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rec.pets.dogs: Scottish Terriers Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/scotties
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Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997

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                               Scottish Terriers

   Camille Partridge, Gaelforce Scottish Terriers
   Copyright 1995 by the author.
   Revision History
     * vWB genetic test information added June '96 [CTM]
Table of Contents

     * Description
     * Frequently Asked Questions
     * The Standard
     * Affiliations and Recognitions
     * Medical Information
     * Resources

   The Scottish Terrier is one of the descendants of the Old Scotch
   Terrier, along with the Dandie Dinmont, Cairn, and West Highland White
   Terriers. The exact origins of the breed are obscure, but a dog of the
   general description dates back to some of the earliest treatises on
   dogs in Britain. The low stature and wiry coat have always been
   important characteristics to the original purpose of the breed, which
   was to hunt and kill the various species of wildlife that made life
   hard for the Scottish farmer and crofter. These species included fox,
   badger, wildcat, weasel, otter, and the ubiquitous rat. Losing one or
   two lambs could mean the difference between eating well that winter
   and starving to the poor farmer, and so a dog was developed that had
   exceptional strength and courage, in a compact, tough package. These
   traits are still the hallmark of the breed today.
Frequently Asked Questions

   _Do Scotties shed?_
     All dogs shed, but the wire-coated terriers, which includes the
     Scotties, grow hair differently than many dogs, so they shed less
     than the short haired breeds.
   _Are they good with children?_
     Yes, if the child is old enough to respect the dog's body, and to
     understand that the dog has feelings, too. Scotties will generally
     try to hide from an abusive child, but will bite if cornered, or
     pushed hard. For this reason, they are not generally recommended
     for families with very small children.
   _Does this breed require lots of grooming? _
     In a word, yes! They require regular brushing, and trimming four to
     six times a year. Regular bathing is NOT recommended, however, as
     the skin dries out too easily. Show dogs are stripped, the hair
     being pulled out when long and dead, or blown, but pets should be
     clipped, as stripping is time-consuming and expensive at a
     groomers'. The regular things such as tooth brushing, nail
     clipping, and anal gland care are easily done at home, and clipping
     isn't hard, either, if one wants to invest in the clippers. Related
     to skin care is the flea question. I wage nuclear war on fleas, as
     the breed is relatively sensitive to them. A Scot can chew itself
     almost bald in next to no time, trying to get one flea!
   _What about exercise requirements?_
     The Scot is actually an active breed, and can become destructive if
     not given enough mental and physical stimulation. The short legs do
     mean less walking for the human partner to get the dog its daily
     requirements ;-). Seriously, this is not a good jogging or marathon
     partner, but an ideal walking companion. ON LEASH, please, as the
     hunting instincts can draw the dog after a rabbit, into the path of
     a car. The Scot is tough for it's size, but not that tough!
   _Are Scotties noisy?_
     They can be, but this varies alot within the breed. They are
     territorial, and will announce visitors repeatedly and loudly.
     Human visitors they know are welcome, but animal visitors, invited
     or not, are repulsed with serious fury! One cannot consider the
     Scot a serious protection breed, but they will inflict damage to
     even the most threatening person, if they feel their owner is in
     danger. The teeth are bigger than you would suppose.
   _What sex makes the best pet?_
     Most of the people who contact me assume that a female pup will
     make the best pet. Since both sexes will be neutered, the former
     reasons for this being the case no longer apply. In general, I feel
     that the male pup makes a better pet for most people. Bitches I
     have owned tend to be more reserved with strangers, while the male
     dogs I have owned, bred or rescued have been more outgoing and
     happy-go-lucky. From my experience, I recommend the male as the
     "better pet", although there will be other opinions among other
     fanciers and breeders.
   _Do they make good obedience dogs?_
     If you are looking for a High-In-Trial, no. A challenge, yes. The
     Scot is one of the breeds bred to work independent of human
     direction. If the dog is nose to nose with a badger, it cannot take
     the time to come out and ask "may I attack now, please, or would
     you prefer me to wait?" Thus, obediance as a formal task is rather
     foreign to the breed. Some Scots obtain advanced degrees, but the
     majority are not tempermentally suited to it. HOWEVER, all dogs
     should learn basic good manners and certain general behaviors, such
     as coming when called. Puppy Kindergarten Training is wonderful
     socialization for a young Scot to learn, to avoid
     dog-aggressiveness later in life.
   _Are the blonde ones Scotties, too?_
     This is definitely the most asked question to anyone with a wheaten
     Scot. There are many different colors acceptable in the breed;
     black, shades of brindle, and wheaten being the major classes of
     color. Wheaten ranges from a pale golden to a deep red. White,
     however, is not an acceptable shade of wheaten, nor is it in the
     standard as an approved color.
The Standard

   The standard of the breed describes the ideal Scottish Terrier, and no
   one dog lives up perfectly in every regard. In general, a Scottie
   should resemble the standard as closely as possible. The closer to
   perfect, the more likely the dog is to earn a championship. A dog can
   still have major faults and be a good Scottie, but should not be used
   for breeding. Being a good pet is nothing to be ashamed of, rather the
   opposite! But with the pet overpopulation problem in this country,
   only the very best representatives of any breed should reproduce. This
   is not just in conformation terms of course, but tempermentally and
   medically as well.
   Because of copyright concerns over the collection of all the Standards
   at any single site storing all the faqs, AKC Standards are not
   typically included in the Breed faqs. The reader is referred to the
   publications at the end of this document or to the National Breed Club
   for a copy of the Standard.
Affiliations and Recognitions

