The West Highland White Terrier (Westie): Your complete guide!

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a bundle of pure, white joy. These spirited little dogs have a history that traces back to the rugged Highlands of Scotland. Dive into their world, understand their unique care requirements, and appreciate the bold and outgoing nature that makes Westies such delightful companions.

The West Highland White Terrier portrait
Spirited | White Joy | Outgoing
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    Everything you need to know about the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)!

    ategory (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed Conception19th century
    Country of OriginScotland
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)15-22 lbs (7-10 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)13-16 lbs (6-7 kg)
    Coat TypeDouble coat, straight and wiry outer coat
    Color VariationsWhite
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Height (cm & in)10-11 inches (25-28 cm)
    Breed SizeSmall
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and playtime
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Yes
    Inherent Prey DriveModerate
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO), Patellar Luxation
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)12-16 years
    Make sure to take care of your West Highland White Terrier (Westie) and

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    History of the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

    The West Highland White Terrier, often known as the Westie, has a history rooted in the rugged Highlands of Scotland. They were bred to hunt small game, and their white coat helped distinguish them from prey in the wild. Over the years, these spirited terriers earned a reputation for their outgoing and confident nature. The Westie’s popularity soared in the 20th century, becoming an iconic breed in the United States and beyond. Their charm and spirited personality make them cherished family pets and enduring symbols of Scottish heritage.

    What makes the West Highland White Terrier (Westie) so special?

    The West Highland White Terrier in garden

    What makes the West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, special is its spirited and outgoing personality. These dogs are like white bundles of joy, with a history rooted in the rugged Highlands of Scotland. Their distinctive characteristics and unique care requirements ensure that Westies bring delight and vivacity to the lives of those who choose them as companions.

    The West Highland White Terrier, often known as the Westie, hails from Scotland’s rugged terrain, and their traditional role was closely tied to their origins. These small but spirited dogs were originally bred to hunt small game, including foxes, badgers, and otters. Their distinctive white coat allowed them to stand out in the field and avoid being mistaken for prey. Westies’ keen hunting instincts and energetic nature made them excellent hunters. While they’ve transitioned to become cherished pets, their working heritage as skilled hunters remains a part of their legacy.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, have outgoing and friendly personalities. They are spirited and full of white joy. These terriers are known for their confident and bold nature. They can be affectionate and make great family pets. With proper training and socialization, they become lively and loving companions.

    Westies are spirited and outgoing dogs. They are known for their friendly and confident personalities. While they can be good with children and other pets, they may retain some terrier stubbornness. Training and socialization are essential to ensure they exhibit their best traits. Their confidence can sometimes make them assertive, and they may need clear boundaries.

    West Highland White Terriers, often called Westies, are small, energetic dogs with a distinctive all-white, double-layered coat that’s straight and harsh. They have a compact, well-balanced body with a level back and a short, straight tail. Westies have a keen and alert expression with small, dark eyes, erect ears, and a black nose. Their legs are short and muscular, and they have sturdy feet. Westies have a lively, confident gait and a friendly disposition, making them charming and affectionate companions.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are instantly recognizable for their all-white coats. Their fur is dense, straight, and weather-resistant, and it gives them a distinct and charming appearance. Westies have a pure and bright white coat that helps them stand out in any setting.

    West Highland White Terriers, often called Westies, have a characteristic white coat that is coarse, straight, and double-layered. Their white coat gives them their unmistakable, pristine appearance.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, have a moderate shedding level. These small terriers shed throughout the year, and regular grooming is necessary to manage their coat. Brushing the double coat a few times a week helps remove loose hair and prevents matting. Stripping or plucking may be required to maintain the breed’s characteristic coat texture. While not considered heavy shedders, Westies do require consistent grooming care to keep their coat healthy. Additionally, factors such as diet, exercise, and overall health can influence shedding levels in West Highland White Terriers.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, have a double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its quality.

    Brushing: Brush their coat a few times a week to remove loose hair and prevent mats. Use a slicker brush or a comb suitable for their coat type.

    Stripping: Some owners choose to hand-strip the coat to maintain its texture. Consult a professional groomer for guidance on this technique.

    Bathing: Bathe as needed, typically every few months, using a dog shampoo designed for double coats. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.

    Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent wax buildup or infections. Use a damp cotton ball or a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution.

