The Scottish Terrier also known as the Scottie or the Highland or Aberdeen Terrier is well known for its classic terrier personality. There are four other Scottish Terrier breeds, West Highland White Terriers, Dandie Dinmont and Skye, Cairn.
The traits and individuality and more importantly the dog care of the Scottie comes from its origins.You should compare characteristics with with the other major dog breeds, of which there are many.
The Scottie is often given the nickname of “little diehard”. Originally given in the 19th century by George, the fourth Earl of Dumbarton. George IV had a pack of Scottish Terriers, reputedly so valiant that they were given the nickname “Diehards” and were the idea for the name of his Regiment, The Royal Scots, “Dumbarton’s Diehards”.
It is impossible to be sure of the real origins of the Highland Terrier, but it was bred for clearing small rodents in Scotland for many years. It may be the original breed of the five Scottish Terrier breeds and there are some historical evidence dating back to the 16th Century.
The origin of the name “terrier” is the Latin terra meaning “earth”. The Highland Terrier was a hunter where these petite legged, sturdy dogs were designed and built for the purpose of rooting out small rodents such as badgers, foxes and rats out of their tunnels.
Scottish Terriers looks are characterised by long fur, heavy eyebrows and whiskers. The wiry coat can be found in many colors, including black, wheaten or brindle of any shade. Scotties with ‘Wheaten’ (straw to nearly white) coats may occur, but may be Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier or West Highland White Terrier.
They are robust, with a muscular body and a long neck. A Scottish Terrier has a long head relative to its body which averages just under a foot high. The Aberdeen Terrier has stiff ears and tail. Highland Terrierwere bred with strong tails so that could be pulled out of burrows when they were wedged after digging after vermin and voles.
Scottiehave petite, bright almond-shaped and dark eyes.
The Highland Terrier personality is one of freedom and spirit. People have said a Scottie thinks he is an Irish Wolfhound in height! To the point that he is totally fearless that sometimes appears stupid in the face of a larger dog, when he suddenly realises that he is less than a foot in height. Dog walkers love to walk them, they are never intimated by the larger dogs!
Height at withers for both sexes of the Scottish Terrier should be roughly 25 cm (9.8 in), and the length of back from withers to tail is roughly 28 cm (11 in). Generally a well-balanced Scottie dog should weigh 8–10 kg (19–22 lb) and a female from 8–9.9 kg (18–22 lb). Scottie are about 11–15 inches (28–38 cm) in height.
Scottish Terrierare very attentive, playful and sure in themselves. Scottish Terriers typically live from 11 and 13 years.
Aberdeen Terriers, whilst being very loving, can also be irritatingly inflexible. Because of this inflexibility, a Scottie needs firm, but kind handling from a puppy or it will dominate the household. Every new Aberdeen Terrier addition needs to have a clear puppy training plan.
The Scottie makes a great guard dog because it generally only barks when necessary and generally only for strangers. Dog socialisation is crucial as it is a fearless breed that can be antagonistic around other dogs unless presented and instructed to different dogs at an early age.
Because the Aberdeen Terrier were used to fight and hunt badgers and other pests they like to dig and chase small vermin, such as mice, rats and squirrels. For this reason it is recommended that Scotties are generally walked on a leash.
Whilst Aberdeen Terriers are normally a robust breed they do have a greater chance of developing specific cancers than other purebreds. Studies have identified 6 cancers that Highland Terriers are more likely to be at risk of ( when compared to other breeds) are: (in descending order) bladder cancer and other transitional cell carcinomas of the lower urinary tract (more normal in older dogs and more frequently in females so watch for blood in the urine, problems to urinate and frequent urination – and get veterinary assistance); malignant melanoma; gastric carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma of the skin; lymphosarcoma and nasal carcinoma.
Common prevention for dog cancer includes, ensure that your dog has little or no exposure to herbicides, pesticides, solvents and cigarette smoke; use caution when treating dogs with some flea medications; provide a healthy, vitamin-rich diet (low in carbohydrates, high in vegetables) and regularly exercise.
Two other genetic health concerns in the Scottie breed are von Willebrand disease (vWD) which is diagnosed with varying degrees of bleeding tendency, usually in the form of easy bruising, nosebleeds and gums that bleed.
The second is craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO); often known as lion’s jaw, that causes extensive bony changes in the mandible and skull. Normally occurring between the ages of 3 and 8 months. The lesions stop progressing after a year, and can regress. The solid swelling of the jaw, drooling, pain, and difficulty in eating. This is also an inherited disease and if extensive, could be difficult for the dog.
Because of these inherited diseases it is highly recommended to buy direct from a breeder, who can show he has not had a problem with these diseases.
Famous Scotties include Roosevelts – Fala and former President George W. Bushs’ Barney. Infact the Highland Terrier is the only dog breed that has lived in the White House more than three times.
Other famous people who are known to have owned the Aberdeen Terrier include: Bette Davis; Julie Andrews; Queen Victoria; Theodore Roosevelt; Eva Braun; Tatum O’Neal owned a Highland Terrier. She was said to be so saddened by her dog’s death to cancer and old age that she relapsed into drugs.
The Highland Terrier is also a key part of the Monopoly board game, as the popular player token.
A Scottie and a West Highland White Terrier are pictured on the Black & White whisky label. In Enid Blyton’s Mystery Series books, there is Buster a Scottish Terrier, who is often part of the mysteries.
So all in, a rightfully popular dog breed, particularly in personality per kg, but you will need to train and be firm with your Scottie.