Scotties were developed to work independently from their owners. On the Scottish farm they were needed to control rodents, badgers, and foxes that would harm the land and consume cash crops as well as chickens and pigs. Their job was to go after the varmint, sometimes straight into their burrows and bring them out dead or alive, preferable dead. This required quick wit and swift action. There was no time to go back to the master to ask directions. When necessary, the Scottie was fast and effective.

Over time, humans developed from an agrarian society to an industrial-urban lifestyle, and the need for these vermin hunters has diminished. We have now invited these persistent, headstrong warriors into our homes and hearts, however they have not lost their drive and ability to ‘think on their feet’. I fully believe that this is one reason why some Scotties are quick to be rather snappy when provoked. Any quick movement or unusual activity might just bring on sudden retribution from an otherwise stoic Scot. Sometimes the very characteristics that we admire in our Scotties, are the same characteristics that might predispose them to being somewhat nippish. This behavior involves conduct that is normal from the Scotties point of view, but quite objectionable to his people.

Because of these inbred traits, Scotties can be somewhat more difficult to live with than more compliant breeds that were bred to go on organized hunts, herd livestock, or the toys breeds that were developed to sit in your lap and gaze loving in your face. Scotties are not lap dogs, in fact they think that humans were put on earth to do their bidding.

Because they were bred to think independently and to complete the task of getting the fox or badger without human help, Scotties are very stubborn, strong-willed and tenacious.

According to the Scottish Terrier Club of America, the general appearance of a
Scottish Terrier is a small, compact, short-legged, sturdily-built dog of good bone and substance. His head is long in proportion to his size. He has a hard, wiry, weather-resistant coat and a thick-set, cobby body which is hung between short, heavy legs. These characteristics, joined with his very special keen, piercing, "varminty" expression, and his erect ears and tail are salient features of the breed. The Scottish Terrier''s bold, confident, dignified aspect exemplifies power in a small package.

The Scottish Terrier should have a thick body and heavy bone. The principal objective must be symmetry and balance without exaggeration. Equal consideration shall be given to height, weight, length of back and length of head. Height at withers for either sex should be about 10 inches. The length of back from withers to set-on of tail should be approximately 11 inches. Generally, a well-balanced Scottish Terrier dog should weigh from 19 to 22 pounds and a bitch from 18 to 21 pounds.
For a more detailed look at what a well bred Scottie should look like go to the STCA web site . 
Let’s begin at the beginning. Recent evidence has emerged that dogs and humans have co-existed for much longer than anyone expected. Genetic evidence suggests that man began to domesticate dogs while we were still hunter-gatherers, dwelling in caves and living off the land. Through selective breeding, different characteristics were shaped, and various breeds began to emerge, each one for a specific purpose. One interesting thing that I discovered was that in 1980, Harry Frank from the University of Michigan-Flint, reported that the breeds of dogs who, through domestication, became obedient and trainable, lost some of their cognitive abilities such as problem solving. Those breeds that seem to be more obedient have a decreased capacity for insight and logic because throughout their natural adaptation intervention detached them from the consequence of their actions. In other words, those breeds that were developed to be more trainable, lost some of their reasoning and problem solving abilities, and became more compliant to their human master. This is why some breeds of dogs, seem to have less ‘personality’. These dogs also seem to form very strong bonds with their owners and is genetically predisposed to learn and obey rules. Dogs, such as Scotties, that were bred primarily for aggressive territorial protection seem to have retained the ability to reason on a more logical level. However these same dogs, have also retained a more aggressive nature, in a general sense and may have a tendency to challenge his owner for dominance. 
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'Braveheart' © Lynn Paterson, used with permission.