Breed Type:  Terrier
Country of Origin: Scotland
Size:  Small to Medium
Also known as:  Aberdeen Terrier, Scottie
Males Height: 25 cm Weight:  8.5-10 kg
Females: Height: 25 cm Weight:  8-9.5 kg
Exercise Requirements:  Medium
Care Requirements:  Medium
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Best Suited as:  Family Pets

The Scottish Terrier, commonly known as a “Scottie” is a courageous and independent breed with a feisty nature. They have gained notoriety around the world for being a game piece in Monopoly, the dog of many world leaders, and the mascot at a notable university.

The Scottie is easily recognizable by his short legs, muscular body, erect ears and long eyebrows and beard. Typically, they exhibit long whiskers on their muzzle and have small dark eyes on a longish face.

The regal Scottie is sturdy with large paws and a barrel chest, giving the appearance of a self-assured, important dog.  Their double coat is soft on the underside with a bristly, long, weather-resistant outer coat. Their coat color comes in several varieties although most are some shade of grey to jet-black. Wheaten colored and bridle coats are also seen although these Scotties should not be mistaken for Wheaten or West Highland Terriers.  Wheaten colored Scotties are extremely rare in Australia.

Most Scotties are trimmed in a specific way – with clipped hair on the top of their backs, heads and ears. Their beard, eyebrow, leg and lower body furnishings are left long. The Scottish Terrier’s bold appearance exemplifies power in a small package.

If you want a dog that has eyes just for you, the Scottie might be the pet for you. Dubbed “Snotty Scottie” by some, this self-assured, aloof dog is wary of strangers and fiercely loyal to their families. Although loyal, the Scottie is said to be extremely independent and intelligent and not always obedient when they feel like doing their own thing. Any Scottie owner needs to patient with their commonly stubborn pet.

Scottish Terriers are territorial and can make good watchdogs. Originally used to hunt vermin, such as mice, rats and squirrels, they are feisty, alert, fast and playful. They are natural leaders and will need to be taught their proper place in the family.

Despite the negatives that come with an intelligent, independent pet, the Scottie is also known for being full of character and a fun playmate.

The first Scottish Terrier, initially called the “Aberdeen Terrier” can be traced back to Aberdeen, Scotland over one hundred years ago. Used to chase vermin and trap foxes, they made excellent hunters and were welcome on just about any Scottish farm.

In the 17th century, King James VI of Scotland (later known as King James I of England) known to adore the breed, increased the Scottie’s popularity and gave several as gifts.  Many Scottish households adopted Scotties as pets during that time.

Until the late 1800’s, many similar types of terriers were classified as the same breed.  It was only until Scottish Terriers began to be shown that they were given their own standard. The first show to feature a class for Scottish Terriers was at Birmingham, England, in 1860. Later, a number of other shows carried this classification, but the dogs shown in these classes were not Scottish Terriers, but Yorkshires, Skyes, and Dandie Dinmonts.  J.B. Morrison is credited for writing the standard in 1879.  The Scottish Terrier Club of England was formed in 1881 and in 1988, Scotland followed suit by developing their own Scottish Terrier Club.  The breed’s official standard was revised in 1930 and is followed today. Scotties have won many best in show awards throughout the years.

Scotties came to the United States in the early 1890s and by 1936, Scotties were the third most popular breed there.  It is the only breed that has resided in the White House more than three times. The breed has also won notoriety as a game piece in Monopoly and for being the pet of many celebrities.

The first Scottie arrived in Australia in 1887 with others not far behind in 1889. In 1937, an Australian Scottish Terrier Club was formed and several have developed since that time.

Care and Grooming
Your Scottish Terrier will continue to feel self-assured and pampered if you take care to control the mats that may develop in his fur, without proper brushing.  Many Scottish Terrier owners bring their dog to the groomers for their signature haircut.  Eyebrows are kept long as well as their beards, contributing to their distinguished look. Their hair on their bodies should also be left long, giving the appearance of wearing a kilt. Scottish Terriers will need occasional baths and fortunately, the Scottie sheds very little.

While Scotties are active, they do not need to be taken on long walks and are not the best running companions. They prefer brief daily walks and enjoy playing with toys.

Scottish Terriers are more prone to some diseases than other dog breeds. Specifically, Scottish Terriers may suffer from what has been called, “Scottie Cramps”.  It is an autosomal recessive hereditary disorder, which temporarily cripples the dog.  Scottie Cramps are often brought on by stress, which causes the serotonin level in the dog’s body to become too low.  Scotties that are affected by this disorder first exhibit the cramp between six months to one year old.  Scottie cramps have been effectively treated with Vitamin E, Diazepam and Prozac as well as acupuncture.

Some Scotties are also susceptible to joint issues, bleeding disorders, joint disorders, allergies, eye issues and cancer.

Suitability as a Pet
A well-trained, socialized Scottie can make a wonderful pet. While easy to house train, patience is needed to train them to do other tasks. While intelligent and quick learners, this breed is sometimes too smart for their own good and does not have the personality of a natural follower. Owners need to take care to use firm but loving discipline – the Scottie is known to be a sensitive breed that does not do well with criticism or overly harsh tactics.

A Scottie that does not understand its proper place in the family may have trouble with new pets and babies that join the family. For this reason, families with older children or no children are best for this breed.

Scottish Terriers are adaptable to many environments and can do well in apartments, homes and on farms.  Scotties need a short walk each day to keep them happy. Make sure to hold on tight to their leashes, their hunting instinct is strong and they pull away from you suddenly to chase a number of small animals.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.