The Scottish Terrier is an independent and stubborn dog, This dog is very sensitive and it’s spirit can be lifted or hurt by praise and blame. Like any true Terrier, they are hilarious, intelligent, compact, alert, independent and can be serious which makes them excellent watchdogs.
They are also called Scottie. Scotties can easily be recognized and they have their faces plastered on everything that can be decorated like photographs, ornaments, pictures, cards and clothing. Scotties are ranked third in alarm barking, right after German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
History of the Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier was originally bred to hunt prey like foxes and badgers which made this Berger develop into an opinionated and self directed companions, they would help farmers to deal with the vermin problem. This breed would follow prey into their burrows and dig the prey out.
Dogs who do this are known as Earth Dogs. Its independence and intelligence are among the many reasons why dog lovers are drawn to this breed. This breed has been loved by many including Franklin Roosevelt, Shirley Temple, George W. Bush. Even Hitler got two Scottish Terriers for his Fiancé Eva Braun
Despite being an old breed, the Scottie’s history is undocumented, it’s origin is believed to dare back to a dog described by Pliny the Elder in 55 B.C.
He wrote that when the Romans attacked Britain, they found small dogs who would follow their quarry to the ground. The Romans called these dogs “Terrarii” which means “workers of the earth”. The word Terrarii was derived from the Latin word Terra which means “earth”. The Scottish were hunters and they still hunt by this instinct in present times.
The old Scotch Terrier is said to be one of the oldest dog breeds in Scotland and the foundation dog for all of today’s Terrier breeds. The old Scotch Terrier is extinct today but it was a stable worker with stamina, strength and courage.
In 1436, a description of a small dog similar in form to the Scottish Terrier is found in Don Leslie’s book “A History of Scotland”. In the 17th century, James I of England sent several dogs to France as a gift to the French Monarch. The king’s love for the breeds helped to greatly increase its popularity which rose over the next 3 centuries. These dogs are believed to be the foundation dogs for the modern Scottish Terrier.
By the 1800s, Scotland had plenty Terriers. Many writers write of two different terrier breeds in Britain, the English Terrier identified by its smooth hair and the Scottish Terrier which could be identified by its rough hair. By the end of this century, the dogs had been divided into two groups which were the Skye Terriers and the Dandie Dinmont Terriers. The Skye Terrier was the name given to all Terriers from the Isle of Skye.
The Scottish Terrier was classified under the Skye Terrier and was shown under that class in the show ring until the years of the 1870s. At this time, the standard for the Scottish terriers has been documented.
In the 19th century, a military man by the name of George the fourth Earl of Dumbarton had a famous pack of Scottish Terriers. These dogs were so brave in battle that they earned the name “diehards”. George’s regiment, the Royal Scots were also called “Dumbarton’s Diehards” after the dogs.
By the end of this century, the Skye Terriers had been divided into the four different breeds known today; The Skye Terrier, The Scottish Terrier, The Cairn Terrier and The West Highland White Terrier which are all recognized by the American Kennel Club.
This short legged wonder now enjoys the title of family dog, it’s bravery has left the battlefield and is now applied in the protection of the household from vermin, strangers, burglars, other dogs and animals. The Scottish Terrier is loved, adored and respected for its mannerisms, bravery and cheerfulness.
Disney’s Lady and the Tramp is a timeless classic, cherished worldwide. It caused many people to fall in love with the Scottie as it gave rise to an image that children have enjoyed over the years.
Appearance and size
Scotties are small dogs with incredibly short legs, they have a sturdy and compact build. They can be as tall as 10 inches. Male scotties weigh 19-22 pounds while females weigh 18-21 pounds. The have two coats, the topcoat or overcoat and the bottom coat or undercoat.
The topcoat should be hard and wiry while the bottom coat should be soft and dense. Majority of the Scottish Terriers have black coat, but there are also coats with colors of steel or gray, wheaten said and brindle. Wheaten scotties look like the West Highland White Terriers given their interwoven history
Scotties don’t shed too much because it’s a short coated breed, however their skin dries out quickly so avoid bathing them until necessary. If your Scottie is a show dog, it would need to be groomed daily but if it is just your pet, you can groom it weekly.
Tools like a stiff brush, a hound glove and a wide toothed brush are necessary for grooming. Show dog are groomed using a technique called Sttipping, stripping can be done by knives or by hand, the hair should always be stripped by the lay of the hair.
Clip your Scottie every two months if you hope to keep his hair short but if you want his hair to be long then trim several times a year. The more it is trimmed the softer it’s hair will get and the duller the coat which is not the preferred standard. Check their coats for fleas, handle their paws frequently, check it’s mouth and ears and trim his nails regularly.
Brush his teeth at least two or three times a week to eliminate tartar buildup and remove the bacteria that may be lurking in the teeth, daily brushing is an even better option to prevent bad breath and gum disease. They have large teeth that are closed together, if their teeth isn’t cleaned, your dog can suffer from gum disease and tooth decay.
Grooming is a process that is best started when your dog is still a pup, as you groom them, check for rashes, sores or signs of infection like tenderness, redness, inflammation of the skin, in the nose, eyes, ears and mouth and also on the feet. Their ears should smell good with little wax inside, their ears should be clear without discharge or redness. You should examine weekly to aid in identifying health problems early.
