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Scottish Terrier Breed Standard

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

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The breed standard compiled in 1888, issued by the Scottish terrier club of Scotland: 

  • Skull: Proportionately long, slightly domed and covered with short, hard hair about 3/4 of an inch long or less. It could not be quite flat as there should be a short sort of stop, or drop, between the eyes. 

  • Muzzle: Very powerful and gradually tapering towards the nose, it should always be black and of 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 lower one. 

 

  • Eyes: Set wide apart, of a dark Hazel colour, small, piercing, very bright and rather sunken.

 

  • Ears: Very small prick or half-prick, but the hair on them should not be long; never drop; They should also be sharply pointed, and they should not be cut. The ears should be free from any fringe at the top. 

 

  • Neck: Short, thick, and muscular; strongly set on sloping shoulders. 

 

  • Chest: Broad in comparison to the size of the dog, and proportionately deep. 

 

  • Body: of moderate length, not so long as a Skye’s, and rather flat sided, but well ribbed up and exceedingly strong in hindquarters. 

 

  • Legs and feet: Both fore and hind legs should be short and very heavy in bone. The former being straight or slightly bent, and well set on the body, as the Scottish terrier should not be out at the elbows. The hocks should be bent and the thighs very muscular; The feet strong and thickly covered with hair, the fore feet being larger than the hind ones, and well let down on the ground.

 

  • Tail: Which is never cut should be about 7 inches long, carried with a slight bend and often gaily. 

 

  • The coat: Should be rather short, but about 2 inches, intensely hard and wiry in texture, and very dense all over the body. 

 

  • Size: About 16 to 18 lbs for a bitch and 18 to 20lbs for a dog. 

 

  • Colour: Steel to iron grey, brindled or grizzled, black, sandy or wheaten. 

 

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

 

  • Faults: Either under or over hung muzzle. Eyes that are too large or too lightly coloured. Ears that a too large, round at the point or drop. It is also a fault if the ears are heavily covered with hair. Coat any silkiness, wave or tendency to curl is a serious blemish, as is also an open coat. Any specimens over 20 pounds should be discouraged.

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Kennel Club, London 1994

FCI Standard No 73

Group: Group 2 (Terriers)

​​

History:

  • 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 the impression of being long for size of dog. Very agile and active in spite of short legs.

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

  • Temperament: 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 cheekbones 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 in front of eye. Nose large, black, and in profile, the line from nose to chin appears to slope backwards.

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

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

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

  • Neck: Muscular and of moderate length.

  • Forequarters: Head carried on muscular neck of moderate length showing quality, set into long sloping shoulder, 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.

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • Gait/Movement: Smooth and free, straight both back and front with drive from behind and level gait throughout.

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

  • Colour: Black, wheaten or brindle of any shade.

  • Sizes: Height: 25-28 cms (10-11 ins) at withers

  • Weight: 8.5-10.5 kgs (19-23 lbs).

  • Faults: 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.

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The Breed Standard for a Scottish Terrier 

(Updated 2011) states:

 

  • General Description: Thick set, of suitable size to go to ground, which precludes dogs of excessive body weight. Short-legged, alert in carriage and suggestive of great power and activity in small compass. Head gives the impression of being long for size of dog. Very agile and active despite short legs.

 

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

 

  • Temperament: Bold, but never aggressive.

 

  • Head and skull: long without being out of proportion to size of dog. Length of skull enabling it to be wide and yet retain narrow appearance. Skull nearly flat and cheekbones 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 to chin appears to slope backwards.

 

  • Eyes: almond-shaped, dark brown, fairly wide apart, well set under eyebrows with keen, intelligent expression.

 

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

 

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

 

  • Neck: Muscular and of moderate length.

 

  • Forequarters: Head carried on muscular neck of moderate length showing quality, set into long sloping shoulder, 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 the body.

 

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

 

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

 

  • Feet: Good size, well padded, toes well arched and close knit, forefeet slightly larger than hind feet.

 

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

 

  • Gait/movement: Smooth and free, straight both back and front with drive from behind and level gate throughout.

 

  • Coat: Close lying, double coat; undercoat short, dense, and soft; outer coat harsh, dense and wiry, together making a weather resistant covering.

 

  • Colour: Black, wheaten, or brindle of any shade.

 

  • Size: Height: 25 to 28 cm (10 - 11 ins) at withers. Weight: 8.5 to 10.5 kg (19 to 23 lbs).

 

  • Faults: 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.

 

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

 

A Breed Standard from 1888, 1994  and 2011 have been included to illustrate how any deviance from a standard can result in everlasting change to a breed. 

If breeders are striving to maintain a breed, there is no circumstance that precludes any update to a breed standard. How does the modern Scottish Terrier look so different to the first Scottish Terriers?

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