Scottish Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

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The Scottish terrier is a short-legged, compact, relatively heavy-boned dog, giving the impression of great power in a small package. This combination is essential in a dog that must meet tough adversaries in tight spaces. Its coat is a combination of dense undercoat and extremely hardy and wiry outer coat, about 2 inches in length. The distinctive eyebrows and beard add to its expression, which is keen and sharp.

Nicknamed the Diehard in reference to its rugged character, the Scottish terrier is a tough, determined character, ready for action. It is fearless and feisty and may be aggressive toward other dogs and animals. It is reserved, but friendly, with strangers, and devoted to its family. Although independent and stubborn, it is sensitive. It tends to dig and bark.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION vermin hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 10 Weight: 19-22

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 10 Weight: 18-21

OTHER NAME Aberdeen terrier

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

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This is a dog on the lookout for adventure, and it needs some excitement and exercise in its life every day. This can take the form of a moderate walk on leash, a boisterous game or an off-leash exploration in a safe area. Although it could live outdoors in a temperate to warm climate, it is far better suited as a house dog with access to a yard. Its wire coat needs combing two to three times weekly, plus shaping every three months. Shaping for pets is by clipping, and for show dogs by stripping.
• Major concerns: vWD, CMO
• Minor concerns: Scotty cramp, intervertebral disc disease
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: DNA for vWD
• Life span: 11 – 13 years
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Great confusion exists about the background of the Scottish terrier, stemming from the early custom of calling all terriers from Scotland Scottish or Scotch terriers. To further confuse matters, the present Scottish terrier was once grouped with Skye terriers, in reference not to the modern Skye terrier but of a large group of terriers from the Isle of Skye. Whatever the origin, the early Scottish terriers were definitely a hardy lot of Highlanders, used for going to ground in pursuit of their prey. Only in the late 1800s can the Scottish terrier's history be confidently documented. Of the several short-legged, harsh-coated terriers, the dog now known as the Scottish terrier was most favored in the Aberdeen area, and so for a time it was called the Aberdeen terrier. By the 1870s, the situation had become so confusing that a series of protests were made, ultimately leading to a detailed description of how the true Scottish terrier should appear. Around 1880, the first breed standard was put forth. The first Scotty came to America in 1883. It gradually gained popularity until World War II, after which its popularity soared. The most well-known Scotty in America was Fala, Franklin Roosevelt's dog, who was his constant companion in life and buried at his side in death. The Scottish terrier remains a fixture of the terrier group, always a contender in the show ring and a favorite in the home.
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