Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Welcome to our article on the Scottish Terrier, a delightful breed known for its distinctive appearance and spirited personality. Whether you’re a long-time fan of these lovable pups or just curious to learn more, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll delve into the history and origins of the Scottish Terrier, explore their size and appearance characteristics, discuss their life expectancy, delve into their temperament, trainability, and adaptability, explore their exercise requirements and energy levels, uncover their grooming needs, highlight common health issues, discuss comparable breeds, and showcase some notable dogs from this breed. So, let’s dive in and discover all there is to know about the Scottish Terrier!


History and Origins of the Breed

The Scottish Terrier, also known as the “Scottie,” is a breed with a rich history and fascinating origins. Let’s take a journey back in time to explore the roots of this beloved canine companion.

Origins in Scotland

As the name suggests, the Scottish Terrier hails from Scotland, where it has been a cherished breed for centuries. The exact origins of the Scottie are somewhat obscured by time, but it is believed to have descended from the ancient terrier breeds of the Scottish Highlands.

Early Working Purpose

Scottish Terriers were initially bred for practical purposes. They were skilled hunters, adept at tracking and exterminating vermin such as rats, mice, and other small prey that threatened farms and households. Their compact size, sharp senses, and fearless nature made them valuable assets in controlling pest populations.

Royalty and Aristocracy

The Scottish Terrier’s popularity soared during the 19th century, thanks in part to its association with Scottish royalty and the aristocracy. Queen Victoria herself played a significant role in popularizing the breed, as she became fond of the Scottish Terrier and owned several.

Show Ring Success

In addition to their working abilities, Scottish Terriers quickly gained recognition for their distinctive appearance and charming personalities. Their success in the show ring further elevated their status and contributed to their widespread appeal. The breed’s first appearance at a dog show dates back to the late 1800s, and they have since become a staple in the conformation ring.

Modern Popularity

Today, the Scottish Terrier remains a beloved breed worldwide. Its iconic silhouette, with a sturdy build, short legs, and a wiry double coat, continues to capture the hearts of dog enthusiasts. While their hunting skills are less frequently utilized, Scottish Terriers are cherished as loyal companions and esteemed members of many households.

The history and origins of the Scottish Terrier provide a fascinating glimpse into the breed’s journey from its working roots in Scotland to its current status as a beloved family pet. Understanding this background adds depth to our appreciation for these delightful dogs. Now, let’s move on to exploring the size and appearance characteristics of the Scottish Terrier.


Size and Appearance Characteristics

When it comes to size and appearance, the Scottish Terrier is a breed that stands out with its unique features and distinctive build. In this section, we’ll explore the physical characteristics and dimensions of these lovable dogs.


The Scottish Terrier is a small to medium-sized breed, known for its compact and sturdy build. On average, adult Scottish Terriers stand between 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 cm) at the shoulder. They typically weigh between 18 to 22 pounds (8 to 10 kg), with males tending to be slightly larger than females.

Body Structure

Scottish Terriers have a well-muscled and robust body structure. They have a deep chest and a level topline, which gives them a strong and balanced appearance. Their legs are relatively short but powerful, allowing them to move with agility and efficiency.

Distinctive Head and Face

One of the most recognizable features of the Scottish Terrier is its distinctive head and face. They have a well-proportioned, strong, and slightly domed skull. The muzzle is relatively short and powerful, with a defined stop. Their dark, almond-shaped eyes are set wide apart, giving them an alert and intelligent expression. Scottish Terriers also have a prominent and expressive beard and eyebrows, which add to their charming appearance.

Ears and Tail

The Scottish Terrier’s ears are erect, pointed, and set high on the head. They are small to medium in size and are carried forward, adding to their alert and attentive demeanor. As for their tail, it is naturally short and held erect, giving them a confident and lively presence.

Coat and Colors

Scottish Terriers boast a distinctive double coat that consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a harsh, wiry outer coat. This weather-resistant coat helps to protect them in various climates. The coat requires regular grooming to maintain its texture and prevent matting.

In terms of colors, Scottish Terriers can be found in several variations, including black, wheaten, or brindle. The black coat is the most common and iconic color associated with the breed, often referred to as “Scottie Black.”

The size and appearance characteristics of the Scottish Terrier contribute to its unique charm and make it instantly recognizable. From their sturdy build to their distinctive head and face, these dogs stand out in a crowd. Now, let’s move on to discussing the life expectancy of Scottish Terriers.


