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  • Temperament: Confident, Independent, Spirited
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 58 of 194
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Weight: 19-22 pounds (male), 18-21 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Scottish Terrier standing in three-quarter view facing left
Scottish Terrier sitting facing forward
Two Scottish Terriers sitting on grass side by side facing forward
Scottish Terrier standing sideways facing left
Scottish Terrier

Find a Puppy: Scottish Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Scottish Terrier is a small, compact, short-legged, sturdily-built dog of good bone and substance. His head is long in proportion to his size. He has a hard, wiry, weather-resistant coat and a thick-set, cobby body which is hung between short, heavy legs. These characteristics, joined with his very special keen, piercing, “varminty” expression, and his erect ears and tail are salient features of the breed. The Scottish Terrier’s bold, confident, dignified aspect exemplifies power in a small package.

HEAD

The head should be long in proportion to the overall length and size of the dog.The nose should be black, regardless of coat color, and of good size, projecting somewhat over the mouth and giving the impression that the upper jaw is longer than the lower. The teeth should be large and evenly spaced, having either a scissor or level bite, the former preferred. The jaw should be square, level and powerful. The eyes should be set wide apart and well in under the brow. They should be small, bright and piercing, and almond-shaped not round.

BODY

The body should be moderately short with ribs extending well back into a short, strong loin, deep flanks and very muscular hindquarters. The ribs should be well sprung out from the spine, forming a broad, strong back, then curving down and inward to form a deep body that would be nearly heart-shaped if viewed in cross-section. The topline of the back should be firm and level. The chest should be broad, very deep and well let down between the forelegs. The forechest should extend well in front of the legs and drop well down into the brisket. The chest should not be flat or concave, and the brisket should nicely fill an average man’s slightly-cupped hand. The lowest point of the brisket should be such that an average man’s fist would fit under it with little or no overhead clearance.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders should be well laid back and moderately well knit at the withers. The forelegs should be very heavy in bone, straight or slightly bent with elbows close to the body, and set in under the shoulder blade with a definite forechest in front of them. Scottish Terriers should not be out at the elbows. The forefeet should be larger than the hind feet, round, thick and compact with strong nails. The front feet should point straight ahead, but a slight “toeing out” is acceptable. Dew claws may be removed.

COAT

The Scottish Terrier should have a broken coat. It is a hard, wiry outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat. The coat should be trimmed and blended into the furnishings to give a distinct Scottish Terrier outline. The dog should be presented with sufficient coat so that the texture and density may be determined. The longer coat on the beard, legs and lower body may be slightly softer than the body coat but should not be or appear fluffy.

HINDQUARTERS

The thighs should be very muscular and powerful for the size of the dog with the stifles well bent and the legs straight from hock to heel. Hocks should be well let down and parallel to each other.

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About the Scottish Terrier

The well-known Scottie silhouette is that of a short-legged but substantial terrier with distinctive furnishings at the beard, legs, and lower body. The wiry topcoat and soft, dense undercoat coat can be black, wheaten yellow, or a brindle-stripe pattern. Bright, piercing eyes, and erect ears and tail, convey keen alertness—a hallmark of Britain’s terrier breeds.

The Scottie working style has been described as efficient and businesslike, and their aloofness toward strangers makes them excellent watchdogs. Their hunting instinct remains strong, which can complicate life for the neighbor’s cat, and Scotties are known to be cantankerous around other dogs. This bold and clever Scotsman enjoys brisk walks and upbeat play.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Scottish Terrier

Find a Puppy: Scottish Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Scottish Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

If the Scottish Terrier’s coat is healthy and grows evenly and there is no dry, flaky skin or irritation, and the eyes are bright and there is no chewing or itching, then odds are the dog is being fed a suitable food. Some experienced breeders have found terriers to do well on a moderate-protein diet (mid-20-percent protein), with a bit of an additive such as canned food.

GROOMING

Scottish Terriers require regularly scheduled grooming. They are a dual-coated breed, with a harsh, wiry outer layer and dense, soft undercoat. Ideally, they are hand stripped. This should be started when they are young puppies so they get used to the process. Once a month would be best once the coat is started, but they can be worked on weekly. If you are not doing it yourself, it may be hard to find a groomer who will do this for a pet. In that case it is acceptable to clipper the coat. With clipping you will eventually lose the correct harsh texture, as the undercoat will take over once the cutting process is begun. Clipped coats can be maintained on a six- to eight-week schedule. A weekly brushing and comb-out will keep the Scottie’s coat tangle free and the skin healthy. Periodic baths with the grooming is acceptable with a good-quality moisturizing shampoo.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

