Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier looking forward

Quick Facts


19 to 22 pounds (male)

18 to 21 pounds (female)


10 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12 years

Known For:

Great watchdogs with human-like character, confidence and independence.


With their distinctive appearance and spirited personality, the Scottish Terrier, affectionately known as the “Scottie,” has won the hearts of many pet enthusiasts around the globe.Β 


Originating from the rugged terrains of Scotland, this small yet robust breed is known for its unique silhouette and vivacious character. Scottish Terriers have been popular throughout history, making their mark as a symbol of Scotland and featuring as beloved companions to many notable figures, such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt with his cherished Scottie, Fala.

History and Origin

The Scottish Terrier’s origins are steeped in the misty hills and valleys of Scotland, where they were initially bred to hunt foxes and vermin. Their history dates back several centuries, with the first records of a dog resembling the Scottish Terrier appearing in the 1500s. The breed’s development was a carefully crafted journey, resulting in a fearless and determined hunter, capable of navigating the rocky Scottish landscapes.


Scottish Terriers are renowned for their connection to Scotland’s history and culture. They’ve been featured in various forms of art, literature, and even on the country’s banknotes, embodying the spirit and heritage of the Scottish people. Some of the most famous Scotties include Fala, President Roosevelt’s constant companion during World War II, and Barney and Miss Beazley, who lived in the White House with President George W. Bush.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

Scottish Terriers are small but incredibly sturdy and well-muscled dogs. They possess a distinctive appearance, characterized by their sharp, pointed ears, bushy eyebrows, and a dense, wiry coat. Adult Scotties typically weigh between 18-22 pounds and stand about 10 inches tall at the shoulder.


One of the defining features of a Scottish Terrier is its unique coat. The outer coat is wiry and weather-resistant, while the undercoat is soft and dense, providing insulation. Common coat colors include black, brindle, and wheaten. Scotties have a distinct beard, eyebrows, and leg furnishings, adding to their charm and character.


The breed’s compact and well-balanced body, coupled with their short legs and elongated back, make them perfectly equipped for maneuvering through challenging terrains. Their keen eyes and alert expression are a testament to their watchful and spirited nature.

Personality and Temperament

Scottish Terriers are known for their independent, confident, and spirited nature. These little dogs have big personalities, packed with courage and character. They are often described as feisty and tenacious, with a natural instinct for hunting and digging that dates back to their roots in the Scottish Highlands.


While they are fiercely loyal and affectionate towards their families, Scotties can be somewhat aloof or reserved around strangers. Early socialization is key to ensuring that they grow up to be well-rounded and adaptable adults. Their alert and watchful nature make them excellent watchdogs, always ready to protect their loved ones.


Despite their small size, Scottish Terriers are not lap dogs. They are active and energetic, enjoying outdoor adventures and playful activities. They thrive in environments where they are mentally and physically stimulated, and they enjoy challenges that engage their intelligent and curious minds.

Health and Lifespan

Scottish Terriers are generally healthy dogs, with a lifespan averaging around 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Being informed about these potential issues is essential for maintaining the well-being of a Scottie.


Some common health issues that can affect Scottish Terriers include:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: A blood clotting disorder.
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy: A condition affecting the bones of the skull and jaw.
  • Scottie Cramp: A harmless condition causing temporary muscle cramps.
  • Bladder Cancer: Scottish Terriers have a higher incidence of bladder cancer compared to other breeds.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and regular exercise are vital for keeping a Scottish Terrier healthy and happy. Early detection of any health issues allows for prompt intervention and the best possible outcome.

Care and Maintenance

Scottish Terrier grooming

Caring for a Scottish Terrier can be a delightful and rewarding experience. These energetic dogs require regular exercise to keep them fit and content. Daily walks, playtime, and opportunities to explore are essential for meeting their physical and mental needs.


Grooming is another important aspect of Scottie care. Their distinctive double coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. They also benefit from periodic professional grooming to maintain their characteristic appearance.


Scottish Terriers thrive on a balanced and nutritious diet, which supports their overall health and well-being. Paying attention to their dietary needs and weight is crucial, as obesity can lead to various health issues.


Training a Scottie can be a fun endeavor, but it requires patience and consistency. Their independent nature can make them somewhat stubborn, but with positive reinforcement and a firm, gentle approach, they can learn quickly and form strong bonds with their families.

Training and Behavior

Training a Scottish Terrier can be both enjoyable and challenging due to their independent and confident nature. Here are some key aspects to consider when training a Scottie:

  • Early Socialization: Begin socializing your Scottish Terrier puppy as early as possible. Expose them to various people, animals, and environments to help them become well-adjusted adults.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play to motivate your Scottie during training sessions. Harsh or punitive methods are usually counterproductive with this breed.
  • Consistency: Be consistent with your commands and expectations. Scotties respond best to clear and consistent communication.
  • Patience: Scottish Terriers can be stubborn at times. Be patient and persistent in your training efforts, and avoid getting frustrated.
  • Exercise their Mind: Keep their intelligent minds engaged with puzzle toys and interactive games. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for this breed.
  • House Training: Crate training is often effective for housebreaking Scottish Terriers. Their natural instinct to keep their sleeping area clean can be an advantage.

Scottish Terrier and Families

Scottish Terrier with people

Scottish Terriers make wonderful additions to families. They are known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners, and they often form strong bonds with family members. However, it’s important to consider a few factors when introducing a Scottie to your family:

  • Children: Scotties can get along well with children, especially if they are raised together. However, they may not have the patience for rough handling or overly energetic play, so supervision is essential.
  • Other Pets: Scotties have a strong prey drive, and they may not be the best choice if you have small pets like rabbits or rodents. Early socialization with other dogs is important for a harmonious multi-pet household.
  • Elderly or Single Individuals: Scottish Terriers can be excellent companions for the elderly or single individuals. Their loyalty and affection provide valuable companionship.
  • Space: While they adapt well to apartment living, Scotties do appreciate access to a secure outdoor area for play and exercise.

Adopting a Scottish Terrier

If you’re considering adopting a Scottish Terrier, there are several avenues to explore:

  • Rescue Organizations: Look for Scottish Terrier rescue organizations that specialize in rehoming dogs of this breed. Adopting a rescue Scottie can be a rewarding experience.
  • Shelters: Check local animal shelters and humane societies for Scotties in need of homes. While less common than in rescue organizations, they may occasionally have Scotties available for adoption.
  • Reputable Breeders: If you choose to buy from a breeder, ensure they are reputable and adhere to responsible breeding practices. Ask for health clearances and visit the breeder’s facilities to meet the puppies’ parents.

Adopting a Scottish Terrier is a commitment that comes with love, companionship, and a lifetime of memorable moments. Whether you choose to adopt or buy from a breeder, providing a loving and nurturing environment is the key to a happy and healthy Scottie.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the temperament of a Scottish Terrier?

Scottish Terriers are independent, confident, and spirited. They are loyal to their families but can be aloof with strangers, making them excellent watchdogs.

How much grooming does a Scottish Terrier require?

Their wiry coat requires regular grooming, including brushing and hand-stripping several times a year to maintain the coat’s texture and appearance.

Are Scottish Terriers good with children?

They can be good with older children who respect their boundaries. Early socialization is key to developing good behavior with kids and other pets.

What health issues are common in Scottish Terriers?

They can be prone to Von Willebrand’s disease, bladder cancer, and skin allergies. Regular vet check-ups are important for early detection and treatment.

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