The Scottish terrier, also known as the Aberdeen terrier, is a popular dog breed in the United States with a history dating back to nearly 150 years. This lovable, affectionate breed is a favored companion dog today in many countries. In case you are looking to adopt a Scottish terrier, this brief guide can give you the basic information you need.
Facts and characteristics
- The Scottish terrier is a small dog in a big package. It is robust and sturdy and hails from the Scottish Highlands.
- Writer William Haynes has described the Scottie in the following words: “The Scottie is a dog of dogs. All dogs are good and a terrier is better, but the Scottie is the best. Nobody can live in the same house with a Scottie a week and not love him!”
- Like all terriers, this working dog was bred to drive out rodents and other pesky animals that eat our food grains. However, over the years, this has become a lounge dog and lost most of its hunting skills. Today, the Scottie is considered a moderately active dog that does not need too much exercise in order to be happy.
- Scottish terriers are often compared to West Highland terriers but in reality, Scotties have long muzzle and longer ears whereas the Westies have broader muzzles and shorter ears. The Scottish Terrier is also heavier bodied and heavier boned than the Westie.
- Scotties have sturdy cute bodies with hairy muzzles and brindled, wheat or black colored coats.
- Height and weight-Males weigh about 9-11 kilos and females between 8-10 kilos. The height is up to 26 cm. They have a medium, short coat which requires daily brushing and regular trimming.
- One of the most famous Scottish terriers is Fala, the First Dog of America who came into the White House with President Roosevelt. He supposedly dined with the President and even participated in important meetings. There is an interesting book named Fala, The First Dog with illustrations that tells the story of this loyal pet.
Where to find a Scottish Terrier
Choosing a reputed breeder is the first step in dog ownership. You can find dedicated Scottish terrier breeders in your area via the Scottish Terrier Club of America’s official website of the Scottish Terrier. The STCA has a list of dedicated and ethical breeders who follow a strict code of conduct. Avoid breeders who advertise in newspapers about their stupendous champions. The real quality Scottish terrier breeders will be quiet and unassuming and you might meet them at dog shows, events and through word of mouth. A good breeder will inquire about you and your family and will try to determine the reasons why you want a Scottish Terrier puppy. Expect to pay anywhere in the range of $800 to $1000 for your Scottish terrier puppy. An established breeder will sell you the puppy at a fair price after determining that you are indeed a worthy owner for this beautiful dog.
As stated before, these are small dogs with huge personality. They are independent and stubborn and can be difficult to train owing to these streaks. Often, untrained and un-socialized Scotties find it difficult to get along with other household animals. So your dog will need basic obedience classes and also consistent, gentle training on a daily basis for the first few months. Since this breed has tremendous energy, you might find it difficult keeping it still. Therefore, moderate exercise is a must on a daily basis. If you are not willing to commit to once/twice a day walks, do not buy or adopt this breed. A well trained, well exercised and well socialized Scottie is usually calm and fun to be with. This is a breed that gets along with kids. However, they may not take too kindly to strangers. Scotties are generally well suited to urban lifestyles and do well in small apartments.
Training is very important for this strong willed, independent dog. Invest in a training collar but make sure to remove it once the session is over. You might also want to crate train your puppy. Read my article on basics of crate training. Keep training sessions short and fun. Add plenty of games and activities in the mix. Your Scottie will respond favorably to positive reinforcement so avoid using harsh tone or punishment when training your pet.
Common health issues
The average life span of the Scottish terrier is between 12 and 15 years. Common ailments in the breed include skin issues and parasites. Your puppy or adult Scottish terrier rescue is susceptible to ticks, fleas or lice. If these occur, use a good quality shampoo or insecticide from the drug store and apply it 3-4 times a month to get rid of these issues. Never overlook problems like mites which can rapidly get out of control and lead to a lot of anxiety in your pet.
Are Scottish Terriers hypoallergenic?
The word hypoallergenic can be pretty misleading in that; a breed that causes allergies in one person may not cause allergies in another. In general, if you are looking for hypoallergenic pets, then you might want to consider Scottish terrier mix with Poodles. This is because of the fact that poodles are naturally hypoallergenic since they have their coats closer to hair than fur.
Improper diet can lead to lifelong health issues in your Scot. Always consult with your vet or breeder about the right diet for your Scottie. At every stage in your pet’s life, too much or too little nutrients can be harmful. This is why manufactured food is ideal for your pet. Never free feed your dog as this breed is prone to weight gain. Dogs are generally lactose intolerant, so never feed cow’s milk to your Scottie. Other harmful foods to avoid feeding your Scottie include bones, raw meat, large quantities of garlic, tomatoes and onions as well as human food or table scraps. You also need to switch the food at different stages such as puppy to adulthood, as well as senior dogs of 10 years and above.
This is a breed that requires daily grooming and regular hair trimming. Invest in a boar bristle brush to comb your pet’s coat as this will stimulate natural oils and also prevent infestations. If you find grooming difficult, you can always take your pet to the professional groomer’s. In general, your Scottie will need a bath about once a month. If your pet is suffering from lice, mange, or fleas or ticks, you might want to bathe it at least 2 times a week with a vet approved shampoo to get rid of the parasites.