THE SKYE TERRIER 259
shund they approximate more closely than any other breeds to the shape of the badger, the weasel, and the otter, and so many animals which Nature has made long and low in order that they may inhabit earths and insinuate themselves into narrow passages in the moorland cairns.
There can be no question that these dogs, which are so typically Highland in character and appearance, as well as the Clydesdale, the Scottish, the Dandie Dinmont, and the White Poltalloch terriers, are all the descendants of a purely native Scottish original. They are all inter-related ; but which was the parent breed it is impossible to determine.
It is even difficult to discover which of the two distinct types of the Skye Terrier was the earlier-the variety whose ears stand alertly erect or its near relative whose ears are pendulous. Perhaps it does not matter. The differences between the prick-eared Skye and the drop-eared are so slight, and the characteristics which they have in common are so many, that a dual classification was hardly necessary. The earliest descriptions and engravings of the breed present a terrier considerably smaller than the type of to-day, carrying a fairly profuse, hard coat, with short legs, a body long in proportion to its height, and with ears that were neither erect nor drooping, but semi-erect and capable of being raised to alertness in excitement. It is the case that drop-eared puppies often occur in the litters of prick-eared parents, and vice
As its name implies, this terrier had its early home in the misty island of Skye ; which is not to say that it was not also to be found in Lewis, Oronsay, Colonsay and others of the Hebrides, as well as on the mainland of Scotland. Dr. Johnson, who visited these islands with Boswell in 1773, noticed these terriers and observed that otters and weasels were plentiful in Skye, that the foxes were numerous, and that they were hunted by small dogs. He was so accurate an observer that one regrets he did not describe the Macleod's terriers and their work. They were at that time of many colours, varying