15 of NI’s favorite dog breeds claimed by Scots

As Scotland celebrates Burn’s Day, we pay tribute to the dog breeds that left the Highlands, Islands, Lowlands and Borders to live in Northern Ireland.

The Scots have a total of 15 dogs which they claim as their own, including three from the Borderlands and one dating back nearly 1,000 years.

And there are a few surprises besides the fiery terriers, fast ratters and of course probably the most famous, the handsome West Highland White, including the Golden Retriever and the Border Collie.

Do you have a dog with Scottish heritage? Let us know on our dedicated DogsLive site. We would love to see photos of your dogs and learn all about them.

Check out our list of 14 dog breeds claimed by Scots to be their own:

1. Seaustralian terrier



scottish terrier

  • Reputation: Courageous, quick, spirited, alert, playful and will stand firm.
  • Original use: pest control
  • Typical weight: up to 12 kg
  • Life expectancy: up to 15 years
  • Colors: black, brindle, wheaten

Originally known as the Aberdeen Terrier, their names changed as their popularity grew in Scotland and the rest of the UK, until they became known as the Scottish Terrier. They can move very quickly and tend to be ultra alert. They have a high prey drive and love ball game.

2. West Highland White Terrier



  • Reputation: Brave, quick, fiery, confident and playful.
  • Original use: pest control
  • Typical weight: up to 10 kg
  • Life expectancy: Up to 15 years
  • Colors: white

The Westie comes from the Cairn Terrier line. In the mid-19th century, the Malcolms of the Poltalloch clans in Argyllshire developed a white stock to behold in the glare and darkness of the dry winter on the Scottish hills. They remain an extremely popular breed and are very social.

3. Skye’s Burrow



  • Reputation: Fast, fearless with fabulous bangs.
  • Original work: Badger, otter and fox hunter
  • Typical weight: up to 18 kg
  • Life expectancy: Up to 15 years
  • Colours: black, fawn, blue, dark grey, light gray

Originating from the Isle of Skye, these little dogs remain one of the most endangered Scottish dog breeds. They have a distinctive straight coat and long bangs and the most famous Skye Terrier was Bobby who became known as Greyfriars Bobby, with a statue in his honor in Edinburgh after dedicating his life to the grave of his mate Auld Jock , a night policeman. Old Town Officer.

4. Cairn Burrow



Cairn terrier

  • Reputation: Courageous, determined, vigilant and hardy
  • Original Job: Hunter and Hunter
  • Typical weight: up to 7 kg
  • Life expectancy: Up to 15 years and often beyond
  • Colours: black, brindle, cream, grey, red, wheaten

Perhaps Scotland’s oldest breed and oldest working dog, the Cairn Terrier hails from the Scottish Highlands and earned its name hunting prey between stone cairns. They are sharp watchdogs to this day. The most famous Cairn Terrier? It must be Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

5. Scottish Hound



Scottish hunting dog

  • Reputation: Gentle soul, good eyesight, elegant on foot, natural hunter
  • Original Job Title: Deer Hunter
  • Typical weight: up to 50 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: up to 11 years
  • Colors: brindle, fawn, red fawn, blue, gray, yellow

The Scottish Deerhound is a large rough coated dog closely related to the Irish Wolfhound although smaller. Bred to run through deep woods hunting deer often twice their size, they have been recorded reaching speeds of up to 28 MPH. A relaxed and gentle dog when not working.

6. DetectiveDog



detective dog

  • Reputation: Single-minded, intense scent, stubborn, sweet, loud, howler, emotional.
  • Original Job Title: Most Often Human Stalker
  • Typical weight: up to 50 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: up to 12 years.
  • Colors: red or black with small spots

The Sleuth Hound first appears in poems about Robert the Bruce and William Wallace which are described as having been followed by Sleuth Hounds and these dogs are thought to have existed in Scotland as early as around 1300. References to the Sleuth Hound appear in a human tracking context, while the Bloodhound continues to be used to track humans or other animals. Both are thought to have been used to scent and track cattle rustlers and thieves in the Middle Ages and although this breed may have originated in Belgium they were bred in Scotland and claimed as Scots from 1300. borders between Scotland and England required that anyone refusing entry to the Sleuth Hound while chasing stolen goods would be considered an accomplice to the theft.

7. Golden retriever



Golden retriever

  • Reputation: Loyal, strong, confident, gentle, happy and gentle mouth.
  • Original Job Title: Gun Dog, Retriever
  • Typical weight: up to 34 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: Up to 12 years and often beyond
  • Colours: deep gold, cream, light gold, gold

The Golden Retriever was first bred in Scotland in the 19th century to retrieve birds and other wild birds when hunting and shooting, lifting them without breaking or damaging them so that the bird would be considered fit at the dinner table. Today, their personality is seen as an ideal service dog and companion animal, many of whom still work with guns.

