The Scottish Terrier, also known as the Aberdeen Terrier is a medium-sized terrier known for its distinctive profile. It is a short-legged, thickly-set terrier with a head that gives the impression of being long for the dog’s size. It features a deep foreface, an almost flat skull, a large nose, almond-shaped dark brown eyes set wide apart with prominent eyebrows that impart an intelligent expression and large, pointed, erect ears that are highly set on top of the head. The Scottish Terrier also has large teeth that form a regular scissor bite. The muscular neck is able to carry the long head effectively and with profound quality. The front legs are well boned and straight while the back legs are remarkably powerful although short in length. The legs provide effective support to the muscular body that features well rounded ribs, deep chest and short but straight and muscular back. The forefeet are slightly larger than the hind feet which makes the breed an excellent digger, but all are well padded which provides cushion to the ground especially when the dog is in motion. The tail of the Scottish Terrier is of moderate length that tapers towards a tip and carried upright or with a slight bend. The close-lying, weather-resistant double coat is made of harsh, dense and wiry top coat with a short, dense and soft undercoat. The coat comes in black, wheaten or brindle of any shade.
The origin of the Scottish Terrier is uncertain, although there is a lot to know regarding its history. There were times when all terriers in Scotland were called Scottish terriers which made it hard to trace the breed’s origin. Add to the confusion is the fact that all modern Scottish terrier breeds were once lumped with other similar breeds that came from the Isle of Skye and had a generic name of Skye terriers (not to be confused with the modern Skye terrier.) Whatever the origin may be, what is certain is that the Scottish terrier and the West Highland White Terrier are closely related to each other; both of their ancestors came from the Blackmount region of Pertshire and the Moor of Rannoch. The breed was originally developed to hunt and kill vermin on farms and badgers and foxes in the Highlands of Scotland and is known for going to ground after the prey. The first documented record about a dog similar to the Scottish terrier dates back to 1436 in a book written by Don Leslie. During the 1800s, many writers seemed to have a consensus regarding the existence of two varieties of terrier at that time in England – a rough-coated Scotch Terrier and a smooth-coated English Terrier. Moreover, the paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer and an 1835 lithograph both depict Scottish terrier-type dogs. The breed was first shown in the Birmingham (England) dog show of 1860 but was shown as a class under a group of terriers. It was in 1879 that the Scottish terrier was publicly shown as a distinct breed at the Alexander Palace in England. The breed standard was drafted by J.B. Morrison and D.J. Thomson Gray and appeared in Vero Shaw's “Illustrated Book of The Dog” and was published in 1880. Today, the Scottish terrier is still one of the most popular terriers and is the best known among the Highland terriers.
The Scottish Terrier is a very agile and active breed in spite of its short legs. It is a loyal and faithful subject, highly dignified, independent and somewhat reserved with strangers. It is very courageous, intelligent and barks only when necessary which makes it an excellent watchdog. The Scottish terrier is a playful breed with a rugged nature, although it has the tendency to be stubborn at times. This breed is an expert digger and can be quite aggressive with other dogs unless socialized at an early age. It has a strong prey drive and may chase and hunt other small house pets such as hamsters, rabbits and cats. The Scottish terrier is also known to have a variable behaviour and moods, getting moody and snappish as an adult.
Training calls for a firm, gentle handling, specifically from an early age to prevent the breed from developing unsocial behaviour such as dominance and stubbornness. Obedience training is required to be consistent but persuasive because the Scottish terrier is quite sensitive to correction.
The harsh wiry coat of the Scottish Terrier should be brushed regularly, paying extra attention when the breed is shedding its coat, but only sheds very little to no hair. It is also recommended that the dog be taken to a professional groomer twice a year.
The Scottish terrier is generally a healthy breed and has an average life expectancy between 12 to 15 years. Major health concerns include von Willebrand disease (vWD, a form of bleeding problem), and craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO, a bone disease that affects the mandible and skull.) Also rarely seen are:
This breed should be fed with a high carbohydrate and a low protein diet.
Although exercise requirement is low, this terrier will enjoy walks, play ball games and other similar physical activities. It is also recommended that this breed be kept on leash when taken for a walk in a public place. It is recommended for an apartment living as it is moderately active indoors and will do fine in a dwelling without a yard.
Somewhat aloof, it is in fact very loyal to its family and excellent with older children, but may prove too energetic for very young kids.