Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier is a feisty, medium-sized low-set dog with short legs that originates from the Highlands of Scotland. It has a long harsh, wiry protective outer-coat with prolific long feathers on the muzzle and body.

Scottish Terrier breed group


Size of the Scottish Terrier

The Scottie is a medium- sized short-legged dog that is set low to the ground.

Country of origin

Great Britain in the 1800s

The Scottish Terrier's uses through history

The Scottie was originally grouped under the name of Skye Terrier, along with the other four breeds of terriers that were developed in Scotland. The other four breeds were the Cairn terrier, Dandie Dinmont , the modern Skye Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier. The breed was created to produce a feisty, bold dog confident enough to be hunt rats and other vermin. In fact, they were strong and courageous enough to hunt foxes and badgers.

Scottish Terrier breed introduction and overview

The Scottish Terrier is also known as the Aberdeen Terrier, but to its loyal owners it's most affectionately referred to as the Scottie.  The Scottish Terrier is a medium-sized, sturdy, well-muscled dog with short legs that sits low to the ground. The large head is covered in facial hair, complete with eyebrows and beard, which create a rather stern expression. The eyes are normally black or very dark in colour. It has large ears that stand erect, and a tail that is also held upright. The Scottish Terrier has large paws for its size, making them ideal for digging. The coat is normally short on the top of the body, with long featherings on the muzzle, chest, backs of  legs and abdomen.

The breed tend to be reserved and aloof with strangers and male dogs can often be a little snappy, so are the not  most ideal breed for a family. It makes a wonderful guard dog.  Meal and drinking times can be rather messy due to the length of hair on the muzzle!

Scottish Terrier temperament,  socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets

Scotties tend to be one-person dogs and tend to become devoted, loving and protective of their owner. The Scottie has a typically stubborn streak, and is perhaps one of the more feistier breeds in the terrier group. There are known for being aloof and wary of strangers. They are territorial dogs, and can be problematic with other dogs, especially males. Digging is common in this head-strong and independent dog. It retains its strong hunting instinct and will readily attack squirrels, mice and other vermin in the garden.

Early socialisation and on-going training from an early age is essential with this strong-willed dog. The Scottish Terrier is not considered suitable with small children. Contact will cats and other small family pets should be avoided.

Colour varieties of the Scottish Terrier

wheaten scottish terrier

The seldom-seen Wheaten Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier is seen in a handful of colours including:

  • Black
  • Black Brindle
  • Brindle
  • Wheaten

Size and weight of the Scottish Terrier

Height 25-28cms (10-11ins)

Weight 8.5-10.5kgs (19-23lbs)

Exercise requirements of the Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier requires around an hour of exercise each day.

Coat length of the Scottish Terrier

Long. The Scottish Terrier has a long, wiry weather resistant outer coat, with a soft and downy coat undercoat underneath which provides a good layer of warmth and insulation.

Health issues in the Scottish Terrier

The Scottie is generally a hardy and healthy little dogs, however new owners should consult their breeders about the following known health issues that have been found in the breed including:

  • Cancer
  • von Willebrand disease (vWD)
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO)
  • Patellar luxation
  • Cerebellar abiotrophy  
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Scottie Cramp - a condition that causes sporadic cramping in the legs and is caused by a lack of Serotonin. Scottie Cramp is an inherited condition that normally affect puppies and younger dogs. It's usually discovered after physical activity by sporadic cramping of the legs. Treatment can be given through your veterinary surgeon. However, as Scottie cramp is an inherited condition, affected dog should not be bred from.

Average lifespan of the Scottish Terrier

A healthy Scottish Terrier should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 13-14 years.

Grooming requirements of the Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier requires specialist trimming to maintain the look of the breed and to keep the coat matt and tangle free . Expect to pay from £30 every 8 to 12 weeks.

Approximate Scottish Terrier puppy price

Expect to pay around £600-£850 for a pedigree puppy and litters are often available. The Scottish Terrier has seen a steady decline in numbers registered with the Kennel Club over the last decade, with just 592 puppies being registered in 2015 compared to 1,121 in 2005.

Estimating how much a Scottish Terrier would need to be fed each day

A dog or bitch weighing 10kgs requires 185gms of complete dry food daily and will cost around £4.50 per week to feed.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment