A Scottish Terrier is a special kind of dog, and although terrifically popular worldwide, he needs a particular type of owner. Scotties are the most independent of all terrier breeds, he’s stubborn with a feisty personality, and adult Scottish Terriers have a dignified air about them.
The original owners and breeders of the Scottish Terrier used them for hunting badgers, fox, weasels, and rodents, to prevent them from damaging the small farmers’ and crofters’ livelihoods.
Scotties are often wary around strangers, but they love a close relationship with their family. Being the epitome of the terrier breeds, they make excellent watchdogs. There is no national dog of Scotland, but the Scottie dog would be right up there as one of the candidates if there were.
Everything You Need To Know About The Scottish Terrier:
1. Scottish Terrier History
Scottish Terriers, named after their Scottish heritage, are descendants of the Scotch Terrier; it’s challenging to determine exactly when they came into being; it seems as though they have been around for centuries. At one time, the dog was known as the Aberdeen Scottish Terrier. Scottish short-haired terriers are thought to be part of Skye Terrier lineage. The Skye is believed to be the original terrier of many terrier breeds, including the Scottish Terrier.
During the 15th century, owners used the Scottie to protect and rid small farms and crofter’s cottages of rodents and more dangerous predators such as foxes and badgers. The dogs played a pivotal role in safeguarding these local folk who would have found eking a living from the small amount of land and a few animals hard enough, without the threat of losing stock and crops to these animals.
Even though he came from a poor background, the Scottie had a royal friend in King James 1, who knew the breed well and favored them. By 1881 there was sufficient support for the Scottie to form the Scottish Terrier Club of England, and he was on his way to America within two years. In 1885 a Scottish Terrier called Prince Charlie went into the American Kennel studbook. In the years just before the Great Depression and the years after saw the popularity of the Scottie soar.
Several famous people became Scottie devotees, including President Roosevelt, Humphry Bogart, and Bette Davis. The Scottish Terrier would later become immortalized by being chosen by the makers of the board game Monopoly as one of the playing pieces. During this time, the Scottie was renowned as one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.
In recent times the Scottie’s popularity has waned somewhat, but he’s still hugely popular worldwide. The former president, George W Bush’s dog, was a Scottie called Barney. He has excelled in the show ring; Scotties have won Best In Show at the Westminster Dog Show nine times; a joint record holder with the wirehaired Fox Terrier.
2. Scottish Terrier Characteristics
Scottish Terriers grow up to 10 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 19 to 22 pounds; females weigh a little less between 18 and 21 pounds. Scotties are compact, with short legs and a robust build; they have a lifespan between 11 to 13 years. The Scottie dog has a double coat; the outer coat is wiry and rough to the touch with a much softer, denser, and insulating undercoat. Two distinctive features are the Scottish Terrier beard and eyebrows, both of which give him an air of dignity but make him appear gruff or stern.
The Scottish Terrier’s head looks a little long at first glance but is in proportion to his neck and body. Scotties have very erect ears, and a short also erect tail.
Scottie dogs do shed, but only moderately; you will need to brush him and groom him regularly, though, because the wiry coat will pick up debris when he’s running around through undergrowth, and you also want him to look his best. If you suffer from dog allergies, the Scottish Terrier isn’t hypoallergenic (no dog is), but regular brushing will reduce the amount of dander in the air.
3. Scottish Terrier Temperament
The Scottish Terrier personality portrays self-confidence, independence, and a little aloof. It’s said that the Scottie dog is more cat-like in the way he wants affection only when he feels he needs it and not when the owner does.
If you want to own a Scottie, you need to prepare yourself to work hard for his affections; they aren’t a needy, clingy dog always in need of affection. None of this personality says Scottie doesn’t love his family because he does very much. Scotties just don’t think they need to demonstrate their love every five minutes. They are lively, playful, and silly as puppies, but they become more serious and not so cheerful as they mature. They love the family’s kids but will not accept rough and tumble types of play. The Scottie is much too dignified for that kind of behavior.
