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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Scottish Terrier

Under a weather-proof wire-haired coat, the Scottish Terrier is a small and compact, yet powerful dog. Their prominent eyebrows, full beard and moustache combined with sharply pricked ears gives this terrier an alert, business-like appearance.

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 8.5–10.5kg
Height: 25–28cm
Colours: Black, and all shades of wheaten or brindle
Size: Small
Kennel Club Group: Terrier


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 1/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 2/5
Black and white Scottish Terriers sitting next to each other


Scottish Terriers are frequently described as bold, lion-hearted, loyal and serious, but also dour, aloof, and reserved. Whilst primarily a companion and show dog today, the Scottish Terrier is very much a terrier, with all the feist and independent spirit one should expect.

With kind, patient training and motivation, the Scottie can be a cheerful, loyal and affectionate family friend to those they live with and knows well, but don’t expect them to be gushing and effusive with strangers.

Scottish Terrier plying with the children

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Scotland

Although known as the Scottish Terrier since 1879, the Scottie has had several earlier names, including the Aberdeen Terrier, the Hard-Coated Scotch Terrier and the Die-Hard or Wire-Haired Terrier.

Descended from the ancestral Highland Terrier, and closely related to the West Highland White Terrier, the Scottish Terrier was a working dog, bred to go to ground and take on any pest necessary. Their short legged, powerful muscular build and hard coat meant they were excellent in this role.

Health and Common Issues

Health problems most commonly seen in the Scottish Terrier are a particular bone disease of the jaw, a muscle disorder causing cramping and they are more predisposed to certain types of cancer, in particular bladder cancer. As with many breeds, they can also suffer from hereditary eye disorders and so eye testing prior to breeding is important.

The breed club monitor the health of the breed carefully and should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and details of any DNA or additional testing they recommend. Breed Clubs can be found on the Kennel Club website.

Exercise Needs

Scottish Terriers are highly adaptable in their physical exercise requirements, but do require a good balance of mental versus physical. This is a clever, sharp minded breed who will enjoy scent-based games and problem solving as well as walks of all durations once fit but will need at least an hour every day.

Space Requirements

As a small breed the Scottie does not require vast, expansive housing, however a secure garden and access to peaceful yet interesting walks will be necessary. This is a breed that can be kept happily in town or country, but they will need quiet, secure spaces to run, sniff and unwind, particularly if kept in busy towns.

Nutrition and Feeding

Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Grooming Scottish Terriers

To retain the hard, weatherproof coat, the Scottish Terrier must be hand stripped three or four times a year. This is something you can learn to do yourself, or have done professionally. Their legs, head and body can be clipped.

Grooming their faces and beard and checking between toes/pads for foreign bodies should be done daily, with the rest of the body done a couple of times a week.

Training Scottish Terriers

The Scottish Terrier is a strong minded and independent breed, so whilst they can be trained to a high level you will need to employ positive reinforcement and ensure you remain interesting and motivating. If bored, the Scottish Terrier will find their own amusement.

An outlet for their natural desire to hunt small vermin, in the form of tug toys and soft toys is a must, and good socialisation with other dogs and other species from an early age is vital.

Best Family Dog Breeds

Raised kindly with respectful children, the Scottish Terrier can be a good family dog, they are however not inclined to effusive greetings with strangers, so will need time and patience if asked to add new people to their social group.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Scottish Terriers have in the past been popular with royalty and Presidents. King James V1 of Scotland was a huge fan in the 17th Century, sending six Scotties to France as a gift. Queen Victoria had a favourite Scottie, Laddie and President Roosevelt had a Scottie called Murray the Outlaw of Falahill or Fala for short, and Eleanor Roosevelt had Meggie, during their time in the White House.
  • The first mention of a Scottish Terrier was by Bishop John Lesley in his book ‘History of Scotland from 1436 to 1561’. He described them as a ‘dog of low height, which creeping into subterraneous burrows, routs out foxes, badgers, martins and wild cats from their lurking places and dens’.
  • Due to their bravery, there’s a legend that the Scottish Terrier descended from bears instead of dogs.
  • When Scottish Terriers get extremely excited, they may experience something called the ‘Scottie Cramp’, this is a neurological disorder which makes their muscles tense up.
  • The Scottie is the most popular Monopoly piece!

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