scottish terrier

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners such as Chewy, Amazon, etc. These purchases help us further AZ Animals' mission of educating the world's species.

Scottish Terriers can be crossed with other breeds to create unique mixes or designer dogs, such as the Miniature Scottish Fox Terrier or the Scottish Cocker Spaniel.

scottish terrier 1


Check out all of our expert product reviews.


The Scottish Terrier is a small, stocky-legged breed with enough confidence and personality to make up for it. It was first bred in the Scottish Highlands, around the 1400s, for small game such as vermin and badgers. Scotches grow strong tails so their owners can pull them out of the tunnels they dig.

The word terrier comes from a Latin word that roughly translates to "earth dog," possibly referring to their habit of hunting with their noses on the ground. The first breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club was a dog called Dake in 1884. It wasn't until the 1930s that the dog's popularity in the United States began to soar after a few famous celebrities as well as presidents, all of whom became loyal Scotty owners.

The Scottish Terrier has a distinctive appearance, with well-defined eyebrows and whiskers, which some might say makes it look old and wise. A dog's coat is made up of two distinct layers: a rough, strong outer layer and a dense, soft undercoat. It is a mix of several different colors, including all black, yellowish or almost white (called wheaten), and striped or irregular patterns (called brindle). Little information has been collected on the genetic history of the breed, with 15th century Scottish records being the oldest we have.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Scottish Terrier

advantage! shortcoming!
Lively and cheerful <br>This puppy has a big and sweet personality. A stubborn <br>Scottish Terrier may resist certain training methods unless you know how to handle them.
Adaptable <br>The Scottish Terrier can live in a variety of different environments. Wary of Strangers <br>This dog is naturally distrustful of strangers.
Alert and Intelligent <br>The Scottish Terrier is always alert and aware of its surroundings, making it a good watchdog. Wandering Tendency <br>Scottish Terriers love to explore their surroundings.
Scottish terrier female dog at autumn dog show
Scotches are adaptable dogs that can adapt to many different lifestyles.


Scottish Terrier Size and Weight

The Scottish Terrier is a small but sturdy breed with short legs and a low bone. Males and females are roughly the same size.

Scottish Terrier Health and Recreation

Check out all of our expert product reviews.

height (male) 10 inches
height (female) 10 inches
weight (male) 19 to 22 lbs
weight (female) 18 to 21 lbs

Common Scottish Terrier Health Problems

Scottish terrier standing on a white background.
Scots have been known to cramp when they get too excited.


The Scottish Terrier is a fairly healthy dog with an average lifespan of about 12 years. The breed is most prone to cancer, cataracts, glaucoma, craniomandibular disease (a genetic disorder that causes the jaw to overgrow), and a unique condition called Scotty's spasm (which causes the dog to go into convulsions all over the body and sometimes stop it from walking). Separate tests for von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder caused by a low blood clotting protein) and patella (kneecap) problems are also recommended at the first visit to the veterinarian. To summarize some of the most common health problems:

  • cancer
  • cataract
  • glaucoma
  • knee problems
Read more  How Long Do Butterflies Live?

scottish terrier temperament

A pair of black and white scottish terriers, sitting on a green lawn.
Scottish Terriers have a dignified, stoic personality that complements their mustaches.

© Ondrej Prosicky/

The Scottish Terrier has a strong, independent and indelible personality, described by some as almost human-like. Its confident and dogged demeanor seems to belie its miniature size. This makes them very good watchdogs. When a stranger approaches the home, it may try to bark and alert the owner. But unless they are properly trained from an early age, they can be somewhat distrustful and aggressive towards strangers. Their relationships with other dogs can also be contentious, and sometimes their hunting instincts take over and lead them to chase smaller animals. This is why it is crucial to socialize it as a puppy to avoid these behaviors. Fortunately, Scottish Terriers don't need much space, so they can live in apartments and houses without any problems.

How to Care for a Scottish Terrier

Scottish terrier standing on a wooden bridge near the water
For inexperienced dog owners, Scottish Terriers can be a bit overwhelming.

©Anna Tkach/

For experienced dog owners, Scottish Terriers are a better choice than first-time owners (especially due to training difficulties), but anyone willing to put in the time and effort will eventually fall in love with this breed. If you are sure this breed is right for you, then you should try to find a quality breeder in your area who adheres to breed standards and breeds only the best dogs. Another good option is a rescue or adoption group that takes in the breed. Rescue teams are very concerned about the health of their dogs. Once you bring your dog home, he needs regular, semi-frequent physical exams at the veterinarian to check for any abnormalities and problems. If you have any other concerns about your dog's daily activities, then you should consult your veterinarian.

Best Dog Food for Scottish Terriers

Hills dog food bag
Hill's Science Diet is the most recommended brand of dry dog food for Scottish Terriers.


A Scottish Terrier should thrive on about a cup of dog food per day, depending on its size, age and activity level. The American Kennel Club's recommended diet consists of about 25 percent protein with a little added canned food. If fed the right diet, your dog's coat should be smooth and healthy with no signs of flaking.

To prevent some of the most common health problems in the Scottish Terrier, a well-rounded diet is essential.

That's why AZ Animals chooses Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adults, Small Dogs with Small Paws as the best Scottish Terrier dog food.

Read more  Coyote Size: How Big Are Coyotes?

