The Scottish terrier (also known as the Aberdeen Terrier), popularly called the Scottie, is a dog with muscular appearance and good bone. Despite its short limbs, it is an active and agile dog. Its peculiar beard is an elegant distinctive of this dog’s face.
Scotties were bred to hunt and kill animals in farms, such as rodents, badgers and foxes in the Scottish Highlands. Its official size and structure was established around the 1890s.
After the XIX century, many writers related to cynology thought that there were two Terrier varieties in Great Britain: one with a rough coat, called Scottish Terrier, and the other one with a straight and glossy coat, called English Terrier.
However, in the final stages of the XIX century, there was also a distinction among the different Scotties with short limbs, and its history is more detailed. The Scottish Terrier was very popular in Aberdeen, and it even used to be known as Aberdeen Terrier for a long time. In 1880, the first breed Standard was documented and the Scottie became more famous in exhibitions. In 1881 the “Scottish Terrier Club of England” was founded, being the first club dedicated to the breed. The club secretary, H.J. Ludlow, is responsible for greatly popularizing the breed in the southern parts of Great Britain.
During the World War I and World War II this breed expanded its fame as an exhibition dog and as a pet. However, its popularity decreased the following years. Despite the fact that nowadays does not have the same popularity as in its golden days; the Scottish Terrier is still very valuable as a pet and as an important competitor in canine exhibitions.
It is a small but resistant dog, fast, and with a muscular structure, which makes them extremely heavy specimens according to its size. Its head is large and the ears should be small, prick, set well up on the skull and pointed. The tail has a medium large and it is erect or slightly curved. The coat is rough, dense and thick, and its color ranges from dark gray to jet black and brindle, a mix of black and brown.
According to this breed’s Standard, the height at withers for both genders should be between 25.4 and 28 cm, while its ideal weight is between 8.6 and 10.4 kg. These dogs’ bodies are muscular and strong. It has a straight and short back, but with a deep and strong spine. The chest is deep and broad. The paws are powerful according to the dog’s size; they provide a surprising agility and can reach a very high speed.
Scotties are territorial, alert, quick moving and feisty, perhaps even more so than other terrier breeds. The breed is known to be independent and self-assured, playful, and intelligent. Scotties, while being described as very loving, have also been described as stubborn. They are sometimes described as an aloof breed, although it has been noted that they tend to be very loyal to their family and are known to attach themselves to one or two people.
It has been suggested that the Scottish Terrier can make a good watchdog due to its tendency to bark only when necessary and because it is typically reserved with strangers, although this is not always the case. They have been described as a fearless breed that may be aggressive around other dogs unless introduced at an early age. Scottish Terriers were originally bred to hunt and fight badgers. Therefore, the Scottie is prone to dig as well as chase small vermin, such as squirrels, rats, and mice.
Coat maintenance is more difficult than in other breeds because the Scottie should be brushed at least three or four times a week to avoid tangled hair. Moreover, its coat needs to be cut three times a year and its beard requires to be cleaned daily. Unless the dog is dirty, bathing is recommended not to be very frequent.
As they have an active and curious temperament, Scottish Terriers demand a lot of physical and mental training. Fortunately, because of its small size, most of that exercise needed can be done at home. It is necessary for this dog to channel all its energy to go for a walk once or twice a day, and to play different kind of games, such as with balls or tug-of-war.
Two genetic health concerns seen in the breed are von Willebrand disease (vWD) and craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO); Scottie cramp, patellar luxation and cerebellar abiotrophy are also sometimes seen in this breed. Common eye conditions seen in a variety of breeds such as cataracts and glaucoma can appear in Scotties as they age. There are no specific conditions relating the skin that affect the breed, but they can be affected by common dog related conditions such as parasites and mange.
Scotties typically live from 11 to 13 years.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/073g03-en.pdf