What Is the Difference Between a Schnauzer and a Scottish Terrier?

By Jane Meggitt

Although the schnauzer and the Scottish terrier are different dogs, they have a lot in common. Deciding which breed makes the best choice for you depends on your canine size preference, as well as whether you share your home with children or other pets. Although there is also a miniature and a giant schnauzer -- both distinct breeds -- the standard schnauzer was the original, from whom the others were derived.

Breed Histories

Schnauzers descend from ancient dog types used in Germany as farm dogs and guardians and for pest control. Once known as wirehaired pinschers, their ancestry also includes the poodle. In 1904, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.

The Scottish terrier was bred in his native Scotland as a vermin exterminator, and the modern Scottie can still dispatch any varmint. In 1885, the breed became one of the earliest accepted into the American Kennel Club registry .

The American Kennel Club includes the schnauzer in its working group, while the Scottish terrier falls into the terrier group.

Size Differences

At maturity, the schnauzer stands between 17.5 to 19.5 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing 35 to 45 pounds. The Scottie is considerably smaller, standing about 10 inches high in adulthood, and weighing between 18 to 22 pounds. In both breeds, males are larger than females.

Coat and Color

The schnauzer's sports a thick, wiry coat, with a telltale beard and eyebrows on the face. Acceptable colors are black -- which can create a resemblance to an over-sized Scottie -- and pepper and salt. The Scottish terrier's coat is broken -- a wiry, hard topcoat and a dense and much softer undercoat. Scottie colors include black, wheaten -- a light brown shade resembling wheat , although in some dogs it appears almost white -- and brindle. The latter is a light brown coat with black striping. Scotties also boast beards and eyebrows.

Temperament Differences

The AKC describes the schnauzer as "fearless, smart and spirited," while the Scottish terrier is "confident, independent" -- and spirited. Their temperaments aren't that dissimilar, but it's a matter of degree. If you're looking for a family pet, the schnauzer makes the better choice. He tends to get along with kids better than the Scottie, and he's also more tolerant of other dogs and cats. Both breeds are territorial and make good watchdogs. The schnauzer is generally more active and requires more exercise than the Scottie. He's definitely easier to train than the Scottish terrier, as the Scottie tends toward the stubborn.

Health Issues

Both breeds are prone to eye issues. In the schnauzer, these include cataracts, while the Scottie has a genetic predisposition to both cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. The latter eventually causes blindness. Schnauzers may suffer from hypothyroidism as they age, or lack of thyroid hormone production. Cardiac issues include pulmonic stenosis. Hemophilia plagues both breeds, as do bladder stones. Scottie disorders include neurological problems and several types of cancer.

The schnauzer's average life span ranges between 13 to 15 years, while the Scottie's is slightly less, at 11 to 13 years.