West Highland White Terrier: Profile, Facts, Traits, Care, Diet

west highland white terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, affectionately dubbed the “westie,” is a delightful breed renowned for its distinctive appearance and lively personality. With its endearing short legs, this canine stands proudly at a height ranging from 10 to 11 inches, typically weighing between 13 to 19 kilograms. One cannot help but be captivated by its pristine coat, which gleams in a dazzling shade of pure white. Comprising of two layers, the westie’s fur is a marvel of nature – a soft, plush undercoat that provides warmth and a straight, resilient outer coat that shields it from the elements. This article will give an overview of the West Highland white terrier price, puppies, dog breeds, shed rescue, breeders, dog, cost, and Club of America. Keep reading.

West Highland White Terrier: Profile, Facts, Traits, Care, Health

In stature, the West Highland White Terrier may be small, but its spirit is boundless. With an energetic disposition, this breed exudes a zest for life that is truly infectious. Despite its diminutive size, the westie possesses remarkable agility and vigor, making it an ideal companion for various activities and adventures. Whether frolicking in the park or engaging in a spirited game of fetch, these pint-sized pooches never fail to delight their human counterparts with their playful antics.

West Highland White Terrier: At a Glance


  • Weight Range:
    • Male: 15-21 lbs.
    • Female: 15-21 lbs.
  • Height at Withers:
    • Male: 11 in.
    • Female: 10 in.


  • Upright ears (naturally)


  • Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
  • Energy Level: Very energetic
  • Longevity Range: 12-14 years
  • Tendency to Drool: Low
  • Tendency to Snore: Low
  • Tendency to Bark: High
  • Tendency to Dig: High
  • Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

  • Fox, badger, vermin hunting


  • Length: Short
  • Characteristics: Double coat, hard coat, straight
  • Colors: White
  • Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

  • AKC Classification: Terrier
  • UKC Classification: Terrier
  • Prevalence: Common

The Westie’s Introduction to the World

The West Highland White Terrier made its first appearance on the canine show circuit at Crufts in London in 1907. The following year, the breed was officially registered with the American Kennel Club under the name “Roseneath Terrier.” However, it wasn’t until 1909 that the breed adopted its current title, solidifying its place in the world of purebred canines.

A Vision in White: The Alluring Coat

The crowning glory of the West Highland White Terrier is undoubtedly its exquisite coat. Resplendent in its purity, the Westie’s snow-white fur is a sight to behold. Its luxurious texture invites gentle caresses, while its pristine hue exudes an air of elegance and sophistication. Delving deeper, one discovers the intricate composition of this coat – a sumptuous blend of a soft, downy undercoat and a resilient outer layer. Together, these layers form a protective barrier that not only insulates the westie from the cold but also repels dirt and moisture, ensuring that its pristine appearance is maintained at all times.

Unveiling the Westie’s Distinctive Features

Beyond its captivating coat, the West Highland White Terrier boasts a plethora of distinctive features that set it apart from other breeds. Its expressive dark eyes radiate warmth and intelligence, mirroring the playful spirit that lies within. Adorning its endearing visage are erect ears that stand alert, attuned to every sound and movement in its surroundings. Meanwhile, its compact yet muscular body exudes strength and agility, embodying the perfect balance of power and poise. With its charming appearance and irresistible charm, it’s no wonder that the Westie has captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

A rich lineage dating back generations

The West Highland White Terrier, affectionately known as the “westie,” shares ancestral ties with other Scottish terriers such as the Dandie Dinmont, Scottish, and Cairn terriers. Believed to have originated in Poltalloch, located in the historic county of Argyll, Scotland, this breed boasts a rich lineage dating back generations. The Malcolm family, who resided in Poltalloch, nurtured and bred these terriers for many years, with records of their canine companions dating as far back as the reign of King James I of England.

A Distinctive Coat: Symbol of Resilience and Functionality

The most striking feature of the West Highland White Terrier is undoubtedly its dense, harsh white coat. Despite being relatively short, these coats are robust enough to navigate through brambles and adept at shedding dirt effortlessly. To maintain the coat’s health and appearance, grooming practices such as clipping or hand stripping are necessary to remove the dead undercoat and promote a tidy, well-groomed appearance.

West Highland White Terrier: Profile, Facts, Traits, Care, Health

The Practicality of White: Functionality and Visibility

The white coloration of the West Highland White Terrier’s coat serves a practical purpose beyond aesthetics. In the fields where they were originally bred, this distinctive hue allowed their guardians to easily spot them amidst the landscape and distinguish them from the prey they were tasked with pursuing. This visual clarity proved invaluable during hunting expeditions, ensuring that the terriers remained visible and identifiable in their pursuit of game.

