The Breed Specific Examination of the Scottish Terrier

breed specific examination scottish terrier

The letter below was written and sent to all Scottish Terrier judges over four years ago. It is still a standard expectation for the proper examination of our breed. This was written by Kathi Brown, Judges Education Chairperson and unanimously approved by the STCA Board of Directors. Illustrations are by Darle Heck and are from the STCA Illustrated Guide to the Scottish Terrier.


The Scottish Terrier Club of America requests that all judges of the Scottish Terrier follow both the AKC protocol for judging and the breed-specific examination as described in our standard. This is a table breed and must never be examined on the ground. Proper examination is essential to your evaluation of the salient characteristics of the breed. The breed standard clearly identifies proper examination of some of the critical features of our breed.

The standard is identified below in bold print and expected examination indicated.

The muzzle should be approximately equal to the length of skull with only a slight taper to the nose. The muzzle should be well filled in under the eye, with no evidence of snippiness. A correct Scottish Terrier muzzle should fill an average man’s hand.  Always approach from the front of the dog; reach out and cup the head underneath the muzzle at the same time determining its strength and for a punishing, strong underjaw. Feel under the hair to determine that there is true fill below the dark, almond, wide-set eyes. Never grab the muzzle from the top nor pull on the beard.

The chest should not be flat or concave and the brisket should nicely fill an average man’s slightly-cupped hand. At the front of the dog place your cupped open hand on the chest feeling for the required forechest and prosternum then drop your fingers straight down between the legs to ascertain the relative straightness and width of the forelegs.

The lowest point of the brisket should be such that an average man’s fist would fit under it with little or no overhead clearance. Judges should feel for the chest which is described as “broad, very deep and well let down between the forelegs”. It is a heart-shaped (not slab-sided or barrel-shaped) chest in cross-section tapering to a point and dropping down below the elbow. To properly examine a dog according to the standard the judge should measure width and depth by actually placing his fist under the dog. You may prefer to do this measure from the side just behind the front leg at the deepest rib. If you are tall enough to do so from the front, go back to the lowest point under the brisket while making sure that you do not to place your face in the face of the dog.

Pictured at Top Of Page: GCh. Blueberry’s Attitude Dancing ROMX HOF. She was a multiple BIS, STCA National Specialty winner including twice at Montgomery Co. K.C. including from the veterans class and was #1 Scottish Terrier for two years.


  • Kathi Brown is a breeder-exhibitor of Scottish Terriers. She serves as a Judges Education Coordinator for the Scottish Terrier Club of America. Kathi is an AKC judge of terriers, toys and a number of other breeds. She is a member of the Standard Review Committee well as the committee that produced the Illustrated Guide to the Scottish Terrier. Kathi has written numerous articles on the Scottish Terrier.

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