Scottish Terrier Breed

The Scottish terrier breed is a popular terrier breed that originated in the highlands of Scotland. They are one of the five Scottish breeds – the others being West Highland Terrier, Dandie Dinmont terriers, Skye terriers and Cairn Terriers. They are informally known as ‘Scotties’ or ‘Scottie Dogs’.  Today’s article is all about Scottish Terriers and how to look after them.

Scottish Terrier Appearance

The are recognisable by their short legs, usually black coat, square face and moustache. Scottish Terriers are a small breed around 25cm tall and weighing around 9-10kg. Although they are predominantly black, there are other popular colours including Brindle and Wheaton. 

Scottish Terrier Puppies

Scottish terrier puppies should leave their mother when they reach around 12 weeks old because they are generally quite late maturing as pups, although some breeders will allow them to be picked up from 10 weeks. Be wary of any breeders that ask you to collect your pup too young.

Scottish Terrier Temperament

Scottish terriers are an active and feisty breed that will need a firm hand and lots of training and exercise. They are very alert and fast moving! You will find them to be playful and fun.

Caring for Scottish Terriers


Scottish terriers are best fed twice daily with either a kibble or meat based diet. They are very treat motivated and so you may want to incorporate treats into their diet for training. If you do this, remember to adjust their main food accordingly to keep your dog the correct weight. You vet will advise of the ideal weight for your dog.


Scottish terriers need a lot of exercise, which means at least half an hour of play time per day (perhaps throwing a ball or playing ragga) plus two half an hour walks per day. Your Scottie will appreciate extended hikes on the weekends and during holidays. They love hilly terrain like the highlands where they were bred.

Be aware that Scottish terriers are not very strong swimmers – they have short legs and a long coat. Don’t encourage them to swim (unless in a controlled environment such as doggie hydro) and always supervise them around water.


Because of their long(ish) fur particularly around the face and underbelly you will need to plan and budget for trips to the dog groomers about once a month at least. They actually have a dual coat – a wiry top coat and a softer and dense undercoat. If their fur gets tangled and matted this can be uncomfortable for them and they can also risk skin infections.

Training Scottish Terriers

The intelligent dogs and most often food motivated which makes them easy to train. However, Scottish terriers are friendly and active dogs that were originally bred for for hunting foxes, rats and badgers in the Scottish Highlands.

This means that they are an energetic and active breed and may often be distracted by small moving creatures. Recall can therefore be a challenge with Scottish Terriers, like many other terrier breeds. Many owners will tell you that it is easier to train them as puppies than an adult dog who did not previously receive training.

Do they make good Pets?

The Scottish Terrier Breed is popular with young families because of the size of the dog and the fact that it is a very sociable breed. They may make good family pets, but only with the correct exercise and training regime, so make sure that you can give them this before getting one.


Always make sure that your Scottie is up to date with his vaccinations and flea/tick treatment. Scotties can be prone to mange or parasites due to their long and dense coats. There are other health issues that Scottish terriers are prone to that you should be aware of…

  • Scottie cramp is a common disorder in Scottish Terriers and is harmless
  • Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited blood disorder that interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. …
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy – can affect several skull bones.
  • Glaucoma and other eye problems

If you enjoyed this article on the Scottish terrier breed then you may also like to read about the Border Terrier and Terrier Poodle Mix

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