Breed Type: Terrier
Country of Origin: Scotland
Popular Names: the Aberdeen Terrier, the Diehard, the Scottie
Size: Toy/Small
Height: (At the withers) Males 25 – 28 cm, Females 25 – 28 cm
Weight: Males 8.5 – 10 kg, Females 8 – 9.5 kg
Best suited as: Pet, hunting, or show dog for an experienced owner 
Lifespan: 11-13 years

The Scottish Terrier, commonly called the Scottie, is one of five different Terrier breeds that came out of Scotland. This dog is well-known for its role as a playing piece on the popular board game Monopoly.

This dapper little dog has short legs on a sturdy body, upright ears and tail, and dark almond-shaped eyes. Its head looks long compared to the rest of its body, and it has seemingly large feet made for digging. Scotties range in colour from a dark grey to pure black. They may also be Brindle (black/brown mix) or Wheaton (yellow to almost white).

A Scottish Terrier’s coat is made of two layers – a long, wiry, hard weather-resistant outer layer and a dense, soft under layer. When groomed properly, a Scottie has longer fur on its eyebrows and beard, lower body, and legs, and shorter fur on its back, head, tail, and ears. 

The Scottish Terrier origins are mostly unclear, but the first documents written about a dog similar in description to the Scottie comes from 1436. It appears that they first came from the Perthshire area of Scotland; they were bred to hunt and kill vermin, and to hunt foxes and badgers.

In the 1800s, breeders decided to develop pure Scottish Terrier bloodlines from the generic Terriers found in the Scottish Highlands. The general group was divided and became the Scottish Terrier, the Skye Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier. Rumour has it that the Scottish Terrier breed descends from two sires and one bitch named Splinter II.

In 1930, a revised standard of the breed was accepted. Scottish Terriers were recognized by the UK Kennel Club in 1934.

Famous owners of Scotties include King James VI, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, Rudyard Kipling, Tatum O’Neal, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Eva Braun, and George W. Bush.

This feisty and territorial little dog is smart, stubborn, self-confident, independent, and playful. It was nicknamed the “Diehard” because it just won’t give up. They may be seen as aloof to strangers, but are very loving and loyal to family members. It is common for a Scottie to attach itself to just one or two people.

Scottish Terriers may develop dog aggression issues if not properly socialized at an early stage. They can be a bit hard to train and dominant, so fair and firm training that focuses on positive rewards tends to work the best.
A Scottish Terrier will snap if cornered or irritated, and can develop food and toy aggression from weaker “members of the pack,” so a house with toddlers might not be the ideal situation in which to place one. Since Scotties can be aggressive with other dogs, it is best if you have only one dog, or raise the Scottie with another dog from puppyhood.

Because Scottish Terriers are so alert and suspicious of strangers, they do make good guard dogs. They don’t tend to bark except for to raise alarm, so this is another bonus. They are also extremely loyal and courageous, and would try to act as defenders as needed.

Care and Grooming
To keep a Scottie looking like a Scottie and not an overgrown mop, it must be groomed every three months or so. If you don’t feel skilled enough to do it yourself, take your Scottish Terrier to a professional groomer who will trim his coat, nails, and maybe even brush his teeth.

A Scottish Terrier’s low-shedding coat requires regular brushing, two times a week, to prevent knots and mats.

These dogs are not meant to be lap dogs. They love to run and dig, and to chase small fleeing animals like squirrels and rabbits. They need at least an hour or more of exercise each day. If you leave one unattended in your backyard, you may find it has dug its way under your fence and escaped. It may help to have designated “digging areas” in your yard where the Scottie knows it’s okay to dig. Otherwise, keep a good watch on your dog when it’s outside alone.

The Scottie’s coat makes him prefer cooler temperatures, and so care should be taken to ensure he’s not exposed to prolonged high temperatures. You will find your Scottish Terrier does not want to play outside as much in the summer’s hot weather as he does in the cooler spring and fall.

Scottish Terriers are only susceptible genetically to two health concerns: craniomandibular osteopathy(CMO) and von Willebrand disease (vWD). Non-genetic health concerns they might develop are cerebellar abiotrophy, patellar luxation, Scottie cramp, skin allergies, and eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. Scottish Terriers seem to have a higher incidence of cancer than other breeds. Cancer types they seem to develop more often than other breeds include bladder cancer, transitional cell carcinomas of the urinary tract, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell sarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, malignant melanoma, lymphosarcoma, gastric carcinoma, and nasal carcinoma.

Suitability As A Pet Because of this breed’s propensity for stubbornness and independence, it is likely best that anyone getting a Scottie has some kind of experience in training dogs. They need firm, consistent and patient training – harsh words, negative enforcement, and yelling will get you nowhere with a Scottie.

These little dogs are very adaptable and will fit in wherever its owners are – be it country or city, as long as it gets enough exercise.

Families with small children would do best to avoid adopting an older dog; a Scottie puppy that can be raised with small children is your best route, and do make sure you teach your children never to irritate, corner, or otherwise bother the dog. This will help avoid nips and potential heartache.

Scottish Terrier Organisations in Australia
The Scottish Terrier Club Inc, NSW

Scottish Terrier Organisations in the UK
Scottish Terrier – North of England Scottish Terrier Club

Scottish Terrier Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier Club Inc, New South Wales Australia Fo

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