Scottish Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

Scottish Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

Scottish Terrier dogs are independent and feisty. This breed is well-known among Americans because President Franklin Roosevelt’s dog was a Scottish Terrier.

Weight: 18-22 pounds

Height: 10 inches

Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Group: Terrier group

Temperament: independent, feisty, and excitable

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

Although the Scottish Terrier is an old breed, their history is a bit undocumented and obscure. However, it’s believed that the Scottie’s origin dated back to a dog described by Pliny the Elder in 55 B.C. The Scottish Terrier was a hunter and is still a hunter today. The Scottish Terrier as we know it today was distinguished from other terrier breeds by the end of the nineteenth century.

This breed is independent, intelligent and aloof. It takes this dog a while to accept anyone who is outside of his family, but once he comes to love a friend or family member, he’s devoted to them for life. 

A Scottish Terrier has a distinctive beard that makes the muzzle more prominent, with long eyebrows. Due to his wiry outer coat that brushes the ground, it’s important to keep his coat well trimmed. When ungroomed, a Scottie can appear quite hairy, but fortunately he does not shed much. His coat comes in different colors, including gray, black, wheaten, and brindle.

This breed is well-loved by many famous people. The United States President, George W. Bush had two Scottish Terriers, which were a birthday gift from the first lady. Scottish Terriers made their way into several celebrities’ homes like Julie Andrews, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis.

Scotties like to challenge their owner when it comes to training. Though they are an intelligent, they like to be independent. If a Scottish Terrier doesn’t feel like training on any given day, chances are he will have a mind of his own and not cooperate. Enrolling in puppy classes while your Scottie is young may be your best bet. 

Scottish Terriers have a reputation for barking at everything. This can be a good thing if pet parents want to be alerted to unusual occurrences, but it’s possible to train a Scottie to bark less if it becomes a problem. The Scottie can thrive in any home environment but needs a daily walk if living in an apartment or smaller home.

Scottish Terriers are not the best option for young children, but do well with older children who know to be gentle with a dog. Additionally, they can be aggressive towards other dogs. Due to the innate terrier prey drive, cats aren’t the best option to have in the same home as well. This would be the perfect dog for a family who doesn’t have children and other pets.

Energy Level

Scotties need a daily walk or play session. Due to their short legs, they don’t make good jogging partners. They love having a job to do, so puzzle toys or games can help provide mental stimulation and keep them out of trouble.


Scottish Terriers may be small, but they do require a bit of upkeep when it comes to grooming. They need to be brushed once per week at a minimum, but if they are going to be used for show dogs, daily brushing is required. To brush properly this breed, you will need a wide tooth comb for their facial area, scissors, a hound glove, and a stiff brush. Only bathe when necessary because Scotties’ skin can dry out easily. If the dog’s hair is short, clipping can be kept to an 8-week minimum. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice weekly to maintain good dental health.

Health Concerns

  • Scottie Cramp
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy
  • Patellar Luxation 

Like all dog breeds, Scotties can be prone to certain health conditions. Get a routine vet check every year to catch any symptoms early, and keep your Scottie at a healthy weight to prevent obesity-related health conditions. Consider pet insurance to help cover the treatment costs of unexpected injuries or medical conditions.