Pets & Animal Dog Breeds

How to Care for a Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

Things You'll Need



Scottish terriers have hard, bristled top coats and soft undercoats. Many Scottish terrier owners rely on a professional groomer to maintain the long body coat style and short, forward-swept facial hair. This breed sheds very little, but their hair mats and tangles easily. Brush the dog at least two or three times a week with a stiff-bristled brush to remove any mats or dead hair.

Bathe Scottish terriers as needed. Brush the dog before bathing, since wet tangles may be difficult or impossible to remove. Lather the dog thoroughly and wash the entire body, then rinse carefully, making sure to remove all of the soap. Use a hair dryer to dry the dog's coat. Brush the dog's hair again after bathing.

Clean your Scottie's ears by squeezing several drops of ear wash into the inner part of the ear flap and ear canal. Gently massage the bottom of the ear to spread the solution around the ear canal. Wipe the inner ear flap with a cotton ball to remove any discharge.

Scottish terriers can be difficult dogs to train. They are stubborn and strong-willed, and will attempt to dominate the household if clear boundaries are not established. These dogs also tend to attach more to one person than others, and may become snappish around strangers or children. Scotties respond well to gentle but firm and confident handling, however, and enjoy being praised. They benefit from obedience school training.

Scottish terriers do not require a yard and do well as apartment dogs, although they enjoy running and playing in a safe and fenced open area. Daily leashed walks not only burn off excess energy, but they curb inappropriate behaviors by clearly establishing the owner as the leader. Scotties enjoy playing with humans, but since they tend to challenge their owners and other family members for dominance, the Dog Breed Info website recommends avoiding games such as tug-of-war or wrestling that place the dog in a confrontational situation.

Scotties are generally healthy, but several genetic diseases affect a small proportion of the breed. Von Willebrand's disease is a bleeding disorder that interferes with the blood clotting process, and affected Scottish terriers may have severe bleeding during surgical procedures or suffer from nosebleeds. Other diseases include cerebellar abiotrophy, which is a neurological disorder that causes a loss of balance and coordination, as well as a nonlethal neurological disorder called Scottish terrier cramp that makes it difficult for dogs to coordinate their hind legs when walking. Epilepsy, jawbone abnormalities and skin issues might also cause problems. You can have your dog genetically tested to rule out disorders such as Von Willebrand's disease. Do not breed dogs that show signs of genetic problems.

Before purchasing your Scottish Terrier puppy, choose a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the health issues that affect Scotties. Take your dog to the veterinarian at least once a year for regular checkups that include teeth cleaning, inoculations, heartworm testing and deworming, and visit the veterinarian as needed to maintain the animal's health.

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