Perhaps due to its distinctive independent personality and jaunty demeanor, as well as its finely honed skills as a working breed, the Scottish Terrier has been frequently used in literature and popular culture as a symbol for loyalty, sharp wits, and as an icon for its homeland of Scotland.
Among the first artists to popularize the image of the Scottish Terrier was Rudyard Kipling. Among his countless books concerning the lives and personalities of animals are several in particular that are dedicated to the Scottish Terrier, painting the breed as a loyal and unwavering companion to man through the worst of trials. The most famous of these works is "Thy Servant a Dog", a compendium of stories told from the perspective of a champion stock Scottish Terrier that was lavishly illustrated by Marguerite Kirmse and published at the height of the Scottie's American popularity in 1930.
Kirmse herself had some hand in popularizing the Scottie through art; she was a well known artist in her day who specialized in emotionally resonant portraits of dogs of all breeds, but began to take a special interest in the Scottish Terrier around the 1920s. One of most famous drawings is called "HootMahn" and depicts a Scottish Terrier with a uniquely and dramatically shaped coat and profile that went on to become the "proper" standard for Scotties being displayed in shows to this day. As a matter of fact, many of Kirmse's original works are today owned by the American Kennel Club.
During the heyday of detective fiction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Scottish Terrier enjoyed a stint during which it was appropriated as a symbol for "detective dogs" the world over. Frequently depicted as working alongside Scotland Yard detectives and private investigators alike, the breed for a while became synonymous with crime solving to the extent that German Shepherds fill that same role today. Speculation exists that this conception of the Scottie was largely due to their extremely good sense of smell and tracking ability rather than any real life inspiration, as no particularly famous examples of Scotties working with the police are on record. It remains unknown exactly who started this trend but it has never quite fallen out of the public eye; in 1984 renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki paid homage to the breed in his classic animated children's series "Sherlock Hound", which parodied the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective and featured an anthropomorphic Scottish Terrier in the role of Dr. Watson.
With the Scottish Terrier's reputation for willful behavior and his strong personality complimented by such a bold and striking appearance, it's little wonder that the breed has captured the fancy of artists the world over since its introduction and continues to do so today.