History and Development
It has been said many times that the origin of the Scottish Terrier dates back several centuries. On this assumption, it is clear that if length of genealogy counts for anything at all, the Scottish Terrier is a real aristocrat in the canine world.
It is, of course, generally accepted that some other breeds of terriers have been described as “Terriers of Scotland”. When one considers Scotland with its Highlands and Lowlands and unique variety of terrain, can it be questioned that a number of breeds of terriers were produced for specialized work in certain areas. Without controversy, therefore, it can be claimed that the Scottish Terrier (or Aberdeen Terrier as he was at one lime described) as we know him today is descended in a direct line from terriers bred for character, pluck and determination and for a particular purpose. Notwithstanding refinements which, largely for show purposes, have crept into the breed, many Scottish Terriers of today could well do the job their ancestors were bred to do so many years ago. As already indicated, the Scottie is not a new breed; it has established itself as a firm favorite over a long period.
Scottish Terrier: Color
The Standard of the breed allows for black, wheaten or brindle of any color. Many breeders find that the would-be purchasers of puppies as companions have the quite erroneous belief that a Scottish Terrier should be black. It is, in fact, generally accepted that the original color of the Scottie was brindle of various shades. In recent years several exceedingly good dogs have been produced, and reached championship status, which were wheaten in color. Black is very well established at the present time, although dark brindle may well be still predominant. The texture of the coat is of paramount importance. In general brindles have been considered more likely to possess the all-important double weather-resisting covering. It must be acknowledged however that the black coat has improved in density and texture to such an extent, perhaps, that in texture there is little to choose between the different colors allowed by the Standard.
Scottish Terrier: Care
Well reared puppies have every chance of growing into strong, healthy and happy adults. This would hardly need saying but for the fact that so many prospective purchasers often look for the cheapest obtainable. They are tempted to buy a puppy from a dealer who cares little for the vital importance of correct feeding in the early days. Such a puppy can cause much distress to a family as well as untold expenditure on veterinary fees. Established breeders using good breeding stock rear puppies with care and adequate diet. It is from this source that a puppy should be purchased, whether for show purposes or a companion. A well reared Scottish Terrier should under normal circumstances give little trouble regarding health. He is, of course, an outdoor dog, but as long as he has the opportunity of plenty of fresh air he is very adaptable to living indoors.
At about three or four months the puppy coat should be removed with finger and thumb or a suitable “stripping” comb, leaving him with a short new coat. Between six and twelve months he may require the then dead top coat removing – using the same procedure as with the puppy coat. To keep a Scottie tidy, clean and healthy, this procedure usually requires to be carried out about twice a year. For show purposes more expert attention is required and a prospective exhibitor would do well to seek the assistance of someone with experience and also become a member of one of the many Clubs for the breed. In this way much valuable knowledge will be obtained. The importance of regular combing and brushing cannot be over-emphasized – any dog feels better for it. If a Scottie has the right kind of coat it will be found that with regular attention in this way it is quite easy to keep him tidy. The Scottish Terrier is a sturdy, compact little dog looking as though he could do his intended job. For show purposes, he should be in good bloom and by careful trimming made to display his many attributes, but he should certainly not be over-trimmed. Trimming tends to be a little too severe these days. It should be discouraged.
Scottish Terrier: Character
Many people have said “once a Scottie owner – always a Scottie owner”. Tin’s is no surprise, for not only is he a most adaptable fellow in every way but he really makes himself one of the family in a very short time. He can display a stubborn independence which is to be respected. He is easily snubbed when scolded, but just as gay as ever when he knows all is forgiven. Contrary to a fairly common belief, he is not quarrelsome, nor vicious. He will, however, stand no nonsense and will fight it he has to, but he’ll fight cleanly and is never treacherous. He is a real character and a gentleman. Mrs. Dorothy Gabriel, well known in the breed some years ago, and a great lover of Scottish Terriers, wrote: “The character of the Scottish Terrier is wonderful. He is essentially a one-man dog, loving his home and his owner and having absolutely no use for outsiders. He is always ready for a long ramble or a day’s ratting, hut if his master wishes to be quiet at home, then he is content to remain with him, lying peacefully at his feet, the very acme of repose. As a guard it is impossible to better him. He gives his warning and if it passes unheeded, he shows very definitely that he is there and in charge. He is self-centered, deep natured, with a soul both for laughter and tragedy. As a sportsman he is unsurpassed. He will go to earth with the best, and to my knowledge several of the breed have been shot over and have proved to have mouths of velvet. Anything that means ‘fur’ he will kill, from badger to the lowly house mouse, and woe betide the marauding cat that crosses his path; but his own cat is sacred, a thing set apart from the rest of its kind. There is nothing frothy or shallow in the nature of a Scottie. He never forgets – his heart may break with grief, but he will not yowl about it. He is absolutely honorable, incapable of a mean or petty action, large hearted and loving, with the soul and mind of an honest gentleman”.
Scottish Terrier: Standards
There does not appear to be any material difference between the Standard of the breed as approved by the Kennel Clubs in England and America and that adopted in other countries.
The head should be long, but without being out of proportion to the size of the dog. The skull should be clean and nearly flat with a drop between skull and foreface just in trout of the eye. The nose should be large, the eyes almond shaped, fairly wide apart and set deeply. The ears should be neat, pointed and erect. The neck should be muscular and of moderate length. Long sloping shoulder – the forelegs straight and well boned, the feet of good size and well padded. Chest – fairly broad and hung between the forelegs; the body, well rounded ribs carried well back; the back, proportionately short and very muscular; the hindquarters remarkably powerful for the size of the dog (10″ at the shoulder; 19 to 22 lbs. for males, 18 to 21 lbs. for females). The tail should be of moderate length. Two coats – undercoat, short, dense, and soft; outer coat, harsh, dense and wiry. Movement – agile and active with easy, straightforward and free action. The ideal Scottish Terrier should suggest great power and activity in small compass. Overall balance is of paramount importance.
Selections from the book: “The World Encyclopedia of Dogs” (1971)