Scottish Terrier

Grooming Advice

From the moment you clap eyes on that varminty expression and see the heads up/tails up attitude, you just know that this breed is a little power pack. Not affectionately nicknamed “Old Diehard” for nothing, this determined little fellow was bred to hunt badgers and foxes and has been adored and owned by many famous people just for his loyal and faithful nature. Having owned one myself, I am a fan for life.

The Scottie shows great spirit and should exhibit that he has the wherewithal for the job in his rugged appearance combined with power. He may be small but this cobby bodied little bloke is smart and uses his sturdiness to get the job done. Those chunky buttocks and short heavy legs can really get into action helping to power this dog with good reach and drive. I do love a big bottomed Scottie!

His coat is one that is a close lying double coat with wiry, harsh, outer coat. Put together well, trimmed and blended into the furnishings for a distinctive Scottie silhouette, I find the Scottie is an arresting Terrier and very hard to go past without pulling a lot of attention to him. That high intelligence is also a great attraction as he learns well and is smart enough to remember!

So, you get the picture. I am partial to this breed! However, I am adamant that the breed needs good grooming and am past the old beliefs of not washing the Terrier coat in order to keep texture. We have come a long way with new products that simply were not about when the breed was first shown back in the late 1800’s. You can wash a Scottie coat AND keep texture if you understand the fundamentals to avoid creating a fluffy coat.

Firstly, avoid anything that is high foaming. That is a sure recipe for disaster. People love to see lots of bubbles when bathing their dog yet it is the very thing you don’t want if you want to minimise static which causes a fluffy coat. So, dilute, dilute and dilute or use a low foaming shampoo such as Plush Puppy AZ IZ Shampoo whose name says it all - it keeps the coat as is and maintains texture. Add just a few squirts into a bucket or a hydrobath tank and if you see suds, then you have added too much. You can clean without bubbles - trust me! It really is very simple and this is the bath one can do when a bath usually just won’t do. Squish through and it will cleanse the coat, and then rinse well.

For those with black Scotties, then to keep that depth in the colour use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo diluted 3:1 and leave on for approx 5 - 10 minutes and then rinse. This is a toning shampoo and not for deep cleansing so if your Scottie hasn’t had a wash for a while, use the Az Iz as above or the Whitening Shampoo, again a toning shampoo albeit less depth than Black Opal, at 10:1 prior to a second shampoo application of Black Opal.

For Brindles and Wheatens, use the AZ IZ, or, for deeper cleansing, use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted 10:1.

Of course anything relating to water on the coat will mildly soften the coat so we are mindful from this step onwards, to bring the texture back up to barbed wire harshness. I like to oil the coats at this point for moisture and protection to the hair by adding 1 tspn Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to 1/2 bucket warm water and liberally saturating the coat and leave in - do not rinse. This will not be greasy but give that harsh weather protection without softening as a conditioner will. This is a water soluble oil and adds all the goodness of Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil etc to bring up the healthy coat vigour for the discerning show person.

Now, blow dry using your Plush Puppy Pin Brush so as not to overstretch the hair until it is at least 3/4 dry and then switch to the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush which is 1/2 nylon pin and 1/2 bristle enabling you to smooth the hair - don’t stroke brush but hold the brush just past the root area and turn the brush head till horizontal and then hold fast whilst aiming the air of the dryer and allow the air to dry. Then slide the brush a bit further and you will note that the brush keeps the hair firmly and straight, until you reach the ends of the hair and then put the brush underneath the ends and roll the haead of the brush slightly under, aiming the air of the dryer to follow the growth of the hair and not against the growth. You will absolutely minimise static by this technique - constant stroke brushing only encourages static when drying. Paramount for this breed to have a smooth, straight coat.

Once the coat is almost dry, add a few light sprays of Plush Puppy Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray for added texture. Spray as many times as you wish till required texture is achieved. This is not a sticky spray but a “scratchy” feel spray to get that level of harshness so desired.

Alternatively, when needing to cleanse a Scottie and bathing is not available or desired, use Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Harsh Coated Breeds. This is great for between baths or for the diehards who just can’t bring themselves to bath for whatever reason and believe me, I have no issue with that. Hence we have this wondrous cleansing and deodorising powder which is tossed liberally onto the coat and worked through with your hands really well to reach all through the coat. Now blow out or brush out. The gentle, dry cleansing and deodorising of this product has to be seen to be believed. Mildly perfumed with a light mandarin and ginger fragrance, this gives the best texture yet.

If you didn’t have a harsh enough texture to start with, you will now! You can use also this after wet bathing too once the coat is dry, to reinforce the harsh texture. Just lightly apply and blow out excess. To groom that “just so look”, the Scottie head is best achieved using Plush Puppy Sit N Stay for the texture you need for the typical face, Using a small amount rubbed into the hands, apply down the sides of the face and eye brows to give you the look. Shape those eyebrows to perfection and this will hold them into place.

The silhouette shape of the Scottie is of great importance but not one I can attempt to begin to teach through words on paper. The art of stripping with hand/ knife is something that has to be watched and learned and I suggest that you do whatever it is you have to do, to bribe or entice someone of great skill to show you. Some are superb at this and it is a treat to see their skill. It does nontheless take time to do even when mastered and there are no short cuts to achieving the lofty heights of a true Scottie presenter.

For between show maintenance, add Plush Puppy Revivacoat to the furnishings, a light spray of Plush Puppy Sunshade to the topline for the outdoors dog and a light fingering of Seabreeze Oil undiluted, to the edges and underbelly of the coat for protection. Then for show preparation, wash out using the Az Iz or as recommeded above and follow the above instructions for drying etc.

I will share one further tip and that is to use the Revivacoat on the legs. This is a great between show moisturiser to use without overly softening the coat. It’s hard to find things that will do just that. It is the perfect product for after show bathing out of the furnishings, to protect and moisturise. We always bath out products after a show and moisturise the lengths, especially powders of any sort. A top show dog takes effort and work but is sooo worth it for the glamour and perfection it adds to the overall presentation. Protect that coat and nurture it and the lengths and texture will be there in abundance.

I often think when it comes to dog showing, that a great Terrier is going to be the one we all have to beat. They and the Gundogs are the old sportsmen’s helpmates and the mainstay of the history of dog showing. These are not prissy or hair do breeds as such and whilst the focus is always on structure and temperament to do the job they were bred to do, a beautifully turned out Terrier is one to behold.

The Scottie is alert and spirited but tempered by a steady personality. He is a determined little fellow with guts and attitude though very controlled. You get the impression of a real little workhorse about to take part in the Kentucky Derby and itching to beat the bigger legged gallopers. He is a real little tugboat of a dog, able to power around the ring with thoss sturdy little legs going like the clappers.

I miss my Scottie even after all these years. Don’t be surprised if you see me at a show all misty eyed watching some beautiful Scottie out in the ring, filling my eye with his greatness. I love them all - the Wheatens, the Blacks and the Brindles - just make it a good one. This old fashioned breed is not so prevalent in the rings these days as more and more lose the skill and time to present correctly. Let’s make sure they are here for a long time and the skill to turn them out properly is not lost.

- Cheryl Le Court