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.



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.

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.

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