Breed Group: Terrier
Height: 10 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 18 to 22 pounds
Life Span: 11 to 13 years
Occasionally serious to the point of being dour, the lively, intelligent Scottie is the definition of terrier attitude. Scotties can be scrappy with other dogs and will hunt little critters. While devoted to his family, he can take a while to warm up to strangers, but he’s quite affectionate to those he likes.
Did You Know the Scottish Terrier Will Do Best With a Single Adult or Couple?
Scottish Terriers have lived in the White House with three presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George W. Bush.
The image of the Scottish Terrier long ago reached the status of icon, with legions of collectors combing eBay for decades-old collectibles with his distinctive silhouette. With his bearded face, harsh black coat and upright tail, The Scottish Terrier is one of the most recognizable of all dog breeds.
But like a Hollywood star hassled by paparazzi, Scottie temperament is not to be taken lightly. Terrier fans see the bristling, on-his-toes way the Scottie meets the world and sigh, “Ah, yes, true terrier attitude!” The rest of us will probably make sure our ankles aren’t anywhere nearby.
A Scottish Terrier will do best with a single adult or couple, but he isn’t the best choice for families with children. The Scottie has strong feelings about how things should be, and loud, unpredictable children don’t fit into his master plan. Neither do cats or other small, furry creatures, and it’s not unusual for him to feel less than accepting of other dogs, too. The trade-off, of course, is that you’ll get all his attention.
The Scottish Terrier is not an easy dog to train, but he does like a challenge, so a canine sport like agility might be a great chance for you to develop your relationship, engage his mind and tire him out, all at the same time. A Scottie is also eligible to compete in AKC Earthdog trials, which might channel his insatiable need to dig and tunnel into an acceptable outlet — and save your flowerbeds.
He’s a fairly high maintenance pet, despite weighing less than 20 pounds. The Scottie’s coat needs regular brushing and combing to work out dead hair, and should be clipped or professionally groomed every month or so. (The look of a show Scottie is even harder to get, accomplished through the difficult skill of “hand-stripping” — pulling out the dead hairs a little at a time.)
All the seeming negatives aside, Scottish Terriers are very devoted to their human families, so don’t even think of trying to make him live in the backyard. He’ll bark, dig and suffer — and that won’t be good for either one of you.
Other Quick Facts About the Scottish Terrier
The compact Scottie has an unmistakable look: a rectangular body set on short legs, a long head with a shaggy beard and eyebrows, small, bright, dark-brown to almost black eyes, prick ears covered in short, velvety hair, and a tail that tapers to a point and is carried up. Most often seen in Presbyterian black, his hard, wiry coat can also be wheaten or brindle.