Scottish Terrier


Life Expectancy

When bringing a Scottish Terrier into your family, it’s important to consider the average life expectancy of the breed. In this section, we will explore the factors that can influence the lifespan of Scottish Terriers and provide an overview of their typical life expectancy.

Factors Affecting Life Expectancy

Several factors can contribute to the life expectancy of Scottish Terriers. These include genetics, overall health, diet, exercise, veterinary care, and living conditions. By understanding these factors, we can make informed decisions to help promote a long and healthy life for our furry friends.

Average Life Expectancy

On average, Scottish Terriers have a life expectancy ranging from 11 to 13 years. However, with proper care and attention to their well-being, some Scotties have been known to live well into their teens. It’s important to note that individual dogs may vary, and some may experience health issues that can impact their lifespan.

Common Health Concerns

As with any breed, Scottish Terriers are prone to certain health conditions that can affect their longevity. It is crucial for owners to be aware of these potential health concerns and work closely with veterinarians to ensure early detection and appropriate management. Some common health issues that may impact Scottish Terriers include:

  1. Scottie Cramp: A genetic condition that causes muscle spasms and coordination difficulties.
  2. Von Willebrand’s Disease: A bleeding disorder characterized by a deficiency in blood clotting factors.
  3. Scottie Jaw: A condition where the lower jaw may not align correctly, leading to dental and eating problems.
  4. Allergies: Scottish Terriers can be prone to allergies, including food allergies, environmental allergies, and skin allergies.
  5. Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap becomes dislocated, causing lameness and discomfort.
  6. Bladder Cancer: Scottish Terriers have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer compared to some other breeds.

Promoting a Long and Healthy Life

To help maximize the lifespan of a Scottish Terrier, it is important to provide them with proper care and attention. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, routine veterinary check-ups, and maintaining good oral hygiene. Additionally, providing a safe and stimulating environment that minimizes potential hazards can contribute to their overall well-being.

By being proactive in their healthcare and addressing any potential health issues promptly, you can help ensure a long and fulfilling life for your Scottish Terrier.

Now that we have explored the life expectancy of these wonderful dogs, let’s move on to discussing their temperament, which is an important aspect to consider when considering adding a Scottish Terrier to your family.



The temperament of a dog breed plays a crucial role in determining its compatibility with different households and lifestyles. In this section, we will delve into the temperament of the Scottish Terrier, providing insights into their personality traits and behavior.

Independent and Self-Confident

Scottish Terriers are known for their independent and self-confident nature. They possess a strong sense of self and may display a certain level of stubbornness at times. This independent streak can make training a Scottish Terrier a bit more challenging, requiring consistent and patient efforts.

Alert and Watchful

With their keen senses and natural instinct to protect, Scottish Terriers make excellent watchdogs. They are alert and watchful, always keeping a close eye on their surroundings. Their tendency to bark at unfamiliar sounds or approaching strangers makes them an effective early warning system for their families.

Loyal and Affectionate

Beneath their independent exterior, Scottish Terriers are deeply loyal and devoted to their families. They form strong bonds with their loved ones and thrive on the companionship and attention they receive. Scottish Terriers are known to be affectionate and can be quite loving with their family members.

Reserved with Strangers

While Scottish Terriers are affectionate with their families, they can be reserved and cautious around strangers. This wariness towards unfamiliar people is deeply rooted in their protective instincts. Proper socialization from an early age can help Scottish Terriers become more comfortable and accepting of new people and situations.

Compatibility with Children and Other Pets

Scottish Terriers can get along well with children, particularly when raised with them from a young age. However, their independent nature means that they may not tolerate rough handling or excessive teasing. Supervision is essential to ensure harmonious interactions between Scottish Terriers and children.

Regarding other pets, Scottish Terriers have a tendency to be dominant and may not always get along with other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. Early socialization and proper introductions can help mitigate any potential conflicts.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Scottish Terriers require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, interactive play sessions, and engaging activities are necessary to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. A bored Scottish Terrier may develop destructive behaviors or become more stubborn and difficult to manage.

Understanding the temperament of the Scottish Terrier is crucial for potential owners to ensure a harmonious match between the breed’s characteristics and their own lifestyle. Now, let’s move on to discussing the trainability and adaptability of Scottish Terriers.


