Many Americans were introduced to the Scottish Terrier in Disney's iconic animated film, Lady and the Tramp. Jock stole our hearts (and chewies from the kitchen) with his song about burying his “bonnie, bonnie bone” in his backyard. Lovable and gruff, with a distinctive silhouette, the Scottie is a true terrier.
Originally from — you guessed it — Scotland, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 18-22 pounds and lives an average of 11-13 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Terrier
Average Lifespan: 11-13 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 43
AREA OF ORIGIN Scotland
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
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
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SCOTTISH TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Scottish Terriers are spunky, spirited, and spry. You wish you carried yourself with as much confidence and dignity as this dog does. A true Highlander, the Scottish Terrier believes there can be only one…pet in the house, that is. She doesn't have much patience for other dogs or cats — although she can be socialized to accept them, if need be. (She's never going to get along well with your ferret, though.)
This breed will do best with a single person or a child-free couple who can handle the concentrated force of this dog's singular affections. But Scotties can be playful and good with kids who will respect this dog's opinions about how play should be conducted. It's always best to supervise.
WHAT IS SCOTTISH TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Scottish Terriers are a somewhat active breed who will appreciate a brisk jaunt through the heather or a good romp in the backyard every day. They are clever and curious dogs, who will appreciate regular opportunities to explore what the world has in store for them.
Like many terriers, the Scottie is not afraid to let you know what's on her mind. This breed can be vocal, so be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often. And of course, these earthdogs love to dig. Be sure to keep an eye on your Scottish Terrier while she's playing in the yard — she might re-landscape your lawn or dig an escape route.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SCOTTISH TERRIER?
If you've ever met a Scottie, you know this is a dog who knows her own mind. That said, with patience and consistency, this breed responds well to training. Scottish Terriers are quick learners and people-pleasers at heart. Be gentle with this sensitive soul; reward good behaviors with treats and games. She'll bore quickly, so keep training sessions short and fun.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SCOTTISH TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Scottish Terriers' double coat is soft and dense underneath, overlaid with wiry, hard outer hairs. They are light seasonal shedders. You'll want to comb your Scottie a few times a week, and have her clipped or hand stripped once a season.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SCOTTISH TERRIERS HAVE?
As a breed, Scottish Terriers are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to bone or bleeding disorders, allergies, cancer, liver disease, or autoimmune disorders. These dogs are uniquely prone to a neuromuscular disorder called “Scottie Cramp,” which can cause muscle spasms and affect mobility.
Some tend toward stoutness, so be mindful about meals and snacks.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE SCOTTISH TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Scottish Terriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as a Scottish Terrier!
WHAT IS A SCOTTISH TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Scottish Terriers enjoy the chance to trot, sniff, and explore to their heart's content. Find a safe, traffic-free area for your Scottie to dig, romp, and chase chipmunks until it's time to go home for tea and biscuits. You might also think about finding them a spot in the backyard to safely dig (and bury their bonnie wee bones).
SHOULD I ADOPT A SCOTTISH TERRIER?
Scottish Terriers are more comfortable in cool weather than in warm. Their small size and moderate exercise needs make them a good fit for many different kinds of homes. They can be a bit reserved in their affections, but they are steadfast companions. Gentle and loving with her chosen people, this bonnie wee “dug” could be your very best friend.
Have you decided that a Scottish Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.