Made just for puppies, this veterinarian-approved dog food adds beta-carotene, taurine, and vitamin A to your dog's diet to maintain eye health and prevent cataracts and glaucoma. Additionally, omega nourishes the Scottish Terrier's skin and coat. Made with high-quality chicken and rice, it's packed with protein and calcium to keep small dogs active and fun-loving.

Check out this product on Chewy and Amazon.

best for small dogs

Maintenance and Grooming

Scottish Terriers need to be brushed with a simple pin brush and groomed about 2 to 3 times a week to prevent tangles and tangles. Hairy breeds like the Scottish Terrier should also be hand-shedded about once a month or so. Hand peeling is a method of removing dead hair from the top layer by hand. This will keep the consistency of the entire coat intact.

Otherwise, if the coat is simply clipped then it will lose some of its harder outer coats as the softer undercoat will dominate. If you're having trouble manually peeling your own fur, you might want to have a professional do it, but you should be aware that not all groomers are familiar with this method. In addition to taking care of its grooming needs, you should also brush your dog's teeth, ideally daily with a soft-bristled brush and canine toothpaste. You should also have regular ear exams and occasional nail trimming if needed.


The Scottish Terrier has an independent and stubborn personality, which has earned the dog an unfair reputation for being difficult to train. But in reality, this breed is very alert, curious, and responsive to human commands. The main problem is that Scottish Terriers can get boring very quickly. It doesn't respond well to repetitive, mind-numbing tasks. Instead, it likes to exercise its mind and creativity. This means owners should limit each training session to 15 minutes or less and try to keep changing the routine to prevent boredom. Scottish Terriers are very attentive to changes in the human voice and respond best to positive reinforcement methods. If you are having some difficulty training this breed, then you may want to seek the help of a professional trainer.


Scottish Terriers need about 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Fortunately, this dog doesn't need much space. While stretching the legs is always welcome in the yard or park, Scottish Terriers will love playing with balls and toys around the house. It should also be worn on a leash for short walks or jogs, at least a little each day.


It is always recommended to purchase a puppy from a quality breeder or rescue organization that genuinely cares about the dog's health. Never buy puppies from low quality breeders and puppy mills, they are more likely to ignore health problems. You should also prepare for puppy training. During the first few months of its life, the Scottish Terrier needs proper socialization to overcome its natural tendency to distrust strangers. Training sessions, dog parks, and gatherings with family and friends are all great places to start.

Scottish terrier puppy with grass background

© Stephen Dukelow/

Scottish terrier and child

The Scottish Terrier is an excellent family dog with a natural affinity for children. The only problem is that, due to their small size, Scottish Terriers may not be able to tolerate the noise and/or antics of small children. It may work best with older or more responsible children.

Read more  Don't Feed These Animals: An Essential Guide to Wildlife Safety

similar species

Australian silky dog standing out of wooden pier with green background.
The temperament of the Australian Terrier is similar to that of the Scottish Terrier


The Terrier category contains many dogs that share a similar appearance and personality to the Scottish Terrier. Here are just a few examples:

  • Australian Terrier – One of the smallest terriers, this dog has an inquisitive, confident and lively personality. Coarse hair, especially around the face, is similar to that of the Scottish Terrier.
  • The All-Purpose Terrier—As the largest of all hounds, the All-Purpose Terrier has been given the nickname "King of Terriers." Originating in the Airedale Valley in the north of England, the breed exhibits all the most recognizable traits of a traditional hunting dog, including calm confidence and courage.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier – The American Staffordshire Terrier is an athletic, short-haired, bull-like variation of the typical terrier breed. Despite their appearance, this breed displays high intelligence, as well as a confident, loyal, and kind personality that has inspired many to adopt them. A mixture of white, black, and tan markings is most common, although breeders discourage more than 80 percent white.

famous owner

The Scottish Terrier is a very famous breed that reached the peak of popularity in the 1930's and 40's. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, Humphrey Bogart, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rudyard Kipling, Bette Davis and Leh Ka Czynski (the former president of Poland) was once the proud owner of the Scottish Terrier. Roosevelt's pet dog, Fala, was even immortalized in a statue at the former president's memorial in Washington, DC. The dog also played a role in the 1955 animated film "Lady and the Tramp."

what eats snakes
Scott, Angus, and Ewan are some popular boy names for Scottish Terriers.


If you're looking for a good Scottish Terrier name, then you might want to consider the following options:

  • the lover
  • Radi
  • Connelly
  • ivan
  • Scott
  • alec
  • Angus
  • Archie
  • Barclays
  • findlay

See all 289 animals that start with S

The Scottish Terrier is a small pest hunting dog breed with a strong, confident and independent personality. Potential owners may be attracted by the dog's stocky appearance and long, strong coat, especially around the mouth and eyes.

It depends on what you're looking for in a breed, but the Scottish Terrier is very friendly, playful and affectionate with anyone it trusts.

Scottish Terriers may be very friendly and affectionate, but they are not pugs and should be given their own space.

A Scottish Terrier can be adopted for as little as $300, but the average price is closer to $800. If you want your dog to have a particularly prominent pedigree, it will cost much more: possibly thousands of dollars.

Every dog may be different, but the breed as a whole should not be left alone for too long, or it may become anxious and bored.

This breed does not have a particularly strong bite, at least compared to the bite strength of many larger breeds. But it does have a tendency to bite or chew things. This can be discouraged with proper training.

At first glance, Scottish Terriers and Schnauzers seem very similar. However, there are some key differences between the two breeds, including size, appearance, lifespan, guarding behavior, and trainability.