The Scottish Terrier

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Scottish Terrier "Scottie"
Weight: 18 — 22 lbs
Height: 9” — 10”
AKC Rank 2008 #47
Lifespan: 11—13 yrs
Group Terrier
Origin Scotland

Dog Breed Info - The Scottish terrier

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Breed Overview

Origin 1800’s. Original function: Vermin hunting. Today, companion. It is a hunter and will chase small animals including cats and rats or anything that resembles a rat. Colors: Black, wheaten, brindle any color.

The Scottie is one of the several short-legged harsh-coated terriers. The dog now known as the Scottish Terrier was most favored in the Aberdeen area, and for a time it was called the Aberdeen Terrier. By the 1870’s, the situation had become so confusing that a lot of protests had been made, and led to a true description of how this dog should look. Around 1880, the first breed standard was submitted. The first Scottie came to America in 1883. It gradually gained popularity until WWII, after which the breed’s popularity really took off. The best known Scottie in America was Fala, owned by President FDR. Fala was his constant companion in life and was buried with FDR when he died.


Not easy to train. The Scottie has a reputation of being independent and stubborn. However, clicker training and patience with positive reinforcement work quite well. They ARE trainable.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Scottish Terrier? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Scottish Terrier puppies are usually not too difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Scottie is nicknamed “The Diehard” in reference to his rugged character. This guy is a tough, determined character ready for action. He is fearless and feisty. He can be aggressive toward other dogs and animals. He is reserved but somewhat friendly to strangers and devoted to his family. Although independent and stubborn, the Scottish Terrier is sensitive. If left alone, he tends to dig and bark.

The Scotty must be heavily socialized and trained starting at around 4 or 5 weeks and continued on. If not, he will grow up snapping, biting and growling at people and other dogs, as well as having separation anxiety and other problems.

If you happen to get a Scottie with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Scotty in a hollow log
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Somewhat. Scotties pick their dog friends. Some remain wary, some can be aggressive.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

If raised with pets and socialized early, they may adjust to other pets.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Okay with most. Slow to adjust to some strangers.


Moderately playful. Scotties don’t overdo anything. They are up to anything the family wants to do, but they don’t get carried away with toys.


Very loyal to family, but always a bit independent. Not a lap dog but will stick close to you.

Good with children?

Maybe. If raised with children, okay. Scottish Terriers don’t tolerate nonsense, poking, prodding and all the other stuff kids do. There are better choices for children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes, the Scottie is good for the senior who is into walking. The Scottie is not the most playful or affectionate of breeds, but it might work out. If longevity is an issue, find a Scottish Terrier Rescue group and get an older dog that is house trained and settled. That will save a lot of aggravation.

Living environment

Apartment, farm, suburb, condo, big city, all OK. If you have a small back yard, fine. Your Scotty can snoop, sniff and investigate to pass the time.

A Scotty on the back lawn
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Energy level


Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. A walk on leash twice a day or some hefty play in the yard will do it. This dog needs some exciting exercise every day.


Excellent. Very protective.

Guard dog

No. Might nip, but too small to do any damage.


No, very little.


Yes, needs brushing and some combing two to three times a week. Also needs to see a groomer every 6 to 8 weeks for a good shaping with the scissors.


Suggested Reading - The Scottish Terrier

Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners to keep on hand. Vol 2 and includes a DVD.


Scottish Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Scottish Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Scottish Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

Scottish Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Scotty and are looking for a Scottish Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Scottish Terrier Rescue At the time of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 127 Scotties available for the entire USA. The breed appears scarce. Go online and see if you can find Scottish Terrier Rescue groups. If you do adopt one, try to locate previous dog health records and save for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but it may not get the job done. After checking online for Scottish Terrier Rescue groups, look for breeders that might have adult dogs left over and also kennels or dog pounds of interest.

Dog Health Issues For The Scottish Terrier
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Scottish Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

Other health problems could occur in your Scottish Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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