8. Gordon Setter



Gordon Setter

  • Reputation: Playful, strong, gentle, spirited, fast
  • Original job title: Game bird hunter, Point and retriever
  • Typical weight: up to 36 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: up to 12 years
  • Colors: black and tan

The name Gordon Setter comes from the Duke of Gordon who introduced these semi-long-haired black and brown dogs to his castle in Banffshire, Scotland in 1827. They are long and very fast with great stamina, intelligent and somewhat stubborn . .

9. Bearded Collie



  • Reputation: Cheerful, high-spirited, friendly, high-spirited, energetic, intelligent, affectionate, low attention
  • Original Job Title: Herder
  • Typical weight: up to 27 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: Up to 15 years
  • Colors: black, fawn, tricolor, black & brown, blue, brown
  • The Beardie first arrived in Scotland in 1912 to guard the flock of sheep. Bearded Collies are extremely energetic, intelligent and affectionate, and as independent makers they can be strong willed. They carry easily, need lots of grooming and a full life.

    10. Rough Collie



    • Reputation: Eager to learn, strong, affectionate, quick, responsive, vocal.
    • Original Job Title: Shepherd, Protector
    • Typical weight: up to 29 kg
    • Typical life expectancy: up to 16 years
    • Colours: white, tricolor, sand and white, sand merle, blue merle, sand

    Rough Collies are strong, loyal, affectionate and fast. Quick to learn, they listen to people and respond well to consistent, reward-based training, and they tend to enjoy the attention that comes with performance. Also make excellent therapy dogs. Also called Lassie Dog after the hit 1950s TV series.

    11. Smooth Collie



    smooth collie

    • Reputation: Sociable, agile, playful, a faithful companion
    • Original Job Title: Herder
    • Typical weight: up to 29 kg
    • Typical life expectancy: Up to 15 years
    • Colors: white, blue merle, sand merle, sand, tricolor, sand and white

    The Smooth Collie is a breed unto itself, not just a version of a Rough Coat. They are sociable dogs who love exercise, they are active and agile and very social with an outgoing temperament. An obsessive shepherd of all things.

    12. Dandie Dinmont Terrier



    Dandie Dinmont Terrier

    • Reputation: Docile, tough, brave, friendly, cheerful, a digger
    • Original Job Title: Badger and Otter Hunter
    • Typical weight: up to 12 kg
    • Typical life expectancy: Up to 15 years
    • Colours: mustard, pepper

    The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, or Dandie is another border terrier originating from the border between Scotland and England. They have a long body on short legs and a distinctive tuft of hair on top of their head. Supreme diggers with big front feet and strong legs.

    13. Border Terrier



    border terrier

    • Reputation: Quick, tough, vocal, keen senses, intelligent, affectionate, fearless, steady temper, alert, obedient.
    • Original job title: Fox Hunter
    • Typical weight: up to 7 kg
    • Typical life expectancy: Up to 15 years
    • Colors: blue and tan, red, gray and tan, wheat

    The wiry, rough-coated Border Terrier takes its name from the borders of Scotland, where it was bred to flush out hunting foxes. Described as “hard as nails” at work, but good natured, affectionate and trainable. They have a small “otter” shaped head and long legs. Great hunt for prey.

    14. Border Collies



    border collie

    • Reputation: Intelligent, quick and obedient with a love of work, intelligent, obsessive
    • Original job title: Herder
    • Typical weight: up to 20 kg
    • Typical life expectancy: Up to 17 years and often beyond
    • Colors: black, white, blue, red merle, brindle, lilac, chocolate, liver, blue merle, sand, sand merle, red, gold

    The Border Collie comes from the borders of Scotland where it was bred to work on animal farms. They are considered one of the most intelligent, athletic, very quick to learn and very energetic dogs. They need to exercise their brains as much as their bodies.

    15. Shetland Sheepdog



    Two Shetland Sheepdogs, one tricolor, the other Blue Merle

  • Reputation: Hardy, diligent, vocal, excitable, eager to please
  • Original job title: Herder
  • Typical weight: up to 11 kg
  • Typical life expectancy: Up to 18 years and often beyond
  • Colors: sable, mahogany sable, shaded sable, tricolor, bi-black, bi-blue, blue merle, bi-blue merle, sable merle, colored-headed white, double merle, black and tan.
  • The Shetland Sheepdog originated in Shetland and was originally called the Shetland Collie and is often referred to today as a Sheltie. They are about a third the size of a Rough Collie and are said to be deeply trustworthy and emotionally attached to family. Shelties were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1909.

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