West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland terrier was one of several small terriers that originated in Scotland. Used for hunting fox and other small game, the West Highland terrier was developed during the 1800s when a solid white dog was desired in order to differentiate the dog from the prey when the shooters took aim. The American Kennel Club recognized the West Highland terrier as a member of the terrier group in 1908.

The West Highland White Terrier is a small and compact dog with a sturdy appearance. Its body is longer than tall and its legs are short. The head appears rounded with a short muzzle. Westies have wide set, erect, small ears. Their coat is all-white and is slightly coarse to the touch. The coat should be brushed regularly and requires occasional trimming. Personality: The West Highland White Terrier is a friendly and confident dog breed. They are eager to please and devoted to their human families. Westies get along well with children and make good playmates. Like all terriers, they can be stubborn and independent, especially when they want to explore. Westies enjoy being outdoors and need to be taken for daily walks. They also like to play and dig. If given enough exercise and assertive leadership, the Westie is friendly towards other dogs and strangers. But if they're lacking leadership, they like to pick fights with other dogs.

West Highland White Terrier image
Breed Type
Pure
Origin
Europe
Function
Life Span
15-20 Years
Hypoallergenic
No
Other Names
Westie, West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier Build Information

Size
Small
Length (Male)
8-12 in.
Length (Female)
10-12 in.
Weight
15 - 25 lbs
Litter Size
4 - 5 Puppies
Tail Dock or Crop
No
Preferred Climate
Any Climate

The sturdy and compact West Highland terrier stands at a height of 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 15 and 22 pounds. The characteristic white coat is medium in length and the hairs are straight and hard. The triangular ears stand erect and the short, tapered tail is carried upward.

Behaviour and Personality

Kid Friendliness
Affection Level
Activity Level
Energy Level
Independant
Good to Other Pets
Dominating or Submissive?
Guardian Skills
Barking
Aggressiveness Level

West Highland terriers are jaunty little dogs that are confident, intelligent and easy to train. West Highland terriers are sociable toward strangers, and they get along with children, other dogs and cats. They are effective watchdogs. West Highland terriers need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them out of mischief. They make excellent candidates for agility and other dog sport activities.

Appearance

Colors
Off White White
Shedding
None
Grooming
Medium Maintenance
Coat Type
Dense

The coat of a West Highland terrier sheds very little, but this makes it prone to matting. Daily brushing and combing are essential to prevent mats from forming. The coat should be trimmed every four months by a professional groomer to maintain a neat appearance, and it should be stripped twice a year. The teeth should be brushed daily to prevent tartar accumulation and periodontal disease.

Breed's Talents and Facts

Training
Moderately easy to train
Hunting Companion
Yes
Jolly for Jogging
Yes
Sighting Capabilities
No
Ideal for Tracking
Yes
Retrieving Skills
No
Pointing Breed
No
Herding Skills
No
Dutiful Watchdog
Yes
Security Guard Capable
No
Police Performer
No
Wet Water rescues
No
Assist Disable Owners
No
Dog Sledding
No
Able to Perform Dog Carting
No
Agile/Zippy
Yes
Fun with Lure Coursing
No
Obedient
Yes
Possible Schutzhund Work
No
Trainable for Tricks
Yes
  • The snowy white West Highland terrier will make a charming and sociable addition to any family
  • The West Highland terrier originated in Scotland
  • The West Highland terrier is also called a Westie
  • The West Highland terrier is a spunky and delightful family companion
  • The West Highland terrier stands 10 to 11 inches tall and weighs 15 to 22 pounds
  • West Highland terriers have high energy levels
  • West Highland terriers require moderate grooming
  • The average lifespan for a West Highland terrier is 15 to 20 years

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Common Health Conditions in West Highland White Terriers

West Highland terriers live average lifespans of 15 to 20 years. Despite the lengthy average lifespan, West Highland terriers are prone to a number of genetic health conditions, including patellar luxation, Legg Calve Perthes disease, white shaker dog syndrome, Addison’s disease, bladder cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, copper hepatopathy, craniomandibular osteopathy, skin allergies, dry eye and cataracts.

West Highland White Terrier Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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