If you want your Scottish terrier to continue looking like a Scottie and not some undefinable scruffy dog, he requires regular trimming. Because his coat needs semi-annual stripping, you might prefer to leave that task to a groomer. Clipping the coat is an option for the nonshow dog. Basic haircuts for a Scottish terrier consist of the show cut and the pet cut.
Scottie Breed Standard
If you show your dog, he must sport the haircut for his breed standard. The American Kennel Club's breed standard for the Scottie demands a broken coat. That means a wiry, hard topcoat with a dense and soft undercoat. It must be trimmed so that the result is "a distinct Scottish Terrier outline." The Scottie in the show ring requires enough coat so that a judge can determine its density and texture. While the "furnishings," or longer coat on the legs, beard and abdomen can be softer than the topcoat, "fluffy" isn't permitted.
If you intend to show your Scottie, ask breeders or knowledgeable competitors for groomer recommendations. You need someone who knows how to groom a Scottish terrier, resulting in that famous Scottie outline. You don't want your Scottie to look like a schnauzer or some other terrier type in the show ring as similar doesn't cut it. Your Scottie's coat must be hand-stripped -- manually removing any dead hair -- to attain the AKC coat standard.
If you don't show your dog, your Scottie can receive the functional but attractive pet trim. Your groomer can perform a pet trim, or you can learn to do it yourself. Instead of hand-stripping his coat, you can clip it. The pet trim is shorter than the show trim, for ease of maintenance. While you must comb and thin out your Scottie's head furnishings, it's difficult for a nonprofessional -- and even many pros -- to achieve the correct head grooming look for the Scottie.
Scottie Spruce Up
In between haircuts, you must keep your Scottie spruced up. That includes brushing him several times a week, over every part of him. Because he has that broken coat, you must take care to brush out the top- and undercoat, brushing until you reach skin. He also needs his lower body furnishings carefully brushed for tangle prevention. Post-brushing, give your pet a good once over with a comb for loose hair removal. Comb out his beard daily, since he'll get food stuck in it.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.