As early as the Sixteenth century a dog fitting the
Skye Terrier's description was written of by Dr. Caius, master of
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. But, despite the
fact that the Skye is one of the oldest breeds in existence, little
factual information as to its origin is available. Suffice it to
say that for several hundreds of years the sturdy, short-legged
dog with the long, lank hair has been known in the Western Islands
of Scotland as an efficient, fearless vermin catcher. How the breed
got to these islands in the first place remains in doubt.
Most writers agree that the Skye is a member of that
family of dogs once known as the "Terriers of Scotland."
Being protected from crossbreeding because of its remote island
habitat, this member of the family evolved into a distinct breed
ideally suited to its environment. Known originally as the Terrier
of the Western Islands, its name was later changed to the Skye Terrier.
In addition to being a true working terrier, the Skye
was much favoured as a house pet by the Scottish lairds. It has
been called, the Heavenly breed'' and appears in numerous paintings
of Landseer, the renowned animal artist.
From 1842 onwards the breed became a favourite
of Queen Victoria and greater public acceptance followed. By 1877
the breed had arrived on this continent, but the first registration,
of a dog named Romach, was not until 1887. There were seven Skyes
registered in Canada in 1889 and most notable among the earliest
exhibitors was a Mr. Caverhill of Montreal. Up until 1890 the majority
of Skyes were of the drop-eared type, but after this time, the erect
ear came into vogue. Although both types of ear are correct according
to the breed standard preference for the erect ear has continued.
The most notable Canadian breeder of Skyes was the late Mrs. Percy
Adams who owned her first Skye, Oban Jock, in 1904. Five years later
she imported a breeding pair from Scotland who were to found the
famous "Talisker" line which remained dominant in the
breed in Canada and the U.S. for over fifty years.