The Scottish terrier also known as the Scottie is a breed of dog, initially one of the highland breeds of terrier which were grouped under the name, the Skye terrier, it is one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland. They are an independent breed, with a wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat, the modern breed is thought to be able to trace its lineage back to a single female, named Splinter ii.
The actual origin of a breed as old as the Scottish terrier is obscure and undocumented, there is a disagreement over whether the Skye terriers mentioned in 16th century records actually descended from the forerunners of the scottie or vice/versa. Scottish terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin on farms or to hunt badgers and foxes in the Highlands of Scotland.
By the early 19th century, most dog writers seem to agree that there were two varieties of terrier existing in Britain, a rough haired Scottish terrier and a smooth haired English terrier. The Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye were abundant with short haired terriers or little Skye terriers, towards the end of the 19th century, it was decided that these Scottish terriers should be separated and developed into pure bloodlines and specific breeds. These breeds were separated into two categories, the Dandie Dinmont terriers and the Skye terriers.
They continued to be exhibited in generic groups for several years, and these groups included the ancestors of today s Scottish terriers. The exhibition and judging of dogs required comparison to a breed standard thus the appearance and temperament of the Scottie was documented for the first time.
A small compact short legged dog, the Scottish terrier is sturdily built, of good bone and substance. They have a hard, wiry, water resistant coat and a thick set body which is hung between short, heavy legs. The eyes should be small, bright and piercing, almond shaped not round, they are usually a dark brown colour, the darker the better. The ears are small, pointed and set well up on the skull, covered with soft velvety hair. Eventually the Skye terriers were further divided into what are known today as the Scottish terrier, Skye terrier, West Highland White terrier and the Cairn terrier.
Height at the withers for both male and females should be around 25cm, length from of back, from withers to tail is usually about 28cm, and a well-balanced Scottie dog should weigh from 8.5 to 10kg.
Scottish terriers are quick moving, feisty, territorial and alert, more so than most other breeds, they are also playful, self-assured and intelligent. A fearless breed which can be stubborn, but they are also a very loving dog, it is said that the Scottish terrier only barks when necessary, which makes them a good watch dog.
Two genetic health concerns that may occur in the breed are Von Willebrand disease, and Craniomandibular Osteopathy, a disease which affects the skull and the jaw bone, common eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma can also affect Scottish terriers.