Scottish Terrier


The Scottish Terrier (aka. Aberdeen Terrier) is a small terrier breed of dog. It is popularly called the Scottie. It is one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland, and was initially one of the Highland breeds of terrier, that were grouped under the name Skye Terrier. The other four groups are the modern Skye Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terrier. The actual origin of a breed as old as this is obscure and undocumented. It is certain that Scotties and the West Highland White Terriers are closely related as both of their forefathers originated from the Blackmount region of Perthshire and the Moor of Rannoch. They were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin on farms, and to hunt badgers and foxes. By the 19th century, the Highlands of Scotland (including the Isle of Skye) was abundant with terriers, then known by the generic term “short-haired terriers” or “little Skye Terriers”. Later towards the end of the century, it was decided to separate the terriers and develop specific breeds and pure bloodlines.

Physical Appearance

This is a small, compact, sturdily-built terrier of good bone and substance and short legs. His thick set, cobby body hangs between his short, heavy legs. His erect ears and tail combined with his special keen, piercing “varmint” expression are salient featured of the breed. This breed’s bold, confident, and dignifies aspect portrays power in a small package. The eyes of the Scottie’s eyes are almond-shaped, small bright and piercing. They are dark brown or nearly black. The ears are small, set well up on the skull, prick, and pointed, but never cut. They are covered with short velvety hair. The coat of the Scottie is typically a hard, wiry outer coat and has a soft dense undercoat. The colors of the Scottie coat range from dark gray to jet black and brindle, a mix of black and brown. Often times a wheaten coat can occur.


The Scottie is territorial, quick moving, alert, and feisty, often times even more so than other breeds of terriers. They are known to be self-assured, playful, smart, and independent. They have been nicknamed the ‘Diehard’ because of its endless determination and rugged nature. While the Scottie has been described as being very loving, they can also be very stubborn. Although it has been noted that the Scottie tends to be very loyal to its family and is known to attach themselves to one or two people, the breed can be very aloof. Because of its tendency to bark only when necessary, and its reserved nature with strangers the breed can make a good watch dog. The breed is described as being fearless and unless introduced at an early age they may be aggressive around other dogs. Because the Scottie was originally bred to hunt and fight badgers, he is prone to dig as well as chase small vermin, such as mice, rats, and squirrels.


The average lifespan of the Scottish Terrier is 11-13 years. Two genetic health concerns seen within this breed are Von Willebrand Disease, and craniomandibular osteopathy. Also sometimes seen in the breed is Scottie cramp, patellar luxation, cerebellar abiotrophy, cataracts, glaucoma, parasites and mange. This breed also has a greater chance of developing some cancers than other purebreds.

Scottish Terrier