   The Scottish Terrier Club of America is the official parent club and
   guardian for the breed. The breed is registered for show purposes with
   the American Kennel Club, and may earn titles through this
   organization. The breed may also be shown at events licensed by the
   American Working Terrier Association, and may earn titles through this
   organization as well. Titles include: Championship (conformation),
   Companion Dog through Utility Dog Excellent (obediance), Tracking
   Dog/TD Excellent (tracking), Junior, Senior and Master Earthdog
   (instinct/working) through AKC. From the AWTA, titles include
   Certificate of Gameness and Working Certificate (instinct/working
   below ground) and Hunting Certificate (above ground).
Medical Information

   The Scottish Terrier is afflicted with a few heritable disorders of
   varying severity. There is a blood test for only one of these,
   unfortunately. Responsible breeders do everything they can to reduce
   and eliminate these disorders from their breeding stock, but genes can
   re-combine in unexpected ways, and so even the best laid plans can go
  von Willebrand's Disease
   The most serious disorder is a bleeding/clotting disorder called von
   Willebrand's Disease (vWD). For a Scottie to be a bleeder, i.e., have
   abnormally long, perhaps life-threatening non-clotting times, both
   parents must be carriers, as the gene is dominant/recessive in
   After several years of work, with funding from the Scottish Terrier
   Club of Michigan, AKC, Morris Animal Foundation, and others, a team at
   the Michigan State University has developed a definitive genetic test
   for Type III vWD in Scottish Terriers.
   The test is DNA based, with samples collected using a soft brush on
   the inside of the cheek of the dog. It is non-invasive and painless.
   The results of the test place the dog in one of three categories:
   clear, carrier, or affected. The test is 100% accurate.
   As a result, all breeders should test animals being bred to ensure
   that no carriers or affecteds be bred to anything other than a dog
   that has tested clear. If two clear dogs are bred together, it is a
   certainty (barring an individual random mutation) that the puppies
   will all be clear as well. All puppy buyers should demand to see the
   test results on the parents of the puppies they consider.
   The tests are available only from VetGen, a spinoff organization of
   the MSU and University of Michigan. The cost is $135 per dog, and $5
   for the sample collection kit. For an additional $15, the results can
   be registered with the OFA, who are administering a vWD registry for
   VetGen, 800-4-VETGEN.
  Scottie Cramp
   The Scottie Cramp is a neuromuscular disorder treated in severe cases
   with vitamin E and mild tranquilizers. It is not painful for the dog,
   but afflicted animals should not be bred.
  Cranio-Mandibular Osteopathy
   Cranio-Mandibular Osteopathy is a disease shared with Westies and
   Cairns, as close cousins. It involves abnormal growth of the bone in
   the jaw of the afflicted puppy. It is severely painful, and should be
   eliminated from a breeding program. At this time the only test for
   carrier status in a dog is to test-breed. Treatment of the afflicted
   pup involves high-dose steroids and intensive nursing by the owner.
  In General
   Of course, Scotties are just as susceptible as any other breed to
   viral and bacterial transmissible diseases, cancer, accident, gum
   disease, etc. Normal health care by a licensed veterinarian is very
   important to the Scot's health. There is current debate on the
   heritability of epilepsy, and hypothyroidism, diabetes, and other
   immune-mediated diseases. It seems likely that there is a genetic
   component to these problems, but the exact mode of inheritance is
   likely to be polygenic, and never completely predictable.

   The following books are recommended by this owner/breeder. You may
   find others in many libraries. _Thorough_ research into the breed is
   vital before purchase is comtemplated.
   _The New Complete Scottish Terrier_, Cindy Cook, Howell Book House,
   _The New Complete Scottish Terrier_, John T. Marvin, 1982, Howell Book
   House "This is The Scottish Terrier", T. Allen Kirk, Jr. M.D., 1978,
   TFH Publications (out of print, replaced by Cook's book).
   _The Official Book of the Scottish Terrier_, Muriel P. Lee, 1994, TFH
  Clubs and Organizations
   _The Scottish Terrier Club of America_: Evelyn Kirk, Corresponding
   Secretary, 2603 Derwent Drive, SW, Roanoke, Virginia, 24015.
   The club publishes a quarterly magazine with ads, articles, trophy
   standings, new titles, and other news of interest to club members. It
   is called _The Bagpiper_, and is available from the editor to
   non-members at $30/year. The editor is: Bonnie Lamphear, 416 1/2 Laura
   Street, Clearwater, Florida, 34615; (813) 442-1735, FAX (813) 447-8768
  Online Resources
   The Scottie E-mail list is run by Josie O'Brien. Email to with SUBSCRIBE CYBERSCOTS your name in
   the body of the message. Substitute your own name for "your name", eg
   Jane Doe.
   Web pages include:
   In addition, the author of this FAQ will be happy to share any
   information or experience she can. E-mail address below.
    Scottish Terrier FAQ
    Camille Partridge,

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