Scottish Terrier


Scottish Terriers

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Breed Notes

The Scottish Terrier, or "Scottie," is believed to be the most ancient of the Highland terriers. It was used to extract vermin from rocks, dens and barns. Local variations in type existed until it was standardized in the 1870s. It was known as the Aberdeen Terrier until the 1890s. The first Scotties were introduced to North America in 1882, first in Canada and then in the United States.
The Scottish Terrier has long been a popular companion dog. His hardy, rugged terrier character provides for a spunky pet. He is alert and an ideal vermin controller, although he might extend this prowess to the neighbor cat and bird.
The skull of the Scottish Terrier is of medium length, slightly domed and covered with short, hard hair. The eyebrows and mustache are a prominent breed characteristic. There is a slight drop off (stop) between skull and muzzle. The muzzle is in proportion to the length of the skull. It should not taper too much toward the nose. The bite is scissors. The nose is black. The eyes are set wide apart, small and almond-shaped. They should be dark brown to black in color and have a bright, piercing gaze. The ears are small, prick and held high on the head. The hair on the ears is short and velvety. The neck is moderately short, thick and muscular. The chest is very deep, reaching below the elbow. The body is short. The legs are short, straight and heavy boned. The gait is a characteristic of the breed. It is not the trot or walk of longer-legged breeds. Rather, the forelegs do not move on parallel planes but incline slightly inward due to the shortness of leg and width of chest. The hind legs move square. The tail is naturally about seven inches long. It is not docked. It is carried with a slight curve but not over the back. The coat is double with a dense undercoat and a hard, wire outer coat of about two inches in length. Coat color is steel or iron gray, brindle or grizzled, black or grizzled, black, sandy or wheaten. The average height is ten inches. The average weight is between eighteen and twenty-two pounds.


nancyy@terrier-ific.com of San Mateo, CA writes:

Scotties are the best.
I have been fortunate enough to live with Scotties for twenty years now. My first Scottie lived to age eighteen and was a wonderful dog that went to work with me every day in a computer store. I now live with two Scotties, one I've had since a puppy and the other a rescue and they are wonderful companions. They are intelligent and very much have minds of their own. They love a good walk or a nice quiet nap. Mostly they just want to be wherever their family is. They are incredibly inquisitive and playful.


Name withheld by request of Los Angeles, California writes:

The most wonderful son!
I have a little Scottie that has personality and then some. Although he is generally a quiet dog, he will always let us know what he wants by "talking." He is also very good at staying home by himself &shyp; we've never come home to anything ripped apart. This is mostly due to the ample toys that he has. He follows me around the house all the time and loves to snuggle and fall asleep in my arms. He'll go on walks with the greatest of enthusiasm. Although be careful when walking him with large crowds of people, he'll get overwhelmed. He's very intelligent; he learns tricks sometimes in the same day. Not to mention he was easy to train. I should caution that the Scottie is a very sensitive dog and any harshness will hurt his feelings. So don't yell at him unless it's neccessary. I recommend the Scottie to those who are dedicated and loving and who will welcome the biggest little dog into their hearts.


Name withheld by request of Illinois writes:

Power in a small package.
Though a smaller breed, my boy was nothing but power. Whether it was racing down the driveway after a toy, or just to get to you, those little legs moved so fast and furiously that he appeared to be floating. While playing, especially tug-of-war, I was never sure if my arm was going to be dislocated. And what a jumper! It was relatively easy for him to jump up at least three to four feet in the air to get to where he needed to be &shyp; like our bed. Don't be fooled by their size, these dogs are small bundles of dynamite.


Name withheld by request of Santa Rosa, CA writes:

Lots of good things in one small package.
I currently live with two Scotties. One is almost twelve years old and the love of my life. From the day that he came home with me at three months of age, he has been a push-button dog. He is very intelligent, sensitive, protective, cooperative, wonderful with children, and invariably good humored.
His kinsman is a dog of another color. At sixteen months of age, he is still full of puppy pranks &shyp; we are working on agility training to channel some of his energy. He is smart, but definitely has a mind of his own and lets you know it, but he also has a heart of gold. Much to my surprise, he has been very gentle with small children.
Although Scotties are considered to be small dogs, they are extremely sturdy and love to play with my young nephews. They know no fear and will protect their family with their lives. I can't imagine my life without a Scottie in it.


Name withheld by request of Illinois writes on 9/2/01:

Scotties are cute but stubborn.
We had a Scotty when I was a kid. Foolishly we didn't do any research before purchasing her from a pet store (another big no no). Our Scotty was very cute but not particularly interested in us and very stubborn. She'd often manage to get out of the yard - and we'd be chasing after her crying, and she'd look back at us, shake her little tooshie and just keep going. That Terrier instinct to just run all over the place chasing squirrels. I think there are many breeds that are better suited for families.


kerr.glenroslin@sympatico.ca of Canada writes on 12/5/00:

Temperament problems?
People have the wrong assumption of the temperament of the Scottish Terrier. I have heard people say, they are vicious, or they are more aggressive than the Westie. In my opinion, this is incorrect. We breed Scotties and we breed for good temperament and I feel that all reputable (and I stress reputable) breeders do also. With the proper treatment and love they make wonderful pets.


tully@dog.com of Seattle, WA writes on 12/2/00:

Spirited, loyal and fun!
Please see http://www.scottiedogz.com/aboutscotties.html for a full review and history of the breed. S.S. Van Dine describes the Scottie's character as "an ever-blazing internal fire, both physical and temperamental, that shines forth from his eyes, vitalizes his expression, invigorates his body and animates his activity." This gives you some idea of the Scottie's unique charm, and above all, its intensity! Each Scottie is, however, his or her own person; thus it's difficult to generalize about 'the Scottie temperament'. Some are aloof and independent, while others are friendly and outgoing. Most are confident, but some are shy. Like all terriers, a certain stubbornness (and sometimes scrappiness) is built-in; but if you can gain your Scottie's respect with firm but kind training methods, you'll be rewarded with a loyal, spirited companion who will delight you with his endearing pranks, untiring quest for adventure and deep affection for those he holds dear.


ehalland @sno.net of Kitimat, BC writes on 10/8/01:

Very independent.
We owned a Scottish Terrier for fourteen years and he was a wonderful dog. He was quite independent, which is good, very loyal, had a partner, first a Golden Retreiver and then a yellow Lab, both of which he was particularly fond of, more so than us (his people). He was very hardy, had very few health problems until his last year, which was just basic old age. He was very fond of cats, even strange ones and we always had fun with him. Because there are so few of them, he was a great way to meet other dog people. He was just fine with children, would never snap, but he preferred the company of adults.


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