Scotties are better with children they have grown up with rather than introducing kids to a mature Scottie. When given thorough socialization Scotties are happy to be around and protect children, but he’s not the best breed when very young children are part of the family. Scottish Terriers can be wary and sometimes unfriendly to strangers and, as with most terriers, are not happy around unknown dogs and can be combative with them.
The Scottie dog can attempt dominance over other dogs, even ones in the same family, so early socialization is necessary to keep the peace; they make poor companions to other household pets like cats or even smaller creatures.
Scotties take their position as house protectors to heart and are excellent watchdogs. The Scottish Terrier doesn’t have a small dog bark; when a Scottie barks, he will fool any potential intruders into believing there’s a big dog in the house.
4. Scottish Terrier Traits
While Scotties are an adaptable breed and can live happily in an apartment, they need exercise every day. Scotties are also highly intelligent, give them something to think about and do, or they will get bored too quickly and can vent their frustrations with incessant barking.
Everyday outdoor exercise is necessary to keep your Scottie happy. They are energetic and enjoy running around. Beware of the in-built prey drive; if they see a small creature, they can decide in a flash to be off chasing whatever, maybe a squirrel or cat. Don’t restrict their exercise to just a few minutes walk around the block; they need worthwhile exercise to get their lungs and muscles working; at least an hour every day would be good.
Scotties are not running or jogging partners; their legs are too short, even long hikes won’t have them licking their lips in anticipation. The Scottish Terrier typically is not a dog that suffers separation anxiety; that doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave them alone for hours on end, though. Continually leaving them alone can cause them to turn destructive out of sheer boredom.
5. Training A Scottish Terrier
Training a Scottish Terrier isn’t going to be a piece of cake. Scotties can be stubborn, and if they get it into their heads, they aren’t playing ball with your training routine it can make life difficult. Early socialization is necessary with Scotties. The optimal age is between six and sixteen weeks; this is part of training a Scottie, and you shouldn’t underestimate the importance.
If you’re going to be the owner of a Scottie dog and want to train him, you’re going to need a great deal of patience, self-control, persistence, and consistency. Train him in short bursts for basic obedience and use positive reinforcement; lots of praise and treats he loves. You could incorporate agility training into your training routine to help keep him engaged, but teaching him fancy tricks might be a step too far.
6. Scottish Terrier Health Issues
Scottish Terriers are similar to most terriers and are a healthy breed. But owners need to take particular care if you want them to reach the average Scottish Terrier lifespan of 12 to 13 years. Ensure you give him the daily exercise he needs and feed your Scottie the best possible food that meets his nutritional requirements. Visit your vet regularly for checkups and get all relevant jabs.
Even doing all of the above, there are still inherited diseases that can occur with your Scottie. Before you purchase a Scottish Terrier puppy, you would be well advised to familiarize yourself with these conditions. If you do that, you can then ensure the breeder you choose can offer you the health guarantees regarding their puppies.
Common Health Issues For The Scottie
- Von Willebrand’s disease (an inherited bleeding disorder).
- Cushing’s disease (overproduction of certain hormones by the adrenal glands).
- Several Cancers
- Craniomandibular osteopathy (the skull and jawbones swell during their growth period).
- Patellar luxation (dislocation of the patella)
Conclusion – Scottish Terrier FAQ
Is There A White Coated Scottish Terrier?
Scotties can be grey, brindle, wheaten, and of course, black, but you won’t see a white Scottish Terrier. If you see a white terrier that you think might be a Scottie, he’s probably a West Highland White Terrier.
Can Scottish Terriers Swim?
Because Scottish Terriers have short legs, they find swimming very difficult. It wouldn’t be wise to let Scotties play in water that’s too deep for them to stand in.
What Is Scottie Cramp?
This is an inherited disease and is a serotonin deficiency that causes the dog to have spasms and leg hyperextension.