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Scottish Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier, affectionately known as the Scottie, has a long and storied history that reaches back over 500 years. Originating from Scotland (as their name suggests), these hardy dogs were bred to hunt small game such as badgers, foxes, and rabbits. One of the oldest terrier breeds, their exact ancestry is largely untraceable, but it's believed they share a common lineage with other Scottish terriers, such as the Skye, Cairn, and West Highland White Terriers. The peak of popularity for this breed was the 1930s and early 1940s, when iconic Hollywood stars like Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis owned Scotties. The Scottie also became popularized when it was associated with Depression-era knickknacks and advertising.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Life Expectancy
12 years
Average Male Height
10 inches
Average Female Height
10 inches
Average Male Weight
19-22 pounds
Average Female Weight
19-21 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Double, Wiry
Coat Colors
Black, Brindle, Red Brindle, Wheaten, Black Brindle, Silver Brindle
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Scottish Terriers are generally healthy, but may suffer from Scotty Cramp, cerebellar abiotrophy, patellar luxation, ligneous membranitis, von Willebrand Disease (a blood clotting disorder), and chondrodystrophy (with or without chondrodysplasia). They are also predisposed to a genetic condition called craniomandibular osteopathy, which causes excessive bone growth in the jaw.

Personality and Behavior

Scotties are known for their independent, confident, and spirited temperament. While they can be somewhat reserved with strangers, they are typically affectionate and loyal to their families. These dogs are intelligent, but their stubborn streak can make training a challenge. Early socialization is important for this breed to prevent them from becoming overly suspicious or aggressive toward strangers and other animals.

Scottish Terriers are energetic dogs that require regular exercise to keep them fit and to prevent boredom. However, their hunting background means they have a high prey drive, and they should always be kept on a leash or in a secure area to prevent them from chasing after small animals.

Fun Facts

Scottish Terriers have won the Westminster Dog Show Best in Show more than any other breed except for the Wire Fox Terrier.

They are sometimes referred to as a "Diehard" due to their determined and robust nature. This nickname was first used by George, the fourth Earl of Dumbarton, for his pack of incredibly brave Scottie dogs in the 17th century.

They're famous for their distinctive silhouette, characterized by their bearded face, bushy eyebrows, erect ears, and a tail that stands up like an antenna.

Scottish Terriers were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, and they have been a popular breed in the United States since the 1930s. Two of the most famous Scotties were Fala, owned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barney, owned by President George W. Bush. Two Scottish Terriers named Caacie and Telek were also owned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.