Skye Terrier Club of America – Member of the American Kennel Club

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To All Skye Terrier Judges,

As you probably are well aware, the Skye Terrier is now among the rarest of AKC recognized breeds and also among the rarest breeds worldwide. While the unique attributes of a Skye are readily recognizable to judges, they are a rarity in Conformation classes at AKC dog shows.

Needless to say, this continues to present our breed club and you, as a judge, with a number of challenges. While our Board of Directors and Judges Education Committee has worked hard to provide judges new to the breed with the best Skye Terrier educational tools, both in terms of materials and seminars, it is extremely difficult to provide ongoing education as so few Skyes are found in today’s show ring.

Since you rarely see Skyes in sufficient quantity or frequency other than on Specialty Show weekends, we have put together a few key points that we hope will assist you in judging assignments when you are fortunate enough to have a Skye entry.


1. Most everyone knows that the three “Ls” are normally used to describe the ideal Skye, these being “long,” “low,” and “level,” and these elements are all, of course, important.

Mature Skyes are also greatly admired for their profuse, long, and flowing coats, so lovely to look at while both standing and during movement. Remember, though, that the Breed Standard stipulates a coat length of 5-1/2 inches without extra credit for extra length. Skye puppies are much-admired too for their incredible charm and delightful expressions. That said, it’s absolutely critical to remember when judging, whether puppies or adults, that first and foremost, in addition to judging proportion, the structure under the coat, as verified upon table examination, and most importantly, while moving, is truly paramount. A correctly moving Skye should be fluid and effortless, with wonderful reach in front and matching drive from the rear. Anything less must be faulted.


2. The General Appearance of the Skye Terrier, as contained in the Breed Standard, states that a Skye “…is a dog of style, elegance and dignity, agile and strong with sturdy bone and hard muscle.”

The late, great Walter Goodman believed correct balance between strength of bone and elegance without exaggeration of either element to be imperative. Thus, a dog or bitch lacking good substance of bone and nice muscle tone must be faulted, regardless of a strong degree of style and elegance. At the same time, the reverse is true when a Skye lacks essential elegance, and so must likewise be faulted. Remember too that a Skye Terrier bitch should be feminine, but just slightly less in size than a dog.


3. A few other items to keep in mind which can impact judging include coat colors, toplines, and tail and ear sets.

Light-colored (silver, cream, and platinum) Skyes with lovely dark ears are very flashy in the show ring and draw the eye. Please don’t overlook a quality grey or black Skye.

Handlers can generally stack a dog to perfection and this can minimize structural problems. Please judge the overall dog on the move at the proper gait, which is a nice, fluid trot.

Tail sets enhance breed elegance and should be set right off the topline, neither too high nor too low. Please judge these based on where the tail is set, not just how it’s carried.

Finally, ears should never be set on the required strong Skye head at less than 10 to 2 on a clock face, and please, don’t overlook a lovely and very rare drop-ear Skye in favor of a lesser quality prick ear Skye.

In closing, we hope you will find these points helpful. They are all contained in our Illustrated Breed Standard, first issued in 2013 and available for free to all breed judges should you not have one. Further, our Judges Education Committee, chaired by Michael Koss, stands ready to help you in any way should you have questions or wish to share any comments with us.



Skye Terrier Dog Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the courageous Skye Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Skye Terrier Dog Breed Magazine.


Skye Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


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