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5 Different Types of Scottish Terriers (with Pictures)

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

West Highland White Terrier

When you hear the term “Scottish Terrier,” you might think that it’s a particular breed—and you’re partially right! However, five breeds fall under the umbrella of the Scottish Terrier.

Here, we will discuss these interesting and adorable little breeds! All of these canine compadres hail from their native home of Scotland and have tons of interesting characteristics. Let’s explore the details.

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The 5 Types of Scottish Terriers

1. Scottish Terrier

scottish terrier
Image Credit: TesaPhotography, Pixabay

As the name implies, the Scottie is from Scotland, and this pretty dog dates all the way back to 1500. These little cuties were once fierce hunters tracking badgers and foxes!


True Scotties are known for their vibrant personalities—very bold, courageous, and spirited. A true terrier, these dogs have a very human-like character and are much-loved by dog owners everywhere.

These persistent cuties make for a lively companion that keeps you on your toes. Scotties love adventure—even more when their human is with them. These little dogs are super smart and dignified.

However, they can be a little barky and territorial. They might not be the best-suited playmates for small kids either, as they can be quite bossy. However, they make perfect additions to homes with single owners, retired couples, and older children.

Physical Appearance

Scotties are very solid, compact dogs that have a strong stance. They have longer snouts and short little legs with perfectly wiry double coats.

Scotties come in the following coat colors:
  • Black
  • Wheaten
  • Brindle

Exercise Needs

Scotties are very active little dogs, but they don’t require extensive exercise. One long jaunt every day does the job. They do like using their sniffers, as they were bred to be hunting dogs.

So always ensure you’re in a familiar area if you let your Scottie off a leash. Once they’re hot on the trail, they could scamper off in search of a squirrel, your other small little scamper.


Scotties can have health issues, such as:
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy
  • Portosystemic shunts
  • Cushing’s disease

2. Skye Terrier

black Skye Terrier sitting on grass
Image Credit: Lourdes Photography, Shutterstock

The Skye Terrier takes its name from the lovely Isle of Skye in Scotland. In the 1600s, farmers trained these brave hearts to chase off smaller game like badgers, protecting farm life. These dogs are very much dwindling in numbers but are still a beloved breed among enthusiasts.


These little dogs have a typical terrier personality—brave, headstrong, and personable. These dogs are said to have a very dependent temperament in their early life.

If you want a very well-socialized, outgoing personality, it’s best to expose them to as many new people and pets as you can during the puppy stages. These dogs can make excellent companions for children and older adults in these cases.

However, the Skye Terrier can be quite feisty. If not properly socialized, they can be a little too much to handle for some little kids. Due to their size, they make good candidates for apartment living.

Physical Appearance

Surprisingly, the looks of the Skye Terrier haven’t changed over the years. The AKC speculates that these dogs have maintained the same looks for the last four centuries.

Some colors of a Skye Terrier include:
  • Black
  • Fawn
  • Dark gray
  • Light gray
  • Blue

Exercise Needs

Skye Terriers are pretty moderate in terms of exercise needs. They definitely like to romp around but only require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. This works for many folks who want to go on a morning and evening stroll.

One thing is for certain; the Skye Terrier loves adventure. So they will love to go out and explore new sites! Due to their terrier nature, they love to dig! So make sure to secure those backyard fences.


Some health issues in this particular breed include:
  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Allergies
  • Luxating patella
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Thyroid disease

3. Cairn Terrier

7Cairn Terrier
Image Credit: hazelw90, Pixabay

You might recognize the adorable Cairn Terrier from the popular movie The Wizard of Oz. Toto was a main star and a prime example of exactly what a Cairn Terrier is. Predating this popular film, these pups originated in the Isle of Skye in Scotland, stemming from their Skye Terrier cousins.


Cairn Terriers are very spirited little dogs with larger-than-life personalities. If you purchase the Cairn Terrier, you will get to know quickly how much they like to test your patience. Because of their intelligence and quick energy, they will impress you with your intelligence and potentially outwit you at every turn.

