West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier or “Westie” has a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.
The West Highland White Terrier descended from one of five terrier breeds developed in Scotland. The other breeds included the Scottish, Skye, Cairn and Dandie Dinmont Terriers.
The West Highland White Terrier specifically was bred to be pure white by Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm of Poltalloch, Scotland. One of the Colonel’s prized brown terriers was accidently mistaken for prey during a hunting trip. As a result, he sought to create a terrier breed that could be easily distinguished from other animals while out in the field.
The West Highland White Terrier weighs 15 to 22 pounds and measures 10 to 11 inches.
The West Highland White Terrier has a double coat with a soft, full undercoat and bristly top coat. The West Highland White Terrier’s top coat does not retain dirt and only sheds a little. West Highland White Terriers should be brushed daily and bathed when dirty. When brushing the dog’s coat, it is important to brush all the way down and through to the undercoat to prevent matting. West Highland Terriers that are show dogs also need to be hand stripped while housedogs just need a regular trim.
Like all dogs, the West Highland White Terrier also needs basic grooming. Brush their teeth, clean their ears and trim their nails on a regular basis.
The West Highland White Terrier exhibits all the typical terrier traits. The West Highland White Terrier is fearless, energetic, confident and independent.
The West Highland White Terrier may be small, but is far from a lap dog. The West Highland White Terrier does not like to be coddled or cuddled. They are curious and adventurous, and prefer to play and run around.
West Highland White Terriers are devoted to their family and quite friendly with new people, although they will bark when the doorbell rings. West Highland White Terriers like to be the center of attention and can be territorial. Without proper socialization, they can become jealous of younger children and confrontational with other dogs.
The West Highland White Terrier has a stubborn streak typical of most terriers. The West Highland White Terrier is smart, but prefers to do things in their own way on their own time. They can be trained with short sessions, patience and lots of treats.
West Highland White Terriers should be socialized early to help manage their territorial tendencies. Like many terriers, West Highland White Terriers are also prone to barking, digging and chasing. These behaviors can be minimized with training, but may never fully disappear.
If properly trained, the West Highland White Terrier can do well at obedience, rally, flyball and agility. Earthdog trials are also a natural fit for West Highland White Terriers.
The West Highland White Terrier can be restless and needs regular exercise to burn off energy. The West Highland White Terrier needs a daily walk and time to run around and play in a secure area.