Despite their small size, Scottie dogs give the impression of being strong and powerful dogs. They have a hard and wire-haired outer coat with a soft dense undercoat and prominent eyebrows and moustaches. Scottish Terriers come in black, wheaten or brindle. Adult Scotties stand at 25-28cm and weigh 8.5-10.5kg.
Until 1859 no mention of this breed was recorded, and yet in that year, 'Scottie dogs' were exhibited as a pure breed, albeit under the name of 'Aberdeen Terrier', the area in which they were mostly bred. It is certain, however, that the West Highland White and Scottish Terriers are closely related, both their forefathers originating from the Blackmount region of Perthshire and the Moor of Rannoch. These dogs were used to extract vermin from rocks, rats from under the earth and other pests from barns.
Scottish Terriers have the boldness and courage disproportionate to their size. To outsiders the Scottish Terrier can appear somewhat morose and serious, but to their family and friends they are loyal, affectionate and cheerful. Scotties, for all their loyalties to their owners, are independent dogs and require lots of motivation, fun and patience in training.
Health problems most commonly seen in the Scottish Terrier are a particular bone disease of the jaw, a muscle disorder causing cramping and they are more predisposed to certain types of cancer, in particular bladder cancer. As with many breeds, they can also suffer from hereditary eye disorders and so eye testing prior to breeding is important.
Scottish Terriers are undemanding in their exercise requirements and will readily adapt to the given circumstances. An adult dog needs an hour's daily exercise but will happily accept more.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Scottish Terriers need to be professionally stripped three to four times a year, the chest, legs and head being clipped. Between these sessions, the hair should be regularly brushed and combed, especially around the mouth where particles of food can gather on the beard and moustache areas.