET THEIR ELEGANCE FROM STRENGTH OF BONE, A LONG NECK, A LONG LEVEL TOPLINE WHICH SHOWS BALANCE— BOTH STANDING AND WHEN ON THE MOVE WITH
(Photo courtesy of STCA Judge’s Education)
color enhanced. Trimming of the beards, thinning around the eyes, thinning the neck and flat, straight blade scissor cuts all along the bottom should not be done. They should have a more natural look with neating around the feet and thinning when the coat meets the ground. For example, flat black ear fringe with no threads of other shades of hair color give the appearance that the color is not natural. 5. In your opinion, what breed elements are most misunderstood by judges new to Skye Terrier breed judging? Generally I would say that some judges have a hard time with the amount of bone this breed should have. This is not a fine-boned, long, lean-headed breed nor should it show signs of coarseness. Strength of bone should not be coarse, but it takes judges being able to go over a good number of Skyes to understand that. 6. What features of the Skye Terrier surprised you the most when you began breed judging? Until you get your hands on them you might not think of the amount of bone they have. 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? The Skye Terrier Club of America has mentors through- out the US and are willing to talk to anyone interested in the breed. ABOUT THE AUTHOR I live in Cumming, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta. I am an Inside Channel Account Manager for Panasonic. I have been in the sport of dogs and showing dogs for 52 years and have been a judge for 32 years.
GOOD REACH AND DRIVE.”
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