Dog Breeds from the Scottish Highlands

These dogs stand out mostly for their small size, which helps them adapt easily to living in small apartments in the city.
Dog Breeds from the Scottish Highlands

Last update: 10 January, 2019

The Scottish Highlands are known by films like Braveheart due to their meadows and castles. However, you can also find dog breeds! In this article, you can read about the breeds that have emerged from this magical and historical region.

Which dogs are from the Scottish Highlands?

Some are known worldwide, but others can only be found in the region and its surroundings. The truth is that the dogs from the Scottish Highlands have a common origin and similar vocations, which is mainly hunting. The following are the breeds that came out of this region:

1. West Highland White Terriers

Let’s begin with the most famous of the highland dogs, popularly known as the “Westie” and this breed is known for their completely white fur. Like the other terriers, this breed is also energetic, brave and quite vocal. Locals bred them to hunt hares and birds, hence their light color (which differentiates them from the gray or black of the prey).

West Highland White Terriers (see the photo at the top of this article) are small: no more than 30 centimeters tall and they can weigh in at 10 kilos. Their tails are short like a “carrot” and measure about 15 centimeters long. As for their coats, they are long and shaggy, mainly over their faces.

2. Scottish Deerhounds

These are called deerhounds in their native land, they are a very old hunting dog breed (They appear in portraits at the feet of great feudal lords). This breed almost died out once the “trend” of hunting deer a shotgun appeared. However, breeders managed to help this blue-blooded dog survive.

A Scottish deerhound, one of the dogs of the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Deerhound has a disheveled appearance, with a body like a greyhound — they are from the same family — and long limbs. Their chests are deep, they have arched backs and very long tails that taper at the tip. When it comes to their personality, they have mild manners. They are ideal companion dogs and are characterized by their loyalty and tenderness.

3. Cairn Terriers

Out of all of the dogs of the Scottish Highlands, this is the oldest breed, and in fact, others are descended from them (for example the Westie). They’re working dogs used for hunting and capturing den-dwelling prey found throughout the mountains of the region. The word “cairn” is Gaelic for the cave where foxes and badgers live.

A Cairn Terrier, one of the dogs of the Scottish Highlands

Cairn terriers are active, tough, cheerful and very good pets because of how trainable they are. Likewise, they adapt very well to any environment, such as a house or a city apartment. They love to dig holes- They don’t bark a lot and they can get bored if they are left alone for several hours.

4. Scottish Terriers

The Aberdeen Terrier or ‘Scottie’, as they are popularly known, is another dog breed in the Scottish Highlands. Their origins go back to the eighteenth century, although they diverged from the West Highland and the Cairn in 1890 (until that time, the three breeds were considered the same).

A Scottish Terrier, one of the dogs of the Scottish Highlands

They are small in stature and natural diggers, but they are very sturdy and fast due to their muscular bodies.  A Scottish Terrier’s coat is wiry and can be black, wheat-colored or brindle. Their long snouts and pointed ears are always straight, which go hand in hand with their alert nature.

5. Skye Terriers

The last of the dogs from the Scottish Highlands was actually born on the Isle of Skye (hence its name), but they appeared after the Highlands terriers were crossed with Maltese dogs that survived a shipwreck in the sixteenth century.

A Skye Terrier: dogs of the Scottish highlands

The breed is endangered and may disappear due to the small number of purebreds that live in the United Kingdom. These dog have robust and elongated bodies, with strong snouts, pointy ears, long necks and short muscular legs. Their fur is very striking due to its length because it almost completely covers their eyes.

With the exception of the whippet which requires more space, the dog breeds that come from the Scottish Highlands are perfect city pets. Their small size fits anywhere!