8 Personality Traits of Scottish Terriers (Scottie Temperament)

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The Scottish Terrier, also known as the Aberdeen Terrier or Scottie, is known for its spunky, independent personality. While individual dogs have their own quirks, the breed as a whole shares certain characteristics that comprise the classic Scottish Terrier temperament.

This article will explore 8 common personality traits that help define the essence of the Scottie breed. Understanding the Scottish Terrier’s unique temperament will help you better appreciate these special little dogs.

We’ll cover traits like their independence, loyalty, bravery, and more. Getting to know the Scottie personality will provide insight into living happily with this compact but bold breed.

8 Personality Traits of Scottish Terriers (Scottie Temperament)


One of the most well-known traits of the Scottish Terrier breed is their independent spirit and stubborn streak. Scottish Terriers like to do things on their own terms.

This originates from their heritage as tenacious hunters of rodents and other vermin. Operating independently with persistence suited the Scottie’s working role. Today, their self-directed nature remains intact.

Scottish Terriers will often exhibit selective hearing, choosing when to follow commands or come when called. They like making their own decisions about what to do and when. This breed is not eager to please in the way that more biddable breeds are.

For owners, the Scottie’s independence means you need patience and shouldn’t expect perfect obedience. These dogs think for themselves and have their own ideas about everything. They are bold and not easily swayed.

While their willful attitude can be frustrating at times, it also gives Scottish Terriers their unique character. Their independent personality makes life with a Scottie entertaining, whether they are insisting on a certain walking route or picking which toy to play with.

Appreciate your Scottish Terrier’s independent point of view, even when their stubbornness tests your patience. It’s an innate part of what makes them a Scottie!


While independent-minded, Scottish Terriers form deep bonds of loyalty with their families once trust is established. This devotion makes them dedicated companions.

Scottish Terriers tend to selectively attach themselves most strongly to one or two people. They shower their chosen owners with affection while remaining standoffish with strangers.

The Scottie’s loyal nature means they thrive when able to be near their special humans. Separation can be extremely difficult for these dogs. Their contentment comes from shadowing their loved ones closely.

With proper socialization, Scottish Terriers can extend loyal behavior to all household members. However, their primary allegiance often resides with just one or two family members.

Gaining the sincere devotion of a Scottie is an honor. If chosen, owners can expect unwavering companionship from this steadfast breed.

Scottish Terriers have much affection to give the right person. Their remarkable loyalty should be appreciated and reciprocated.


cottish Terriers have a very high awareness of their surroundings. Their alert nature makes them excellent watchdogs. Scotties miss little that happens in or around their territory.

Originating as hunters of fox and other vermin, Scottish Terriers had to pay close attention while tracking prey through densely vegetated terrain. This instilled sharp observational skills.

Today, the Scottie’s alertness translates into quick reactions to sights, sounds, scents, and movements in their environment. Very little escapes their notice.

Scottish Terriers use their alertness to monitor their home and property closely. They will sound the alarm at any suspicious activity with loud and persistent barking. Few intruders can slip by undetected.

For owners, the Scottie’s watchful traits make them dependable alarm systems for the household. Their attentiveness and quick reactions also make them great playmates, eagerly chasing toys and treats.

Appreciate your Scottish Terrier’s alert spirit. Let their observant nature keep your home safe but also ensure their needs for activity and mental stimulation are met.


Scottish Terriers are quick learners with an independent mind. Their intelligence becomes clear as they pick up cues and commands but follow through on their own terms.

Scotties appreciate mental stimulation and are usually easy to train thanks to their smart, discerning nature. They learn routines and tricks readily compared to many breeds.

However, that intelligence is tempered by the independent spirit core to the Scottie personality. Their wisdom questions whether they should obey rather than if they comprehend an order.

Clever Scottish Terriers understand humans well. They know how to get what they want and exert their will in subtle ways. Patience and persistence are required when training this breed.

Scotties are thinkers who like to assess situations before acting. Allow time for their bright minds to process new information and experiences. They reach their own conclusions.