    Nails: Keep their nails trimmed to a comfortable length for good foot health.

    Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to prevent dental issues and bad breath.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, have a moderate activity level. While they are not excessively hyperactive, they do enjoy playtime, walks, and activities that engage their mind. Westies benefit from a balanced routine that includes both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Regular walks and interactive toys can contribute to their overall well-being and happiness.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are known for their intelligence, marked by problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and a desire to please their owners. They are generally trainable and responsive to positive reinforcement training methods. Westies can learn various commands and tasks. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in different living environments. Historically, they were skilled in roles such as hunting and vermin control, showcasing social intelligence by forming strong bonds with their families. While they may not top the charts in terms of obedience, their intelligence makes them excellent companions and working dogs. Training, socialization, and mental stimulation contribute to their well-rounded and obedient nature.

    West Highland White Terriers thrive on mental stimulation. Engage them in activities like puzzle toys, interactive games, and obedience training to keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and need regular interaction with their family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Regular physical activity is important for their mental and physical well-being. Daily walks and playtime help reduce stress and prevent behavioral issues.

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    What to look out for, before you get a West Highland White Terrier (Westie)!

    dog, westie, pet

    Potential owners of West Highland White Terriers should be prepared for an energetic and affectionate companion. Regular exercise and mental stimulation contribute to their well-being. Grooming their distinctive white coat is essential for its upkeep. Westies are known for their friendly nature, so early training and socialization are crucial. Prospective owners should be aware of potential health concerns and provide regular veterinary check-ups. A loving and engaging environment is key to ensuring the happiness and well-rounded behavior of these delightful and resilient dogs.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, known for their friendly and confident nature, generally pose a low risk to others. Proper socialization and training contribute to positive interactions. Responsible ownership, understanding individual temperament, and adherence to local regulations play crucial roles in ensuring a well-behaved West Highland White Terrier (Westie).

    West Highland White Terriers are generally good with children. They are playful and enjoy family interaction. Supervision is important during play, and positive reinforcement training helps ensure positive interactions. Teaching children how to approach and handle the dog contributes to a positive relationship.

    West Highland White Terriers are generally good swimmers. Their adventurous nature may make them enjoy water activities. Introduce them to water gradually and observe their comfort level. Always prioritize safety and use a canine life vest if needed, especially in situations where they may be at risk of fatigue.

    1. Start Early: Commence training your West Highland White Terrier (Westie) puppy at an early age. Their intelligence and spirited nature respond well to early socialization and training.
    2. Socialization: Introduce your puppy to various people, places, and experiences to build confidence and prevent shyness or fearfulness.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement, including treats, praise, and play, to motivate and reward your Westie puppy for good behavior.
    4. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down.” These commands contribute to their safety and well-mannered behavior.
    5. Leash Training: Begin leash training early to instill good walking habits. Use positive reinforcement when they walk nicely on the leash.
    6. Crate Training: Familiarize your Westie with crate training for security and a designated safe space. Make the crate a positive and comfortable retreat.
    7. Play and Exercise: Provide opportunities for play and exercise to keep your Westie mentally stimulated and physically active. Interactive toys and games are beneficial.
    8. Chewing: Offer appropriate chew toys to satisfy their natural chewing instincts and prevent destructive behavior.
    9. Consistency: Be consistent with rules, commands, and routines. Westies respond well to a stable and predictable environment.
    10. Training Classes: Enroll your Westie puppy in obedience classes led by a professional trainer. This provides structured training and positive socialization.
    11. Patience: Training requires patience. Maintain a positive and calm demeanor, avoiding harsh methods that can harm the trust between you and your puppy.
    12. Vet Visits: Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for your puppy’s health. Use vet visits as positive experiences to reduce anxiety and fear.

    Training your West Highland White Terrier (Westie) puppy is an exciting journey that sets the foundation for a well-behaved and delightful adult dog. Embrace the process and enjoy the unique personality of your Westie!

    West Highland White Terriers (Westies) may exhibit moderate barking tendencies. They are alert and may bark to alert their owners or express themselves. Early training and socialization play a crucial role in managing their barking behavior and teaching them appropriate times to vocalize.

    West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, thrive in homes with active families. They do well in houses with yards, but they can adapt to apartment living with regular exercise. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their distinctive coat. Socialization is important to prevent aggressive behavior. Positive reinforcement training methods are effective.

