Scottish Terrier Dog Breed: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

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Scottish Terrier Dog Breed Information

Scottish Terrier
Level of Energy    
Exercise Needs    
Level of Affection      
Climate Tolerance     
Good With Children    
Tolerance of Animals      
Suitable as Watch Dog   

Scottish Terrier – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  55
  • AKC Breed Group: Terrier
  • Size of Male:  19-22 lbs., 10 in.
  • Size of Female:  18-21 lbs., 10 in.
  • Color:  Black, Brindle, Gray, Grizzle, Sand or Wheaten
  • Average Lifespan:  11-13 years
  • Breed Origin:  Scotland
  • Purpose:  Vermin and Fox Hunting Dog

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General Description

Fondly known as “Scotties,” no pooch has a higher self-esteem, more spunk and greater willpower than the smart, short-legged Scottish Terrier. The dog may prove too much for the novice owner but makes a fine companion for the experienced dog lover. These little dogs seem to know something about animal cruelty and will retaliate without hesitation if you lay a hand on them.

Origin and History

The 18th century Scotties used to be called the Aberdeen terrier. They were named after Aberdeen, Scotland where the breed originated. King James III gave the breed an even catchier moniker: “little diehard.”

For a time, the hardy pooches functioned as service dogs, ridding the farms of vermin and helping the hunters to seize game. They became extremely popular during the time of King James VI who adored the Scotties immensely.

In the 1870s, the Aberdeen terrier finally changed its name. The move was necessary to avoid confusing the Scottish Terrier with several other terrier breeds which also caught the Aberdeen dwellers’ fancy. The modern Scottie hasn’t lost its power to attract admirers in the show ring and doting animal lovers at home.

Scottish Terrier Temperament

There’s no doubt that the intelligent little pooch is not to be underestimated. It’s a tough cookie of all sorts: obstinate, conceited and feisty. It loves to chase things by instinct and tends to act dominantly despite its puny size!

Still, it is a charming breed with plenty of devotion to offer you. The catch: You’ll have to earn the breed’s respect before you get really tight with your pet.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – Diggers and barkers by nature, Scotties ideally need ample space to romp around. Secure fencing is recommended to prevent unwanted incidents of chasing and biting.

The dogs do not respond well to hot climates and are best assigned their own beds indoors. Due to their petite size, the Scotties are quite versatile homemakers and will do well in a country home or in an apartment that is well ventilated and frequented by people.

Grooming – This dog breed is not a heavy shedder, but its grooming requirements are extensive and even pricey. The Scottish Terrier’s coat needs to be combed at least 3 times a week to prevent matting.

You will have to clean the beard every day. In addition, prepare to cough up cash for professional services. Shaping by clipping is necessary every quarter. If you’re letting your pooch join the dog show, have your Scottie stripped in 3-month intervals.

Diet & Exercise – Scotties may be prone to some allergies and bloat. You may want to consult a dietician and a veterinarian on what meal works for your pet. Generally, each serving should be 30 percent vegetables, 40 percent meat and 30 percent starch and fats.

Daily exercise makes the dog happier, quieter and calmer at home. Take your pick from the following recommended activities: a ball game, a game of fetch, a long walk or off-leash (but supervised) loitering in a fenced area.

Health – Save for the fact that they do not tolerate the heat and may invite a host of fleas and ticks and allergies, the Scottish Terrier is relatively hardy in the health department. Don’t let your guard down though. Observed in the breed are some cases of hemophilia, cramps, liver disease and some cancers.

Scottish Terrier Trainability

The Scottish Terrier is one of the most challenging breeds to both train and housebreak. Controlling the dog requires a very capable and confident dog trainer whom the Scottie can look up to as the alpha leader.

You must begin with respect training and invest in adequate socialization. Be careful with using force, as the breed is known to fight pain with pain. On the bright side, the intelligent breed is well suited to earth dog trials which simulate its vermin-hunting adventures.