Are Scottish Terriers Smart? The Ultimate Guide 2024

When it comes to companion dogs, intelligence is often a desirable trait. Many pet owners want a furry friend who can learn quickly, understand commands, and engage in interactive play. If you’re considering adding a Scottish Terrier to your family, you may be wondering, “Are Scottish Terriers smart?”

Scottish Terriers, also known as Scotties, are indeed intelligent dogs. Their high level of intelligence contributes to their unique personality and behavior. However, like all dogs, their intelligence is expressed in different ways, and it’s important to understand their specific traits and characteristics.

Scottish Terriers are known for their alertness, affectionate nature, and fearlessness. They have a keen understanding of their surroundings and are quick to react to any changes. This intelligence makes them excellent watchdogs, always keeping a close eye on their environment.

However, Scottish Terriers can also be somewhat independent and stubborn, which can present training challenges for some owners. They are known to have a mind of their own and may resist commands or try to push boundaries. Nonetheless, their intelligence also means they have the ability to learn quickly and respond well to positive reinforcement.

As part of the terrier family, Scottish Terriers have a natural instinct for hunting and chasing small prey. This high prey drive can make them wary of smaller household pets. While they can be loving and loyal towards their human family members, caution should be exercised when introducing them to other animals.

To keep a Scottish Terrier mentally stimulated, they require regular exercise and mental engagement. With at least an hour of exercise per day, they can burn off energy and keep their sharp minds busy. This not only contributes to their overall well-being but also helps prevent behavioral issues that may arise from boredom.

The History and Origins of Scottish Terriers

Scottish Terriers, also known as Scotties, have a fascinating history that traces back to the Scottish Highlands. These small terriers have been working as hunters and farm dogs in the region for centuries, showcasing their resilience and adaptability.

While the exact origins of Scottish Terriers remain unclear, they are believed to be the oldest among the Highland terrier breeds. Their powerful presence and distinct appearance set them apart from their counterparts.

In the late 1800s, breeders in Scotland endeavored to standardize the various terrier types found in the country. This effort led to the development of the Scottish Terrier as we know it today. Their distinctive physical traits, including the medium-length wiry coat and short legs, were carefully honed.

Scottish Terriers made their way to the United States in 1883, capturing the hearts of dog enthusiasts across the nation. In 1885, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed, solidifying its place in American dog history.

Over time, Scottish Terriers gained popularity worldwide, particularly in the 1930s and ’40s. Many public figures and notable individuals, including presidents and celebrities, have owned and adored these charismatic dogs.

Today, Scottish Terrier breeders continue to uphold the breed’s rich heritage and preserve its unique traits. The dedication of these breeders ensures the continuation of the Scottish Terrier lineage and the availability of these remarkable companion animals.

Scottish Terrier Breeders: Preserving a Rich Legacy

Scottish Terrier breeders play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the breed. They meticulously select and pair dogs of exceptional quality to produce healthy and well-tempered puppies.

When searching for a Scottish Terrier, it is essential to find reputable breeders who prioritize the welfare of their dogs. Responsible breeders adhere to breed standards, conduct health screenings, and provide proper care and socialization for their puppies.

By obtaining a Scottish Terrier from a reputable breeder, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are welcoming a healthy and well-bred companion into your home. Additionally, reputable breeders often offer valuable guidance and support even after you bring your new Scottie home.

Are Scottish Terriers Smart? Training and Socializing

Scottish terriers are intelligent dogs with a unique temperament. While their intelligence makes them quick learners, their stubbornness can pose challenges during training. To ensure effective training, it is crucial to start early and establish consistent routines. Positive reinforcement training methods, such as rewards and praise, work best with Scottish terriers.

Short and engaging training sessions are recommended to keep their attention and prevent boredom. Consistency and firmness in commands are essential as Scottish terriers tend to push boundaries. Patience, perseverance, and a calm demeanor will help build trust and respect with your Scottie.

Socialization is equally important for Scottish terriers to develop good behavior and become well-rounded companions. Exposing them to various environments, people, and other dogs can help reduce their territorial nature and promote comfort around strangers. It is important to monitor interactions carefully, especially with smaller household pets, as Scottish terriers have a high prey drive.

