Scottish Terrier

Last updated October 2009

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Thick set, of suitable size to go to ground, which would preclude dogs of excessive body weight, short legged, alert in carriage and suggestive of great power and activity in small compass. Head gives impression of being long for size of dog. Very agile and active in spite of short legs.


Loyal and faithful. Dignified, independent and reserved, but courageous and highly intelligent.


Bold, but never aggressive.

Head and skull

Long without being out of proportion to size of dog. Length of skull enabling it to be fairly wide and yet retain narrow appearance. Skull nearly flat and cheek bones not protruding. Foreface strongly constructed and deep throughout. Skull and foreface of equal length. Slight but distinct stop between skull and foreface just in front of eye. Nose large, black and, in profile, the line from nose towards chin appears to slope backwards.


Almond shaped, dark brown, fairly wide apart, well set under eyebrows with keen, intelligent expression.


Neat, fine texture, pointed, erect and set on top of skull but not too close together. Large, wide-based ears highly undesirable.


Teeth large with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Muscular and of moderate length.


Head carried on muscular neck of moderate length showing quality, set into long sloping shoulders, brisket well in front of straight, well-boned forelegs to straight pasterns. Chest fairly broad and hung between forelegs which must not be out at the elbow nor placed under body.


Well-rounded ribs flattening to deep chest and carried well back. Back proportionately short and very muscular. Topline of body straight and level, loin muscular and deep, powerfully coupling ribs to hindquarters.


Remarkably powerful for size of dog. Big, wide buttocks, deep thighs and well-bent stifles. Hocks short, strong, turning neither in nor out.


Good size, well padded, toes well arched and close-knit, forefeet slightly larger than hindfeet.


Moderate length giving general balance to dog, thick at root and tapering towards tip. Set on with upright carriage or slight bend.


Smooth and free, straight both back and front with drive from behind and level gait throughout.


Close-lying, double coat; undercoat short, dense and soft; outer coat harsh, dense and wiry, together making a weather-resisting covering.


Black, wheaten or brindle of any shade.


Height at withers 25-28 cms (10-11 ins); weight 8.5-10.5 kgs (19-23 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.