Scottie health

The average lifespan of the Scottish terrier is 11-13 years, which places the breed right in the middle of the average range across the board for all breeds of a similar size and build.

The STCA founded its Health Trust Fund (HTF) in 1995 which supports research on health issues in the breed. Scottish Terriers can be more prone to bleeding disorders, joint disorders, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and cancer than some other breeds of dog. There is a condition named after the breed called Scotty Cramp – a hereditary disease usually manifesting itself in dogs at around six months old. The condition stimulates the release of serotonin from the brain which results in the dog’s muscles locking up causing spams and hyperextensions in the legs. While it’s distressing for the owner, it doesn’t actually cause the dog pain. It can be triggered by stress and / or excitement. A product called Calm K9, added to food, seems to help the condition.

While there are no tests for Scottie Cramp, there are for Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO) and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).  CMO is an inherited bone disease causing periodic intense jaw pain, swelling of the jaws and pain when opening the mouth. Symptoms typically begin between four and eight months of age. VWD is a disease which can inhibit clotting potentially resulting in uncontrolled bleeding. If a dog is carrying the CMO or VWD gene (which are hereditary) they should not be bred from.

Before you buy a Scottie ask the breeder if they have tested for the CMO and VWD gene and what the results were. Find out more about bundle DNA tests for Scotties on

If you have got any concerns about your Scottie’s health, or you or someone you know needs help with their Scottie in any way, please contact STECS.