West Highland White Terrier Breed - Dog & Puppy Information & Characteristics

Confident, playful, and smart – these three words can best describe a West Highland White Terrier dog. This Scottish breed has confidence in its own worth. Westies have charmed their families and people all around for over 300 years. 

Developed to hunt rats and rodents, these dogs will chase anything in movement. But their fun-loving nature and loyalty ensure that they make for great family pets as well. Moreover, these small terriers are highly adaptable and can live anywhere their pack resides. Want to adopt a Westie? Here’s all you need to know about the West Highland White Terrier dog breed.

Key specifications of a West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

If you’re planning to get a dog of this breed, you would want to know about the West Highland White Terrier’s lifespan, weight, height, and coat. This table will help you get an idea:

Weight7 to 10 kgs
HeightAround 11 inches
Lifespan12 to 16 years
CoatDouble coat with a harsh topcoat

Physical appearance of a West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terriers have a double coat to protect them against inclement weather. While the undercoat is short, the topcoat is around two inches long. As is evident by the breed’s name, Westies come in white coats only. 

Here are some other features you must know on identifying a purebred West Highland White Terrier:

  • Compact body with short legs
  • Carrot-shaped tail
  • Pointy, erect ears with black button nose
  • Dark, piercing eyes

West Highland White Terrier personality traits

Westies are dogs which are full of energy. Though they look like lap dogs, they won’t rest on your lap for long. In fact, West Highland White Terriers are like all terrier breeds. Despite their petite physique, they are courageous enough to chase a fox. Even though they are rough and tough, they have a sweet and loving heart. Most Westies love to play and cuddle with their pet parents. However, their independent and stubborn nature can be a bit challenging during training sessions. Did you know that these tiny dogs respond to anything unusual they see or hear with a bark? This quality also makes them great watchdogs.

Do West Highland White Terriers need training?

Every dog, including a West Highland White Terrier, needs training. Training sessions provide your fur baby with the mental stimulation required for healthy growth. These sessions will also help your West Highland White Terrier puppy develop into a confident dog. Here’s a secret that will make trainings even more fun: your pup will be more excited about the training session if they know they will be rewarded towards the end. So, pamper your furry buddy with dog treats for being a good boy/girl.

Note: Since Westies have a lot of self-esteem, it is important that you employ positive training methods only.

How to take care of a West Highland White Terrier?

When you bring home a dog, you also take the responsibility of nurturing it for the entirety of its life. Before getting your own West Highland White Terrier puppy, you need to know a few facts on health concerns, grooming requirements, exercise, and nutritional needs of this breed. 

  • Health issues

Westies dogs are generally healthy. However, we all know that health conditions are inevitable at times. Hence, as a dog parent, you must always be vigilant. Watch out for the symptoms of common health conditions in West Highland White Terriers. Craniomandibular osteopathy, patellar luxation, cataracts, and pulmonary fibrosis are a few health issues that are common amongst Westies.

  • Grooming

Want to keep your Westie looking their very best at all times? If so, you must groom them regularly. You must pluck any old, dead hair off this terrier’s coat at least once a week. You can choose to clip your dog’s coat, so your Westie looks neat. Most pet parents seek a professional groomer’s help to keep your Westie looking adorable and beautiful. You can visit the groomer once every 4 to 6 weeks. Since these dogs have a harsh topcoat, bathing frequently can do more harm. Trim your pawfect pal’s nails and brush its teeth regularly. You can also give your Westie dog a delicious dental chew to keep unwanted bacteria at bay.

  • Physical activity

Westies love to run, jump, and romp. They also enjoy a nice walk with their pet parents. Thanks to their intelligence and energy, the West Highland White Terrier is a pro at different canine sports and activities. From dog soccer to tug of war and stairwell dash, this little furry friend will be up for anything.

  • Nutritional requirement

Westies dogs and puppies generally do well on high-quality dog food. However, it is recommended that you discuss your West Highland White Terrier’s diet with a vet, so you provide it with complete and balanced meals. Along with proteins, your terrier also needs minerals, carbs, and vitamins for overall good health. Though carbs have a bad reputation, we cannot deny that it is one of the best sources of energy. However, you must keep in mind that West Highland White Terriers are small in size. Keep a check on your pup’s calorie intake to avoid obesity.

A brief history of West Highland White Terriers 

Over hundreds of years ago, poor farmers, nobles, and the gentry in Britain had a severe problem at hand: rodent infestation. These mammals robbed grains and carried diseases. That is when the idea of developing a small terrier was born. From rodents to foxes, West Highlands were bred to hunt anything that carried infections and harmed crops. Ever since it was first bred, this dog has had multiple names. Before being named the West Highland White Terrier, it was also called the Poltalloch Terrier and Roseneath Terrier.

Explore our breeds category page to learn more about different dog breeds and find your perfect companion.

FAQs on West Highland White Terriers

West Highland White Terriers can have a good relationship with other pets. However, they can be dangerous around certain types of small pets like tortoises and rabbits.

Yes, a West Highland White Terrier can be a great family dog. It is not only loyal but also playful and energetic.

West Highland White Terriers can stay alone for some time, provided they have something to keep themselves busy.

West Highland White Terriers are easy to groom. Brushing their coat regularly should keep them clean and good looking unless they decide to roll in the mud or play at the beach.

Yes, West Highland White Terriers have the tendency of barking quite a bit.

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