A Few Facts About the Lovable Scottish Terriers
Scottish terriers are easily recognizable as short, sturdy dogs with long hair, upright pointed ears and tail, a distinctive beard, and long, bushy eyebrows. Owners of these dogs usually refer to them as ‘Scotties.’ In some quarters they are called Aberdeen Terriers.
Puppies of Presidents and Kings
One of the more famous of these terriers was President Franklin D Roosevelt’s dog, Fala. Fala may be one of the only Scotties to be memorialized by a statue. A somewhat larger than life statue of Fala sits near the feet of his master at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. When he died in 1952, Fala was buried in the White House Rose Garden, next to the sundial. Fala was only one of the Scottish Terriers to call the White House home. Presidents Eisenhower and George W. Bush also had pet Scotties when they resided there.
Not only have Scotties been puppies of presidents, they have been puppies of kings as well. It’s said the breed, which was originally used on farms to hunt vermin and foxes, was much loved by King James VII. Consequently, it eventually became a much-loved breed throughout much of Scotland and England.
Scotties are affectionate little dogs, as well as being extremely active. Consequently, to make a good pet they should have obedience training. These dogs also need to be taught where they are not allowed to dig, if they’re allowed to dig at all. They were bred to be vermin hunters, an as such are natural diggers. They are also a breed that requires a good deal of exercise. Even though they’re a small dog, they are not suitable for living a sedentary lifestyle in an apartment. Apartment life is all right however if the dog can be taken on walks regularly.
Scotties are generally friendly towards other dogs and towards other pets. They are considered to be easy to train. FDR’s Scottie was quite willing to perform a number of tricks. They make very good watchdogs, but because of their somewhat diminutive size they to not rate highly as protective dogs, nor do they have much in the way of a protective instinct. Because of their somewhat heavy coat these dogs do moderately well in cold weather, but they are not particularly tolerant of hot weather.
Not in the Top Ten, But a Very Popular Terrier
As far as popularity goes, Scottish Terriers rank around 50th when it comes to the most popular breeds according to the American Kennel Club. Still, the Scottie is among the favorite of the terrier breeds although it significantly trails the ever popular Yorkshire Terrier, usually ranked among the five most popular breeds. Scotties were extremely popular in the United States during the period between the two World Wars.
A Smart Little Dog – But Patience is Required While Training a Puppy
If you bring a Scottie puppy home with you, it’s best to begin training it almost immediately. It needs to be worked with on a consistent basis. Training sessions that are only given to correct problems usually don’t work. These dogs need to know where their boundaries are at. They do best when given lots of affection and positive reinforcement during training sessions. The main requirement placed on the owner is that of having a great deal of patience. Owners are cautioned not to allow Scottie puppies to do things that would not be tolerated in an adult dog. Any habit this breed forms can sometimes be difficult to break.
A Positive Reinforcement Approach is Essential
Another bit of advice is that if punishment is required, it should never be done just after calling the dog to you. This breed seems to have a memory that is usually associated with the elephant. If you call the dog to you, and then punish it for something it’s done, it may be a long, long time before it will come again when called. As a breed, Scotties don’t take well to punishment, or any type of correction-based training for that matter, which is why positive reinforcement is recommended during training sessions. These are smart little dogs, and they will generally catch on fairly quickly as to what it is you expect of them. If you do decide to take your Scottie to obedience training classes, look for classes that use the positive reinforcement approach.
Scottish Terrier Club of America
If you own a Scottie, or are thinking about getting one, a good resource is the Scottish Terrier Cub of America website. The STCA is the official American Kennel Club organization for this breed. The STCA has all of the information you would ever need to know about the breed and provides useful advice on rescue efforts, shelters, and breeders. The STCA has a listing of pedigrees for over 110,000 Scottish Terriers. You’re welcome to joint the organization, and more than welcome to make a donation if you wish to. You’re also welcome to participate in the activities sponsored by the various regional clubs. Donations that are given are primarily used to support the STCA Health Trust Fund and the STCA Rescue efforts. The STCA has a magazine, the Bagpiper, that is published four times a year. It is free to those who are members of the Club.