Scottish Terrier training

Exercise and Grooming Needs of Scottish Terriers

Scottish Terriers are energetic and active dogs that require a moderate amount of daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Their exercise needs can be met through a combination of walks, playtime, and interactive puzzle toys. These activities not only provide physical exercise but also engage their sharp minds, preventing boredom and destructive behavior.

A securely fenced yard is ideal for Scottish Terriers to move freely and explore, as they have a natural instinct to chase small animals due to their high prey drive. However, it’s important to supervise them during outdoor activities to ensure their safety and prevent them from venturing too far.

Scottish Terrier exercise

Grooming and Coat Care

Scottish Terriers have a double coat that consists of a wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. While they do not shed heavily, their coat requires specialized care to maintain its texture and prevent matting.

Regular grooming is essential for Scottish Terriers to keep their coat healthy and neat. This includes hand-stripping or clipping the coat to remove loose hairs and promote new hair growth. Hand-stripping involves plucking the dead hairs by hand, while clipping is a quicker alternative using electric clippers. The choice between hand-stripping and clipping depends on personal preference and whether the dog will be shown in conformation competitions.

In addition to coat care, other grooming tasks for Scottish Terriers include regular brushing to remove loose hairs and prevent tangles, bathing as needed to keep their coat clean, nail trimming to prevent overgrowth and discomfort, and teeth brushing to maintain good oral health.

Scottish Terrier Grooming Recommendations

Grooming TaskFrequency
BrushingSeveral times a week
BathingEvery 6-8 weeks
Hand-stripping/ClippingEvery 3-4 months
Nail TrimmingEvery 2-4 weeks
Teeth BrushingDaily or several times a week

It’s worth noting that Scottish Terriers are not capable swimmers due to their body structure and heavy coat, so they should be closely monitored around water to prevent accidents and drowning.


Scottish Terriers are remarkable dogs known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affection towards their families. While their alert and independent nature can make them a bit stubborn at times, early training and socialization can help prevent behavioral issues and encourage positive habits.

To keep Scottish Terriers happy and healthy, they require a moderate amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys can provide the physical and mental challenges they need. Additionally, regular grooming is essential to maintain their unique coat. Proper care, including hand-stripping or clipping, brushing, bathing, and dental hygiene, will ensure their coat remains in top condition.

Although Scottish Terriers may present training challenges, their intelligence and distinct personality make them immensely rewarding companions for the right owner. Their unwavering loyalty and affection towards their families make them excellent family pets and lifelong friends. So, if you’re prepared to invest time and effort into their training and care, Scottish Terriers can bring immense joy and love into your life.


Are Scottish Terriers intelligent?

Yes, Scottish Terriers are known for their high level of intelligence.

Are Scottish Terriers considered one of the smartest dog breeds?

While intelligence rankings may vary, Scottish Terriers are generally considered to be a smart breed.

How does Scottish Terrier intelligence contribute to their behavior?

Scottish Terriers’ intelligence influences their alertness, affection, and fearless nature.

Are Scottish Terriers easy to train?

Scottish Terriers can be somewhat independent and stubborn, making training a challenge at times. However, they are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement.

When should I start training and socializing my Scottish Terrier?

It is important to begin training and socialization from a young age to prevent the development of bad habits.

How should I train my Scottish Terrier?

Short, engaging training sessions with positive reinforcement and rewards are recommended for Scottish Terriers. Consistency and firmness in commands are crucial due to their tendency to push boundaries.

Do Scottish Terriers get along with other dogs and people?

Scottish Terriers can be watchful with strangers and may not get along with smaller household pets due to their high prey drive. Socializing them with different people and dogs can help reduce their territorial nature.

How much exercise do Scottish Terriers need?

Scottish Terriers have moderate exercise needs and require at least an hour of exercise per day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

What kind of grooming do Scottish Terriers need?

Scottish Terriers have a low shedding coat that requires regular grooming. This includes hand-stripping or clipping the coat, brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and teeth brushing.

Are Scottish Terriers hypoallergenic?

No, Scottish Terriers are not considered hypoallergenic.