Scottish Terrier Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Scottish Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

This is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the terrier breeds. A dog similar to the Scottish Terrier was first mentioned by Don Leslie when he described it in his book, "The History of Scotland 1436-1561", but some feel the breed's ancestors existed even earlier.

There are many theories about the origin of the breed but the truth is, we don't really know much. Here are some facts that we do know...

In the 17th century, King James I of England sent 6 terriers as a present to the French monarch. Those dogs are believed to be forerunners of the modern Scottish Terrier.

  Scottish Terrier Dog Pictures  

The Scottish Terrier was originally grouped together with other terriers developed in Scotland under the generic name 'Skye Terriers', named after the Island of Skye, situated off the West coast of Scotland.

Towards the end of the 19th century, it was decided to separate these terriers and develop specific breeds. The four distinct breeds that emerged were the Scottish Terrier, Skye Terrier (not to be confused with the generic name), West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier.

As the breed resembling the modern Scottish Terrier began to emerge, it was known as the Aberdeen Terrier, after the town of Aberdeen (another name the breed is known under is Scottie). The first time the breed was shown under its current name was in 1860 at a show in Birmingham, England.

Scottish Terriers were originally bred to hunt foxes and badgers.

The breed was introduced into United States by John Naylor in 1883 and recognized by AKC in 1884. Three former US presidents owned the Scottish Terrier: Franklin D. Roosevelt ("Fala"), Dwight D. Eisenhower ("Caacie" and "Telek"), and George W. Bush ("Barney"). No other breed lived in the White House more than the Scotch Terrier!

Other famous people who have owned the Scottish Terrier include Queen Victoria, Hitler's mistress Eva Braun, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Ed Whitfield, former President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, and an actress Tatum O'Neal.

Today, the Scottish Terrier remains a popular pet and show dog. How popular?

In May of 2007, Carnegie Mellon University named the Scottish Terrier its official mascot. The breed is also featured on the Black & White whisky label and according to Matt Collins, vice president of marketing for Hasbro, the Scottie is also one of the most popular Monopoly game tokens.

Physical Characteristics of Scottish Terrier Puppies

The Scottie is a small, short-legged, solidly-built dog that is best recognized for its distinctive profile and wiry, weather-resistant coat.

It has a moderately short body with thick and muscular neck, well sprung ribs, broad chest, and a strong back. The tail is about seven inches long, set high and carried erectly but never over the back. It's thick at the base, tapering gradually to a point.

The front legs are strong and almost straight. The back legs are strong and muscular.

The head is long and gives the appearance of two parallel lines when looked at from profile. The nose is black. The eyes are small, almond-shaped and set wide apart. They come in dark brown or almost black, with preference given to the darker color. The ears are naturally small and never cut.

The coat consists of rough and wiry outer coat and soft, dense undercoat. It comes in black, wheaten or brindle of any color. Some white is permitted but only on the chest and chin.

    Height Weight
  Male 10 - 11 inches 19 - 22 pounds
  Female 10 - 11 inches 18 - 21 pounds


Scottish Terriers are fearless, alert, thoughtful, feisty but also stable and steady-going. They are playful as puppies but grow into dignified adults. Despite their small size, they exude power and ruggedness.

Like any other terrier, the Scottish Terrier can be opinionated and stubborn. He requires firm handling and needs to be made aware of the rules that he has to follow. Unless every family member can act like they are in charge, the dog will try to take over and may develop behavioral problems.

He is loving and gentle towards his family but can be reserved towards strangers. Despite his gentle disposition towards people, without proper socialization training while he is still young, the Scottish Terrier can be aggressive towards other dogs.

This is a very sensitive breed and doesn't respond well to harsh treatment. He can feel what mood you are in and will adapt accordingly. He can also distinguish between what you say and what you feel, so if you are not serious about him following your command, don't ask him to perform it.

Scottish Terriers love to dig, play games, and be involved in family activities. They hate spending extended periods of time alone or being neglected. Oh, and since they are terriers, they love chasing small animals.

Because of their wariness towards strangers and barking only when necessary, they make excellent watchdogs.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

This breed is very adaptable and will be just as comfortable in a city apartment setting as he would be in the suburbs. It prefers cool climate but will adjust to warmer temperatures.

It requires an owner who can establish his or her authority over the dog. It's not recommended for families with small children, not because it's bad with them but because most children will not be firm and authoritative enough with them.

Some Scottish Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like all breeds, Scottish Terriers need regular exercise. Without it, they get bored quickly and will display behavior problems.

They will enjoy running and playing off leash but to protect your pet from escaping, never leave him off leash in an unfenced area.

While play will provide your pet with plenty of exercise, it will never replace daily walks. This is true for all breeds, not just Scotties. At a minimum, take your pet for several walks every day.


Similar to other terriers, the Scottish Terrier sheds very little and makes a good pet for allergy sufferers.

Brush couple of times per week. Hand strip or clip your pet's hair couple of times per year. If you want your pet to have shorter hair, you'll need to clip him more often.

Clipping will produce softer hair than hand stripping and is less time consuming but, in my opinion, hand stripping produces a better looking hair (stripping is a painless procedure that involves pulling the dead hair by hand).

Bathe or dry shampoo as needed.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Scottish Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include CMO (craniomandibular osteopathy), von Willerbrand's disease, Scottie cramp (a hereditary condition which inhibits the dog's ability to walk), and Patellar luxation (a condition where a knee joint slides in and out of place). For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

To reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems, buy only from reputable Scottish Terrier breeders (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Scottish Terrier puppies is between 12 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Scottish Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Scottish Terrier Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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