The Rise of the Scottish Terrier Breed

“For it is the new or novice fancier upon whom any breed must depend chiefly for its popularity. The old ones depart or die, although in the particular case of the Scottish Terrier, it is invariably the latter rather than the former event that causes severance of relationship between man and dog. The Diehard holds them till death. Once a Scot owner, always a Scot owner, for no other breed can quite fill his unique place.” 1926 excerpt from Feild and Fancy Magazine written by Mr. Vinton Breese

The following is a brief timeline of just a few of the highlighted events that promoted and preserved our Scottish Terrier Breed. To learn more, a list of suggested article links have been included below.

Early 1800’s

1835 Painting by James Robertson

The Scottish Terrier – by various names – has been indigenous to Scotland for a thousand years or more and it is thought the original stock was brought in by the early Celts from Europe.

In the Victorian era only two types of dogs were preferred. The elegant sporting dogs for hunting or the small fashionable toys for companionship. The Terriers were generally considered too rough looking and too independent/untrainable for the upper class.

On June 28, 1859, the first public dog show was held for entertainment in the town of Newcastle, U.K. Only Pointers and Setters participated in this show because these were the most highly prized dog breeds of the day for the upper class paying customer.

In the early 1800’s there was little concern over what a non-descript Terrier looked like. The feature most prized by the men of the day was ability to rid the farms and fields of destructive vermin. For sport, farmers would gather the best of these dogs and wager on their favorites.


The victorian era and the fancy of dog shows brought the breeds into the public eye for the first time. Dogs became prized not for what they could do but for what they looked like. Owning and being seen with a pedigree dog conveyed class and status.  A royal’s favoritism of one breed over another could mean becoming popular or disappearing.

Late 1800’s

In 1880 Mr. James Morrison and Mr. Thompson Gray drew up the first standard for the Scottish Terrier. The working qualities of the breed were the main emphasis, but primarily portrayed the dog we know today as our Scottish Terrier, originally being picked for their gameness rather than for their looks.

Dog Shows started out as a novelty side show at livestock fairs or a comparison of a hunters’ dog merits at the local pub in the 1850’s. By the late 19th century, dog shows had become a money making way of entertaining and educating the public. They became major events attended mostly by the wealthy and held at grand exhibition halls. It was here that fanciers of their chosen breeds could promote their dogs and, if winning their classes, could prove their merits as well.

In 1883, the first Scottish Terriers were imported to America from the United Kingdom by John Naylor. His imports, Tam Glen and Bonnie Belle, showed in Pittsburgh in the spring of 1883, entered in a class for Rough-Haired Terriers. There was little public interest, and in 1889, unable to financially support his passion anymore, John Naylor gave up his efforts to promote the breed.


When Tiree was imported and became the first American champion in 1898, our Club was formed. We adopted the standards written by the Scottish Terrier Club of Scotland and with a few revisions the last standard was framed in 1947 and is still the standard today with few amendments.


The first formal dog show in the United States was held in 1877, sponsored by the Westminster Kennel Club. This new venue of entertainment propelled the Scottie into American homes and changed their lives. Owning and showing pedigree dogs became a popular pastime for all genders.

In 1891, Henry Brooks and Oliver Ames took up the reins of bringing Scotties to America with their imports. They formed a partnership in Wankie Kennels and introduced Champion Tiree to the show ring. Although they won ribbons competing against themselves there was still no propagation of the Scottish Terrier in America and they gave up importing and exhibiting.

James Little of Newcastle Kennels is credited with keeping the breed going where other kennels had become discouraged.

Early 1900’s

The Scottish Terrier Club of America was elected a member of the American Kennel Club in 1900 which at the close of that year had a total membership of twenty-five.

The Scottish Terrier Club of America owes its being to the enthusiasm and hard work of two gentlemen, Dr. Fayette C. Ewing and Mr. J. Steele Mackenzie, who brought together the little group of Scottie lovers who were struggling to improve and popularize their beloved Diehard.

Francis G. Lloyd became involved in the Scottish Terrier breed at the start of the 1900’s importing and showing a large number of dogs. He established Walescott kennels and served as President of the newly established American Club for the Scottish Terrier. His name is honored on the most prestigious trophy awarded by the club. Reading the names on this trophy is to read a history of the Scottish Terrier in the United States, since the names go back to 1921.

Mid 1900’s

Dog shows and dog showing became a very popular event for enthusiasts and the general public to attend. It was an opportunity for a family outing to go see and learn about different breeds of dogs.

The Scottish Terrier has been one of the most recognized iconic breeds of dogs. The dog has been used in some of the biggest advertising campaigns of the 1900’s.

Large kennels of dogs were established with kennel managers running these facilities and breeding top winning dogs for Americans to purchase for show and companionship.

Popularity of the Scottish Terrier was catapulted with the publicity of President Roosevelt’s Fala. FDR was rarely seen without him. He had his own secretary to answer all his fan mail.

1950’s Monopoly Scottie token piece was introduced when Roosevelt was in office with Fala. It is one of most popular game pieces and still exists today.