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scottish dog breeds

The many and varied dogs that originated in Scotland

Scottish Dog Breeds

The varied landscapes of Scotland and the Scottish Borders have resulted in very different appearances of many Scottish Dog Breeds. Some breeds were needed to tackle vermin, such as the Cairn Terrier; some were needed for herding sheep, such as the Shetland Sheepdog; And some were used for hunting and protection, such the Scottish Deerhound.

Scottish Dog BreedsSilhouette of a Deerhound on the Saltire

So, let's take a look at the Scottish Dog Breeds. Some may be a surprise!


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Scottish Dog Breeds

Bearded Collie

Origins: Scotland
Size: Medium to Large
Grooming:  Extensive
Training:  Easy to Moderate
Recognition: AKC (Herding), ANKC (Working Dogs), CKC (Herding), FCI (Group 1), KC (Pastoral), NZKC (Working), UKC (Herding)

Also called:  Highland Collie, Beardie

This breed has a natural exuberance and energy. They are very lively, and love romping around a large backyard or out in the countryside. Of course, some individual dogs are more active than others, but in general they are more boisterous than most other breeds.

As a herding breed at heart, they still retain the inherent urge to round things up, whether it's children or other animals. This means that they may chase other animals and children, to try to herd them, nipping at ankles and barking. This rowdy behavior should be minimized as a puppy during training.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Border Collie

Origins:  England and Scotland
Size:  Medium
Grooming:  Average
Training:  Easy
Recognition:  ANKC (Working),  CKC (Herding),  AKC (Herding),  FCI (Group 1),  KC (Pastoral),  NZKC (Working),  UKC (Herding)

The Border Collie - If you are someone who is truly looking for a pet to fill the definition of “Man’s Best Friend”, then look no further than this ever so lovely dog breed.

This breed, however, is not to be confused with Welsh Sheepdog, which is actually related, or the Collie, which is a slightly different breed as well, falling under the “Standard Collie” category.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Border Terrier

Origins:  England & Scotland
Size:  Small
Grooming:  Average
Training:  Average
Recognition:  ANKC:  Terriers,  CKC:  Terriers,  AKC (Terrier),  FCI (Group 3),  KC (Terrier),  NZKC (Terrier),  UKC (Terrier)

The Border terrier is often described as independent, courageous, persistent, agile and intelligent. They are friendly dogs and will greet every visitor by jumping up on them to lick and welcome them into the house.

They are frequent, loud barkers and may howl and sing several times a day so are possibly not the best dog to have if you have close neighbors!

Cairn Terrier

Scottish Dog BreedsCairn Terrier

Origins:  Scotland
Size:  Small
Grooming:  Average
Training:  Average
Recognition: CKC (Terriers), ANKC (Terriers), AKC (Terriers),  NZKC (Terriers),  UKC (Terrier,  (UK)  Terrier,  FCI  Group 3

The Cairn Terrier was originally bred in Scotland to detect and dig out small rodents, larger animals in burrows, and even foxes. They still keep the instinct to dig and burrow, and will chase any small animals they see. They are small enough to fit comfortably on your lap, yet tough enough for a romp around the garden in any weather.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Origins:  Scotland / England border
Size: Small
Grooming: Average
Training: Average
Recognition:  AKC (Terrier),  FCI (Group 3),  KC (Terrier),  UKC (Terrier),  ANKC (Terriers),  CKC  (Terriers),  NZKC (Terriers)

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a big dog in a small body, according to the AKC, bursting with confidence and energy, ready to chase anything that moves. Their ancestors were bred in the Border area between Scotland and England for controlling small wildlife, taking on badgers and otters. The Dandie has a long body, short legs, a large head and a thick and muscular neck.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Scottish Dog Breeds

Golden Retriever

Scottish Dog Breeds

Origins:  Scotland
Size: Large to Giant
Grooming: Average
Training: Easy
Recognition:  FCI:  Group 8,  AKC:  Sporting,  ANKC:  Gundog,  CKC:  Sporting,  KC:  Sporting,  NZKC:  Gundog,  UKC:  Gundog

The Golden Retriever is a popular, friendly, family dog. Their owners love their calm, social tendencies and for good reason – they might just be the quintessential  pet every child should have growing up.

