scottish terrierScottish Terriers are small dogs that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), since 1885. They are very confident, independent, spirited, and generally a healthy breed.


The Scottish Terrier’s origin is undocumented. It is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in Scotland. The first Scottish Terrier Club was formed in 1882 in Scotland.


A member of the Terrier group, the Scottish Terrier was bred to hunt small prey, such as badgers. They would follow the animal into their burrows and dig them out. Therefore, they have a natural instinct to hunt and dig.


The Scottish Terrier is a small dog, with short legs and a sturdy, yet compact body. They are up to 10 inches at the shoulder and weigh 18 to 22 pounds.


The Scottish Terriers’ coat can be black, gray, brindle, or wheaten in color. They have a topcoat that is wiry and an undercoat that is soft and thick.


Scottish Terriers are confident, independent, stubborn, yet affectionate and good with older children that know how to treat them, but not with babies and toddlers. They don’t like to be poked or pulled on, and they don’t tolerate noise very well.

Be careful with smaller animals as they are not good with them, such as hamsters, gerbils, and smaller dogs because they are prey driven and they will see them as prey and hunt them down. They can be good with other dogs and sometimes cats. It’s their nature to dig, so creating a digging zone will be a good way to save your yard.

As with all puppies, they need to be socialized when they are young, as they are not the friendliest of dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about socializing your puppy before they have had all of their shots to keep your puppy healthy.

 scottish terrier in the dog zoneEnergy

With a  moderate energy level, they will enjoy a nice walk. They take their time and enjoy their walk, rarely running. With their short legs, this is not a good dog for a jogger.

They should be kept on leash when they are outside or in a fenced yard to keep them safe. If you have a fence, regularly check for places where your dog could escape.

The like water but they can’t swim with their heavy body and short legs. If you take your dog around water, place a life jacket on your dog to protect them from drowning.

They can enjoy an agility course made for their size and short legs, and they do well. This is a good way for your dog to release physical and mental energy.


Scottish Terrier’s are generally healthy dogs, although there are several conditions they may have. Most Scottish Terriers are healthy dogs. Their lifespan is 11 to 13 years.

Scottie Cramp can occur when the dog is over stimulated or stressed. Their spine will arch, rear legs will over flex and the front legs move outward. Treatment is not necessary and they live long and healthy lives.

Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood disorder that is inherited, and interrupts the blood’s ability to clot. Symptoms are excessive bleeding. A blood transfusion from a normal dog is necessary as there is no cure.


Scottish Terriers are low shedding dogs, but they do require regular grooming. Regular clipping will be necessary every 6 to 8 weeks to keep their coat short if you want their coat short. With a shorter coat, a weekly brushing will suffice in between clippings.

If the coat is left long, they will need a daily brushing and combing to keep their coat tangle free. They will also need clipping a few times a year to keep the coat in shape.

Other Grooming

You should check their ears once a week for redness and wax build up, and clean them regularly according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Their teeth should be brushed three to four times a week to prevent gum disease and tartar. Small dogs are prone to dental issues when they get older.


Training can be challenging due to their confident and stubborn nature, yet they are sensitive dogs. They need a firm owner that is persistent using positive reinforcement. Small treats work well when training.

scottish terriers in suitcaseSeparation Anxiety

Scottish Terriers are independent dogs, but they don’t like being alone for extended periods of time on a regular basis.

If you are a busy person or a family that has many activities outside of your home, you may need to hire a dog walker to take your dog for a walk while you are away or find a doggie daycare.


For more information on rescuing a Scottish Terrier dog, check out the Scottish Terriers at PetFinder. You may find a Scottish Terrier available for adoption at local shelter or a Scottish Terrier rescue group near you.

What do you think about the Scottish Terrier dog breed? Leave a comment below or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.