Trainability and Adaptability

When considering adding a Scottish Terrier to your family, it’s important to understand their trainability and adaptability. In this section, we will explore the trainability of Scottish Terriers and their ability to adapt to different environments and lifestyles.


Scottish Terriers have a reputation for being independent and sometimes stubborn, which can make training a bit challenging. However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, Scottish Terriers can be trained successfully. It’s important to establish clear boundaries and provide them with firm, yet gentle, guidance throughout their training process. Early socialization is also crucial to help them become well-rounded and adaptable dogs.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is essential for Scottish Terriers to ensure they understand basic commands and behave appropriately in various situations. Focus on positive reinforcement methods, such as rewarding good behavior with treats or praise, as this will motivate them to learn and comply. It’s important to keep training sessions short, engaging, and fun to maintain their interest and prevent boredom.


Like any other breed, Scottish Terriers require consistent and patient housetraining. Establish a routine and take them outside frequently, especially after meals, naps, or playtime. Reward them with praise and treats when they eliminate in the appropriate spot. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successful housetraining.

Adaptability to Living Environments

Scottish Terriers are generally adaptable to different living environments, including apartments, houses, and urban or rural settings. However, it’s important to provide them with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, regardless of the living space. Scottish Terriers have moderate energy levels and can adapt well to a balanced lifestyle, as long as their exercise needs are met.

Separation Anxiety

Scottish Terriers are known to form strong bonds with their families, which can lead to separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. To prevent or manage separation anxiety, gradually accustom them to being alone from an early age. Provide them with interactive toys, create a safe and comfortable space, and consider using positive reinforcement training techniques to help them feel secure when left alone.

Travel and Change

Scottish Terriers can adapt well to travel and changes in their routine, provided they are properly introduced and gradually exposed to new experiences. Early socialization and positive experiences with different environments, people, and situations will help them become more adaptable and confident.

Understanding the trainability and adaptability of Scottish Terriers is essential for providing them with the necessary guidance and creating a harmonious living environment. Now, let’s move on to discussing their exercise requirements and energy levels.


Scottish Terrier


Exercise Requirements and Energy Level

Scottish Terriers have a moderate energy level and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. In this section, we will explore the exercise requirements of Scottish Terriers and discuss activities that can help meet their needs.

Daily Exercise

While Scottish Terriers are not excessively high-energy dogs, they still require daily exercise to maintain their overall health and prevent boredom. A combination of physical exercise and mental stimulation is ideal for keeping them happy and content. Aim for a total of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day, split into multiple sessions.

Walks and Leash Exercise

Regular walks are a great way to fulfill the exercise needs of Scottish Terriers. Take them on brisk walks around the neighborhood or explore local parks and trails. Ensure they are on a leash during outdoor walks to keep them safe and prevent them from chasing after small animals or getting into trouble.

Play Sessions

Engaging in play sessions with Scottish Terriers is not only physically beneficial but also mentally stimulating. Provide them with interactive toys, such as puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys, to keep their minds engaged. Playing fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek can also be enjoyable activities for both you and your Scottie.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Scottish Terriers thrive on mental stimulation. Engage their minds with training sessions, obedience exercises, or interactive games that challenge their problem-solving abilities. Consider introducing them to new environments, sights, and smells to keep their curious nature satisfied.

Indoor Activities

Scottish Terriers can adapt well to indoor activities when outdoor exercise is limited. Set up obstacle courses in your home or play hide-and-seek with their favorite toys. Puzzle toys and interactive feeding devices can also keep them mentally stimulated while indoors.

Exercise Considerations

It’s important to note that Scottish Terriers have a tendency to gain weight if their exercise needs are not met. Regular exercise, combined with a balanced diet, will help maintain their weight and overall well-being. Avoid overexertion, especially in hot weather, as Scottish Terriers are more susceptible to heat-related issues due to their thick double coat.

Understanding and fulfilling the exercise requirements of Scottish Terriers is crucial for their physical and mental health. Regular walks, playtime, and mental stimulation will contribute to a happy and well-rounded companion. Now, let’s move on to discussing the grooming requirements of Scottish Terriers.


Grooming Requirements

Scottish Terriers have a distinctive double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and looking its best. In this section, we will explore the grooming requirements of Scottish Terriers and provide tips for maintaining their coat and overall grooming needs.

Coat Care

The wiry outer coat and soft undercoat of Scottish Terriers require regular brushing to prevent matting and keep their coat in optimal condition. Use a slicker brush or a comb with wide teeth to gently remove any tangles or loose hair. Brushing should be done at least two to three times a week, but more frequent brushing may be necessary during shedding seasons.

