Scottish Terrier, 2 years old, in park

Scottish Terrier: What You Need To Know

Scottish Terrier History

The Scottish Terrier is a small, compact, short-legged dog of good bone and substance. His head is long in proportion to his body and has a distinctive profile. He is hardy and well put together, restless and quick of movement. His compact size makes him the perfect companion dog. The Scottish Terrier Club of America is the AKC parent club for this breed. The first Scotties arrived in America in 1883, and the AKC registered its first Scottie, a male named Prince Charlie, in 1885.

Originally used for hunting small game, including rats and badgers, the Scottish Terrier was also prized for its loyalty and tenacity. The breed gained popularity in the early 20th century, thanks in part to its association with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had several Scotties as pets. Today, the Scottish Terrier remains a beloved companion animal and a symbol of Scottish pride.

Scottish Terrier Temperament

This Terrier is willful yet lovable, independent yet devoted. He can be reserved with strangers but is loving with friends and family. The Scottish Terrier loves to dig (it’s in his genes) and chase vermin (also in his genes).

Today’s Scottie is still the “diehard” that was bred to go to ground after badgers and foxes and to face up to any other dog that might contest his right to do so. He is also the “diehard” of legend and story, courageous in the face of adversity or danger, which endears him to those who understand and appreciate this great breed of Terrier.

Breed Characteristics

Scottish terrier breed doggy sitting on luxurious armchair
Height: 10 inches; Weight: 18-22 pounds; Lifespan: 12 years; Country: Scotland

The Scottish Terrier is an adaptable breed. He does best in suburban or rural areas where he can safely access a securely fenced yard and play. A daily walk or vigorous game will satisfy his moderate exercise needs. Still, true terrier fans will find ways for their dog to live up to his hunting heritage by joining them on hikes or participating in dog trials.

Although he’s happy as an only pet, he enjoys the company of other dogs. He can learn tricks quickly, making him a natural for obedience training or canine sports such as agility. Like all dogs, he needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Scottish Terrier puppy grows into a well-rounded dog.

The coat of the Scottish Terrier consists of two layers: a dense undercoat for insulation against cold weather and water and a wiry topcoat that protects him from sharp objects and repels water. The Scottie’s Beard offers additional protection against cold weather and rough terrain.

The coat must be brushed regularly with a wire brush to prevent mats from forming, especially behind the ears, where tangles often occur. Some owners choose to hand strip their dog’s coat rather than clip it short; however, hand stripping is time-consuming and requires some expertise, so most owners opt for clipping.

Regarding grooming, professional assistance may be required for proper handling. Most Scotties require professional grooming every 4-8 weeks. In between trips to the groomer’s, some owners elect to learn how to groom their pet using scissors or clippers; however, this takes time and patience to learn how to do correctly without injuring your dog.

Health Concerns

Scottish Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are subject to specific health conditions. A responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for common diseases, such as von Willebrand disease and pituitary dwarfism, so that affected puppies are not born. Some of these diseases are more common than others; however, because of responsible breeding practices, most Scottish Terriers today are healthy dogs that enjoy long lives with their owners.

Other health conditions that have been seen in the breed include copper toxicosis (a condition where too much copper builds up in the liver), bladder stones, allergies, diabetes, thyroid problems, Cherry Eye, deafness, epilepsy, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a debilitating hip disorder), seizures, cancer. All reputable breeders will provide new owners with instructions on how to care for their new puppy so that he grows into a healthy adult dog.

How Much Do They Cost?

The Scottish Terrier price can vary greatly, ranging from $800 to $2,500 or more, depending on factors such as pedigree, breeder reputation, and location. In general, a well-bred, healthy Scottish Terrier from a reputable breeder will cost between $1,200 and $1,800.

To find a Scottish Terrier, your best option is to start with a Scottish Terrier rescue organization or consult the Scottish Terrier Club of America, which maintains a list of reputable breeders. Additionally, you can explore local dog shows or events to meet breeders and Scottie enthusiasts in person. Always be sure to do thorough research on breeders, prioritizing those who prioritize the health, temperament, and well-being of their dogs.

Scotties Are A Presidential Favorite

FDR and Fala StatueA Scottish Terrier named “Fala” was a favorite of President Franklin Roosevelt. Fala was FDR’s constant companion during World War II and is included in a statue honoring FDR in Washington, D.C.  President George W. Bush also owned a Scottie. While in the White House.

The Scottish Terrier is an adaptable breed that does best with moderate exercise needs, such as a daily walk or vigorous game. Although they’re happy as only pets, they also enjoy other dogs’ company and can learn tricks quickly.

Socialization is essential for Scotties when young so they grow up into well-rounded adults. They are also the “diehards” of legend and story, courageous in the face of adversity or danger, which endears them to those who understand and appreciate this great breed of Terrier.


In conclusion, the Scottish Terrier is a unique and beloved dog breed with a rich history and loyal following. With their distinctive appearance, fiery personality, and courageous spirit, they have captured the hearts of dog lovers all over the world.

Whether you’re looking for a companion for a long walk or a furry friend to cuddle up with, the Scottish Terrier is a wonderful choice. While they may have a stubborn streak and require firm training, their unwavering loyalty, and affectionate nature make them a rewarding addition to any household.

With their impressive intelligence and adaptability, Scottish Terriers are well-suited for both city and country living and thrive in a variety of environments. From their origins in the Scottish Highlands to their current status as a beloved family pet, the Scottish Terrier has truly earned its place as one of the most beloved dog breeds in the world.

If you think a Scottish Terrier could be the right fit for you, then contact your local breeder today!

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