The Golden is an intelligent dog and can be trained to work with people on many levels. Their intelligence makes them easy to train and their loyalty just comes naturally.They are often crossed with Labrador retrievers for Guide Dogs for the blind, especially in the U.K.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Gordon Setter

Scottish Dog BreedsGordon Setter

Origins:  Scotland
Size:  Large to Giant
Grooming: Extensive
Training: Easy
Recognition:  FCI:  Group 7,  AKC:  Sporting,  ANKC:  Gundog,  CKC:  Sporting,  KC:  Gundog,  NZKC:  Gundog,  UKC:  Gundog


Rough Collie

Origins:  Scotland
Size: Large
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Average
Recognition:  CKC (Herding),  ANKC (Working),  KC (Pastoral),  AKC (Herding),  NZKC (Working),  UKC (Herding),  FCI (Group 1)

The Collie Dog Breed and the name Lassie became almost synonymous at one point in history, where children simply called it "the Lassie dog."   This fictional TV hero is the best known Rough Collie of all times.  We think of the this breed as a loving, loyal family dog that is courageous, full of energy, and very smart because that is what Lassie symbolized.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Scottish Deerhound

Origins: Scotland
Size: Giant
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Time Consuming
Recognition:  FCI: Group 10,  AKC: Hound,  ANKC: Hounds,  CKC: Hounds,  KC: Hounds,  NZKC: Hounds,  UKC: Sighthound & Pariah

The Scottish Deerhound is one of the world's largest breeds, almost as tall as the Irish Wolfhound. It is tall and rangy, with a short but shaggy coat giving it an unkempt look. This is a very old breed, used by Scotlands clan chiefs to hunt and bring down big Red Deer, which could weigh up to 400lbs.

Scottish Terrier

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Time Consuming
Recognition:,  FCI: Group 3,  AKC: Terriers,  ANKC: Terriers,  CKC: Terriers,  KC: Terriers,  NZKC:Terriers,  UKC:  Terriers

The "Scottie", as they are also known, was bred to hunt small rodents, foxes and badgers in its home country of Scotland. It is believed to be the oldest British dog breed. It is one of 5 terrier breeds from Scotland, the others being the Cairn Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Skye Terrier, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Shetland Sheepdog

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Easy
Recognition:  FCI: Group 1,  AKC: Herding,  ANKC: Working,  CKC: Herding,  KC: Pastoral,  NZKC: Working,  UKC:  Herding

The Shetland Sheepdog breed looks like a small version of the Rough Collie, and originated on the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland, the most northerly point of the United Kingdom. These dogs are bright, playful and have lots of energy. Shetland Sheepdogs are affectionately known as the 'Sheltie' for short.

Skye Terrier

Scottish Dog BreedsSkye Terrier

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming:  Time Consuming
Training: Time Consuming
Recognition:  FCI: Group 3,  AKC: Terrier,  ANKC: Terrier,  CKC: Terrier,  KC:Terrier,  NZKC: Terrier,  UKC:  Terrier


Scottish Dog Breeds

Smooth Collie

Origins:  Scotland
Size: Large
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Average
Recognition:  CKC (Herding),  ANKC (Working),  KC (Pastoral),  AKC (Herding),  NZKC (Working),  UKC (Herding),  FCI (Group 1)

Scottish Dog Breeds

West Highland White Terrier

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Average
Recognition: FCC:  Group 8, AKC:  Terriers,  ANKC:  Terriers,  CKC:  Terriers,  KC:  Terriers,  NZKC:  Terriers,  UKC:  Terriers

The West Highland White Terrier is best described as alert, active, independent and friendly.  They are quick to win your heart with their energetic persona and their bright white coat that just accents their button eyes, making them an initial hit among anyone who loves a people oriented canine.

Scottish Dog Breeds

I hope you enjoyed our guide to Scottish Dog Breeds; if you think we have missed an important one, please let us know by using the Contact Me link. Thank you!


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