Great Scottie! Fun facts about the Scottish Terrier


By Emily Bruer

Do you have a Scottish Terrier at home? Are you considering adopting one? Or do you just love learning about dog breeds? Whatever the reason, the following facts will have you falling in love with these tenacious little terriers!

The typical Scottie weighs 18-22 lbs.

The Scottish Terrier’s height ranges from 10-12 inches at the shoulder.

Their life expectancy is about 12-14 years.

Listed as the 60th most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club.

While many people picture Scotties with black coats, they can also be wheaten or brindle. The black coat didn’t become popular until the 20th century.

Their coat typically consists of a hard wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat. When groomed, they should have shorter coat on their backs and sides that blends into the longer areas on their legs, lower body, and beard.

Their personality is often described as loyal, feisty, intelligent, tenacious, and stubborn.

Bred to hunt rats, mice, rabbits, foxes and badgers. They are prone to being diggers because of their vermin-hunting heritage.

Thought to be good watch dogs due to their wariness of strangers and their propensity to bark only when necessary.

Care should be taken to socialize the Scottie as much as possible when young, as their natural wariness can lead to aggression with strange people and other dogs.

Scottish Terriers are not good swimmers due to their heavy “cobby” torsos and short legs, so they should always wear life jackets near water.

Both the Scottie and the West Highland White Terrier can trace their ancestry back to the Blackmount region of Perthshire and the Moor of Rannoch in Scotland.

Scotties were originally categorized as Skye Terriers, along with the modern Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers.

The first written accounts of a dog with a description similar to the Scottie are found in The History of Scotland 1436-1561.

Two hundred years later the Scottie was depicted in a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Some alternate names for the Scottish Terrier include Scottie, Aberdeen Terrier, and Diehard.


The nickname of “The Diehard” was given to Scotties by the First Earl of Dumbarton. The Earl was so impressed by the determination of his Scotties that he named his regiment of Royal Scots “Dumbarton’s Diehards.”

Modern pedigreed Scottish Terriers can be traced back to four dogs from the 1870s: Roger Rough, Tartan, Bon Accord, and Splinter II. Splinter II is often referred to as the foundation matron of the modern day Scottish Terrier.

The first written standard of the breed appeared in Vero Shaw’s Illustrated Book of the Dog, published in 1880.

The Scottish Terrier Club of England was founded in 1881. The Scottish Terrier Club of Scotland was formed in 1888.

The Scottish and English clubs disagreed on the breed’s standard, but the issue was finally resolved in 1930 by a revised breed standard based on four dogs: Heather Necessity, Albourne Barty, Albourne Annie Laurie and Miss Wijk’s Marksman of Docken.

John Naylor is credited with being the first to introduce the Scottish Terrier to this country, with his initial importation in 1883 of a dog, Tam Glen, and a bitch, Bonnie Belle.

The first registered Scottie in the U.S. was Dake, who was whelped in September 15th, 1884. Dake was born in Kokomo, Indiana and was bred by O.P. Chandler.

By 1936, the Scottie was the third most popular breed in the U.S.

The breed is prone to Von Willebrand’s disease, which is a hereditary bleeding disorder.  Some other health concerns are Scottie cramp, patellar luxation, cerebellar abiotrophy, craniomandibular osteopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Scottish Terriers have a greater chance of developing some cancers than other breeds: bladder cancer, malignant melanoma,  gastric carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, lymphosarcoma, nasal carcinoma,  mast cell sarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma.

Scottish Terriers have won the Westminster Kennel Club dog show nine times, which is second only to the Wire Fox Terrier.

When Lil’ Sadie won Westminster in 2010, she was given the duty of ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell. Lil’ Sadie won 112 Best In Show titles during her show career.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington D.C.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt had several Scotties over the years, including Fala, Duffy, Mr. Duffy, and Meggie.

Fala is depicted in a statue with FDR in Washington D.C. – the only presidential dog so honored.

Dwight Eisenhower had two Scotties, Caacie and Telek.

George W. Bush had two Scotties named Barney and Miss Beazley. Barney starred in nine films produced by the White House.

The Scottish Terrier is the official mascot of Carnegie Mellon University and Agnes Scott College.

The most popular game piece in Monopoly (according to Hasbro) is – you guessed it – the Scottish Terrier!


If you’d like to adopt a Scottish terrier, check out the listings on a national adoption databases like Petfinder or Adopt-a-pet, or breed-specific rescue websites and social media groups. 


emily-bruer-pawedinEmily Bruer has been penning the adventures of her imagination since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Working at animal shelters for the last five years, she learned an incredible amount about animal care and behavior. She is currently employed at a vet clinic where she continues her animal education. Emily’s love of animals is evident when you step into her home, which she shares with six dogs and six cats, all of whom were rescues.

2 thoughts on “Great Scottie! Fun facts about the Scottish Terrier

  1. I have had the great pleasure of sharing my life with three rescued scotties, two black and one wheaten all beautiful, funny, dignified and smart.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s