The Scottish Terrier may be small, but the breed earned its nickname “the Diehard” for a reason—they have the attitude and resilience of a true terrier. These sturdy, compact dogs make clever, feisty companions. Their characteristic beard and mustache lend them a dignified expression.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
About this Breed
Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, the Scottish Terrier is one of the oldest Scottish breeds. They were developed in the 1700s from a type of dog called the Old Scotch Terrier, which had a similar form and function to the Scottie. It was from this early terrier that today’s array of terrier breeds descended from, with the Scottish Terrier being among the oldest. Today’s Scottish Terrier is relatively unchanged from the Scotties of the past—the stubborn terrier personality has endured for centuries.
The Scottish Terrier’s black coat is iconic, but it also comes in wheaten and brindle. Historically, black was a rarer color in the breed, but it’s become more common through breeding in modern times. The Scottie has a recognizable silhouette due to their beard and mustache, which emphasize their muzzle. They have harsh, low-shedding coats that are characteristic of many terrier breeds and offer some resistance to weather. This is a smaller breed, typically weighing between 18 and 22 pounds.
Most Scottish Terriers are amiable companions these days, but generally the breed still has the prey drive and attitude inherent in some of the older terrier breeds. Some Scotties may have other “terrier traits,” such as a desire to redecorate the yard with holes and announcing any visitor (including squirrels) with a series of barks. While Scotties are lovable lapdogs around their humans, they should have an eye kept on them around small animals. This breed tends to be opinionated when it comes to training; positive reinforcement and consistent training will go a long way in convincing your Scottish Terrier to listen to you. Do not mistake a Scottie’s lack of obedience as a lack of intelligence—this is a clever breed with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. Most owners delight in their mischievous personalities.
Scottish Terriers on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Scottish Terrier ancestry.