Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black, brindle, wheaten
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • devoted friend
  • good watch and guard dog
  • fearless
  • independent and stubborn
  • doesn't suit family with small children
  • chases small animals


The Scottish Terrier is a small, short-legged and sturdily built breed with playful and fearless character. Fanciers call it often «Scottie». This dog does not fear the cold because of its weather-resistant coat. Scottish Terriers adapt perfectly well to living in a city apartment, but they feel well in countryside too. This active, dignified little dog will be a loyal friend for couples and single people. But the Scottish Terrier is not recommended for families with little children.

The Scottish Terrier is considered to be one of the most ancient breeds of Scotland. The description of the resembling dog is found in notes of Pliny the Elder, which were made in 55 B.C. after invasion of the Romans into Britain.

The Scottish Terrier was the indispensable helper on farms. These dogs were undaunted exterminators of different vermin such as rats and mice. Their incredible hunting prowess made them effective hunters on foxes, badgers, wildcats and other ferocious creatures. Scottish Terriers were supposed to protect farmers’ houses without direct instructions of their masters so they gradually developed strong territorial instinct and became highly dependable guardians.

The breed was widespread in Aberdeen. That is why it used to be called Aberdeen Terrier. These little valiant dogs won fame thanks to the fourth Earl of Dumbarton, George. Dogs fought so gamely that the Earl nicknamed them «little diehards». The Scottish Terrier gained wide popularity in England owing to efforts of Captain Mackie. The breed became the show dog and just a good companion exactly thanks to the works of this Captain.

Although the breed of Scottish Terrier began to be developed in 1700s, the modern standard for the breed had not been created until the end of the XIX century. In 1883 the Scottish Terrier Club of England was founded.

In 1890s Scottish Terriers were brought to the United States where they enjoyed wide popularity. However they gained general recognition only after the World War I. These dogs were a symbol of finesse and wealth. The images of Scotties were used everywhere including advertisement of goods of every sort and kind. They even became favorite dogs of Presidents. For example, Roosevelt and George W. Bush had the Scotties, which lived with them in the White House.

In 1885 the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed. The Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA) was created in 1900 in order to encourage the breeding of the dog. In 1934 the Scottish Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC). Modern-day breed members are exceedingly rarely used in their primary role of skillful hunters and vermin exterminators and mostly serve as pets and show dogs.

The Scottish Terrier has very independent and self-confident temper like all Terriers. The breeders made a good job of softening the violent tendencies in the character of this breed in order to make it an agreeable companion animal. Nonetheless the puppy of the Scottie requires vast and deep socialization if you plan to keep it in a household environment. The Scottie treats children fine and mildly. However it can’t stand the pulling and rudeness of other kinds, and the dog will protect itself. It doesn’t like sharing its toys and food and can bite without any warning if someone encroaches on «its» property. So the dog is not suited for little kids.

Scottish Terriers are mistrustful of unknown people. But they are extremely lovely and staunch with their families. Some dogs tend to become outright human aggressive especially if some unfamiliar person tries to trespass the boundaries of their territories. Being highly vigilant and observant they commonly make excellent watch dogs. They seem to be completely unaware of their rather moderate size and will fearlessly defend masters and their properties from any threat. That’s why the Scottish Terrier becomes a surprisingly good guard dog.

Usually the Scottish Terrier gets on with other dogs, which it knows well, especially if they grow up together. However, the breed is prone to be extremely aggressive towards strange dogs and these confrontations usually take various forms: territorial, possessiveness, dominance and predatory. It surely does best as a single dog and should never be kept together with other canines of the same sex. The early socialization is very essential to prevent any behavior conflicts. This breed can be unpredictable with other pets such as cats, hamsters or rats as its hunting instincts are too strong. Essentially it will chase and finally kill every animal in the size of a cat or smaller. Some of these dogs will never stop pestering even those pets with which they have been brought up since their puppyhood.
Health Problems

The Scottish Terrier is prone to such diseases as:

• various kinds of cancer;
• lens luxation;
• Scottie cramp;
• von Willebrand's disease;
• patellar luxation;
• epilepsy;
• cataracts;
• deafness;
• progressive retinal antrophy;
• craniomandibular osteopathy;
• hypothyroidism.

The Scottish Terrier needs careful grooming particularly if your pet takes part in shows. The dog must be brushed daily or two-three times a week. You should clip the dog every few months and strip its coat from time to time. Bathe your pet only if it is necessary.

Regular trimming of the dog’s nails is needed. Brushing of your pet’s teeth should be regular if you want to preclude bad breath and any gum infections. The Scottish Terrier sheds little to nothing but it’s certainly not a hypoallergenic breed. Daily and careful brushing will minimize damage to your property during shedding periods.

The Scottish Terrier’s training is a rather effortful task as these dogs are very independent and even can be refractory. This breed is characterized with supreme intelligence and can be trained to perform very complex tricks. On the other hand it has strong propensity to independent thinking and usually lacks desire to fulfill anyone else’s orders.

The trainer should establish trust-based relationship with the dog from the very first session and become for it an unshakable authority. Constant domination and control over the situation is absolutely essential if you plan to teach your Scottie even basic commands.

The dog’s training should begin as soon as possible. Train your pet firmly, but at the same time never apply force because these dogs are very sensitive to any punishment. Show patience and respect towards your Scottie if you want the training to be successful.

The Scottish Terrier is an active and energetic dog. It needs to walk several hours every day. These dogs like to play and frolic freely. But due to their short legs they cannot run or jog with you. They will welcome a chance to let off steam in a free run in a securely fenced territory.

A properly committed family will easily provide the Scottie with necessary amount of daily exercise although it prefers to live with slightly more energetic families and individuals. If the dog does not get enough physical activity, it begins to display different behavioral disorders, including destructiveness, ongoing barking, nervousness, and unreasonable aggression.