    When traveling with West Highland White Terriers (Westies), prioritize their comfort and safety with the following considerations:

    1. Heat Sensitivity: Westies may be sensitive to heat. Avoid travel during hot weather and provide proper ventilation.
    2. Size and Space: Check crate size requirements for air travel. In smaller vehicles, ensure they have enough space to stay comfortable.
    3. Behavior and Anxiety: Some Westies may experience travel anxiety. Familiar items and positive associations can help ease stress.
    4. Rest Stops: Plan breaks during car travel for them to stretch and relieve themselves.
    5. Restraint: Secure them in a crate or with a seatbelt harness for safety and to prevent distractions.
    6. Air Travel Precautions: Choose airlines with appropriate policies for small breeds, and ensure the crate meets safety standards.
    7. Proper Identification: Keep identification tags and a microchip with updated information.

    By addressing these considerations, you ensure safe and stress-free travel for West Highland White Terriers.

    West Highland White Terriers, like many breeds, may be prone to specific health concerns. While not all individuals will experience these issues, it’s essential for Westie owners to be aware of potential health problems and collaborate with veterinarians for their pets’ well-being. Common health concerns in West Highland White Terriers include:

    1. Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO): A condition affecting the bones of the skull, particularly the jaw, which can cause pain and difficulty eating.
    2. Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, causing lameness and discomfort.
    3. Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: A hip joint disorder that may cause pain and lameness, particularly in small breeds.
    4. Portosystemic Shunt (Liver Shunt): An abnormal blood vessel that diverts blood away from the liver, affecting liver function.
    5. Atopic Dermatitis (Allergies): Westies may be prone to skin allergies, resulting in itching, redness, and skin infections.
    6. White Shaker Dog Syndrome: A neurological condition causing tremors and shaking, particularly in white-coated breeds.
    7. Cushing’s Disease: An endocrine disorder affecting the adrenal glands and cortisol production.
    8. Cruciate Ligament Rupture: A common orthopedic injury affecting the knee ligaments.
    9. Bladder Stones: Westies may be susceptible to the formation of bladder stones.
    10. Eye Conditions: Including conditions like cataracts and glaucoma.

    Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, proper exercise, and responsible breeding practices can help mitigate some of these health concerns. It’s crucial for Westie owners to work closely with their veterinarians to monitor their pets’ health and address any issues promptly.

    Proper nutrition is crucial for the health and well-being of West Highland White Terriers. Here are some nutritional habits and best practices to consider for this breed:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose a high-quality commercial dog food that meets the nutritional requirements specified by organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Look for a brand that lists a high-quality source of animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: West Highland White Terriers have different nutritional needs at various life stages. Puppy food is formulated to support growth, while adult and senior formulas cater to the needs of mature dogs. Ensure you’re feeding the appropriate formula for your dog’s age.
    3. Protein: West Highland White Terriers benefit from a diet with a moderate to high protein content. Protein supports muscle maintenance and overall health. Look for sources like chicken, beef, or fish.
    4. Balanced Diet: A balanced diet should include not only protein but also fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid foods with excessive fillers and artificial additives.
    5. Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to obesity. Follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging and adjust based on your dog’s age, activity level, and individual metabolism.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water for your West Highland White Terrier. Hydration is essential for overall health and digestion.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, as human food can be harmful or even toxic to dogs. Stick to a consistent diet of high-quality dog food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards. Opt for healthy, dog-specific treats or make your own using safe ingredients.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet and feeding schedule for your West Highland White Terrier. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific needs and any health concerns.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Some West Highland White Terriers may have dietary restrictions or allergies. If your dog has specific dietary needs, work with your vet to choose appropriate foods.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight for your West Highland White Terrier to prevent obesity-related health issues. Regular exercise and portion control are key components of weight management.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog’s overall health, including their weight and dietary needs. Your vet can provide guidance on any necessary dietary adjustments.

    Breed-Specific Laws (BSL): West Highland White Terriers are generally not commonly subject to breed-specific laws (BSL) as they are not typically considered a dangerous breed. However, it’s important to note that BSL can vary widely by jurisdiction, and some areas may have restrictions on specific breeds or breed types.

    Local Regulations: To determine if there are any breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding West Highland White Terriers in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a West Highland White Terrier.

