The history of the Skye Terrier is woven into the fabric of Scotland…literally! Not only is the Skye Terrier the only dog breed to be honored with its own tartan, the dogs are also celebrated with their own pet holiday: International Skye Terrier Day.
Created in 2020, the purple, green and orange in the vibrant plaid design represents the Isle of Skye, while the grey and black threads symbolize the terrier’s coat.
When is International Skye Terrier Day?
International Skye Terrier Day takes place on February 21, a date chosen to commemorate the launch of the Skye Terrier tartan.
Fun Facts About Skye Terriers
To mark International Skye Terrier Day, here are a few interesting facts about the breed:
The Skye Terrier was named in honor of the land of the dogs’ development, Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
Prior to becoming the preferred pets of aristocrats and royals, the Skye Terrier worked as hunters of such game as badgers, foxes and otters.
The breed can sport either pricked ears or dropped ears.
A Skye Terrier named Glamoor Good News stood at the top of the podium at the Westminster Dog Show back in 1969.
At the AKC National Championship in 2014, Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie was proclaimed Best in Show, a title which he also attained in 2015 at the National Dog Show.
A Skye Terrier’s coat can come in many colors: black, blue, cream, fawn, grey, and silver platinum.
Long live the Skye Terrier! This hardy breed’s lifespan averages from 12 – 15 years.
Although the Skye Terrier no doubt holds the top spot in the heart of anyone fortunate enough to be a pet parent to one of the breed, the dogs languish near the bottom of the American Kennel Club’s annual list of the most popular dog breeds, landing at number 189 in 2022.
Skye Terrier Statues
Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Dog
Lovers of literature who lost themselves in the pages of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel Treasure Island can make a treasured canine-themed memory on a visit to the Edinburgh suburb of Colinton, where a statue celebrating the author’s childhood was erected in 2013.
Located outside of Colinton Parish Church (a house of worship which once echoed with the sermons of Stevenson’s grandfather), the sculpture includes the writer’s canine companion from his childhood– a Skye Terrier named Cuillin, after a mountain range on the Isle of Skye.
Although not immortalized with a statue like his dog Cullin, a photo exists of Woggs, another Skye Terrier whose friendship was cherished by the author (who famously stated “You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”)
Queen Victoria’s Dogs
The statue of Islay, a Skye Terrier who once won the heart of England’s monarch, wins the admiration of everyone who passes by the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia. The depiction of Queen Victoria’s canine companion “speaks” to sightseers in a human voice, and thanks anyone who tosses coins (that are all donated to a children’s charity) into the fountain he guards.
Along with her canine companion Islay, Queen Victoria also had a four-legged friend in a Skye Terrier named Boz, whose name was inspired by a writing alias of Charles Dickens, Boz was given by the Queen to her mother in 1857, but upon the Duchess of Kent’s passing in 1861, the dog came to live with the sovereign.
The monarch’s barking buddy was so beloved that his image was immortalized in paintings by Sir Edwin Landseer (who stated that he liked the long-haired Skye Terrier “better than any dog I ever had the honor to paint for Her Majesty.”) and Friedrich Wilhelm Keyl, who painted the dog’s portrait on the grounds at Frogmore, where a statuette of Boz still stands.
One of the world’s most well-known tributes to a dog in the memorial statue of Greyfriars Bobby. Since 1873 the sculpture has held pride of place atop a fountain near the George IV bridge in Edinburgh. The bronze likeness celebrates the life of the canine who stayed by the grave of his human (night watchman John Gray) for 14 years, until January 14, 1872, the day when they were reunited in death.
In 2023, a tiny cherry tree-crafted casket containing the ashes of Tam, the Skye Terrier who starred in the 1961 Disney movie Greyfrair’s Bobby, was brought to Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Lost for many years, Tam’s remains were found after an 18-month-old search, and a bagpipe procession and a Skye Terrier Guard of Honor led the dog to his new resting place. The beloved canine (who later took on the name Bobby in tribute to the dog he had portrayed on the silver screen), helped to raise funds for many charitable causes during his lifetime.
Isle of Skye Statue
We're stepping into the gardens for today's #objectoftheweek. Our much-loved sculpture 'The Homecoming 'was commissioned by the Skye Terrier Club & sculpted by Georgie Welch. It was unveiled by HRH the Princess Royal in 2014 and sits on the castle lawn. #skyeterriers pic.twitter.com/l0zZT3mNMY— Armadale Castle Skye (@ArmadaleCastle) July 31, 2020
Britain’s most endangered native dog breed may be lost to the world forever within the next 40 years, leaving only statues of Skye Terriers, like the ones on the grounds of Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye, to mark that they existed.
Unveiled in 2014 by HRH Princess Anne, “The Homecoming,” which was created by sculptor Georgie Welch, features both a ‘prick ear’ and a ‘drop ear’ Skye Terrier.
Countess of Aberdeen’s Dogs
Since 1909, a tribute to two Skye Terriers named Monarch and Feuriach has graced the grounds of Haddo House Country Park in Scotland. The pair were the pals of Ishbel, Countess of Aberdeen, who lost both of her faithful friends in quick succession when Monarch died of a broken heart once Feuriach passed away. The moving memorial was created by French sculptor Harold du Chene De Vere.
More Famous Skye Terriers
Years before introducing an invention that would have the whole world talking, the creator of the telephone claimed that he taught Trouve, his Skye Terrier, to talk. Utilizing a technique he learned from his elocutionist father, Alexander Graham Bell was able to manipulate the shape of his dog’s mouth so he could form the sentence “How are you, Grandmama?”
Although the name of her Skye Terrier seems to have been lost in the mist of time, the loyalty of the doomed Mary Queen of Scots‘ lap dog lives on through the telling of Mary’s execution. Led to the scaffold on February 8, 1587, the queen’s canine companion was with her to the end, hiding in the folds of her skirt as the axe fell.
Adopting A Skye Terrier
Although dog lovers usually turn to a reputable breeder when wanting to welcome a Skye Terrier into their heart and home, it is possible for dog lovers to adopt a member of the breed.
Potential pet parents can contact The Skye Terrier Club of America’s Rescue Program.
More Pet Holidays
You’ll find hundreds of dog holidays here on DogTipper including these other February pet holidays: