Monday, 30 October 2017

Did I ask the wrong question?

So Gail and I were out walking near Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon when we ran into this fine fellow.

The long silky furs and those most impressive ears told us right away he was one of the UK's most endangered breeds, a Skye terrier.

He seemed a friendly kind of a guy, so I asked him a question.

"Are you by any chance descended from Greyfriars Bobby?"

Gosh, it turns out I had made what Human Granny would describe as a big "faux pas".

Since this is a family blog, I shan't relate word for word his response, but this was the gist of it:

"Oh my goodness, have you any idea what a trial it is to be a Skye terrier here in Scotland? No wonder we are nearly extinct. Barely can you step outside the house and some random mutt asks you about that idiot of a dog in Edinburgh who sat and pined on his master's grave for fourteen years... FOURTEEN YEARS, I ask you! And Edinburgh is almost as cold as here in Aberdeen.. I would be embarrassed to have such a fool for an ancestor, and would like to make it quite clear that Greyfriars Bobby was absolutely no relation of mine. Let me assure you, should my owner here pop her clogs while I am still alive, I shall be knocking on the door of the local rehoming centre demanding a new family with a nice warm home, a well-filled treat jar and a relaxed attitude to the dogs in bedrooms question. No point looking back, that's my philosophy. What was it that Einstein said about life being like a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving...."

You know, by the end of this diatribe, I was feeling quite sorry for the Skye terrier's owner, an innocuous looking lady who told Gail that fox terriers were her second favourite breed of dog.

PS from Gail: I came across this interesting article when googling 'Skye terriers':
Also, here are some statistics on Kennel Club registrations of vulnerable breeds over the past ten years:


  1. I can only imagine what your friend feels... probably the same like the collie who is always Lassie and the GSD who is always Rintintin.... but nevertheless the story of Bobby is super touching...

  2. I are thinkin I kinda feel sorry for da owner too, BOL!

    P.S. My momma ackshually went and read da articles.

  3. As we only know about the Skye by the Disney movie, we would have asked the same thing. We seem to have more and more 'designer' dogs here..seems very few pure breds anywhere.

    Saw a documentary with the spit turning dogs. They tried to put a modern terrier to demonstrate, but it was too big. Not a very nice job.

  4. OMCs Bertie what a fine looking fella he was and frankly your faux pas was understandable. Mom said at first glance she would had thought he was a Scottie....still a terrier but Mr. Skye Terrier might not have liked that too much either. We had no idea they were endangered. We read the article too.
    Oh and mom was watching an International House Hunter filmed in Aberdeen. They said Aberdeen was a very dog friendly city.
    Hugs madi your bfff

  5. Hari OM
    Fascinating articles; and one could not help but notice that a great many terrier-types are on the at risk stats; they are what might be termed as 'fairly high maintenance' (or perceived as such), which may account for the diminution of their lines. It is really quite horrifying what the human critter will do to all its fellow critters in this world, all in the name of vanity and show. One great relief; the WFT was NOT on the list!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  6. BOL, it's hard having a famous ancestor.

  7. Where was that dogs loyalty to his owner ~ why his attitude of moving on down the road, if that was his attitude here in this house Lee would show him the door and say don't let it hit your bum on the way out.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  8. OMD that dog is gorgeous! My mom loves Skye Terriers!

  9. Like the Dandie Dinmont there are not many Skye around these days. They can be quite aloof but this one you met Bertie seems quite affable. He is beautifully groomed. Thank you for the photos

  10. Lady says she thinks it is an story of love but we are with your friend - we don't imagine a life in a grave yard.

  11. Wow, sounds like Mr. Skye terrier has some ummm "issues".

    Mama is shaking her head about the many breeds that are endangered...a bit scary!
    Jakey, Arty & Rosy

  12. OMD Bertie... we are sorry that that Laddie felt he needed to UNLOAD on you that way.
    We think that he might have been thinking about this being HOWL O WEEN time and he wanted to Terrierfy you with a tail that had a Grave and Cemetery in it.
    We say ignore his tirade.

  13. BOL, not all terriers would sit at their master's grave for 14 years. Maybe just the most loyal terriers. No shame in being related to that!

  14. Well Bertie, I bet you're even more delighted than usual that you are a handsome WHFT ! Imagine having to give that spiel every time !

    Inca xx

  15. Dear Bertie,

    I made a similar mistake when I asked the wiener dog I met yesterday if he got lots of hotdogs. Apparently some dogs are very sensitive! I must admit I've found you nothing but a gentleman, so I'm sure it was an accidental faux pas!


  16. Geez, your new friend is a bit sensitive. Did he really refer to you as a random mutt? Good grief!