Scottish Terrier

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Scottish Terrier

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Introduction

The Scottish Terrier, also known as the Aberdeen Terrier, the Diehard, and the Scottie, is a breed of dog in the Terrier Group. This breed is recognized by its short stature and characteristic beard in addition to its bold 'sheriff' type attitude. The Scottish Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1885 and AKC approved in 1993. In 2010, a Scottish Terrier named "Sadie" won Best In Show at the world renowned Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The average Scottish Terrier stands 10 to 11 inches high at the shoulders and weighs between 18 and 22 pounds. Their coat needs to be brushed daily to prevent matting and control shedding. Professional cuts and grooming is recommended for the Scottie as well.

History & Health

History

The Scottish Terrier was developed in Scotland as a fox hunter and ratter in the 1800's. The breed's exact origins are not known, but once the breed was developed great care was taken to ensure that the breed's standards and bloodlines remained pure and true.

Health

The average lifespan of the Scottie is between 12 and 15 years. Increased health risks associated with this breed include susceptibility to Von Willebrand's Disease and tendency towards allergies.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

Scottish Terriers, like his other terrier cousins, are fearless, loyal and often clownish. They are discriminating when it comes to making friends, so don't expect your Scottie to cozy up to all of your friends, but when you've made friends with a Scottie, he's your friend for life. They have excellent memories and if they meet a person one time and like them, a Scottie can recognize that person years later. They are stoic animals, and it is often hard to tell what they are thinking so they can break out into mischief without warning. Scotties are not for everyone, as their discriminating taste sometimes means they only really like one member of the household, but those who love the Scottish Terrier say these dogs bring laughter and light wherever they go.

Activity Requirements

Scotties can adjust to any living arrangement, be it a small apartment or a sprawling estate. They need to be exercised daily, but a brisk walk around the neighborhood will cover their activity requirement. If you have a fenced yard, your Scottie will entertain himself by chasing squirrels, birds and butterflies. They do not have the athleticism or endurance to jog or take long hikes, however, so they are well suited for a more "indoorsy" family.

Trainability

Scottish Terriers are not for softies who are prone to bend the rules. Scotties have very high self esteem and assume themselves to be the leader of the house. Training should begin early and should be conducted with excited praise and lots of treats in order to keep him interested. Harsh discipline will cause a Scottie to simply disregard you and your rules. Absolute consistency is a must in order to raise a well behaved Scottish Terrier, as they see rule-bending as an open invitation to take over.

Scotties should be socialized from an early age to accept visitors into his home. While all Scotties are discriminating, if not properly socialized, they can become overly suspicious of strangers, which can be difficult to live with.

Behavioral Traits

Like other terriers, Scotties bark. They will bark when someone is approaching or simply walking in front of your house. They will bark at dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, bikes and cars. Apartment dwellers should consider this before adopting, as noisy dogs can alienate neighbors.

They also have a strong desire to chase, so they don't do well in homes with cats or other small animals. Outdoors, Scotties should be kept on a leash or in a fenced yard at all times, both his safety and the safety of other animals.

Scotties can be dog aggressive. They can do just fine living with another dog, as long as they are raised together, but strange dogs can expect to be greeted with a lot of barking and grousing, and they aren't afraid to pick fights with larger dogs.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Scottish Terrier is a small, compact, short-legged, sturdily-built dog of good bone and substance. His head is long in proportion to his size. He has a hard, wiry, weather-resistant coat and a thick-set, cobby body which is hung between short, heavy legs. These characteristics, joined with his very special keen, piercing, "varminty" expression, and his erect ears and tail are salient features of the breed. The Scottish Terrier's bold, confident, dignified aspect exemplifies power in a small package.

Size, Proportion, Substance
The Scottish Terrier should have a thick body and heavy bone. The principal objective must be symmetry and balance without exaggeration. Equal consideration shall be given to height, weight, length of back and length of head. Height at withers for either sex should be about 10 inches. The length of back from withers to set-on of tail should be approximately 11 inches. Generally, a well-balanced Scottish Terrier dog should weigh from 19 to 22 pounds and a bitch from 18 to 21 pounds.