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    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

    Myth 1: West Highland White Terriers are High-Maintenance Grooming Dogs

    • Truth: While Westies have a distinctive white coat, they are not as high-maintenance as some may think. Regular brushing, occasional baths, and professional grooming can keep their coat in good condition.

    Myth 2: They are Fragile and Delicate

    • Truth: Westies are sturdy terriers. While they may have a small size, they are known for their robustness and can handle a fair amount of play and activity.

    Myth 3: Westies are Not Good with Children

    • Truth: Many West Highland White Terriers are affectionate with children. Early socialization and training are key factors in their interactions with kids.

    Myth 4: They are Only Suitable for Apartment Living

    • Truth: Westies can adapt to apartment living, but they also enjoy having a yard to explore. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are crucial, regardless of the living environment.

    Myth 5: Westies Cannot Get Along with Other Pets

    • Truth: Proper socialization can help Westies get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats. Early introductions and positive experiences contribute to their sociable nature.

    Myth 6: They Don’t Need Exercise

    • Truth: Westies may be small, but they have moderate energy levels and benefit from daily walks and playtime. Regular exercise helps maintain their health and prevents boredom-related behaviors.

    Myth 7: Westies are All the Same in Personality

    • Truth: While Westies share breed characteristics, individual personalities can vary. Some may be more independent, while others are outgoing and social. Understanding each dog’s unique traits is essential.

    Myth 8: They are Prone to Excessive Barking

    • Truth: Excessive barking in Westies can be managed through proper training and socialization. They are alert dogs, but consistent training can help curb unnecessary barking.

    Myth 9: Westies are Not Intelligent

    • Truth: West Highland White Terriers are intelligent and quick learners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and enjoy mental stimulation activities.

    Myth 10: They Don’t Have Health Concerns

    • Truth: While generally healthy, Westies can be prone to certain health issues, including skin conditions and hip dysplasia. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet contribute to their overall well-being.

    Understanding the truth about West Highland White Terriers helps potential owners make informed decisions about their care and compatibility as family pets.

    Famous West Highland White Terrier owners include:

    The Duke of York: The Duke of York, later known as King George VI, had a West Highland White Terrier named Dookie. Dookie became a popular figure, and his story was featured in various publications.

    The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is culturally significant as a breed with a charming appearance and lively personality. Known for their distinctive white coat and confident demeanor, Westies have become popular as companions. Their presence in popular media, including advertising and films, has contributed to their cultural appeal. West Highland White Terriers are recognized for their spunky spirit and have become iconic symbols in the world of dog lovers.

    The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, gained popularity in the 20th century. While there may not be a single most famous historical owner, Westies were favored as delightful companions and became popular through their appearances in advertisements and media.

    West Highland White Terriers, known for their charming appearance, face challenges that include:

    1. Grooming Requirements: The dense and wiry coat of West Highland White Terriers requires regular grooming, and owners may face challenges if they are not prepared for the grooming commitment.
    2. Exercise Needs: Despite their small size, West Highland White Terriers are active and require regular exercise. Ensuring they receive sufficient exercise can be a challenge for owners with busy schedules.
    3. Training Challenges: West Highland White Terriers can be independent, and consistent training is essential. Owners may face challenges if they do not establish clear leadership and provide positive reinforcement.
    4. Health Concerns: Like all breeds, West Highland White Terriers may be susceptible to certain health issues, emphasizing the importance of responsible breeding practices.

    The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie, is a Scottish breed believed to have been developed from various terrier breeds. Some of the contributing breeds include:

    1. Cairn Terrier: The Cairn Terrier, with its roots in Scotland, likely contributed to the development of the Westie. It shares similar terrier traits and working abilities.
    2. Scottish Terrier (Scottie): The Scottish Terrier is another Scottish terrier breed that may have played a role in shaping the West Highland White Terrier’s characteristics, including its distinctive coat and terrier instincts.
    3. Other Terrier Breeds: Various other terrier breeds native to Scotland may have been involved in the development of the Westie, contributing to its working and hunting abilities.
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    Why you're going to love the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

    West Highland White Terriers, with their iconic appearance and friendly demeanor, make beloved family companions. Known for their loyalty and adaptability, they integrate well into family life. Their distinctive coat and compact size make them suitable for various living conditions. West Highland White Terriers thrive on companionship and engage actively in play. With proper training and socialization, they become affectionate members of the family, bringing joy and a touch of elegance to the household.

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