Hand Stripping

Hand stripping is a technique commonly used for maintaining the texture and appearance of a Scottish Terrier’s coat. It involves plucking out dead hairs by hand or using a stripping knife. Hand stripping helps promote the growth of new, healthy hair and prevents the coat from becoming too soft or overgrown. It is recommended to seek guidance from a professional groomer or attend a training session to learn the proper technique for hand stripping.


Scottish Terriers generally do not require frequent bathing unless they get excessively dirty or have a skin condition that necessitates it. Over-bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat, leading to dryness and irritation. Use a mild, dog-specific shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing to prevent any residue from irritating their skin.

Nail Care

Regular nail trims are essential for Scottish Terriers to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Use a dog nail trimmer or grinder to carefully trim the nails, taking care not to cut into the quick (the sensitive area within the nail). If you are unsure or uncomfortable with nail trimming, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for assistance.

Dental Hygiene

Like all dogs, Scottish Terriers require regular dental care to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush their teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste recommended by your veterinarian. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings may also be necessary to prevent dental issues.

Ear and Eye Care

Check your Scottish Terrier’s ears regularly for signs of infection, such as redness, discharge, or a foul odor. Clean their ears as needed with a dog-specific ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball. Also, keep an eye on their eyes and gently wipe away any discharge or tear stains with a damp cloth. If you notice any persistent issues or abnormalities, consult your veterinarian.

By following a consistent grooming routine, you can help keep your Scottish Terrier’s coat healthy and their overall grooming needs in check. Regular brushing, hand stripping (if desired), proper nail care, dental hygiene, and ear and eye maintenance will contribute to a well-groomed and happy Scottish Terrier.

Now that we have covered the grooming requirements, let’s move on to discussing the common health issues that Scottish Terriers may face.


Health Issues

While Scottish Terriers are generally healthy dogs, like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues. In this section, we will explore some common health concerns that Scottish Terriers may face, allowing owners to be well-informed and proactive in their healthcare.

Scottie Cramp

Scottie Cramp is a genetic condition that affects the muscle coordination of Scottish Terriers. It can cause episodes of muscle spasms and incoordination, particularly during moments of excitement or exercise. While it does not pose a significant threat to their overall health, it is important to be aware of the condition and consult with a veterinarian for proper management.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot properly. Scottish Terriers are one of the breeds more prone to this condition. It is important to be aware of the signs, such as excessive bleeding or prolonged clotting, and consult with a veterinarian for appropriate diagnosis and management.

Scottie Jaw

Scottie Jaw, also known as craniomandibular osteopathy, is a condition that affects the development of the lower jaw in Scottish Terriers. It can cause misalignment of the jaw, leading to difficulties in eating and dental problems. Regular dental care and monitoring by a veterinarian can help manage this condition.


Scottish Terriers can be prone to allergies, which may manifest as skin allergies, food allergies, or environmental allergies. Common symptoms include itching, redness, hair loss, and recurrent ear infections. Identifying and avoiding allergens, along with veterinary guidance, can help manage and minimize allergic reactions.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, leading to lameness and discomfort. Scottish Terriers may be predisposed to this condition. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary, while milder cases can often be managed through weight management and exercise moderation.

Bladder Cancer

Scottish Terriers have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer compared to some other breeds. It is important to be aware of the signs, such as blood in the urine, frequent urination, or difficulty urinating. Regular veterinary check-ups and early detection can improve the chances of successful treatment.

Regular Veterinary Care

To ensure the overall health and well-being of Scottish Terriers, regular veterinary check-ups are essential. These visits allow for early detection of any potential health issues and enable timely intervention and treatment. Maintaining a good relationship with a trusted veterinarian can provide valuable guidance and support in keeping your Scottish Terrier healthy.

By being aware of the common health issues that Scottish Terriers may face and working closely with a veterinarian, you can provide the best care and proactive management for your beloved furry companion.

Now, let’s move on to discussing comparable breeds for those who may be considering different options.


Scottish Terrier


Comparable Breeds

While the Scottish Terrier is a unique and beloved breed, there are other breeds that share certain characteristics or traits. In this section, we will explore some comparable breeds to the Scottish Terrier, allowing prospective owners to consider alternative options that may suit their preferences and lifestyle.