Head
The head should be long in proportion to the overall length and size of the dog. In profile, the skull and muzzle should give the appearance of two parallel planes. The skull should be long and of medium width, slightly domed and covered with short, hard hair. In profile, the skull should appear flat. There should be a slight but definite stop between the skull and muzzle at eye level, allowing the eyes to be set in under the brow, contributing to proper Scottish Terrier expression. The skull should be smooth with no prominences or depressions and the cheeks should be flat and clean. The muzzle should be approximately equal to the length of skull with only a slight taper to the nose. The muzzle should be well filled in under the eye, with no evidence of snippiness. A correct Scottish Terrier muzzle should fill an average man's hand. The nose should be black, regardless of coat color, and of good size, projecting somewhat over the mouth and giving the impression that the upper jaw is longer than the lower. The teeth should be large and evenly spaced, having either a scissor or level bite, the former preferred. The jaw should be square, level and powerful. Undershot or overshot bites should be penalized. The eyes should be set wide apart and well in under the brow. They should be small, bright and piercing, and almond-shaped not round. The color should be dark brown or nearly black, the darker the better. The ears should be small, prick, set well up on the skull and pointed, but never cut. They should be covered with short velvety hair. From the front, the outer edge of the ear should form a straight line up from the side of the skull. The use, size, shape and placement of the ear and its erect carriage are major elements of the keen, alert, intelligent Scottish Terrier expression.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck should be moderately short, strong, thick and muscular, blending smoothly into well laid back shoulders. The neck must never be so short as to appear clumsy. The body should be moderately short with ribs extending well back into a short, strong loin, deep flanks and very muscular hindquarters. The ribs should be well sprung out from the spine, forming a broad, strong back, then curving down and inward to form a deep body that would be nearly heart-shaped if viewed in cross-section. The topline of the back should be firm and level. The chest should be broad, very deep and well let down between the forelegs. The forechest should extend well in front of the legs and drop well down into the brisket. The chest should not be flat or concave, and the brisket should nicely fill an average man's slightly-cupped hand. The lowest point of the brisket should be such that an average man's fist would fit under it with little or no overhead clearance. The tail should be about seven inches long and never cut. It should be set on high and carried erectly, either vertical or with a slight curve forward, but not over the back. The tail should be thick at the base, tapering gradually to a point and covered with short, hard hair.

Forequarters
The shoulders should be well laid back and moderately well knit at the withers. The forelegs should be very heavy in bone, straight or slightly bent with elbows close to the body, and set in under the shoulder blade with a definite forechest in front of them. Scottish Terriers should not be out at the elbows. The forefeet should be larger than the hind feet, round, thick and compact with strong nails. The front feet should point straight ahead, but a slight "toeing out" is acceptable. Dew claws may be removed.

Hindquarters
The thighs should be very muscular and powerful for the size of the dog with the stifles well bent and the legs straight from hock to heel. Hocks should be well let down and parallel to each other.

Coat
The Scottish Terrier should have a broken coat. It is a hard, wiry outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat. The coat should be trimmed and blended into the furnishings to give a distinct Scottish Terrier outline. The dog should be presented with sufficient coat so that the texture and density may be determined. The longer coat on the beard, legs and lower body may be slightly softer than the body coat but should not be or appear fluffy.

Color
Black, wheaten or brindle of any color. Many black and brindle dogs have sprinklings of white or silver hairs in their coats which are normal and not to be penalized. White can be allowed only on the chest and chin and that to a slight extent only.

Gait
The gait of the Scottish Terrier is very characteristic of the breed. It is not the square trot or walk desirable in the long-legged breeds. The forelegs do not move in exact parallel planes; rather, in reaching out, the forelegs incline slightly inward because of the deep broad forechest. Movement should be free, agile and coordinated with powerful drive from the rear and good reach in front. The action of the rear legs should be square and true and, at the trot, both the hocks and stifles should be flexed with a vigorous motion. When the dog is in motion, the back should remain firm and level.

Temperament
The Scottish Terrier should be alert and spirited but also stable and steady-going. He is a determined and thoughtful dog whose "heads up, tails up" attitude in the ring should convey both fire and control. The Scottish Terrier, while loving and gentle with people, can be aggressive with other dogs. He should exude ruggedness and power, living up to his nickname, the "Diehard."

Penalties
Soft coat; curly coat; round, protruding or light eyes; overshot or undershot jaws; obviously oversize or undersize; shyness or timidity; upright shoulders; lack of reach in front or drive in rear; stiff or stilted movement; movement too wide or too close in rear; too narrow in front or rear; out at the elbow; lack of bone and substance; low set tail; lack of pigment in the nose; coarse head; and failure to show with head and tail up are faults to be penalized.

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