Monday, May 6, 2013

The Skye's The Limit With This Delightful and Unusual Steiff Dog

Things are really looking up - way up - with this very special Steiff item under discussion today.  Here we have Steiff's seldom seen Skye Terrier!  This little fellow, who in some ways resembles the perfect dust mop (Steiffgal means this in the MOST LOVING WAY), only appeared for a few pre-WWII years in the Steiff catalog.  He has some delightful and unusual features.  Let's take a look at what makes him so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.

The musician Jimi Hendrix is famous for saying, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky," and that would make perfect sense in reference to this sweet dog as well.  Skye is about 7 inches tall and 17 inches long.  His ear tag indicates that he is the 22 cm version, making him the largest size of this design produced.  He is standing, unjointed, and and made from extremely long light grey mohair.  His ears and muzzle are made from very long black mohair.  His face is detailed with oversized, almond shaped tri-colored glass eyes and a very simple brown hand embroidered nose and mouth.  He wears a red leather color and retains his large, early named bear faced chest tag, short trailing "f" Steiff button, and yellow ear tag.  Overall, this Skye Terrier model was produced in 12, 14, 17, and 22 cm from 1933 through 1943. 

Steiff introduced Skye Terriers to collectors just a handful of years after launching two other famous bearded beauties, their black Scotties and white Sealyhams.   Both Steiff Scotties and Sealyhams made their debut in 1930.  These friends are pictured here on the left.  As you can see, Steiff Skye Terriers, Scotties, and Sealys all have a similar look and feel, with several design overlaps and commonalities.  They even share an "impish" quality between them.  It is interesting to note that over time, both the Scotties and the Sealyhams were produced both sitting and standing, while the Skye was only produced standing.  Although the Sealyhams always had round brown and black pupil eyes, the Scotties and the Skyes were produced with both round as well as tri-colored almond shaped eyes.  Steiffgal is extrapolating that alot had to do with timing and supply chains at the time.   

Despite his relatively short tenure in the Steiff line, the Skye Terrier pattern appeared in several very interesting theme and variation products in the late 1930's and early 1940's.  He was produced as an "unbuttoned" animal on wheels from 1936 through 1940.  This meant that that he could be mounted and dismounted from a rolling carriage as desired.  He was also made as a "barking" animal on wheels from 1939 through 1941; this model automatically made doggie sounds when pulled about.  And finally, he appeared as a purse with a hollow body and a zipper up his back from 1935 through 1940.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this most unusual Steiff dog has been nothing but blue skies for you.   

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