Brought up with well-behaved children who respect his independent nature, rights, and space, a Scottie will adjust to their activities and may even appoint himself their guardian. In general, Scotties can be agitated by the quick movements and unexpected noises of children and their friends and become nippy. Rescued Scotties are usually not placed in homes with young children because of this tendency and the lack of information on their background.
Do Scotties shed?
Yes, but not as much as most breeds. The Scottie (and most Terriers) is a double coated dog with an outer coat that is actually a hair as opposed to the fur found on other breeds. The Scottie coat needs regular brushing to remove the soft undercoat and any dead hairs in the outer coat. If this is done regularly, the shedding is minimal.
Are all Scotties black?
No. Scotties come in 3 colors: Black, Brindle, and Wheaten. All meet the breed Standard for the Scottish Terrier and true Scottie people are color blind. Brindle is any multicolor and Wheaten can be a light cream color to as dark as cinnamon. There is no difference in the other aspects of the dog.
Where can I find a white (wheaten) Scottie?
The AKC Standard for the Scottish Terrier states that the Scottie's coat color may be black, wheaten or brindle of any color. The wheaten coat can be very light especially if it has been clippered. Often the Wheaten Scottish Terrier is confused with the West Highland White Terrier, as in the Black and White Ads. They are not the same breed.
Certain Scottie breeders breed specifically to produce Wheaten colored Scotties. The best way is to ask the STCA breeder referral person listed on this website for breeders they may know who do. You can also contact your local Scottie club board members or rescue coordinators to see if they know anyone in your area who breeds Wheatens. Attending dog shows where Scotties are being shown is also a good way to meet the breeders and ask questions. Put yourself on one of their waiting lists and please be prepared to wait. Only about 5-10% of Scotties are Wheaten. You can also request to be notified if a Wheaten Scottie comes into a rescue program.
Should the tail be docked?
The tail of the Scottish Terrier should NEVER be docked. A Scottie tail should be up and groomed into a carrot shape (not a flag). Likewise, Scottie ears are NEVER cropped.
Does this breed require lots of grooming?
Yes. They require regular brushing to prevent knots and remove dead hair and grooming about every 7 weeks to keep their shape and characteristic look. Show dogs are hand stripped, but this technique can get expensive, so many people take courses on how to groom their Scotties. A great reference is the new 2010 STCA Grooming Manual. This manual is available in the Shoppe and provides information on how to group both show and pet scotties. Jacki Forkel has a site with information on How to Groom Your Scottie at Home. Don’t forget routine tooth brushing, ear cleaning and nail clipping, to keep your Scottie healthy and comfortable.
What is stripping?
Hand stripping is when the hair is pulled out, instead of cut, in grooming. This technique simulates the way the coat was pulled out by thorny bushes in their native countryside while in the process of doing their jobs. As it grows back in, the Scottie's outer coat will have a hard, wiry texture. When a Scottie is being shown, it is necessary to strip them, but pet Scotties should be clippered instead. It is much less expensive and time consuming, and more comfortable for the dog. Clipping will usually give the Scottie a velvety feel, as the longer, wiry hairs are cut off.
Are Scotties rare?
They are not rare, but they have not been bred as prolifically as most other breeds. Most Scottie litters are small and many breeders prefer to show their dogs. It can take some time to find an available puppy for sale, so it’s a good idea to get on a breeder’s waiting list. Another good alternative is to apply for a rescue Scottie and potentially help an adult Scottie that is in need of a new home. This is a particularly attractive idea for older people or anyone who doesn’t want to go through housebreaking or the puppy training stages.
What about exercise requirements?
The Scottie is an active breed and can become destructive if not given enough mental and physical stimulation. The short legs don’t make for good a jogging partner, but they are ideal walking companions. Scotties also love to lounge on the backs of couches and in front of windows to observe the world by the hour. Older Scotties are wonderful couch taters.
Are Scotties noisy?
