Originally bred to hunt fox, badgers, and rodents, the rugged—yet dignified—Scottish Terrier is a spirited little dog with a big personality. While aloof with strangers, the Scottie loves the companionship of family. His compact body houses a bold Scottie personality that may intimidate first-time dog owners, but his playful nature and loyalty win him many fans. The feisty and independent Scottish Terrier can be difficult to train due to his high intelligence and propensity to ignore a request in favor of his own agenda.
Scotties have been popular in the White House with presidential owners Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George W. Bush. Fala, the Scottish Terrier owned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is depicted at the former president's memorial. The Scottish Terrier is top dog on the Monopoly board, as the Scottie piece is the most popular, outranking even the top hat.
The Scottish Terrier is also known as the Aberdeen Terrier, Scottie, and Aberdeenie.
Physical Description/Breed Standard
Coat - The Scottish Terrier has a hard, wiry overcoat with a softer undercoat. He proudly displays a beard and dignified eyebrows. The coat is light shedding, but requires weekly brushing and regular trims to maintain its appearance.
Male: 19-22 Pounds
Breed Standard and History
The compact, sturdy Scottish Terrier should present a symmetrical and balanced appearance. Wide-set eyes are dark and offer an intelligent expression. The compact, sturdy Scottish Terrier should present a symmetrical and balanced appearance. Wide-set eyes are dark and offer an intelligent expression. The Scottish Terrier's tail is about seven inches long, but never docked, and is held erect. The hard, wiry coat is longer on the face to form a beard, and at the legs and lower body. The coloring may be black, wheaten or brindle of any color. His temperament is alert and spirited. – AKC Breed Standards
While dogs similar in appearance to the Scottish Terrier have been painted and written about since as early as the 1400s, there is some disagreement over the origins of the Scottie. Short haired terriers from Scotland are credited for the development of the Skye Terrier, which may be the origin of a number of terrier types including the Scottie. The original duty of the Scottish Terrier was to protect farms and homes from rodents—a job they still take seriously today.
The Scottish Terrier Club of England was formed in 1881, and the breed was introduced to America shortly after. The AKC recognized the Scottish Terrier in 1885 and the breed gained popularity in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.
AKC Breed Category
The Scottie is a friendly dog who bonds closely with family members, but he may be aloof with strangers. Though the Scottish Terrier is less showy with his affection—he may be stoic where other terrier types are enthusiastic with their greetings—he is known for his devotion to family. As with all terriers, the Scottie may be scrappy or confrontational with other dogs, and may be hesitant to accept anyone—human or furry—who isn't family.
Are Scottish Terriers Good with Kids? Scottish Terriers raised with children may be suitable as a family pet, but the breed is not recommended for small children or kids who do not have experience with dogs. When properly socialized with children, Scotties happily act as a protector on their behalf.
Are Scottish Terriers Good with Other Pets? Scottish Terriers are big dogs in small bodies—they may attempt to assert dominance over other dogs regardless of their size. Scotties may do well with other dogs if raised with them, or if they're socialized from an early age. Due to their high prey drive, they are not likely companions for cats or small animals.
The Scottie takes his job as protector of the home quite seriously and will alert you to any newcomers. He has a big-dog bark, which he may use to scare away potential intruders.
Scottish Terriers are high-energy dogs who require activity—physical and mental—to prevent destructiveness, barking, digging, and other boredom-induced behaviors.
Indoor Scottish Terriers can adjust to most living spaces, but they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy. They can nuisance bark if bored—apartment-dwelling neighbors may not appreciate the noise.
Outdoor Outside exercise is a priority for the energetic Scottie, but the independent breed has a high prey drive and loves to run and chase, so leashed walks and fenced areas are recommended.
Exercise A few romps outdoors and play inside to total half an hour to one hour per day—more is better—will keep the Scottish Terrier happy and healthy.
Endurance Energetic and happy to run, the Scottish Terrier loves agility and other activities that require bursts of speed. They do not have the stamina for long runs or strenuous activity.
Activity distance rating
Food The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food (based on average weight and activity level) to feed a Scottish Terrier is 1 to 1½ cups per day, given in two meals.
Scottish Terriers may guard their food. Children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while a Scottie or any dog is eating.
Alone Time The Scottish Terrier is affectionate when his family is around, but is self-reliant and may be left home alone for four to eight hours per day. Some Scottish Terriers may become destructive when left home alone; crate training may be necessary.
Health and Grooming
11 - 13 years
The Scottish Terrier's wiry coat sheds minimally, but needs plenty of attention. Brushing once or twice per week and regular trips to the groomer are necessary. Baths should be minimal to prevent skin irritation. Trimming is accepted for pets, but Scotties meant for show should not be clipped as it can make the hair softer, which is not within the breed standard.
Common Health Issues
The Scottish Terrier can be prone to breed-specific health concerns, including:
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Scottish Terrier by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
The Scottie may be stubborn and headstrong and can be difficult to train due to his self-sufficient nature. Persistence, consistency, and positive reinforcement are the best route for basic obedience training. Early socialization with people and other dogs is important to raise a well-behaved adult Scottie.
Agility training may be a good fit for the athletic Scottie, but advanced tricks and obedience are not areas for which Scottish Terriers deem their time worthy.
Sporting Dog Training
The Scottish Terrier is not ideal for use as a sporting dog, but his high prey drive and love of the dirt may make him suitable for Earthdog training.
Can Scottish Terriers swim?
Can Scottish Terriers be white?
What is 'Scottie Cramp?'
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