Scottish Terrier

FCI standard Nº 73

Great Britain
Group 3 Terriers
Section 2 Small-sized Terriers
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Monday 18 October 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Last update
Monday 10 January 2011
En français, cette race se dit
Terrier écossais
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Schottischer Terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
Scottish Terrier
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Schotse Terrier



Brief historical summary

The Scottish Terrier Club was formed in 1882, a year after the first standard for the breed was drawn up, and just three years after the start of the breed as we know it today by Capt Gordon Murray. He was strongly supported by the founder and first chairman of the Kennel Club, Mr Sewallis Evelyn Shirley.
The public image of this short-legged terrier from the Highlands is often that of a dour Scot, but to his family and friends he is affectionate and cheerful although he will soon rouse himself at the slightest sound, with protectiveness as he prepares to guard his house and home.

General appearance

Thick-set, of suitable size to go to ground, which would preclude dogs of excessive body weight, short-legged, alert in carriage and suggestive of great power and activity in small compass. Head gives impression of being long for size of dog. Very agile and active in spite of short legs.

Important proportions

Skull and foreface of equal length.

Behaviour / temperament

Loyal and faithful. Dignified, independent and reserved, but courageous and highly intelligent. Bold, but never aggressive.


Cranial region

Long without being out of proportion to size of dog. Carried on muscular neck of moderate length showing quality.
Nearly flat. Length of skull enabling it to be fairly wide and yet retain narrow appearance. 
Slight but distinct stop between skull and foreface just in front of eye.

Facial region

Black. Large, and, in profile, the line from nose towards chin appears to slope backwards.
Foreface strongly constructed and deep throughout.
Jaws and teeth
Teeth large with perfect and regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Cheek bones not protruding.
Almond-shaped, dark brown, fairly wide apart, well set under eyebrows with keen, intelligent expression.
Neat, fine texture, pointed, erect and set on top of skull but not too close together. Large, wide-based ears highly undesirable.


Muscular and of moderate length showing quality.


Straight and level.
Proportionately short and very muscular.
Muscular and deep.
Fairly broad and hung between forelegs. Well rounded ribs flattening to deep chest and carried well back. Powerfully coupling ribs to hindquarters.


Moderate length giving general balance to dog, thick at root and tapering towards tip. Set on with upright carriage or slight bend.



Brisket well in front of forelegs.
Long, sloping.
Must not be out nor placed under body.
Straight, well boned.
Good size, well padded, toes well arched and close-knit, forefeet slightly larger than hind feet.


Remarkably powerful for size of dog. Big, wide buttocks.
Upper thigh
Well bent.
Hocks short, strong, turning neither in nor out.
Hind feet
Good size, well padded, toes well arched and close-knit, hind feet slightly smaller than forefeet.

Gait and movement

Smooth and free, straight both back and front with drive from behind and level gait throughout.


Close-lying, double coat; undercoat short, dense and soft; outer coat harsh, dense and wiry, together making a weather-resisting covering.
Black, wheaten or brindle of any shade.

Size and weight

Height at withers
25 – 28 cms.
8,5 - 10,5 kgs.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

The French are not great connoisseurs of Terriers. At most, if they are asked to name a few familiar breeds, apart from the popular Fox, they do not fail to name the Scottish Terrier (the Scottish Terrier). They should think before Cairn, Westie or Airedale, they have more opportunity to cross in the street.

But here it is: the very stylized form of the Scottish (a rectangle for the body, from which emerges only a tail pointing vertically, and another rectangle for the head, surmounted by triangular ears), black in addition, is memorized very easily.

This silhouette was bound to inspire a draftsman: in this case, Pol Rab, in the thirties, whose facetious Rie, fox-haired Fox all white, and Raç, Scottish all-black, acquired fame. At one point, Rac almost became the common name of the Scottish Terrier. Since then, a label of whiskey has taken over so that we do not forget the Scottish. Moving from cartoons to advertising, the breed has simply changed partners: it is now associated with the immaculate Westie. The whiskey brand in question takes care to recall its specific Scottish origin. Moreover, the Scottish, affectionately called "Scottie" by the British, was called a "Scotch Terrier" moment.

This animal, so singular in all respects (not only for its appearance), is it very old? We can not say that it really is, considering its name of Scottish Terrier, which dates only from 1887, or its typical silhouette and its black color, dating back to 1920 at the earliest.

