Scottish Terrier

Breed History

Scottish Terrier Puppy

Scottish Terrier is a small dog with a sturdy built and short legs. Long facial hair with ears sticking upwards is a key distinction you will see with all Terriers.

Coming from Scotland is the reason they have the nickname Scotties. There is a long history of their breed coming from this land.

Bred to hunt vermin and foxes, because the bigger dogs had a hard time hunting these animals due to speed differences. Terriers are fast enough to hunt rodents and dig into smaller fox holes so that hunters can try to kill them in the open.

Origins are unknown, but there are paintings with similar features in the same region. Some people will consider this evidence dating back to the 1400’s and other don’t. King James IV sent some Scottish Terriers are a gift in the 1600’s to another royal member in another country.

By the 19th century the Scotland had many different Terrier breeds. Two Terrier types were the Skye and Dinmont and they were split in this century as different pure breeds dogs. Most likely all these dogs have some type of each other due to grouping them together back in the day.

Five breeds of Terriers come from Scotland. Skye, Cairn, Dinmont, West Highland and White Terriers are all the Terrier breeds that come from the same place. At one point all these breeds were known as one breed.

First breed standards for this dog were written in 1894 by James E. Green and there has been some adjusting over the years but the dog is almost the same today as it was then.


In 1885, they received their recognition from the American Kennel Club. Imports were before this time from Scotland and they are amongst some of the most popular dogs in the country.

One of the earliest dogs they are second in registration only to the original dogs to get registration in 1878. Although they are one of the oldest, they rank in the top 50 in dog registration.

Terrier group is the category exclusively at all major Kennel Clubs around the world and even the international, FCI, kennel club shows the same recognition.

Here are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standard.

Scottish Terrier Size

Male Height: 10 inches

Female Height: 10 inches

Male Weight: 19-21 pounds

Female Weight: 18-20 pounds

Boys and girls in this breed are the same size other than an inch or two. Terriers are known to not have bigger males than females at this smaller size. Bigger breeds show the most difference with male and female sizes.

Litter Size

4-5 puppies are the average litter size for a Scottish Terrier. Mothers don’t have an issue delivering their puppies natural and are at a low risk for a c-section.

Breeders should be aware of how many puppies to expect because they will be caring for them for over eight weeks until they can finally be sold.

Scottish Terrier Colors

  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Black and Brindle
  • Red and Brindle
  • Silver and Brindle
  • Wheaten

This breed only has solid colors and any multi-color or markings are not acceptable. A little white on the chest is something that is still acceptable but nothing more.

Scottish Terrier Price

$1,000-2,000 is the average price you should expect to pay for a full blood Scottish Terrier. There are different factors that can change the price including location, supply, demand, and if the puppy has a champion bloodline in dog shows.

Papers will document the blood line and all kennel clubs the lineage carries. Both parents must show documentation, or the dog will never receive papers.

Without papers you can expect to pay around $500 for a puppy from a breeder. They still are not cheap either way but there is a chance of buying a lower quality puppy.

Make sure you are familiar with and understand the breed standards. Knowing the features and acceptable colors can go a long way with buying the proper and improper look. Parents and all puppies in the litter should fit the breed standard before purchasing a dog even if they have papers.


Every grooming session whether you take them to a professional groomer or do it yourself you should give the dog at least one hour of exercise prior to starting the session. Thank me later.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the coat should happen at least one time per week to keep the coat in great condition. Continuing to keep this schedule will be a great decision.

Combing is something that should happen once per week and I would do it right after or before brushing. Combing the two on the same time can help save you some time.

Bathing the dog should happen once a month or less. The coat is weather resistance and too much washing can be bad for the coat. Wash them when dirty or every 4-6 weeks on average.

Ears should be clean at least once a week. Cleaning the ears on a weekly basis will keep the dog from getting an ear infection. Once they get an ear infection you will have to pay an avoidable vet bill.

Nails can be trimmed naturally with exercise, which we recommend daily. If you are not exercising, which we don’t recommend, you will need to cut them with nail clippers.

Professional help is not a recommendation and you can groom this dog at home. If you want certain cuts or looks then you should take them to a groomer.