Appreciate just how smart your Scottish Terrier is but have realistic expectations about obedience. Their intellect shows in their judgement, not blind loyalty. Outwit them gently.


With their sturdy build and bold personality, Scottish Terriers exhibit a courageous spirit. Their brave nature means they are not easily intimidated.

Scotties were bred to ferret out and pursue quarry like badgers and foxes without hesitation or concern for their own safety. This fearlessness translated well for going to ground in dens or facing other animals far larger than themselves.

Today, that lack of timidity remains strong in the breed. Scottish Terriers stand their ground and are eager to investigate anything even if it seems daunting. Very little, if anything, makes a Scottie nervous.

With proper socialization, a Scottish Terrier’s bravery does not become aggression. But they will certainly bark relentlessly at anything perceived as a threat. Their bluster far outweighs their small size.

For owners, the Scottie’s courageous attitude makes them persistent playmates and dutiful watchdogs.


Scottish Terriers tend to be cautious and hesitant around new people. They are often described as “dignified” because they can be quite reserved and serious.

Scotties prefer to stand back and observe strangers and new situations at first. Their guarded nature means they do not warm up quickly when meeting someone new.

With family, Scottish Terriers show their playful and loving sides. But it may take many meetings before a Scottie interacts openly with a non-family member.

Their reserved personality reflects generations of being taught to distinguish between family and unknown visitors. Scotties served as protective companions and discriminated accordingly. Their reserved nature may also come off as aloof.

For owners, patience is required when introducing a Scottish Terrier to friends or guests. Let new acquaintances approach gently and allow time for trust to develop.


While Scottish Terriers often have a stoic, dignified demeanor, they tend to be sensitive dogs when it comes to disruptions to their routine. Scotties thrive on stability.

Abrupt changes to their environment, schedule, or family situation can create stress for this breed. Scottish Terriers develop habits and aim to adhere to them.

Signs of anxiety in the sensitive Scottie include increased barking, inappropriate elimination, and destructive behaviors. They may also become extra clingy.

To manage the delicate disposition of your Scottish Terrier, make gradual transitions whenever possible. Avoid suddenly rearranging furniture or taking trips without bringing their crate and belongings.

Additionally, give your Scottie ample time to warm up to any newcomers in the home, whether human or animal. Introduce changes carefully.

With preparation and awareness, owners can prevent or minimize stress triggers that upset their sensitive Scottie.


Scottish Terriers often exhibit territorial behaviors and believe their home and yard are their personal domains. This protectiveness translates into wariness about intruders.

Originating as working dogs actively patrolling for vermin, Scotties retain strong site attachment and territoriality. Their property is their responsibility to monitor and defend.

Scottish Terriers will sound the alarm at any unknown person or animal near their territory, especially the home. They can be quite defensive of their space.

For owners, this territoriality means your Scottie may not tolerate trespass by visitors, other dogs, cats, or neighborhood animals. Their desire to protect should be managed.

Scottish Terriers can certainly learn to share territory with the proper socialization and training. But their instincts to guard will likely always remain strong.

Appreciate your Scottie’s territorial behavior for keeping your property safe but discourage aggression. Teach them proper property boundaries through reinforcement.

Key Takeaways on the Scottie Personality

The unique temperament of the Scottish Terrier comes through in their independent, loyal, alert, intelligent, brave, reserved, sensitive, and territorial personality traits. While individual dogs vary, these qualities help define the essence of the breed.

Understanding the Scottie personality gives owners insight into living successfully with these special pups. Their strong-willed and steadfast nature presents challenges but also makes them endearing companions.

From their courageous spirit to their cautious reserve, Scottish Terriers exhibit a range of behaviors tied to their original purpose and current roles. Appreciate all facets of the Scottie temperament.

If properly socialized and handled, the Scottish Terrier’s vivid personality shines through in positive ways. Their lively character rewards owners with devotion, entertainment, and protection.

Kevin William

Kevin grew up with a female West Highland White Terrier named Murphy who was always by his side. Kevin currently lives in New York state with his family including a Labrabull (Labrador Retriever Pit Bull) named Lily.

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