While some people find those challenging, others admire these traits in the breed. Folks enjoy this terrier for its knack for new adventures and chipper spirit. They tend to be very happy-go-lucky and might even be a little feisty from time to time.

This is certainly not the kind of dog that will get pushed around. So, because of their assertive nature, they make the best pets for kids 6 years and older.

Physical Appearance

The Cairn Terrier looks much like it’s Skye Terrier cousin. However, they have a shaggy coat that is water resistant.

Colors of Cairn Terriers include:
  • Black
  • Cream
  • Grey
  • Brindle
  • Wheaten
  • Red

Exercise Needs

Unlike their Skye relatives, Cairn Terriers require more daily exercise. These little cuties love to be on the go and will constantly be ready for their daily walk or a trip to the dog park. They should get roughly 60 minutes of exercise per day.


Cairn Terriers can have all sorts of health issues, including:
  • Dental issues
  • Obesity
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Diabetes

4. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier walking on grass
Image credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is an Anglo-Scottish breed dating back to the 1600s. Initially, they were used for hunting otters and badgers but have become beloved family companions since.


The Dandie Dinmont is a calmer terrier breed. So if you love the look of terriers but don’t necessarily enjoy their hyper nature,  this might be a good option. These little guys are very good watch dogs, alerting you with a deep, husky bark that is surprising for their size.

These little dogs are often described as devoted, affectionate, and friendly. Even though they are watchful of their household, they are typically not high-strung or overly vocal. These traits make them exceptional dogs for basically any living situation, including apartments.

On the downside, they can be typical terriers and exhibit stubbornness and independence, which can get them into trouble. But since they are eager to please owners, these behaviors are usually curbed quite easily.

Physical Appearance

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a rough-coated breed with a long slender body and short legs. While they carry the same basic features as many terriers, they are slightly longer than some.

Dandie Dinmont Terriers can be the following colors:
  • Mustard
  • Pepper

Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of Dandies are minimal at best. These dogs are quite happy with 30 minutes of solid exercise per day. They will enjoy leisurely walks and backyard ramps. Some of them can be more high-strung than others, but generally, they are quite satisfied with low to moderate physical outlets.


This amazing dog is almost completely disease or illness free! They are incredibly healthy, and the only significant issue in the breed is lymphoma, which is still quite rare.

5. West Highland White Terrier

west highland white terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Nixx Photography, Shutterstock

The West Highland White Terrier, otherwise known as the Westie, comes from Scotland like its other terrier cousins. These pups emerged in the 20th century, bred to ward off rodents on farms.


The Westie is a fiercely independent pup that will challenge you at every turn. They have an enormous amount of intelligence and are very alert to everything happening in their surroundings.

Even though they are loving and loyal to their owners, they will quickly investigate anything around them with curiosity and intention. These dogs are determined and tough and love to chase almost anything. They make excellent candidates for games like fetch or scavenger hunts.

Amusing and a ton of fun, these dogs make good candidates for kids and older folks alike with proper training. However, they are very willful and require firm training.

Physical Appearance

Westies have thick double coats that require moderate grooming. The colors of West Highland White Terriers include only white—as the name implies. However, the skin can be black, but the overcoat is always white.

Exercise Needs

Westies are quite peppy little dogs. They love to be on the go and require approximately one hour of exercise per day. They will gladly accompany you on any car ride, dog park trip, or town walk. They can even make great jogging companions!


Westies have the following health issues:
  • Luxating patella
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Swollen jaw
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

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Final Thoughts

Of all five of these terriers from Scotland, which are your favorite? It’s hard to pick just one as they are each unique and adorable in their own right. It’s so interesting to see just how different and similar these breeds can be.

Many of them are direct descendants of one another and share a slew of attributes. They have shared traits like alertness, loyalty, and friendliness. One thing is for certain; they will certainly keep you on your toes.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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