There are lots of well-known dog breeds, but how many are instantly recognizable by their silhouette? With its pointy ears, short stature, elongated nose and body, and big bushy beard, the Scottish Terrier (aka Scottie Dog) has an iconic shape that’s made its way onto everything from quilt patterns to licorice. Most notable of all, the Scottie form has been traversing Monopoly boards since the 1930s as the most fought-over game piece in one of the most popular board games of all time.
No doubt about it – if you get a Scottie, you can expect to be stopped regularly by people admiring your dog. As famous as the breed is, there aren’t that many Scotties in circulation. Thus, when people see a Scottie, curiosity often inspires them to strike up a conversation. Not many people know what it’s like to own one of these handsome, feisty, and quirky little dogs.
All dogs are different, making generalizations about breed personality dangerous. This is especially true of Scottish Terriers, who can be quirky and difficult to read. Scotties tend to be more reserved than other terrier breeds, leading some people to label them as standoffish. In fact, some Scotties do reserve their affection for their family or favorite person. However, others are perfectly friendly, especially if they meet a lot of people early in life.
Scotties are highly intelligent, but also hard-headed and often difficult to train. They can be bossy or downright confrontational with other dogs, and aren’t as tolerant of children as other terrier breeds.
Health Problems & Life Expectancy
The life span of a Scottie generally ranges 12-15 years. That’s just an average, though – many Scotties live past the upper end of that range (and sadly, some don’t reach the lower end).Unlike many purebred dogs, Scottish Terriers aren’t prone to a long list of hereditary health problems. Some serious issues to watch out for include von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder), Cushing’s Syndrome, and some forms of cancer.
Scotties can also suffer from Scottie Cramp, a breed-specific disease that can cause leg spasms whenever the dog gets excited. This condition is usually manageable, especially as the dog and owner learn to avoid situations that trigger the spasms. In severe cases, medication may be required.
Many would argue that it’s a shame to dilute the Scottie’s unique looks by mixing it with another breed. To which dog hybrid fans would say: Yeah, but adding another breed makes them look even more unique. The truth is, Scottish Terrier mixes are pretty rare, probably because Scotties themselves aren’t very numerous. That said, some of the most common breeds combined with Scotties include the Maltese, the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Chihuahua.
Owning a Scottish Terrier
Scotties can fit in easily in most environments. They do just fine in apartments, and need less exercise than other, more hyper terriers. If they have any problems, it’s usually in getting along with other people or animals. Here are some things to think about if you’re considering a Scottie:
Climate. Scotties adapt well to cooler temps – in fact, many of them love the snow and cold. Warm weather is a different story, however. A black Scottie might not be the best choice for a hot and sunny place like, say, Arizona.Shedding. Scottish Terriers don’t shed to any great degree, and thus are considered hypoallergenic. To remove loose hair and keep them looking good, regular brushing and grooming are necessary.
Attitude. It’s worth reiterating that Scottish Terriers sometimes have a hard time getting along with others. They do great as only dogs, but think carefully before adding them to a home with other dogs and/or children.
If you decide that you want a Scottish Terrier, be sure to do some research and track down a reputable breeder. Depending on where you live, you might have to travel to pick up your new puppy due to the fact that Scottie breeders are not that common.
Adoption is another fine choice. You can find adoptable Scotties through rescue organizations and (more rarely) at dog shelters.