Small Dog Breeds: Terriers from Scotland
Several dog breeds hail from Scotland. Amongst the most recognisable of these are the five cute little terriers shown below. Each has its own individual look and personality traits and they make great pets for people who have the time and patience to give a dog the attention it needs and deserves.
Energetic, enthusiastic and inquisitive, the West Highland White Terrier can be a handful at times but, on the other hand, they are eager to please and they tend to slot right in with your routine. If you want to play, they're always ready. If you'd prefer a quiet afternoon relaxing on the sofa with a book, your little companion will be happy to curl up at your feet and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Westies were first bred in the early 1800s. Prior to that, breeders tended not to want white puppies and they were destroyed. Since the little white dogs have been bred, they have become extremely popular across the globe.
Typically, a Westie has a life expectancy of around 14 years, but they are susceptible to a number of illnesses including skin conditions and hip problems.
Perhaps the most famous Skye Terrier is Greyfriars Bobby, a little dog who gained a reputation for loyalty in the 19th century when he spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, Old Jock, in the Greyfriars churchyard in Edinburgh. Greyfriars Bobby died in 1872 and a statue was erected in his honour. Several books have been written about Bobby and there have been a couple of films, including The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006) where a Westie was used instead of a Skye Terrier.
These cute little terriers make good pets for people who have the time to care for a dog. They generally live to about 12 years of age and often fit and active. However, as with other terriers, there are particular health issues faced by this breed including types of canine cancer and joint problems leading to a condition known as 'Skye limp'.
In recent years, the popularity of the Skye Terrier has declined and the breed is now considered to be one of the UK's most endangered native breeds.
Originating from the Highlands of Scotland, the Cairn Terrier is a hardy breed of dog, perhaps most recognisable from the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, where one of these adorable little creatures played Toto.
Cairn Terriers are adventurous little dogs, with tough, weather-resistant outer coats that can be cream, wheaten, red, grey or brindle (a mix of two colours). As with other terriers, they were originally bred to hunt vermin and they still love to dig and chase 'prey'. They can be stubborn and need to be trained early to avoid behavioural issues later on but, they are fiercely loyal and great companions.
The Cairn has a life expectancy of around 14 years, but there are several hereditary health problems to which they can succumb, including issues with their eyes, their joints and their thyroid.
The Scottie has become something of a national symbol for Scotland and its image is often found on merchandise created for tourists. This feisty little breed has something of a reputation for being a bit snappy and bad-tempered but proper obedience training and a loving home environment should eliminate problems.
Although most people would expect the Scottie to have a black coat, some are born with a wheaten colour coat. These hardy little dogs are more susceptible to canine cancer and life expectancy overall is about 12 years.
Some famous examples of the Scottie dog include those belonging to US presidents, Franklin D Roosevelt and Georgie W Bush. The Scottish Terrier is also the official mascot of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Another terrier breed which originates in Scotland is the Dandie Dinmont, which is a short little dog with a distinctive mop of hair on its head. Like the Skye Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont is considered to be a vulnerable native breed.
A very old breed of dog, the Dandie Dinmont was used for hunting badgers as far back as the 1600s in Scotland. They were a relatively unknown breed until the publication of Sir Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering in 1814. The novel included a character, based on a real life farmer who bred terriers, named Dandie Dinmont.
They are tough little dogs who do not always get on with young children, but are generally suitable for families with older children. The Dandie Dinmont is susceptible to a range of diseases and because of their short legs and elongated bodies, can suffer from slipped discs.