Scottish Terriers need a good walk, but also good playtime. They have high energy and need to expend some of that in bursts. Throwing a ball or toy around that they can chase works great. Their nickname is the “diehard,” and all you have to do is play tug with a favorite toy to see they won’t stop or let go until you do. All of that activity will keep them in good shape and attitude. This makes them great dogs for a small home or apartment living.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Scottish Terriers do best with training sessions not lasting more than 15 minutes at a time. Be creative, and do not repeat the training the same way all the time. This breed is a thinker, and if they get bored, they will not respond. Remember, the farmers kept the dogs who could figure things out—not the ones who had to be told what to do. Don’t be surprised when they test you. There is an independent streak in them. That is best focused when you make it seem like it is their idea to do something. They respond greatly to vocal tones and know why you are displeased by your voice. Just be persistent, and reward good behavior.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

The breed’s national parent club, the Scottish Terrier Club of America, provides excellent information regarding breed health issues on the club website. A good breeder will discuss with you what they have encountered in their lines. There is also some excellent research being done, much of which is supported by the club, to help breeders identify health conditions and make better decisions when choosing to breed. That means overall better health for the future generations.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test
  • Patella Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier
Scottish Terrier

History

Developed to hunt rats, foxes, and badgers on the craggy Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Terrier is a venerable breed. In fact, it is thought to be the oldest of the Highland terriers. And one authority calls the breed “the oldest variety of the canine race indigenous to Britain.” At various times in the breed’s long history there has been controversy about its origins and type. In fact, dog folks spent much of the 1800s arguing over what was a Scottish Terrier and what was a terrier that happened to be Scottish. Despite his humble farm-dog origins, the Scottie had friends in high places. In the 17th century, England’s King James I, a Scot by birth, was well acquainted with the breed and gave them as gifts.

The first Scottie imports arrived in America in 1883, and two years later the AKC registered its first Scottie, a male named Prince Charlie. The Scottie’s peak of popularity was the 1930s and early ’40s, with such celebrity owners as Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis under the spell of the breed’s spicy charm. The Scottie silhouette is a familiar motif of Depression-era knickknacks and advertising, and the image is still popular today with textile makers looking for a sporty retro-kitsch accent for their designs. History’s most famous Scottie was Fala, the constant companion of President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II.

Did You Know?

The Scottish Terrier was bred in Scotland as a fierce hunter of foxes and badgers.
The first show to have a class for the Scottish Terrier was in 1860.
John Naylor is credited with being the first to introduce the Scottie to this country.
The first registered Scottie in America was "Dake," whelped Sept. 15, 1884.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier "Fala" reportedly received more fan mail than many presidents did.
Dwight D. Eisenhower owned two Scottish Terriers named "Caacie" and "Telek."

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Scottish Terrier is a small, compact, short-legged, sturdily-built dog of good bone and substance. His head is long in proportion to his size. He has a hard, wiry, weather-resistant coat and a thick-set, cobby body which is hung between short, heavy legs. These characteristics, joined with his very special keen, piercing, “varminty” expression, and his erect ears and tail are salient features of the breed. The Scottish Terrier’s bold, confident, dignified aspect exemplifies power in a small package.

HEAD

The head should be long in proportion to the overall length and size of the dog.The nose should be black, regardless of coat color, and of good size, projecting somewhat over the mouth and giving the impression that the upper jaw is longer than the lower. The teeth should be large and evenly spaced, having either a scissor or level bite, the former preferred. The jaw should be square, level and powerful. The eyes should be set wide apart and well in under the brow. They should be small, bright and piercing, and almond-shaped not round.

BODY

The body should be moderately short with ribs extending well back into a short, strong loin, deep flanks and very muscular hindquarters. The ribs should be well sprung out from the spine, forming a broad, strong back, then curving down and inward to form a deep body that would be nearly heart-shaped if viewed in cross-section. The topline of the back should be firm and level. The chest should be broad, very deep and well let down between the forelegs. The forechest should extend well in front of the legs and drop well down into the brisket. The chest should not be flat or concave, and the brisket should nicely fill an average man’s slightly-cupped hand. The lowest point of the brisket should be such that an average man’s fist would fit under it with little or no overhead clearance.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders should be well laid back and moderately well knit at the withers. The forelegs should be very heavy in bone, straight or slightly bent with elbows close to the body, and set in under the shoulder blade with a definite forechest in front of them. Scottish Terriers should not be out at the elbows. The forefeet should be larger than the hind feet, round, thick and compact with strong nails. The front feet should point straight ahead, but a slight “toeing out” is acceptable. Dew claws may be removed.

COAT

The Scottish Terrier should have a broken coat. It is a hard, wiry outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat. The coat should be trimmed and blended into the furnishings to give a distinct Scottish Terrier outline. The dog should be presented with sufficient coat so that the texture and density may be determined. The longer coat on the beard, legs and lower body may be slightly softer than the body coat but should not be or appear fluffy.

HINDQUARTERS

The thighs should be very muscular and powerful for the size of the dog with the stifles well bent and the legs straight from hock to heel. Hocks should be well let down and parallel to each other.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLACK BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 279
BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 057
RED BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 148
SILVER BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 303
WHEATEN Check Mark For Standard Color 224

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