Along with the Skye Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier, the “Scottie” is one of the four well-known Scottish dog breeds that were originally bred for hunting. Today, Scottish terriers are bred almost exclusively according to show criteria and are much shorter-legged than they were 100 years ago. Here you can find out how the dogs with the distinctive mustache differ from their relatives.
Characteristics of the Scottish Terrier: Small, Angular, and Solid
The Scottish terrier can be recognized from afar by its typical body shape. He is rather short-legged and reaches a height at the withers between 25 and 28 cm. Its head appears very long in comparison to the body; in addition, long hair on the snout ensures a rectangular look. Also distinctive for the breed is the straight finger tail, which they share with the West Highland White Terriers. A healthy Scottie weighs between 8.5 and 10.5 kilograms.
The Scottish Terrier from head to tail
- The relatively flat skull is as long as the muzzle and snout. Both areas of the head are separated by a short but clearly defined stop at the eyebrows. The fore face lies low, the cheekbone is hardly pronounced. Overall, the head appears relatively narrow compared to the strong and straight neck.
- The almond-shaped eyes with dark irises are relatively far apart in the Scottie. The eyebrows are covered with bushy hairs without restricting the view. This creates an attentive, intelligent, and somewhat stern expression.
- The ears are thin and very pointed and are carried erect.
- The body appears relatively long because of the short legs, but the back and loins are rather short and the chest is deep.
- The medium-length tail tapers slightly towards the tip and is usually carried straight and upright (finger tail).
- They have thick stick hair with rough top hair and a soft undercoat.
The three legal Scottie colors
- Black: Solid deep black coat with lots of shine.
- Brindle: Solid black ground color with brown or light brown brindle markings.
- Wheat Colors: Lighter or darker wheat tones.
- Mixed colors from the three primary colors can occur but are not desirable in inbreeding.
This is how the Scottish Terrier differs from the other Scottish construction dogs
- The West Highland White Terrier comes in white only and has a shorter muzzle. The stop is also more pronounced and the skull appears rounder. Overall, it is slightly taller and wider than the Scottie.
- Cairn Terriers are sable, brindle, or champagne with a dark mask on the face. The hair grows quite long and wild almost everywhere on the head, unlike the straight mustache of the well-groomed Scottish terrier.
- The Skye Terrier is considered the ancestor of all other Scottish construction dogs. He wears long fur all over his body, and the long hairy ears and eyebrows are particularly prominent. With the Scottie, the elongated eyebrows only reach the eyelid.
- Dandie Dinmont Terriers are only slightly smaller than Scottish Terriers but are characterized by their typical coat color and the shaggy “hairstyle” on their heads. Their physique appears longer and slimmer than that of the Scottie.
The Origin Story of the Scottish Terrier: A Hunting Dog for the Show?
Modern dog breeding, which is largely shaped by dog shows in which animals are judged and categorized according to their appearance, emerged in the last third of the 19th century. Until the introduction of dog shows and breed standards, all smaller Scottish terriers of the Skye type (named for their origin, the Isle of Skye) were known as “little Skye Terriers” or “short-haired terriers”. In 1879 the first Scottish Terrier (then known as the Aberdeen Terrier) was shown to the public.
Each farm with its own terrier breed
Before the West Highland White Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and Scottish Terrier were differentiated, smaller terrier breeds from Scotland were only divided into Scotch Terriers (rough-coated) and English Terriers (soft-coated). The ability to hunt vermin and track down and incite construction game was important for breeding selection. Aberdeen Terriers, as Scotties used to be called, are descended directly from these Scotch Terriers.
Where do short-legged terriers come from?
So-called earth dogs were already used on farms in Roman times to kill rats and chase foxes out of their dens. Depending on the region, different beats with different characteristics developed. Due to their long history as construction dogs, Scotties remain confident and bold dogs that have never lost their hunting instincts.
Interesting facts about the Scottie
- All Scotties alive today can be traced back to four breeding dogs that were selected at the end of the 19th century.
- There is a rumor in the breeder scene that a single bitch can be identified as the progenitor of the breed.
- The first records of similar terriers in Scotland date back to the 15th century (1436).
- The term terrier comes from the Latin terra, so they are born “earth dogs”.
Nature and Character of the Scottish Terrier: Fearless and Alert
Scottish terriers behave just like fine Britons. They are said to be somewhat arrogant because they know exactly what they want and have limited acceptance of deviations. The self-confident little guys are very intelligent and pay close attention to their surroundings. Despite this, they don’t tend to bark like other terriers – on the contrary, they rarely get angry, even if it’s just for fun. When it comes to hunting, they can be persistent and obedient (if they choose).
This is what makes the Scottie so unique
- Likes to hunt, but is not playful or even silly.
- He mostly ignores strangers (including strange dogs).
- His self-chosen circle of friends is small and elitist.
- Extremely fearless, correcting others when necessary.
- Intact hunting instinct.
- He doesn’t put up with anything from children and conspecifics, but he rarely becomes aggressive.