Terriers are a popular group of dogs with a wide range of breed types, from tiny companions to large working dogs. They’re diverse in origin with several terrier breeds coming from multiple different countries. Except for a few, terriers are also known for their distinct “terrier” personalities.
The harsh highlands of Scotland have been the birthplace of many dog breeds, and terriers are no exception. Scottish terrier dogs were once bred for hunting and herding, but now they’re better known as loyal household pets.
1. Scottish Terrier
One of the most recognized breeds of terriers, Scottish Terriers are a popular breed of terriers that are known for their independent nature and true “terrier” personality. These rugged dogs from the highlands were the breed of choice for two former presidents, as well as many famous athletes and celebrities.
Scottish terriers are small dogs with double coats that come in three recognized colors: black, brindle, and wheaten. They have short legs and compact bodies, with bearded muzzles and a keen expression. Males are approximately 10-11 inches tall weigh around 19-22 pounds. Females are usually the same height as males and weigh around 18-22 pounds.
With feisty personalities and stubborn streaks, Scottish Terriers are a tough breed that will naturally take up the role of watchdog. They are loyal companions that enjoy going for walks as well as cuddle sessions on the couch. Although known for being stubborn and somewhat dignified, Scottish Terriers are also playful, goofy, and entertaining.
2. Cairn Terrier
Cairn Terriers may be known mostly as Dorothy’s Dog, Toto, from Wizard of Oz, but these working dogs are not your average lapdog. Once bred to chase vermin in the highlands of Scotland, Cairn Terriers are tiny dogs with big personalities.
Cairn Terriers are compact, small dogs with shaggy-looking double coats that come in a variety of colors: black, cream, red, brindle, apricot, and grey. They have wide heads with small ears, somewhat short legs, and tails naturally carried high. Males and females both stand at a height between 9 to 12 inches and weigh around 13 to 18 pounds.
Born and bred to work, Cairn Terriers need to be walked daily to keep them content. These bright, scrappy dogs are friendly and outgoing, but that won’t stop them from barking at the doorbell or the mailman. After a long day of being a tough terrier, they’ll be more than happy to bond with their favorite people.
3. West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terriers first became its own breed in 1908 to keep their trademark white coats separate from the other highland terriers. Also known as Westies, these cute little dogs are high on everyone’s list of most popular dog breeds.
West Highland White Terriers look similar to their cousins, the Cairn terriers, except for their pure white fur. Their coats are double-layered, comprised of a soft undercoat and wiry topcoat to protect them from the elements. Males weigh between 15-22 pounds and females weigh around 13-15 pounds, both standing at around 10 to 11 inches respectively.
Eager to learn with a high level of intelligence, Westies are not only exceptional show dogs but make excellent family dogs as well. They’re friendly and welcoming with strangers, but they’ll happily alert the house of anything on the property. Naturally energetic like other terriers, Westies need to go for walks to burn off energy.
4. Skye Terrier
Once the name for all five highland terriers, Skye Terriers have lost their popularity over time. Skye Terriers were the choice of breed for a few royals, including Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Victoria in 1840.
With feathered ears that can either stand or flop and silky double coats, Skye Terriers are handsome and unique in appearance. Though relatively short and small at around 9 to 10 inches tall, these hardy terriers are heavier than they seem. Males weigh between 35 to 40 pounds and females weigh around 25 to 31 pounds.
Skye Terriers are calmer and more collected than most terriers, so they’re the perfect choice as household companions. They still require daily walks and some playtime, but they’d rather spend time lounging on the couch with their favorite person instead.
5. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are bright and cheerful terriers cherished for their toughness and durability to play with children. One of the rarest breeds from Scotland, Dandies are often overlooked for other terriers or lapdog-sized breeds.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers appear to have more in common with dachshunds, sporting long bodies and very short legs. Dandies have silky, soft coats with their trademark topknots on top of their heads and come in pepper and mustard color ranges. They are around 8 to 11 inches tall and weigh between 18 to 24 pounds.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are known for being quite docile, but they’re also playful and tough enough for families with older children. They do require daily walks to stay in shape, but their short legs make long distances a potential health hazard. Dandies are friendly and polite with strangers, but they’re also great at guarding the property.
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