Terriers, such as the Scottie, were bred to "go to ground" in pursuit of underground vermin. They were trained to use their natural digging skills and their sharp, insistent barking to disturb rodents and other burrowing animals until they forced the prey out of their holes. All small terriers are strong and feisty dogs, including the miniature schnauzers who were developed to work as ratters, chasing and hunting down rodents on small farms. Terriers have maintained their loud bark and propensity to dig, characteristics that are difficult to subdue.
Lifestyles of the Short and Scrappy
Scottish terriers can adapt to city or country life; they can find happiness in small apartments and in homes on acres of land. Because they are not as active as the miniature schnauzer and other terriers, Scotties are comfortable with families who like to spend time indoors and who take them out for daily walks. Miniature schnauzers are happy living in apartments or on farms, as long as they have one or two brisk walks every day. They enjoy life with active families and can be good choices for people who have never experienced life with a dog.
Minis Have Lots of Energy to Play
Miniature schnauzers love to run and play outside with the people they love. Because of their instinct to chase after anything that runs, schnauzers must always be on leash except in securely fenced yards or play areas. Although they can be content in apartments, schnauzers who live in the country and have freedom to run can seem tireless. That doesn't mean they're wanderers. Miniature schnauzers enjoy playing with other dogs and are not typically aggressive, although they will defend themselves if necessary.
Scotties' Exercise Does Not Have to Be Rigorous
Scottish terriers need to be exercised daily, but their activity requirement can be fulfilled with a walk around the neighborhood and a few brief outings daily. They enjoy adventure and off-leash exploration -- playing in a fenced yard will delight your Scottie, particularly if she can entertain herself by running after squirrels, birds or butterflies. Typical adult Scotties lack the endurance or athletic skill needed for long runs or challenging hikes, but they do like excitement and being outdoors.
Schnauzers Clown Around
Schnauzers are mischievous, entertaining, spunky, fearless and very intelligent. If not given outlets for their mental and physical energy, miniature schnauzers might use their intelligence to get into trouble such as opening cabinets and closets, tearing up toys or pillows, or eating forbidden food. If you are consistent, calm and positive during training, your miniature schnauzer will be obedient and learn quickly. Schnauzers are devoted to their humans, and want more than anything to be close to their families, to do what their families do and to go wherever their families go.
Terriers Are Tough on the Outside
Scottish terriers are tough and fearless, and they might show aggression toward animals that annoy or threaten them. Scotties are reserved with strangers, but with your reassurance, your dog is likely to be friendly with people who visit or whom you meet on your walks. Despite their stubbornness and independent nature, Scottish terriers are sensitive dogs who are attuned to the moods of their people. They can be aloof, but they are also deeply devoted to their families, and they remember people they have chosen as friends. Scotties desire your approval and will be hurt by harsh words and punishment.
- Animal Planet: Dog Breed Selector - Terrier Dog Breeds
- Animal Planet: Dog Breed Selector - Miniature Schnauzer Guide
- PetWave: Scottish Terrier - Temperament and Personality
- PetWave: Miniature Schnauzer - Temperament and Personality
- AKC Meet the Breeds: Get to know the Miniature Schnauzer
- The American Miniature Schnauzer Club: The Miniature Schnauzer
- Westminster Kennel Club: Breed Information - Scottish Terrier
Maura Wolf's published online articles focus on women, children, parenting, non-traditional families, companion animals and mental health. A licensed psychotherapist since 2000, Wolf counsels individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, body image, parenting, aging and LGBTQ issues. Wolf has two Master of Arts degrees: in English, from San Francisco State University and in clinical psychology, from New College.