Typically, Scotties are very vocal. They love to bark at squirrels and dogs passing by their home. Also anything on wheels. They are territorial and will announce visitors loudly and repeatedly.
Do they make good obedience dogs?
The Scottie was bred to work independently of human direction, so they make their own decisions. This has given them the reputation of being stubborn or unintelligent - which is not the case. Obedience with a Scottie will take patience and cooporation between you and your Scottie - but can be rewarding and a lot of fun. Scotties can certainly be trained and should learn basic good manners and general behaviors, such as coming when called. Puppy Kindergarten Training is a wonderful opportunity for a young Scottie to be socialized and learn these behaviors.
Do Scotties make good Agility dogs?
Yes, there are many Scotties who gain titles in agility, and it’s a great way to exercise and bond with your dog. Check with the STCA or local shelters for an agility program near you.
What is an Earthdog Trial?
Scotties were originally bred to work underground ridding their owner's property of small creatures. AKC Earthdog Trials are designed to simulate this activity, so Scotties are well suited for this event and usually enjoy the experience. The Scotties are taught to go through a system of tunnels to get to a caged rat at the end (precautions are taken to insure that the rat remains unharmed). The AKC has defined several levels and official AKC Titles are presented for each milestone. Earthdog Trials are a great outdoor event for both you and your Scottie to enjoy. Check the Internet or your local club for an Earthdog training class or event near you.
Do Scotties need a fenced yard?
Scotties have a very strong hunting instinct and cannot be trusted not to chase anything they consider prey. For that reason, they should be safely confined to a fenced area or on a leash at all times. They should never be tied or chained unattended, as they can get into trouble or be harmed.
An electronic fence is not suitable for Scotties. They will easily endure the zap to chase a squirrel or cat out of the fenced area, but then will not return through it to come back into the yard. Many Scotties have wandered off into the street to be killed by a car when they could not get back into their own yard. Electric fences are also dangerous because they do not deter other animals or people from coming into the yard, but will not allow the Scottie to escape to safety. Most rescue groups will want to know if an electric fence is used for security.
Why does my Scottie dig?
He is doing what comes naturally. The Scottish Terrier was originally bred to go to ground, digging for varmints underground. Owners with Scotties that are natural diggers may be interested in activities such as Earthdog Trials. Often Scotties also kick up dirt after relieving themselves. Gardeners may want to fence off a different section of the yard for their Scotties.
Can Scotties swim?
No. Scotties have no fear of water, but with their short legs and heavy bodies, they swim like bricks. They should never be left unsupervised by any body of water. Most rescue Scotties will not be placed in homes with in ground pools unless suitably fenced, as many have drowned.
What are common Scottie health issues?
All breeds have certain health problems which are more prevalent in their breed than in others. For Scotties, these are usually diseases of the liver, Cushing's syndrome, Scottie Cramp, and Transitional Cell Carcinoma. They can also be allergic dogs, so a proper diet is important. Von Willebrand's Disease, a form of hemophilia, is being genetically tested for by many breeders now, so it has become much more rare. The STCA home page has a link to common Scottie health issues. The STCA Health Trust page also has a list of health studies in progress.
What is the typical Scottie lifespan?
Scotties typically live to 12 if they don’t suffer from disease and are well cared for. We’ve noted some that were much older, but this is an average.
Do Scotties chew or lick their paws a lot?
Many Scotties do lick their paws to clean them - and perhaps relax. They will also "trim" their nails (but it is better if you do that). If paw licking or chewing is excessive and causes bare skin or irritation, it is a problem. This kind of licking or chewing can be caused by allergies to food or something the dogs walked on. It can even be chemicals used to clean the floor or carpet, lawn chemicals, salt used to melt snow, or even the detergent or fabric softener used when you do laundry. Often a diet change or wiping their feet with a damp washcloth after their walks will help. Sometimes boredom or distress also cause foot licking or chewing. Nails that are too long or broken can irritate the toes. If your Scottie does this, try to systematically investigate and narrow down the choices.
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