Characteristics of the West Highland White Terrier

Despite their distinctive white coat, West Highland White Terriers should not be mistaken for albinos. Dark pigment around the eyes, mouth, and nostrils is characteristic of this breed, adding depth and definition to their features.

Ears and Tail: Functional Traits for Terrier Pursuits

Sporting prick ears and a moderately sized, sturdy tail, West Highland White Terriers possess physical attributes suited to their hunting heritage. The robust tail serves a practical purpose, enabling the terrier to haul itself out of underground burrows while pursuing prey.

Energetic and Playful: A Terrier’s Temperament

Known for their spirited nature, West Highland White Terriers are energetic and quick to chase after anything in motion. Their playful temperament adds to their charm, making them delightful companions for families and individuals alike.

Terrier Traits

Westies epitomize the quintessential terrier temperament: intelligent, independent, and a touch stubborn. Their tenacity shines through as they fearlessly embark on underground pursuits after foxes or badgers, displaying remarkable strength and determination despite their small stature.

Training Challenges

Due to their spirited nature, Westies can be a handful to train, requiring a considerable amount of patience and firmness from their owners. While they are lively and playful companions, they often prefer to chart their course rather than follow human direction.

Independent Nature

In keeping with their terrier heritage, Westies possess a strong sense of independence and may not always seek guidance from their human counterparts. This self-reliant streak adds to their charm but can also present challenges in training and obedience.

Terrier Tendencies

As with many terrier breeds, Westies may not always exhibit friendliness towards other dogs they haven’t been raised with, and caution should be exercised when introducing them to new canine companions. Additionally, their instincts as hunters may make them inclined to view small household pets, such as rabbits, as prey rather than friends.

Vocal and Energetic

True to their terrier lineage, Westies are known for their tendency to bark excessively and indulge in digging activities. These behaviors, while reflective of their heritage, may require consistent training and management to ensure they remain well-behaved and content companions.

Low-Maintenance Companions

Terriers, including Westies, are inherently low-maintenance dogs, having been bred to thrive on scraps and their hunting prowess. They possess a hardy constitution, often living well into their teenage years with proper care and attention.

Dietary Caution: Avoiding Excess

While terriers are resilient animals, excessive indulgence in rich treats can lead to weight gain and health issues. Westie owners need to monitor their pets’ diet and avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity and related health complications.

Socialization and Exercise

Socialization is crucial for Westies, particularly in their interactions with other dogs and household pets. Given their strong hunting instincts, early and consistent socialization helps ensure they adapt well to various environments and companions. Regular exercise is also essential to meet their energy needs and prevent behavioral issues such as digging and excessive barking.

Vigilant Guardians: Alert and Protective

Westies retain a strong sense of alertness and possessive instincts, often alert barking to protect their homes and loved ones. While this trait can be valuable for home security, proper training and management are necessary to prevent nuisance barking and ensure they behave appropriately in different situations.

Balanced Care for Westies

In summary, Westies thrive on a balanced approach to care, including a nutritious diet, regular exercise, consistent socialization, and firm yet gentle training. With proper attention to their needs, these spirited terriers make delightful companions, embodying the best qualities of their terrier heritage.

Early Training

Training for West Highland White Terriers should commence as early as possible, utilizing creative and positive reinforcement methods alongside a firm but fair approach. Consistency and patience are paramount in guiding these spirited terriers towards obedience and good behavior.

Versatility in Canine Sports

Westies excel in various dog sports, including obedience, agility, and earth dog trials. Their intelligence and agility make them well-suited for these activities, providing both mental stimulation and physical exercise.


While Westies naturally enjoy human companionship, it’s crucial to socialize them from a young age to ensure they are comfortable and well-behaved around children and other pets. Teaching them to accept handling and grooming is also essential for their overall well-being and ease of care. Dog accessories on Amazon

Grooming Guidelines

Grooming requirements for West Highland White Terriers can vary from simple to elaborate, depending on individual preferences and the dog’s intended role. Some owners may opt for regular clipping a few times a year to maintain a tidy appearance, while others may choose the more time-consuming process of hand stripping for show dogs to achieve the desired coat texture and presentation. Regardless of the grooming method selected, regular maintenance is essential to keep the Westie’s coat healthy and free from mats or tangles.

A Comprehensive Approach to Westie Care

In summary, successful care for West Highland White Terriers involves a holistic approach encompassing early training, participation in canine sports, diligent socialization, and appropriate grooming practices. With the right guidance and attention, Westies thrive as beloved companions, showcasing their intelligence, versatility, and charming personalities.

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