There is no doubt that Scottish Terriers have been part of the landscape and traditions of the rugged Highlands for many centuries. This type of dog was already known there, at the time of the Stuarts, at least. A joker from Scotland even claimed that "the Scottish Terrier lived in the Highlands when Europe was under Roman occupation, and even when Abraham was on his way to Canaan".

Then, as for most other dog breeds, it was first the working qualities of the Terriers that interested: their role was to hunt foxes, badgers and rabbits, and they had to be small enough to get in. in the burrows, preferably with a rough coat allowing them not to fear the weather. But, above all, they had to be brave, pugnacious, biting and robust to any event.

It may be thought that there were different varieties, depending on local preferences or the chances of mating. Practically, it is impossible to recognize between the different descriptions and the various denominations of the Scottish Terriers, which multiplied throughout the nineteenth century. It is very difficult to determine who was the ancestor of Cairn, Scottish, Westie, Skye and Dandie Dinmont, or even to say whether one of them could be the father of all the others. In fact, on the one hand, these races as we know them only resemble far enough to the Scottish Terriers of the "old time", on the other hand, there was, during most of the last century, a total confusion in their denomination. Thus the Scottish, before receiving this name, was known as Aberdeen Terrier, Highland Terrier, Skye Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Scotch Terrier and others.

The temptation is therefore great to follow the advice of Thomas Bell, who, in 1837, in History of British Quadrupeds, distinguished only two kinds of Terriers: on one side, the English Terriers, described as rather high on legs (such the Fox or the Manchester), smooth-haired most often, frequently of black and fire color; on the other side, Scottish terriers, low-legged, mostly shaggy in appearance, and of very different hues. However, we must mention some contemporary works of Bell, who have tried to see more clearly. Thomson Gray, in 1833 in Dogs of Scot / and St. John in Highlands Sports, 1846, both describe a type of Terrier that corresponds quite well to Scottish, but which they call Skye Terrier. This denomination will also have a hard life since Hugh Dalziel himself, in 1881, still uses it in his monumental Britisli Dogs, applying it to a hard-haired Terrier. On this subject, The Sportsman's Cabinet (1803) provided interesting explanations: according to their author, the name of Skye Terrier could designate three types of Terriers, one of which was naked. However, the illustration he gave of the latter is more reminiscent of an Irish Terrier than a Scottish. The origin of the name Aberdeen Terrier is easier to determine: it comes from the fact that a breeder from this town, a certain Van Best (called in some Ian Best books), knew at the beginning of the 19th century a beautiful reputation for his breeding of Terriers.

It should not be inferred from this development that the Scottish first appeared on the Isle of Skye or Aberdeen. In fact, there is no serious clue to its birth in a particular corner of Scotland, and its first steps seem to have been lost for a long time in the mists.

In fact, this little dog only began to emerge in the last third of the last century, and he invites us to follow in his footsteps. In 1868 he was introduced as Bright-haired Skye at the Brighton Exhibition, and in 1876 at the Crystal Palace in London, he entered special classes. A club was formed in 1882 to promote the breed, without the dogs still agree on the name to give him. The Scottish Terrier will only be really adopted after the 1887 edition of the Crystal Palace exhibition.

As for its appearance, things will not be clarified until 1889 with the publication of the first standard, written under the direction of two most famous breeders, Mac Brayne and Irvine. The points of discussion were not lacking: his ears he had to wear straight or semi-drooping, his body, more or less elongated, his feet. Its color, however, does not raise controversy: the Scottish is not yet black, but brindle on a red background, with a black mask. In fact, if the brindle are very tight, the dog may look almost black, especially that, with a hard coat, the welts are hardly detached. Later, the arrival of the Cairn and the Westie will force the supporters of each other to specify the particularities of each.

What was the Scottish look at the end of the last century? An engraving of Stock Keeper, representing one of the first champions, Kilde, shows us a very robust dog with a moderately elongated body; well camped on straight limbs and not excessively short; his coat, dark in color, is not long, he is lying on the body but seems very hard; it forms a collar on the chest, fringes on the buttocks, and a beard and whiskers on the muzzle. The tail is quite short, carried in saber, almost vertical, the ears are well erected and pointed, but small. The profane will undoubtedly find that Scottish-Ia does not look that far enough to the one he knows, but the specialist will be able to see, he, that the bulk of his morphology has not changed radically since. What changes everything, one would be tempted to say, it is obviously the grooming, which makes appear the head longer and the legs shorter. Certainly, but these two characteristics are also the result of a selective breeding.