The Scottish Terrier is stubborn, energetic, serious and introverted but hey are also playful, sweet, tolerant and calm with everyone in the family. They have so much love to give. Do not let their size fool you, they have a very powerful bark which can scare off strangers, burglars, other dogs and pets.
They are very agile and enjoy digging holes and chasing after vermin. They are naturally careful and distrusting of strangers so they need to be properly trained in socialization from a young age. This breed take their time to study and figure out a person or a situation. However, if they befriend you, you can be rest assured that this is a friendship that would last for a lifetime.
The Scottish Terrier is very smart and intelligent. He adapts to all living arrangements, they are very friendly and enjoy the company of family. This breed is playful and gentle with children although they are not suited for families with babies and toddlers because they tend to defend themselves when pulled or prodded which may lead to them biting the baby by mistake.
Dogs of this breed are diggers of holes in the backyard and will rid your house of squirrels, rats and other vermin. They are know to chase prey from the house, out of the yard and into oncoming traffic, you would need to build a fence.
This breed is so intelligent that it can differentiate between the steps made by a friend of the family and the steps made by stranger and alert the household with its loud bark. Although terriers are known to be yappy, the Scottish Terrier is an exception.
They do not rely on their owners for directions and can function without their owners, they make their own decisions on what to do. They have kind hearts and sensitive, they can become sad and downcast if they feel like they are being mistreated. They are working dogs and are happier when they have a job to do even if that job is just simple tricks and play sessions. The stubbornness of this breed often turns into bravery.
Scotties like all dogs are generally health but they are prone to certain types of diseases and conditions such as:
Scottie Cramp: This is a common disorder in this breed but it is considered harmless to this breed. Symptoms of this occurs only when the dog is overstimulated or stressed such as drying fights, mating or exercise. The dog would appear normal but would exhibit an arching of the spine or an over flexing of their rear legs. The front legs may move outward from side to side causing the dog to show a goose stepping gait. This condition causes some dogs to temporarily lose their ability to walk or run and for those who are severely affected, they may experience difficulty walking or running when stressed. This condition is not progressive and it doesn’t affect the lives of the Scottie. Treatment isn’t necessary but several cases have been treated with Prozac, vitamin E or Diazepam.
Von Willebrand’s Disease: The Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot. The main symptom of this disease is excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery, nose bleeds, bleeding in the stomach or intestines, bleeding gums. There is no cure and only a transfusion from the blood of normal dogs is the treatment for this disease. Don’t be afraid as dogs with this condition can live normal lives, it’s best to test your dogs when they are still puppies for this condition.
Craniomandibular Osteopathy: This affects several skull bones when the puppy is growing. The bones of the skull become irregularly enlarged. The symptoms of this condition appears between 4-8 months of age. The jaws and glands of the puppy will become swollen and he will find it hard to open his mouth, the puppy will occasionally drool and have a fluctuating fever every few week, in some cases the chewing muscles will fade. The cause of Craniomandibular Osteopathy is unknown but it is believed to be hereditary, there is no known treatment but pain relievers and anti-inflammatories will ease the pain and discomfort. They also require a proper nutrition most likely through a feeding tube, the dogs may have permanent damage using the jaw and eating but this can be corrected through surgery.
Patellar Luxation: This is a common problem in small dogs like Scotties. The Patellar luxation is the dislocation of the kneecap, the kneecap (of a hind leg) slides in and out of place causing pain and discomfort. This condition can be crippling and it’s only treatment is surgery.
Training and exercise
Thanks to their amazingly short legs, the Scottish Terrier isn’t the ideal dog for exercising or training for marathons. They excel at agility and earth dog trials, their intelligence makes it easy for them to learn new tricks, they are basically too smart to forget anything.
They tend to chase cats, squirrels, bikes and other moving objects into the road so be sure to build a fence around the yard, the fence should not be an electronic one. This four legged friend is difficult to train as they were bred to think for themselves and work apart from their owners without needing directions.
Being that they make their own decisions on what to do, they do not score high in obedience rallies, they are better suited for agility. They excel at earthdog trials which are simulated hunts.
Their independence doesn’t mean that this breed is untrainable, they don’t do well with aggressive training and are sensitive, their kind heart can easily be broken down if he is shouted at or treated harshly. They thrive on positive reinforcement, love and attention.
Scotties have high energy, they are working dogs with a lot of drive and intelligence which need a channel to be let out. They need daily exercise and stimulation else they’ll go around the house digging holes. With their short legs, it is not recommended to take your Scottie jogging as a short walk around the block would feel like a marathon to this breed.
During walks, ensure that your Scottie is leashed and the leash is fastened because he is likely to run after animals or smells.
Why you should get a Scottish Terrier
They are loyal companions and will walk side by side with you everywhere, they do not yap. You can be sure of a rodent free environment with these dogs around. This breed is a fan of all living arrangements, they are playful with children and delicate with the elderly. This dog is more of a partner and a companion to its owners than a servant, they are eager to please.
Where to get a Scottish Terrier and price
Although the Scottish Terrier is a purebred dog, many of them can be found in shelters and rescues. They cost from $800-$2000