The Scottish Terrier, or "Scottie" as it is nicknamed, is one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland. The other four are Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers.
Scotties are probably the most widely known of all the 5 terrier breeds, owing to their tough, compact bodies, long faces, and pronounced beards. One of the world's most famous dogs, in fact, was a Scottie. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved his Scottie, Fala, so much that he was rarely seen in public without him. President Ronald Reagan also owned two Scotties, named Scotch and Soda. These names reflect the Scottie's reputation as a "whiskey dog". Scotties and Westies were used as mascots in an advertising campaign for Black and White whiskey. The campaign was extremely successful, causing many people to buy Scotties and Westies in pairs during its run (my mother included).
The exact origin of this particular breed has been lost, though many of the earliest writings about dogs found in Great Britain mention them. The first dog show with a class for Scotties was held in 1860, and the first registered American Scottie was in 1864.
As with all terriers they were originally bred to aid small game hunters or farmers in Scotland, due to their tenacity and digging ability. They are fiercely independent and hot-tempered dogs.
Scotties are somewhat stand-offish, and usually fiercely devote themselves to only one master, making them excellent watchdogs for single people. More suspicious of strangers than most other dogs, a Scottie will definitely make his feelings known with his sharp (and repeated) bark when announcing visitors. They are extremely active dogs and require a lot of exercise. Always keep a Scottie on a leash when walking him, as his hunting instincts may take over. And since the Scottie is a surprisingly muscular dog for one its size, you may find he can run far faster than you. He is less tolerant of small children than other dogs, but gets along surprisingly well with other pets, though he needs to be trained when young to tolerate cats.
Scotties are traditionally jet in color, but there are also a variety of brindle, rust, and wheaten colored Scotties. While there are some white Scotties in existence, this is not an accepted color for the breed. The legend that Westies originally came from Scottie stock is also incorrect.
Scotties are approximately 11 inches tall, and weigh, on average, 18 to 22 pounds. Their heads are long and straight, much longer than average in proportion to their bodies. Their ears and tail are carried erect. They have a wiry outer coat, with a soft, dense undercoat.
Most of the information found here adapted from information
found at www.akc.org, the website for the American Kennel Club.
Temperament and historical information adapted from the official
Scottish Terrier FAQ, copyright 1995, by Camille Partridge, and from
personal experience with, and loving memories of, "Fanny MacGregor".