Scottish Terrier Dog Breed Information – Health, Temperament, History, and Other Facts

If you want a small dog breed with a great personality, the Scottish terrier is your perfect partner! Although they are small and compact, these pups are very independent and full of energy. They move with an air of confidence that’s almost like human.

This clever Scottish terrier breed has even gotten the nickname ‘the Diehard’ because of how persistent they are. They also have strong hunting instincts, making life hard for other pets. As for how they get along with other dogs, the best word is grumpy. However, they make great watchdogs and enjoy taking walks.

When looking for Scottish terrier puppies, watch out for their short legs, bright eyes, and erect ears. And if you want dog breeds that don’t shed, then this is it! These pups have two coats – a wiry topcoat and thick undercoat in black, brindle stripes, or wheaten.

Scottish Terrier Dog Breed Pictures

Scottish Terrier Dog Breed


What Does a Scottish Terrier Look Like?

Some people wouldn’t know how these pups look like even if they saw a picture of a Scottish terrier dog. So, how can you tell midsize dogs that look like a Scottish terrier from the real deal?

All Scottish terriers look alike in terms of how tall they are: 10 inches! That’s right. Since these pups have been around for ages, breeders have managed to iron out the kinks to the letter. As such, according to AKC, Scottish terriers appearing in shows should all be 10 inches tall.

Scottish Terrier Dog Breed

Scottish terrier colors are also pretty uniform. You can expect to find brindle and black Scottish terriers. However, you may find a less seen color, a wheaton Scottish terrier, which appears yellow-white. Either way, each pup should have a tough, wiry topcoat and a thick, soft undercoat.

When trimming their fur, most owners prefer to leave long hair along the snouts and eyes. The result is a human-like look that matches how they behave.


Did you know that Scotties are great hunters? Yes, that’s right. These active dogs were initially bred to hunt. It was normal to find Scottish terriers hunting badgers in the Highlands instead of going after foxes and rats.

Like most terrier breeds, these woofers are very smart. However, the Scottish terrier’s intelligence is much higher as they can figure things out themselves. In the past, Scottish farmers liked them over other dogs because of how clever and independent they were.

A Scottie terrier can understand what their owner wants them to do. However, you will need to be patient and consistent yet still firm and encouraging to your pup. This is because of their stubborn Scottish terrier tricks and instinct to do what they want. Your goal during training should be to outsmart them, i.e., get them to do what you want without realizing it.

Another crucial thing to note is their aloofness. Instead of waiting to socialize an adult Scottish terrier, you should try it when they’re young. Doing this early will make them comfortable around strangers and other dogs. But since these pups are natural hunters, they are likely to attack cats and other pets. You’ll need to keep a watchful eye on them.

If you’re wondering if a Scottish terrier is a good apartment dog, the answer is yes! These pups don’t need outdoor activities to burn off energy. A simple rope for playing tug is enough for them.

Living Needs

For Scottish terriers, apartments will do just fine! These small dogs are not demanding, making them the perfect partners for people living in urban areas. Their independent nature also helps them adapt to whatever home they go to.

As such, it’s not unusual to find a family with a Scottish terrier as their pet. And neither is it uncommon to find singles living with them in cities. However, to ensure you have a friendly Scottish terrier, you’ll need to socialize them from a young age. You can play a game of tug of war and go for walks around your home to keep them busy.

Did you know that Scotties do well with seniors? That’s right! These smart pups can easily keep up with the slow pace of most older people.

Scottish Terrier Dog Breed

Unfortunately, Scottish terriers and children may not make the best team. If your toddler accidentally pokes or pulls the dog, they might end up getting hurt. Since Scotties can put up a brave fight, they’ll scratch or bite back in defense.

But this doesn’t mean that all Scottish terriers are aggressive or unfriendly to kids. If you teach your children to play gently and avoid touching their tails, they are less likely to get hurt.

Are Scottish terriers good with cats? No, they aren’t. As with most dogs, cats often seem like prey rather than friends. And since Scottish terriers are hunters by nature, you’re better off avoiding cats altogether.

If your house has a backyard, the first thing you should do is put up a fence. Doing this will stop your dog from chasing animals into the streets. Some Scotties are known to even run through live electric fences chasing after prey. And if you find some holes in your compound, the dogs were likely busy digging.


How to Care for a Scottish Terrier

Does a Scottish terrier shed? This is a good question that new dog owners should ask before getting puppies. Luckily, Scottish terriers are hypoallergenic as they rarely shed. This makes them the best companions for people allergic to pet fur or dander.

Whether you have a black, brindle, or wheaten Scottish terrier, the fur coats still require a lot of care. To keep the coarse topcoat straight and free from tangles, you’ll need to brush it twice or thrice a week. You’ll also have to run your fingers through the thick inner coat often to keep it healthy.

If your budget allows, you can take your pup to a groomer to give them a polished look. You can also give Scottish terriers short haircuts if you want to change things up. Doing this will reveal the undercoat, making your dog appear fluffy.

How to Train a Scottish Terrier

Is house training a Scottish terrier puppy hard? Yes and no. It all depends on your experience or how well you can handle a stubborn dog.

As a new fur parent, the first tip is to remember that Scotties don’t like being told what to do. Keep the training sessions short, i.e., each period should not take more than 15 minutes. You should also get creative and change your training methods often. If you keep repeating tasks, they’ll get easily bored and stop responding.

Training a Scottish terrier puppy from the start should make things easier for you. However, you’ll still need to be patient and make them think everything they are doing is their idea. Using a gentle voice is a great way to encourage them.


How Long Do Scottish Terriers Live?

How long do Scotties live? A healthy pup should get to 11 or even 13 years. As for Scottish terrier health problems, watch out for minor issues like patellar luxation, Scotty Cramp, and cerebellar abiotrophy. In some unfortunate cases, some dogs can end up getting von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) or Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO). It’s essential to visit the vet whenever your pet falls ill.


How Much Do You Feed Scottish Terrier Puppies

As for how much dog food Scottish terriers should eat, it’s best to follow the vet’s advice. But 1-1.5 cups of quality dry food per day is ideal.


The Scottish terrier’s history goes way back in time and is sometimes unclear. For instance, it’s hard to tell who came first when it comes to the Skye terrier vs. Scottish terrier debate. Even Rawdon B. Lee, a famous English breeder and author, mentioned that Scotties were the oldest canines indigenous to Britain. Rawdon’s history dates back to 1845-1908.

However, what people know for sure is that Scottish terriers and West Highland terriers are related. This is because their ancestors came from the same origins.

So what is the earliest evidence of this old breed? In his book, The History of Scotland 1436-1561, Don Leslie mentions a dog that sounds like a Scottie. He describes a small terrier with a wire-haired coat.

A far more popular figure who kept terriers is Scottish-born King James I of England. He loved to send Scotties as gifts to other monarchs.

In the 19th century, there were many short hair Scottish terriers in the Highlands of Scotland. Breeders decided to separate them from their English cousins and produced dogs with more wiry and coarse topcoats. With time, their looks and temperament became more standardized for dog shows. Today, you’ll find that both UKC and AKC registered Scottish terrier puppies.

Fun Facts About the Scottish Terrier

  • Have you ever tried making friends with a Scottish terrier? It probably didn’t work out great for you. This is because Scotties can become aggressive if not socialized when young.
  • Although Scotties enjoy going for walks with their owners, it’s best to avoid going for jogs with them. Thanks to their short legs, a short walk to you may seem like a marathon to them.
  • Do Scottish terriers bark? Yes, they do. They are even ranked third in alarm barking after German shepherds and Rottweilers.

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