Scottish Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Feisty, independent and sometimes excitable, Scottish terriers need moderate exercise and do well living in the city or country. As adults, their behavior can become moody.

Scottish Terrier at a glance
The Scottish Terrier Dog Breed

This dog became known among Americans because President Franklin Roosevelt's dog, Fala, was a Scottie.


Weight Range:

Male: 19-22 lbs.
Female: 18-21 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 10 in.
Female: 10 in.


Short bowed legs, upright ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 11-13 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: High
Tendency to Dig: High
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Vermin hunting


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Double coat, hard coat, straight
Colors: Black with or without white, wheaten, brindle
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Terrier
UKC Classification: Terrier
Prevalence: Common

Scottish terriers are only about 10 inches tall and weigh about 18 to 22 pounds (eight to 10 kilograms).

They have a distinctive beard that accentuates the muzzle, long eyebrows and a wiry outer coat that brushes the ground like a long skirt if untrimmed. The coat, which sheds little, also provides excellent protection in bad weather. The color is brindle, black, gray or wheaten.

The Scottie's ears are thin and stand straight up. The back is short, level and muscular, and the tail is set high. Scotties have a good life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years.


Scottish terriers are often described as a big dog in a little dog's body. They are feisty, independent, and sometimes excitable. As adults, their behavior can become moody. Some Scotties take to only one person. Scotties can be aggressive with other pets and stubborn about training.

In one survey, Scotties ranked high on snapping at kids and may not be a good choice for families with very small children. The dogs can, however, get along with older children if treated respectfully.

Unlike some other dogs, they do not demand great amounts of attention from their guardians. They make excellent house pets for those who would delight in their sometimes-quirky personality and be able to provide gentle but firm handling.

Living With:

If a Scottie's wiry coat is kept long, it will need brushing two or three times weekly. The coat can, however, be clipped. Trimming by a professional groomer is advised to keep the hair on the head and around the tail in check.

Scotties need moderate amounts of exercise and do well living in the city or country. Daily walks or romps in a fenced-in back yard will suffice.

Since Scottish terriers were bred to pursue small animals that live in underground dens, these dogs are natural diggers, so care must be taken to see that they do not dig out of a fenced-in yard. It is also best not to let them off leash outside of a contained area.


Scottish terriers, informally and fondly known as "Scotties," originated in Aberdeen, Scotland. At first the breed was called the Aberdeen terrier. These dogs were bred to chase fox, badger, rabbit and other small animals that live in dens.

The breed dates back to the 1700s, but development of Scotties into the breed we know today did not come until the late 1800s, and the first Scottish Terrier Club was not formed in Scotland until 1882.

Scottish terriers were introduced to the United States in 1883. They became better known among Americans in the next century because President Franklin Roosevelt's dog, Fala, was a Scottie.