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Getting To Know You - Scottish Terrier

Posted by Christina Potter on

The Scottish Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885 and is a member of the Terrier group.In the 132 years since it was accepted by the AKC, it’s fan base has grown and it is now the 58th most popular dog breed. As the name denotes, Scottish Terriers hail from Scotland. Scotties, as they are commonly known, are small dogs measuring approximately ten inches in height and weighing around twenty pounds. They come in six different colors - black, black brindle, brindle, red brindle, silver brindle and wheaten. They are double coated with a soft, full under coat and a wiry, hard top coat. The hair on the beard, legs and lower body may be softer than the rest of the coat, however it should not be fluffy. They need weekly grooming and should be clipped every two months to keep their distinctive Scottie outline in check.

Scottish Terriers are generally healthy, though like all breeds of dogs, they are prone to certain disorders. These include, among others, Von Willebrand’s disease (a blood disorder), patellar luxation (knee joint problem), cerebellar abiotrophy (neurological disease), Scottie cramp (muscle contraction) and various cancers. Ethical breeders will make use of all available genetic testing to reduce the likelihood of such diseases in their puppies. With healthy genes and good care, their expected lifespan is twelve to fourteen years.

Like many of their terrier cousins, Scotties are independent, confident, bold and somewhat stubborn. They are also intelligent, loyal, loving and sensitive, so care must be taken when training to not offend your short legged friend. And speaking of short legs, your Scottie probably won’t be accompanying you while you train for the New York City marathon, but he’ll be happy to walk with you while you cool down. Surprisingly, despite his build, he can make a good agility dog. Since Scotties were bred to hunt rodents and fight badgers, they excel at chasing small vermin, making them exceedingly competent earthdogs. They can dig like it’s nobody’s business, thus care must be taken when leaving one alone in the yard with your rare orchids.

Their territorial nature and their distrust of strangers makes them good watch dogs. That said, they are not yappy and tend to only bark when necessary. It is that same territorial nature that can make it difficult for them to get along with other dogs, especially those of the same sex, unless they are raised together. Their hunting instinct can make it a challenge for them to get along with smaller pets. So if you’re planning on having your Scottie accompany you to Disney World on your next family vacation, take all the precautions necessary to ensure that you don’t cross paths with Mickey or Minnie. After all, you don’t want someone Googling you only to find the gruesome headline…”Mr. and Mrs. Mouse ambushed while feeding Donald and Daisy at the Seven Seas Lagoon.”


If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.