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The Coat

The coat of the Scottish Terrier is a double one.  The outer coat is harsh, dense and wiry, the undercoat short, dense and soft.  These coats make a weather-resistant covering for the dogs.

The double coat, and in particular the short undercoat, provide warmth and resistance to wet.  Another reason for such a thick coat is protection for the dog in his original work.  A mouth full of hair was often the only protection provided for the skin when a foe attacked.

Colours of the Scottish Terrier are black, wheaten and brindle of any shade.

The average coat grows thick and profusely and requires care and attention to maintain it in good order.  Many people would consider the amount of coat care a disadvantage of the breed but it can be a rewarding challenge.


There is a right way and a wrong way to groom a dog.  A good grooming session is best done once a week, brushing energetically with a hard bristle brush.  Normally, the dog’s coat should be brushed against the growth on the back from the tip of the head to the tail, all four legs and underneath.  It should then be brushed thoroughly back with the growth.

Combs should be used sparingly as in the hands of novice groomers these can tear out furnishings and leg hair by over use.

If starting with a puppy you must accustom him to handling and grooming on the table.  It is wise to spend a few minutes each day training him to accept and enjoy these occasions.

Stripping is usually necessary two or three times a year when the coat has become fully “blown”.  The coat has to be removed to make way for new growth.

This may be done by hand or with a stripping knife.  When the coast is ready it is easily removed without any discomfort to the dog.  All stripping by hand or by knife should be done in the direction in which the coat grows.  A small tuft of hair held between the finger and thumb should be plucked out smartly.  Your other hand should be slightly above the area being dealt with to anchor the dog’s skin and minimize the pull.  When using a stripping knife, hold between finger and thumb, flick hair forward and then pluck in the direction in which the coat is growing.

Starting at the back, continue up the neck to the head then to the tail and down the sides.


Equipment needed

  • Grooming table (non slip surface)

  • Hard bristle brush

  • Pin brush or wire brush (Terrier mitt or pad)

  • A no tangle comb

  • Clippers, electric or manual

  • Scissors

  • Thinning scissors

  • Stripping knives

  •  a mirror behind the table

Clipping is normally done against the growth of the coat.  Clipped areas on the Scottie are the throat, ears and skull.  Continual re-positioning of the clippers is necessary as the coat grows in different directions on different parts of the body.  Under the throat, the hairs grow downward but at the sides of the neck it grows outward and backwards.  The skull is clipped towards the foreface and sides of the head from ears to muzzle.

The rolled coat procedure can keep your dog in good, hard coat indefinitely.  This method is of particular use to exhibitors as it enables them to keep the dog in show coat all year round rather than the customary stripping two or three times a year.

The frequency of rolling is dependent on the quality of the dog’s coat, how dense it is and how fast is grows.  Most show dogs would be worked on at least once or twice a week.

Brush the coat vigorously with  a bristle brush and rake out as much undercoat as is necessary.  Brush your hand lightly against the growth of the coat and pluck out the hairs that stand out from the rest.  Do this several times until individual hairs do not rise.

The process should be repeated at regular intervals, each time removing the longer hairs.  This pattern will continue with new growth.  Keeping the dog in this sort of coat requires a regular effort.


The head must be trimmed to give the impression of strength and quality.  Ears should be closely clipped both inside and out.  Tufts between the ears and some in front of the ears should be left.   The purpose of the ear tufts adds interest and character, giving an optical illusion of the width of the skull and help make the ears appear smaller.  Be careful not to leave too much.  If too much is left in front of the ears this can shorten the length of the skull and look untidy.  Hair around the edges of the ear should be trimmed back to the leather.

Eyebrows should be graduated with hair left longer on the inner parts, gradually tapering shorter to the outer corner of the eyes.

When trimming the neck, attention should be given to the build of the dog.  If he is thick then he may be trimmed closely, but if the neck is long and narrow, more hair should be left.

The line down from the neck, which meets the clipped area on the throat, should be blended by stripping and this can be successfully done with thinning scissors and a stripping knife.   Forelegs should look thick and straight and the lines should continue in a straight line from the neck.  Such hair left on the outside of the front legs may fly away in all directions and appear to give an illusion of incorrect movement.  The feet should be trimmed around and all excess hair removed, particularly any overhanging the pad.

The hair on the body should blend with the furnishings.  Considerable skill is needed for the blending of shorter hair into longer and this must be done to eliminate lines or ridges.

The hind legs should be trimmed similar to the front.   The ideal shape of the tail should be an inverted carrot, thick at the root and tapering to a point.  The use of stripping knife, thinning scissors on the tail should help you to shape it.  The area around the vent should be kept clean and free of hair.

The ideal method of trimming a Scottish Terrier is by trial and error and observation.  Having a photo handy of what you consider to be a well presented dog and trying to achieve this is a good beginning.  Now, begin shaping and continually compare your methods with other groomers.  Much pleasure and satisfaction can be gained when you see your finished product.

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