Fun Facts About the Spunky & Smart Scottish Terrier

The Scottish terrier is packed with a quirky charm and a personality that's just oodles of fun.

Updated December 31, 2023

Every time I see a picture of this dog breed, I can't help but immediately think of Disney's Lady and the Tramp. Jock is so adorable, and you can tell he has tons of love for his pet parents. That's also what these pups are like in real life. 

The Scottish Terrier History is a Mystery

The breed is quite old, with some of the earliest mentions cited in the fifteenth century. It's not exactly clear what the forerunner of the scottie was, but it's believed that the breed shares a common ancestry with the cairn, skye, and west highland white terrier.

We Do Know They Were Bred to Be Skilled Hunters

Origins aside, the breed was specifically developed to hunt down rodents and other vermin. These dogs were bred to be persistent, so they could reach their goals. Naturally, they are quite adept at digging, a trait that remains with the breed to this day.

Quick Tip

A sandbox is a fun alternative to your scottie digging up the yard. Get more tips for stopping your dog from digging.

And Scotties Have Reached Historical Fame With Presidential Love

The Scottish terrier, with their distinctive charm and spunky character, have long been a favorite among many, including notable figures like U.S. presidents.

This breed gained particular fame in American history through Franklin D. Roosevelt's beloved scottie, Fala. Fala wasn't just a pet; he became an iconic presidential companion, often seen by Roosevelt's side. 

Of Course, They've Won Hearts & Monopoly for Years

Scottish terriers hold a special place in the world of board games, as they are famously represented as one of the iconic playing pieces in the classic Monopoly game.

The inclusion of the Scottish terrier in Monopoly not only reflects the breed's popularity but also adds charm and character to the gaming experience. This piece is actually the one I have chosen the majority of the time, unless someone else gets to it first. 

Fast Fact

The Scottish terrier is the public's favorite monopoly piece

Scottish Terriers Also Do Well in Dog Shows

Scottish terriers really shine at dog shows, especially at big events like the Westminster Dog Show. They've got a unique look and a classy way about them that really grabs the attention of judges and the crowd. These pups are great at showing off their best traits, like their elegant posture and nicely groomed coats, which often puts them in the running for top prizes.

Their wins at these shows aren't just about how they look; they also highlight their smart and lively nature, making them stand out and well-loved in the show circuit.

At Home, Scotties Are Small, But Hardy Pups

Scotties are low and compact. The average height is just under twelve inches at the shoulder, while weight ranges around twenty pounds, give or take a few pounds. Males are slightly stockier than females.

Quick Tip

Take a look at the world from your small dog's point-of-view. What do you see? Keep this in mind as you get to know your pup. 

And Their Exercise Demands Get Lower as Adults

These guys are quite lively as puppies, but they do settle down as adults. They love a good romp or game of catch, but they don't require tons of exercise. A good daily walk will suffice to help them burn off excess energy and stimulate their inquisitive little minds.

Scottish Terriers Usually Don't Like Fetch

If you throw a stick or a ball, your scottie may chase it and pounce on it, but good luck getting it back. They're going to want to keep it for themselves. 

If you're looking for a game your scottie will play, try out hide and seek or puzzle games. They love games that encourage their critical thinking skills and require them to problem solve.

But Squeaky Toys are Like Gold

Like many other breeds with a high prey drive, scotties absolutely love a good squeaky toy. The sound and feel of a squeaky toy can simulate the thrill of the chase, making them a fun choice for keeping your scottie mentally stimulated. It's not just about the noise; these toys often encourage interactive play, which can be a great way for you and your scottie to bond.

Quick Tip

Look for tough toys — their main goal will be to get that squeaker out and they'll dive in teeth first.

Staying Consistent With Your Scottie is Key

Scottish terriers thrive when they're provided with a structured environment and clear boundaries. Their intelligence is a standout trait, but it's important to remember that these dogs do not take well to harsh treatment. They're likely to become unresponsive to training if you start to get too upset.

The key to successful training lies in consistency and positive reinforcement. Setting clear expectations and rewarding good behavior are crucial in guiding them (and other dogs) to understand and meet your expectations.

One Family Member is their Velcro Human

Scottish terriers really adore their whole family, but they tend to form a super special bond with one person in particular. It's usually the person who gives them the most love and attention — the one who plays with them, cuddles them, and takes care of them the most. 

Need to Know

Like other dogs, the more time you spend with them, the more they feel loved.

Scottish Terriers Are More Reserved Than Other Breeds

Scotties are affectionate but tend to be more reserved than other dogs. They form close relationships with their families but also like to be a bit independent. Their need for some alone time doesn't mean they're unfriendly; it's just part of their confident nature. This makes them a popular choice for those who want a dog that's both loving and self-sufficient.

If you take time to bond with them, they will become close to you, but thanks to their independent nature, they are generally more comfortable being left alone for short periods without becoming destructive or overly anxious due to separation.

Scottish Terrier Do Have a Few Health Problems

Scottish terriers are prone to several health issues that you should be aware of if you're considering adopting one (or if you already have a scottie), including:

  • Deafness: They might lose their hearing and need special care and training.
  • Luxating patella: Their kneecaps might move out of place, causing discomfort and problems walking.
  • Birthing challenges: They can have trouble giving birth naturally due to their body shape.
  • Cushing's syndrome: A disease that leads to too much cortisol, causing various health problems.

There are other conditions that are not only common to them but to many other dogs as well, but these appear to be the most prevalent. 

And the "Scottie Cramp" is Real

If you've had a scottie before, you're probably familiar with the 'scottie cramp.' When these dogs get excited, their muscles tend to cramp, making their gait seem a little off. It's a neurological disorder, but the episodes don't seem to last very long, and they don't seem to be painful. 

Need to Know

While 'Scottie cramps' can affect your pet's mobility temporarily, it doesn't hinder their overall quality of life and they can continue to enjoy normal, happy lives.

You'll Also Have to Plan for Grooming

Scottish terriers do need some grooming to stay in good shape. Their harsh outer coat is insulated underneath with a thick, soft undercoat that requires brushing several times a week. Thankfully, shedding is at a minimum with this breed, and a trip to the groomer's for a professional trimming about every six months is generally enough to keep them looking good.

But Their Spunky and Sweet Personalities Will Shine Through

Scottish terriers might have a bit of a stubborn streak, but with the right training, they'll surprise you with their ability to obey commands and their lively character. Once trained, they strike a delightful balance between independence and affection, making them wonderful companions.

They're not just about following rules; their spunky personality often shines through, bringing a unique charm to your daily life. If you're in the market for a dog that values its independence but still loves a cozy cuddle now and then, the Scottish terrier could be the perfect fit for you.

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Fun Facts About the Spunky & Smart Scottish Terrier