Showsight Presents the Skye Terrier

“YOU MUST ALWAYS BE VIGILANT TO PRESERVE STRENGTH IN YOUR LINE BECAUSE ONCE IT IS LOST, IT IS LOST FOREVER.”

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 balanced 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.

318 • S how S ight M agazine , F ebruary 2019

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