The Scottish Terriers

All countries have their national breed of dog and the dour, lovable Scottie belongs to Scotland.

What are Scottish terriers known for?

Suspicious, somewhat hard to understand, standoffish at times even with his own, and absolutely without fear, the Scottie or “Diehard” as he is familiarly known among dog breeders, is a really grand little dog.

He is a real hunter and will work in a thick or rocky country with the best of the more active breeds.

His keen nose and sharp eyes rarely miss a noxious game, and he uses his sturdy paws to burrow under logs and rocks to uncover cleverly concealed game.

Unfortunately, Scottish Terriers are rather difficult breeders. Their big heads and wide fronts cause difficult parturition, and many puppies are lost at birth, particularly when left in the hands of inexperienced breeders.

As a result, demand for puppies generally exceeds supply, and Scotties have been in rather keener demand than most puppies for very many years.

Popular house pet

Apart from his utility value as a hunter, the Scottie is a popular pet.

He is not noisy around the home, is an exceptionally good watchdog, and has a disease-resisting constitution.

Although not particularly demonstrative, the Scottish Terrier develops a deep attachment for his owners and makes a capital companion for children.

He is dead game and, although only some 28-23 pounds in weight, is very low slung and possesses jaws and teeth of strength beyond the ordinary.

These all help the Scottie to look after himself better in a scrap than most dogs of his size.

His head is large, long and strong for his size. The skull is flattish, and the jaws long and powerful.

A feature of the breed is the size of the teeth. These must be big, strong and sound and would be a credit to dogs twice the size of the Scottie.

The wise, dark eyes are well set under shaggy eyebrows, and the erect ears give the dog a keen and determined appearance.

The neck is thick and strong, free from loose flesh, and is set into well placed, sturdy shoulders. The front is straight and the short, well-boned legs are free from bends, strongly jointed, and the dog should stand foursquare on them.

The feet are round, deeply cushioned and possessed of strong nails.

Coat is important

The body is short and strong, straight topline, with deep, well-sprung ribs which should be carried right back.

The tail, like all the terriers of Scotland, is a natural one and is carried erect.

It is rather short, thick at the root, and tapers to a point. The powerful hindquarters are well turned at the stifles, deep and strong throughout, and neither feet nor hocks should turn inwards or outwards when the dog is moving.

Coat in this breed is much more important than the average person thinks. Although far removed from his native land, the Scottie must have the weather-resisting, protective coat so essential to the breed under its normal conditions of living.

The outer coat must be dense and harsh, some two inches in length. The undercoat is short, thick and oily to the touch and almost downy in texture.

Color may be either brindle or black. The brindle may be from a light wheaten color to very dark.

Good ones cannot be a bad color, provided they come within this range. Many consider that blacks are preferable.

Actually, most blacks are rather soft in coat compared with brindles, and some keen showgoers prefer brindles for that reason.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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