Scottish Terrier

The Scottish terrier is a short-legged, compact, relatively heavy-boned dog, giving the impression of great power in a small package.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

Though Scottish Terriers are small, grooming them can be a large task. House dogs need to be brushed at least once per week, show dogs need to be brushed daily. In order to properly brush a Scottish terrier a stiff brush, hound glove, wide tooth comb (for the face) and scissors are all required. Show dogs need to be stripped twice per year, either by hand or with a stripping knife.
At a minimum, you will need to brush the coat one to three times a week. Don’t miss the belly or the areas where the legs meet the body or they will become tangled. Be sure you brush all the way down to the skin. If you just go over the top of the coat, you’ll miss a lot of tangles. After you brush the coat, go through it again with a comb to remove any remaining loose hairs. Comb out the beard and other facial hair, too, especially after meals or after your Scottie drinks. You should also learn how to strip the coat, the process of removing dead hair by hand, which is necessary twice a year. Learn to clip him yourself or take him to a professional groomer if you want him to have the distinctive Scottie silhouette.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and prevent gum disease. Small dogs are prone to dental problems later in life, so brushing more often will do more good than harm. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.

Exercise Tips

The Scottish Terrier is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of 1 hour’s exercise a day with as much of the lead time as possible, but only in a safe environment taking care when they are around other dogs. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Scottie would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviors around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much of the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that Scotties are expert diggers.
With this said, Scottie puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.

Feeding Tips

Scottish Terriers actually have a high propensity for a number of illnesses – which we’ll discuss later – and making sure that your terrier gets a steady and healthy diet with plenty of exercise is even more important than with many dogs. Scottish Terriers will enjoy a range of foods as do most dogs, particularly meat and meat-flavored kibble. Mixing in vegetables with this kind of diet can be a good idea, but it’s best to speak to a veterinarian before you make any food decisions regarding the Scottish Terrier.
If you get a Scottie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.

Health Tips

The average lifespan of the Scottie is between 12 and 15 years. The breed’s national parent club, the Scottish Terrier Club of America, provides excellent information regarding breed health issues on theclub website. A good breeder will discuss with you what they have encountered in their lines. There is also some excellent research being done, much of which is supported by the club, to help breeders identify health conditions and make better decisions when choosing to breed. That means overall better health for future generations.


Scottish Terriers can be a bit of a handful to train due to a breed-wide general stubbornness and behavior that many people would describe as aloof. Scottish Terriers can be terrifically playful and energetic, but this can be a cause for frustration if you don’t have a lot of experience in working with dogs.
Scotties should be socialized from an early age to accept visitors into his home. While all Scotties are discriminating, if not properly socialized, they can become overly suspicious of strangers, which can be difficult to live with.


The Scottie is one of the many terrier breeds that originated in Scotland and England for the purpose of digging out and killing vermin on farms. For a long time, all of the Scottish terrier breeds were lumped together, but in 1877 a heated discussion in the pages of the Live Stock Journal about what made a true Scottish Terrier ended in a challenge by the editors to come up with a description of what a Scottie was. Gordon Murray published a detailed description of the proper Scottie in a letter to the Stock Keeper. Three years later J. B. Morrison drew up a standard for the breed, and the essentials of it remain today.
The Scottish Terrier was developed in Scotland as a fox hunter and ratter in the 1800’s. The breed’s exact origins are not known, but once the breed was developed great care was taken to ensure that the breed’s standards and bloodlines remained pure and true.