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16 Scottish Terrier Pros & Cons You Should Know

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By Nicole Cosgrove

scottish terrier sitting on couch

Scottish Terrier, often affectionately called “Scotties,” are a highly recognizable and charming breed known for a dignified appearance that is contrasted with a spirited personality. Owning a Scottish Terrier can be a rewarding experience, but like any breed, it comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages or potential challenges.

Read along to find out about the pros and cons of owning a Scottie and get support in deciding if a Scottish Terrier is the right pet for you.


Dapper and Dignified Scotties: An Overview

Scotties are high-energy and inquisitive. They’re a good match for single people and families as long their humans are willing to be patient with training (they can be a bit stubborn) and provide them with adequate exercise. Scotties are a better fit for someone who already has experience with dog ownership.

They’re a good family dog but do better with older children than young ones. Scotties grow to about 10–11 inches tall at the shoulder, weigh 18–22 pounds, and live for about 12–15 years.

scottish terrier dog on grass
Image Credit: LaresaPerlman, Pixabay

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The 8 Pros of Owning a Scottish Terrier

1. Dignified Appearance

Scotties are visually striking with their wiry double coat, erect ears, and distinctive beards. Their dignified appearance commands attention wherever they go.

2. Loyal Companions

Scottish Terriers are fiercely loyal to their owners. They often form deep bonds and are known for their faithfulness and devotion.

Scottish Terrier dog with a red collar and a master on a green lawn
Image Credit: ALIAKSANDRA LITVINSKAYA, Shutterstock

3. Low Shedding

Compared to many other breeds, Scotties are relatively low-shedding canines, making them a good choice for people with allergies or those who prefer a cleaner home.

4. Independent Thinkers

While this can be a challenge, their independent nature means they have a strong sense of self and can be confident and self-reliant.

scottish terrier
Image Credit: Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock

5. Moderate Exercise Needs

Scotties don’t require excessive exercise. A daily walk and some play time are usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. Jogging, while great for humans, is not a good idea for Scotties with their short legs.

6. Watchdog Instincts

They have excellent watchdog instincts and will alert you to any potential intruders with their unique, sharp bark.

Cute black Scottish Terrier dog on green grass taken with copy space
Image Credit: Stephm2506, Shutterstock

7. Adaptable Size

Scottish Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs, making them suitable for both apartments and houses with yards.

8. Longevity

With proper care, Scotties have a relatively long lifespan, often reaching 11 to 13 years or more.

Old Scottish terrier dog in Meadow
Image Credit: Stephm2506, Shutterstock

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The 8 Cons With Owning a Scottish Terrier

1. Stubbornness

Scotties can be strong-willed and stubborn. Training may require patience and consistency to overcome their independent streak. But the effort is well worth it!

2. Potential Aggressiveness

Some Scotties can be territorial or aggressive towards other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Early socialization is crucial to prevent this behavior.

Scottish Terrier dog chasing Jack Russell Terrier dog
Image Credit: Sundays Photography, Shutterstock

3. Grooming Needs

While they don’t shed much, their coat requires regular grooming, including brushing and occasional hand-stripping to maintain its texture.

4. Health Concerns

Scotties can be prone to certain health issues, such as bladder cancer, hip dysplasia, and autoimmune diseases. Regular vet check-ups are essential; preventative maintenance is a key aspect of keeping your pet healthy.

Doting dog owner comforts her Scotty while the vet gives it a shot
Image Credit: Lisa F. Young, Shutterstock

5. Sensitivity to Heat

Due to their thick double coat, Scottish Terriers can be sensitive to heat. They should be kept cool in hot weather to avoid overheating.

6. Digging Tendencies

Scotties are natural diggers; they were initially used to ferret out vermin from their hiding places. If not provided with a designated digging area, they may create craters in your yard.

scottish terrier
Image Credit: Plotitsyna NiNa, Shutterstock

7. Barking

While their watchdog instincts are an advantage, Scotties can be vocal and may bark excessively if not trained to control those impulses.

8. Not Ideal for Families With Young Children

Their independent nature may not make them the best choice for families with very young children who require a more patient and tolerant breed.



Scottish Terriers are a distinctive and lovable breed with a unique set of characteristics. While they make wonderful companions for the right owner, it’s essential to consider both the pros and cons to determine if a Scottie is the right fit for your lifestyle and preferences. With proper training, care, and attention, Scotties can be loyal and delightful members of your family for years to come.

Featured Image Credit: LaresaPerlman, Pixabay

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