The Rough and Ready Scottish Terrier

The Rough and Ready Scottish Terrier

By Michael Russell

Scotland is a rugged land and the dogs which lived in the country centuries ago grew up as rugged and crusty as the land. There was no established Scottish Terrier for many years but there has always been a “Scottish Terrier type” of dog. It is just that there was no attempt at developing type and so dogs that lived and worked as the rodent catchers and tough little watchdogs of the farmers simply were born looking like their sires and dams. The Terriers of the Aberdeen region were the most well established type but were generally just dubbed the “Aberdeen Terrier” without any real attempt at development of a pure strain. Although there was a preponderance of this Aberdeen Terrier type it was not an established breed until 1879, when Captain Gordon Murray decided to establish type in the numerous terriers that were present in the Aberdeen region. He began with the terriers who had the long hair and a long face and a square jaw and within five years he had perfected a true to type terrier which he then called the Scottish Terrier. The Scottish Terrier Club was established in 1882 and the first of the Scotties began to enter the Show ring at that time.

The Scotty is not a “toy” dog. Although it is a small terrier, reaching a height of 11 inches at the shoulder, it is a sturdy dog with much substance. The head is impressive, for he has long jaws and a blocky appearance to the skull. The nose has a bit of a roman look to it and the fore face hair falls well down over the eyes in prominent eyebrows and covers the top of the nose, he also has a long beard. The neck is well muscled and trimmed of long coat but the rest of the body has a stiff and flay lying wiry coat. Many people think that the Scottish Terrier is always black, however, grizzled, wheaten, gray and brindle are allowed. The Scotty should present the appearance of strength and determination both in its structure and in its temperament.

Scotties have a particular health problem known as “Scotty Cramp” , a sort of a short seizure which remains a problem with the breed although studies relating to this problem have been done and progress is being made. It is important that when breeding, dogs with this familial tendency not be used for breeding.

Scotty Terriers have enjoyed a continuing popularity over many years. They have belonged to many famous people, among them President Roosevelt. It is known that Hitler presented Eva Braun with two Scotties. The Scotty possesses the typical terrier attitude and does not bow to any other dog when it comes to a confrontation. However they should never show aggression to people without just cause. They are inquisitive and active, not the sort of dog to lie around much until they actually reach an older age. The Scotty is suspicious of strangers and needs to make overtures on its own time, but when it has found favor with a person, it will remain that persons faithful friend for life. They are often a “one person” or “one family” breed. They are generally very willing to go anywhere and do anything…the sort of dog that will settle in wherever it is as long as it is with its human companion to whom it gives its total and true devotion.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs

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