How to Care for a Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

Brush your Scottie every week to keep his coat smooth.
Scottish Terrier image by SMITH from

If you’re looking for a great watchdog, but don’t have the room — or even a yard — to accommodate a large dog, the Scottish terrier is the perfect choice. Compact in stature and happy to live in an apartment, these little guys are vigilant and protective of their homes and families. Even though they don’t require a lot of room to roam, you’ll still want to walk them for exercise. They need a little extra attention to grooming, but Scottie dogs bring you the best of both large and small breed dogs.

Step 1

Talk to the breeder or your vet to get recommendations on what type of food to feed your Scottie. You don’t have to stick with the same diet that the breeder has had the dog on, but you should start out with the same food and gradually switch over to the new food if you plan on changing brands or types. Being a smaller breed of dog, a kibble formulated for small breed dogs will best meet your Scottish terrier’s nutritional needs.

Step 2

Walk your Scottish terrier at least once daily for exercise, especially if he primarily lives indoors. Scotties love to explore and you can allow yours to do so off-leash if you keep an eye on him. These little dogs are playful and will enjoy frequent games of fetch, tug-of-war and other play with favorite dog toys.

Step 3

Brush your Scottish terrier at least once a week with a stiff-bristled brush, and more frequently if your schedule allows. The Scotties’ wiry hair is prone to tangling and matting and can pick up debris from outside during a walk. Regular brushing will keep him clean and looking good. You can trim your dog’s hair as needed to remove mats and keep his cut even, but he should be professionally groomed a minimum of every six months. Bathe your dog as needed; you can postpone it to the groomer visit if your dog doesn’t get into the mud or something equally messy. Additionally, take your Scottie to the groomer every four to six weeks to have his nails trimmed.

Step 4

Schedule regular visits to the veterinarian for your dog. Once yearly is the minimum for most mature, healthy Scottish terriers. Your vet can perform an examination to assure that your Scottie is in continued good health, administer vaccinations and otherwise keep a step ahead of possible health issues. Scottish terriers are prone to flea allergies, jaw and skin problems, and a condition known as Scottie Cramp. Staying in regular contact with your vet will allow you to treat any potential ailments at the earliest possible time.


  • Participation in a dog training class will benefit both you and your Scottish terrier. It will give you the skills necessary to interact effectively with your strong-willed Scottie and it will help him become well-socialized.



  • Scottish Terrier (Comprehensive Owner's Guide); Muriel P. Lee

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

Photo Credits