The Scottish Terrier

Scotland may truly be termed the land of Terriers. A half a dozen or more breeds, all long and low, all rough-coated, and all prick-eared except the Dandie, hail from the land of heather, nor is it extraordinary that Scotland should have so many varieties of Terriers, for it is a country of cave and cleft and cavern, in which Terriers have a wide sphere of usefulness. Dogs, like man, are molded by environment, and it is easy to comprehend how a rugged land would develop a rugged dog and a race of men noted world-wide for their steadfast determination, deep-seated affection, and canny intelligence naturally have as friends and companions a race of dogs possessing all of their masters’ sturdy characteristics.

Scotland’s Terrier is a proud title, but the dogs that bear it are worthy of their name, for the Scottish Terrier of today is a veritable paragon of gameness, intelligence, and all-around usefulness on land or water, above or below ground; and with it all he is the most sensible and intelligent of companions.

To dive deep into the antiquity of the Scottish Terrier is simply to invite trouble, for the Scottish are a touchy race on everything pertaining to birth and pedigree. They are as loyal to their dogs as they are to their clans. To suggest or intimate that Scotland’s dogs are not as old as their most cherished traditions or that their blood is not as pure as the water in their mountain lakes is sheer heresy. We venture to say, however, that these grand little dogs did not have their birth in any particular locality in Scotland. They are indigenous to all the highlands and descend from the old highland Terrier, a little, long-backed, short-legged, snipy-faced, prick- or crop-eared dog, in color mostly sandy-and-black, game as a pebble, lively as a cricket, and in all a most charming companion. The crosses that were made on this parent stock many years ago were all with the best of working Terriers. No breed of dogs has been more carefully bred than the Scottish Terrier, and today they are extraordinarily well fixed in type and characteristics.

The enthusiasm expressed by admirers of the breed is well founded. For ratting, ferreting, rabbithunting, partridge-treeing, working along hedgerows or water courses, retrieving from land or water and as all-around assistants to the gun, they are unexcelled. They are cleanly about the house, extraordinarily patient with children, the best of guards for house or barn, and distinguish intuitively between the intruder and the casual observer or occasional visitor.

In selecting puppies under four months of age, look for a long, level head, a strong jaw, small, dark eye; small, erect ears, carried closely together; short, round body; short sickle tail; great bone; straight forelegs, and a dense, hard coat.

The standard is as follows:

SKULL (value 7 1/2).-Proportionately long, slightly domed, and covered with short, hard hair about 3/4 inches long or less. It should not be quite flat, as there should be a sort of stop or drop between the eyes.

MUZZLE (7 1/2).-Very powerful, and gradually tapering toward the nose, which should always be black and of a good size. The jaws should be perfectly level and the teeth square, though the nose projects somewhat over the mouth, which gives the impression of the upper jaw being longer than the under one.

EYES (5).-A dark brown or hazel-color; small, piercing, very bright, and rather sunken.

EARS (5).-Very small, prick or half-prick (the former is preferable), but never drop. They should also be sharp-pointed, and the hair on them should not be long, but velvety, and they should not be cut. The ears should be free from any fringe at the top.

NECK (5).-Short, thick, and muscular, strongly set on sloping shoulders.

CHEST (5).-Broad in comparison to the size of the dog, and proportionately deep.

BODY (15).-Of moderate length, but not so long as a Skye’s, and rather flat-sided; well ribbed up, and exceedingly strong in hindquarters.

LEGS AND FEET (10).-Both fore- and hindlegs should be short and very heavy in bone, the former being straight and well set on under the body, as the Scotch Terrier should not be out at elbows. The hocks should be bent, and the thighs very muscular, and the feet strong, small, and thickly covered with short hair, the forefeet being larger than the hind ones.

THE TAIL (2 1/2).-Should be about 7 inches long, never docked, carried with a slight bend, and often gaily.

THE COAT (15).-Should be rather short (about two inches), intensely hard and wiry in texture, and very dense all over the body.

SIZE (10).-From 15 to 20 pounds, the best weight being as near as possible 18 pounds for dogs and 16 pounds for bitches when in condition for work.

COLOR (2 1/2).-Steel or iron-grey, black-brindle, brown-brindle, grey-brindle, black, sandy, and wheaten. White markings are objectionable, and can only be allowed on the chest, and to a small extent.

GENERAL APPEARANCE (10).-The face should wear a very sharp, bright, and active expression, and the head should be carried up. The dog, owing to the shortness of his coat, should appear to be higher on the leg than he really is; but at the same time he should look compact and possessed of great muscle in his hindquarters. In fact, a Scottish Terrier, though essentially a Terrier, cannot be too powerfully put together, and should be from about 9 to 12 inches in height.