13 Scottish Dog Breeds That Would Look Great in Kilts

Scottish Dog Breeds

Scotland is full of medieval castles, sheep, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands with long-haired cows, bagpipes, kilts, whiskey, beautiful lakes, and speaking of lakes — the Loch Ness Monster.

Where there are sheep, there are energetic and adorable herding dogs, as well as other lovely canines.

Dogs that originated in Scotland are often rough-coated and fur-insulated to protect them from the cold weather and rugged terrain of the Highlands. Most of Scotland’s dogs were created to herd and/or hunt, and all are cutie pies that dog lovers appreciate.

Let’s take a look at the beautiful Scottish dog breeds.

Scottish Dog Breeds

Get ready to meet the bonnie bunch of Scottish dog breeds, each with a tale as enchanting as the misty glens they hail from!

1. Scottish Terrier

scottish dog breeds
GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE10 inches tall
WEIGHT18-22 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry double coat, medium length in black, black brindle, brindle, red brindle, silver brindle, wheaten
LIFE SPAN12 years

The adorable Scottish Terrier is spirited, independent, affectionate, playful, protective, intelligent, feisty, and needs mind stimulation. They are barkers.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) calls the Scottish terrier personality “vivid” and says they are efficient and businesslike. Scottish terriers are aloof with strangers and make good watchdogs. Scotties love walking and playing and have a strong prey drive.

The Scottie originated in Scotland and were originally bred to hunt foxes, rodents, badgers, etc., in the Highlands. Originally called the Aberdeen terrier, they were developed to hunt vermin. They are believed to be the oldest of the Highland terriers — and maybe the oldest canine from Britain.

Short-legged Scotties were very popular in the 1930s and early ’40s. Famous owners during World War II included Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

2. Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound
DOG’s SIZE28-32 inches tall
WEIGHT75-110 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry double coat, medium length in blue ray, brindle, gray, gray brindle, black, black brindle, blue
LIFE SPAN8-11 years

The Scottish deerhound is affectionate, polite, dignified, gentle, friendly, courageous, and good with dogs. They are the “Royal Dog of Scotland” and a coursing hound descending from Greyhounds.

The Scottish deerhound is one of the tallest dogs and was bred as hunting dogs to chase giant wild red deer. The Scottish deerhound breed is very old and lived in Scotland before the Scots did.

In ancient Scotland, large, shaggy hounds hunted 400-pound massive deer with dangerous antlers in the rocky and wet Highlands. First-century Roman pottery has Red Deer hunters using large rough hounds. Scottish deerhounds now enjoy a more spoiled domestic existence.

3. Border Collie

scottish dogs
GROUP Herding
DOG’s SIZE18-22 inches tall
WEIGHT30-55 pounds
FUR AND COLORwavy double coat, medium length in black, blue, blue merle, red, red merle, sable, white and black, whiteand blue merle, white and red, lilac, saddleback sable, sable merle, gold, brindle, white and blue, white and red merle, white ticked, seal, white and seal, white and gold
LIFE SPAN12-15 years

Beautiful Border Collies are renowned for their brilliance. The Border collie is also energetic, affectionate, friendly, agile, athletic, and playful. The Border Collie barks frequently.

The Border Collie is a workaholic and needs an owner who will give them exercise and mental stimulation to wear them out. They have endurance, but after playing and physical stimulation, the Border Collie will cuddle.

The Border collie comes in a long coat and a flat coat, and soft undercoat.

Romans brought their livestock and herders when they conquered Britain in 43 AD. Their large herders then bred with the Vikings’ smaller herders when the Vikings conquered Britain, and the Border collie resulted.

This dog breed was herding in the hilly border country between Scotland and England. Border Collies are famous for their expertise in herding due to their size, speed, and agility.

4. Bearded Collie

scottish dog
GROUP Herding
DOG’s SIZE20-22 inches
WEIGHT45-55 pounds
FUR AND COLORThick double coat,silky and long in black, blue, brown, fawn
LIFE SPAN12-14 years

The Bearded Collie is smart, playful, friendly, affectionate, energetic, and good with children and dogs. They bark a lot. Shaggy Bearded Collies are fun, and the American Kennel Club calls Beardies “rambunctious comics.”

They need mental stimulation. The Bearded collie is a herding dog that works in the Scottish Highlands. They managed cattle in the pasture and drove them to the market.

The Beardie is in paintings from the 1700s. In the Victorian era, they were in the Scottish show circuit. Many dog breeds suffered a great deal of loss during WWI.

Breeders resurrected the Beardie population. They, like other types of Collies, descended from the Polish Lowland sheepdog.