The silhouette in straight lines of the Scottish was really at the point that in the early twenties, which was also his first success. In Great Britain, its popularity would culminate in the thirties, the Kennel Club counting the record number of 4,531 births in 1935. In the United States, the race was large enough in 1925 to justify the drafting of a standard "American "(Whose essential difference is in the paragraph weight, which must be lower). The Scottish was also noticed in continental Europe, especially in France, where it seems that he arrived a little before the Great War to become really fashionable fifteen years later.

In fashion, for the Scottish, does not mean excessively widespread. "It is the dog of the elegant world, of the big city, which one meets everywhere in Paris: in the streets, on the boulevards, in the wood, in the department stores, serving mainly as a complement to the feminine elegance", could write J. Dhers.

Of course, a Scottish was a stooge very much in line with a Jean Poiret dress. But the stripped-down style, with the sharp angles of the Scottish dog seems to correspond as much to the cubist art, to the sober functionality of the decoration and the furniture of the Thirties: it could have been designed by a Francis Jourdain to evolve in the living rooms and offices that this great designer conceived. It seems doubtful that British breeders and groomers were on the lookout for the artistic currents of their time, whether they were inspired by the muse that blew their ideas to the creators of the years 1925-1935. But this adequacy explains at least the success of the breed, a success that will continue long after the Second World War. It is true that the famous Fala, Scottish of the American president Roosevelt, came to a point so that the Anglo-Saxons do not forget the race.

Curious fate as that of this dog, small but extraordinarily powerful and courageous, born to fight with little wild beasts in their dark dens, burrowing relentlessly the earth and the mud, wandering whole days among the piles of rocks, and who, Suddenly, he felt a metamorphosis in himself: almost fifty years later, he had become that chic dog he has never ceased to be since. The Scottish is undoubtedly one of the strongest personalities of the tribe of the Terriers, which does not lack however "heads burned" and "strong in mouth". It is not for nothing that, across the Channel, it has been given the nickname "rooster North".

No other dog seems more secure and dignified. He always seems to know what he wants and where he goes, to show a deep stubbornness: one feels that it is totally useless to shout at him, and even more to hit him. This is what he looks like: a little cold and disdainful, completely snobbish, suspicious or at least indifferent to strangers (he is a good guard on occasion). Certainly, we can find him a little funny, when he moves sum slippery, he trots to the economy, good Scottish, but nobody would have the idea to make fun of him, as he imposes, despite its small size. In the private, this independent and casual dog, who is not afraid of anything or anyone, has a very different personality. Good in his skin, he is in a good mood unfailing. This gentleman, who snubbed visitors, then becomes a cheerful luron, a real clown: mischievous, full of humor, expert in ruses to achieve his ends.

He is not a model of obedience, that's for sure, but he knows very well the limits that must not be exceeded. We must only give him the time to honorably leave this situation where he must obey. If he is not an automaton or a servile servant, he is not a dog difficult to live with. He does not seek conflicts. On the contrary, this insurance allows him to leave him alone at home without him panicking and committing damage. It is also a dog that adapts to all environments, in the city or in the countryside, and in all climates. Confident dreamed of a single person, he can listen, stay calm, give affection without becoming "sticky" or noisy; he has no equal to brighten an empty house while knowing how to be discreet when necessary. In a house with children, it is the clown who participates in all games, but who knows how to be respected by the little devils: no question of considering it as a stuffed animal, he will call to order the one who claims to shoot him ears.

In his well-dressed outfit, he is a weighted city dweller who can be taken everywhere without making a mess. He seems to have always lived in a very "cozy" interior. But give him the opportunity to hunt the field mouse or the mole: in no time at all, he threw the sting to the nettles, and found it muddy from head to toe. This lord plays the petty bourgeois and the peasant with equal ease. It is probably appropriate for teachers with a certain personality and who like to have in front of them a spontaneous, frank, extrovert and happy. With the Scottish, they find "who to talk to" in every sense of the word, but there will never be problems. Its robust, even powerful appearance goes hand-in-hand with unhealthy health. He does not suffer from cold or heat. In addition, he knows how to make peace with the cat of the house.

His grooming (for a pet dog) is no more restrictive and frequent than that of a Poodle, for example. But the methods to be used are entirely different: it must be epilated (technique without pain) and not shorn. By passing it every two months, at the groomer, his teachers will be sure to have a sleek and clean dog, which leaves no hair on the carpet or on the chair (which he occupies as soon as they have their back turned).

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