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, shares a similar origin and history with the Scottish Terrier. Both breeds originated in Scotland and were bred for similar purposes, such as vermin control. The Westie is slightly smaller in size and has a white, dense, and wiry coat. Like the Scottish Terrier, the Westie is known for its spirited personality, loyalty, and independent nature.

Cairn Terrier

Another breed that shares its roots with the Scottish Terrier is the Cairn Terrier. Originating from Scotland’s Highlands, the Cairn Terrier is a small, sturdy, and active breed. They have a shaggy and weather-resistant double coat that comes in various colors, including wheaten, brindle, and red. Cairn Terriers are known for their playful and affectionate nature, making them great companions for active individuals or families.

Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk Terrier is a small and compact breed that shares some similarities with the Scottish Terrier. They both have a wiry double coat, but the Norfolk Terrier’s coat is usually shorter and softer. Norfolk Terriers are friendly, alert, and intelligent dogs. They are known for their adaptability and can thrive in different living environments, making them suitable for various lifestyles.

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small-sized breed that also has a distinctive beard and eyebrows, much like the Scottish Terrier. They have a dense and wiry coat that comes in various colors, including salt and pepper, black, or black and silver. Miniature Schnauzers are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are highly trainable and can be a good fit for families or individuals seeking an active and sociable companion.

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier, although slightly larger in size than the Scottish Terrier, shares some characteristics with the breed. They both have a dense, wiry coat that requires regular grooming. Border Terriers are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature. They excel in various activities, such as obedience, agility, and even tracking. Border Terriers are adaptable and can thrive in different environments, making them suitable for active families or individuals.

While these breeds share certain similarities with the Scottish Terrier, it’s important to note that each breed has its own unique traits and characteristics. It is recommended to spend time researching and interacting with different breeds to find the best match for your lifestyle and preferences.

Now that we have explored some comparable breeds, let’s move on to discussing some notable dogs from the Scottish Terrier breed.


Notable Dogs from This Breed

The Scottish Terrier breed has produced many notable dogs that have left their mark on history and popular culture. In this section, we will highlight a few of these remarkable Scottish Terriers who have captured the hearts of people around the world.

Ch. Heather Necessity

Ch. Heather Necessity, also known as Nessa, was a Scottish Terrier who made history by becoming the first Scottish Terrier to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1933. This achievement helped elevate the popularity and recognition of the breed in the United States.


One of the most famous Scottish Terriers of all time is Fala, the beloved companion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fala became an iconic figure during Roosevelt’s presidency and was known for his loyalty and charm. Fala accompanied the President on many public appearances and even had a statue dedicated to him at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Duffy, a Scottish Terrier, gained fame as the canine star of the popular comic strip “Duffy’s Tavern” by cartoonist Ed Gardner. The comic strip, which ran from 1941 to 1952, featured Duffy as the main character, who ran a fictional tavern filled with entertaining and humorous scenarios.

Hamish Macbeth

While not a real dog, Hamish Macbeth is a fictional Scottish Terrier who gained popularity through the mystery novels written by M.C. Beaton. The series, which was later adapted into a television series, follows the adventures of Hamish Macbeth, a laid-back police constable in the Scottish Highlands.

These notable Scottish Terriers have left a lasting impression on the breed’s history and have contributed to their popularity and recognition worldwide. Their stories serve as a testament to the Scottish Terrier’s unique charm and enduring appeal.


With this, we conclude our comprehensive guide on the Scottish Terrier. We have explored the breed’s history, size and appearance characteristics, life expectancy, temperament, trainability and adaptability, exercise requirements, grooming needs, common health issues, comparable breeds, and notable dogs. We hope this information has provided a thorough understanding of the Scottish Terrier and has been both educational and enjoyable.

Whether you are a current Scottish Terrier owner, considering adding one to your family, or simply an admirer of this wonderful breed, we hope you have found this blog post informative and inspiring. Scottish Terriers truly embody a combination of charm, loyalty, and spirit that makes them a cherished companion for many.

Thank you for joining us on this journey into the world of Scottish Terriers.

Scottish Terriers have a reputation for being independent and sometimes stubborn, which can make training a bit challenging. However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, Scottish Terriers can be trained successfully. It’s important to establish clear boundaries and provide them with firm, yet gentle, guidance throughout their training process. Early socialization is also crucial to help them become well-rounded and adaptable dogs.

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