5. Border Terrier 

dogs from scotland
GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE12-15 inches tall
WEIGHT11.5-15.5 pounds
FUR AND COLORwiry short coat inblue and tan, grizzle and tan, red, wheaten, grizzle, red grizzle, black grizzle, blue grizzle, red wheaten, red grizzle and tan, black and tan, black and red
LIFE SPAN12-15 years

The adorable Border terrier is happy, affectionate, very trainable, agile, friendly, playful, and good with kids and dogs. The Border Terrier loves exploring outside.

They are hard workers and sweet family members. They have a strong prey instinct, so they may become excited if they see a cat. They are known to be one of the smartest dog breeds.

Bordier terriers protect sheep from foxes. They have to be small enough to dig into a fox’s lair and fast enough to hunt with their owners, who were on horses. Border terriers’ ancestors were bred for fox hunting, had weatherproof coats, and ran tirelessly after foxes.

6. Skye Terrier 

scotland dogs
GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE9.5-10 inches tall
WEIGHT35-45 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble long coat in black, blue, cream, fawn, gray, platinum, silver
LIFE SPAN12-14 years

Precious Skye terriers are courageous, affectionate, sweet, friendly, and playful. The Skye terrier is from Scotland’s Isle of Skye. They were bred to hunt foxes and badgers in the 1600s. The Skye terrier became popular with British nobles in the 19th century when Queen Victoria became a fan.

The Skye dog breed was used in developing other Scottish terrier breeds and types of Yorkies. They were also vermin hunters who left the Isle of Skye to be pampered by British nobles.

Greyfriars Bobby, a famous dog that lived long ago, is renowned for staying at his master’s grave for 14 years. There’s a statue of him in Edinburgh.

7. Rough Collie

scotland dog breeds
GROUP Herding
DOG’s SIZE22-26 inches tall
WEIGHT50-75 pounds
FUR AND COLORlong or short in tri color black, white, and tan; blue merle; blue merle and tan; sable; sable and white; sable merle; sable, merle, and white; white; white merle
LIFE SPAN12-14 years

Collies come in rough (long) and smooth (short) hair but are considered the same breed. The rough hair provided protection from weather, tree branches, other animals, etc.

Rough Collies have long hair and a long nose, and smooth collies have short hair. Rough collies are beloved because of the beautiful Lassie who visited us on TV.

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie are graceful, athletic, intelligent, good with children, affectionate, devoted, proud, very trainable, and playful. Rough collies and smooth collies make great pets as they are extremely affectionate.

The Smooth collie is only considered their own distinct breed in the UK.

Queen Victoria adored Scotland and fell in love with Scottish dogs. Collies were in Scotland during the first century AD. Roman herding dogs bred with local dogs, and Collies resulted.

Lassie brought rough Collies to the masses from 1955 to 1973, and generations were smitten with the smart and beautiful rough collie. The Smooth collie is also lovely and doesn’t shed as much.

8. West Highland White Terrier

scotish dog
GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE10-11 inches tall
WEIGHT15-20 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble coat, medium length in white
LIFE SPAN13-15 years

The West Highland white terrier is playful, friendly, loyal, happy, entertaining, affectionate, a good watchdog, energetic, brave, and intelligent. They are also good with kids.

The West Highland terrier has been a loving pet for over 300 years and is the most popular of the small terriers. Westies were bred to hunt rats and little animals living underground and has a strong prey drive.

The Westie name comes from them hailing from northwestScotland. In the 1700s, the Malcom clan began breeding West highland terriers with white fur, prick-eared, and a white coat. They are one of the adorable white dog breeds.

They were first shown in an 1896 Scottish dog show. Americans have loved and lived with Westies for over 100 years.

9. Cairn Terrier

dog breeds from scotland
GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE9.5-10 inches tall
WEIGHT13-14 pounds
FUR AND COLORwiry, double coat, medium in brindle, cream, gray, gray brindle, red, red brindle, silver, wheaten, cream brindle, black, black brindle, red wheaten, silver brindle, wheaten brindle, silver wheaten
LIFE SPAN13-15 years

The Cairn terrier was popularized by Toto in “The Wizard of Oz.” Cairns are alert, affectionate, busy, loyal, cheerful, curious, playful, independent, and protective.

Cairn terriers bark a lot and love to explore and dig. These shaggy cuties are snuggly as well as sturdy. The Cairn terrier was bred to drive foxes, otters, and other small animals out of their dens/homes.

A canine that digs out prey and hunts on the ground is called an earth dog. Cairns are small enough to dig through prey habitat. They are the oldest terriers and working dogs, dating back to the 1600s (likely even before).

Cairn terriers patrolled the game preserves and farms of Scotland and are one of the oldest terrier breeds. The Cairn terrier and other terriers doing that job were just called Scotch terriers.

Years ago in Scotland, a mound of stones used as a boundary or to mark a grave was called a “cairn.” Rodents used those mounds as homes, and the terriers could be found chasing prey there, performing vermin control.