Life Span

12-15 years is the average lifespan for a Scottish Terrier. That’s a long time to own one dog and owner should be aware of how long they live. These dogs will be great for adoption in their adult life because of how long they live. At five years old you can still have a decade left.

Health Issues

Von Willebrand’s Disease – is a blood clotting dysfunction which in return will lead to internal bleeding in the dog’s body. A large percentage of Scottish Terriers deliver this disease. Screening is the only way you will be able to detect this condition and there will be no way to tell because of limitations with symptoms.

Patellar Luxation – smaller dogs always get some type of knee issues in their lifetime. Kneecaps are going to have partial or complete dislocations possibly. Getting an x-ray will help you examine the current health of the knees. If no limping or favoring exist get it looked at around 24 months of age.

Thyroid – problems will show a lot of symptoms. Weight gain increase appetite, and massive hair loss. Thyroids are in the neck area and balance out the hormones in humans and dogs. You will see that dogs are not acting normal when they are suffering from this condition.

Eye Evaluation – from a professional will help determine if the dog has cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, and other conditions. Going blind or partially blind can be the outcome of the dog’s eyes at some point in their life. Getting an evaluation of the eyes will help you get some early medication.

Breed Group

Proud members of the Terrier Group. Terriers are known as ratters and they are known to hunt vermin. Smaller animals are something that terriers are known to hunt down as well.

Here are some of the animals in the Terrier Group

Exercise Needs

Scottish Terriers need a lot of exercise. Every dog needs daily exercise unless they have a health issue. Real question everyone wants to know is how much exercise?

We use exercise as a behavior modification throughout their life. Bad behavior will be the indication that the dog is suffering from boredom and doesn’t have the proper outlet.

Using our method, you will see the dog misbehaving at first engaging in a lot of undesirable behavior. Digging, barking, biting, nipping, jumping, and over excitement are some of the common first steps you see when a dog isn’t given daily exercise. Aggression will be the next level.

Getting outside, running, and walking the dog every day will show you instant results. Instead of finding something to do the dog will focus on recovering from long sessions and don’t have the energy to do extracurricular activity.

When the workload is enough the dog will not only not show excitement, they will show disinterest in bad dog behavior and start acting like a dog. One session a day will solve this problem for some dogs and two session will enough for most dogs.

Here is the daily recommendation we give our clients

Morning: Hour (walk, run, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

Younger dogs will need two sessions a day most likely. More runs than walks will be the best solution for a younger energetic dog to get them nice and calm.

Adult dogs will enjoy more of a balancing mix of running at times and walking as well. One or two session may need to be mixed depending on the behavior.

Senior dogs need much less exercise and one session what they will need. A walk around the block will be all they need to sleep all day long.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Every house should be built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than exercise for your training program. This route isn’t the easiest, but it is full of benefits for you and your dog. Both mentally and physically, but the leadership will build a strong bond quickly with exercise. When a dog must listen to you for one hour in the morning of run next me and another hour at night, that’s two hours per day. What can you think of that will make a dog listen to you for two hours per day? Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

Commands are a much smaller portion because they don’t change the dog’s behavior. Repetition can cause the dog to learn all the basic commands without any experience in training from an owner. Almost all my clients have dogs that will sit, stay, and lay but can’t relax because of no exercise.

Socialization is something that should be done once you drain all the energy from the dog and can control them verbally while they are off leash. Many people will bring their dog to socialize and exercise at the same time. I would encourage you to exercise them first and let them socialize only.

Correcting the dog is something all owners must do. Verbal, on-leash, and off leash will all be the best methods. Using the lowest amount of force is necessary. Although people focus on the negatives you will find that the timing is more important than the physical aspect.

Are Scottish Terriers Good Family Dogs?

Scottish Terriers are great family dogs and they get along well with kids, adults, and other dogs. Make sure you understand that being a good owner is important when it comes to having a good dog.

When you lack on exercise, training, and corrections the dog will never be a good family dog. Exercising every day, training commands, and correction undesirable behavior will always produce a great dog.

Additional Resources