10. Golden Retriever

scottish dogs breeds
GROUP Sporting
DOG’s SIZE21.5- 24
WEIGHT55-75 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble coat, medium length indark golden, golden, and light Golden
LIFE SPAN10-12 years

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular breeds! They have happy faces and are affectionate, intelligent, friendly, devoted, good with kids and dogs, playful, and easy to train. Due to their joyful expressions and loving nature, it’s no wonder many owners proudly wear Golden Retriever shirts, showcasing the delightful faces of this beloved breed

Golden retrievers need brain stimulation like a walk or playing fetch. They love swimming. They were originally bred as gun dogs and to retrieve birds and are hard workers. They are seeing eye dogs, working search-and-rescue, and excelling in obedience and competitive sports.

Goldens were developed in the Scottish Highlands in the 1800s by crossing a Yellow retriever (now extinct), the Tweed water spaniel.

They added some Irish Setter and Bloodhound for good measure. The Golden retriever arrived in the US via Canada in the very early 1900s. President Gerald Ford had a Golden retriever, and the breed became very popular in the 1970s.

11. Shetland Sheepdog

scotland dog
GROUP Herding
DOG’s SIZE13-16 inches
WEIGHT15-25 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble long coat in sable and white; black, white, and tan; blue merle, white, and tan, blue merle and white; black and white; sable, merle, and white; white, black, and tan; white, black, and tan; white and black; white and sable; white, white , blue merle, and tan; white and blue merle; white and sable merle; back and tan.
LIFE SPAN12-14 years

Shetland sheepdogs are another popular breed. The Shetland sheepdog is smart, affectionate, playful, energetic, protective, easy to train, and good with kids and other dogs. They need mind stimulation.

The Shetland sheepdog was bred in the Shetland Islands, where residents needed herding dogs that weren’t expensive to feed. Food was sparse because of the cold climate of the Shetland Islands, the most northern part of the United Kingdom. T

They were originally called Shetland collies, but Collie breeders didn’t like the name being so similar to their breed. Shelties are obedient and great herders. The islands are so remote that practically no one had seen a Sheltie until 1909.

Collies were shipped from the Scottish mainland to Shetland Island, and Shelties were created when the collie was bred with spitz-type dogs.

12. Gordon Setter

dogs of scotland
GROUP Sporting
DOG’s SIZE23-27 inches tall
WEIGHT45-80 pounds
FUR AND COLORdouble coat of medium length in black and tan, red, tan
LIFE SPAN12-13 years

The Gordon setter is bold, affectionate, athletic, easy to train, protective, and energetic, and they need mind stimulation. They are intelligent dogs. Prepare for drooling.

Gordon setters are great hunters. The Gordon setter, a rugged dog bird, is another of the Scottish dog breeds that originated in the Highlands.

The kennel at the Gordon Castle, which belonged to Alexander, Fourth Duke of Gordon, bred the Gordon setter in the 1800s. The master of Castle Gordon on the craggy Highlands was very interested in these dogs.

Gordon setters’ ancestors date back to 1620. They are the largest of the setters, and the AKC recognized them in 1884.

13. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

GROUP Terrier
DOG’s SIZE8-11 inches tall
WEIGHT18-24 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble medium length coat in mustard and pepper
LIFE SPAN12-15 years

The Dandie Dinmont (DDT) is independent, affectionate, proud, loyal, smart, alert, friendly, protective, and easy to train. They can be stubborn.

DDTs have a puff of fur on top of their head (which is also a trend in US high school boys now) and lots of personality. They love romping with children. Sir Walter Scott, a great Scottish novelist, loved DDTs and named the character Dandie Dinmont in a book.

They were originally bred to hunt badger and otter, the Dandie terrier originated in the mountain between England and Scotland and were bred to chase prey away from herds of sheep. French King Louis Philippe had DDTs.


Are Scotties Good Family Dogs?

Scotties don’t love children and can nip. They are good family dogs for families without little children but may be aggressive with other pets.

Is the Scottish Terrier Breed Known for Its Good Health?

Many dog breeds suffer from health issues because they are interbred. Scotties are not an exception.

Scottish Terriers are prone to deafness and Von Willebrand’s disease – a deficiency in blood platelet function causing excessive bleeding, and Scottie cramp – periodic cramping of the muscles, usually when excited.

What Is a Standard Scottish Dog?

A Scottish terrier.


Scottish dog breeds have to be rugged to live in the cold and craggy Highlands in Scotland. Many were bred by Scottish shepherds to guard their herds of sheep.

The herding dog has to be hardy and protected from the harsh elements, so they often have a rough coat. Many Scottish dog breeds are working dogs that still innately chase prey and herd.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

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