West Highland White Terriers: Your Ultimate Breed Guide | DogExpress
Wednesday , July 17 2024
"20% of our website advertising earnings are donated to local NGOs for stray dogs and animal welfare."
Complete Guide on Choosing Wheaten Terrier Puppy

West Highland White Terriers: Your Ultimate Breed Guide

West Highland White Terrier is a small dog breed that came from Scotland. Active and alert with irresistible looks, the terriers can be a center attraction wherever they may be. The best way to describe this dog breed would be to say they are full of self-esteem and knowledge.

They are the best things going around. They are always looking out for a good time, and while they entertain themselves, they make you laugh. They are referred to as “Westies” by their affectionate crowd of fans.

They are purebred dogs, but you still find them in rescues and shelters. So, remember that instead of buying one, you can consider adopting one from these locations.

The American Kennel Club recognizes this dog breed. This breed got registered in 1907. Their current name was adopted in the following year. This dog breed was initially written in the AKC as ” Roseneath Terrier.” The Westies are a happy and friendly dog breed with a lively nature.

It means that everyone except small rodents finds them endearing. It is especially so when they cock their heads to one side and look at you as if they are asking you something. They are intelligent and full of affection.

Hence, this dog breed will be a great addition to all families. It does not matter how big your home is – they would do well in apartments too. Just provide plenty of play sessions and a fair amount of exercise.

West Highland White Terriers

An overview of West Highland White Terriers breed

If you say that West Highland White Terriers are big dogs in the bodies of small dogs, you are not doing them justice. Westies are not temperamental or pushy, and they do not have any need for demand or challenge.

They are not stubborn – it is just that they are more interested in what is in it for them in anything. If you can convince them that what you want for them is in their best interests, they can jump on board with your plan. They were developed originally for ratting and hunting.

The breed learned how to think on their own. As a result of their development, this is one trait that is evident even now. They enjoy indulging in it now, and there would be a few times when you may not want it as much as they do – there is no doubt about that.

Rather than getting rid of rodents, their inner energy is channeled into obedience and agility competitions. They work as therapy dogs, and a few members of the dog breed have also been part of search-and-rescue teams. They also take part in the following:

  • earth dog tests
  • tracking
  • flyball

They have abundant energy, and you can focus all that on one or every one of these activities.

West Highland White Terrier

History of West Highland White Terriers breed

West Highland White Terriers share a history with the following breeds:

  • Dandle Dinmont Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier

They are all branches of the same breed. This particular breed originated in Scotland and was created for hunting the following:

  • foxes
  • badgers
  • otters

Bred to kill vermin, like rats, there is not much sufficient evidence that helps you determine the precise history of the breed. However, many believe their origins could be traced back to the 17th century.

The size of West Highland White Terriers breed  

West Highland White Terriers are sturdy little dogs bit rectangular and have deep chests. The males are around 11 inches tall and usually weigh between 15 and 22 pounds. The females are approximately 10 inches tall, and their weight ranges between 13 and 16 pounds.

However, if you fall prey to those pleading brown eyes and have a soft heart, they could weigh at least double the average weight we have mentioned. In this case, their gender would not matter.

West Highland White Terrier 1

How are West Highland White Terriers as individuals?

West Highland White Terriers are blessed with the following qualities in terms of their personality:

  • boldness
  • confidence
  • affinity toward fun
  • intelligence

They enjoy even the simplest pleasures, such as squeaky toys, food, and belly rubs. They have a love for life and a happy disposition. These are the reasons why they are favored by so many. Despite how naughty they can be, as we have said, they are not lacking in self-esteem.

Characteristics of West Highland White Terriers

The unique characteristic of West Highland White Terriers – one that helps distinguish the breed from others of their ilk – is their double white coat. While they may appear soft and fluffy, their skin possesses a hard texture.

Generally, their tails are shaped like carrots. It is one reason they look like plush toys, the other being their thick coats.

West Highland White Terrier 3

West Highland White Terriers exercise needs 

West Highland White Terriers need a lot of energy and require a lot of exercise. Throughout the day, you must provide them with plenty of activities. Otherwise, they would find things to do, and this includes the following acts:

  • barking
  • digging
  • chewing

You have to take them on walks at least once every day – if you can do so twice it would be much better. You can get them to play energetic games such as the following:

  • chase
  • fetch
  • tug

You need to train them so that their energy gets channeled positively.

West Highland White Terriers Grooming Needs

West Highland White Terriers have medium grooming requirements because they shed minimally. That is, if they shed at all. Brush them regularly so that their coat remains healthy between the times you trim their hair.

You can bathe them when necessary, but that need not be too frequent as that might damage their coat. Clean and cut the areas around their eyes regularly. Trim their coats around 2-3 times a year.

West Highland White Terrier 4

West Highland White Terriers Health Conditions

West Highland White Terriers are like all other dog breeds. They are vulnerable to some health conditions. If you want a healthy and happy dog, you should get them from a reputable rehoming organization or breeder. If you have a Westie, get them checked regularly for the following conditions:

  • ear disorders
  • diabetes
  • eye disorders
  • cruciate ligament disease
  • skin disorders

As far as Westies are concerned, the skins within their ears are a problem area. As a result, they tend to suffer from dry eyes. The condition occurs when their eyes fail to produce enough tears.

Average Lifespan of West Highland White Terriers

Generally, West Highland White Terriers live till they are 15 years old. However, it is not that uncommon to find older dogs.

West Highland White Terrier


So, as you can see for yourself, West Highland White Terriers are intelligent and independent dogs but have a bit of stubbornness about them. They are fun and lively dogs that need a firm hand while training. Early training is advisable as they can be a stubborn lot. However, they are highly faithful to their owners.

Both the females and the males of the breed are more or less the same weight, and the same can be said about their height at shoulders as well. They have naturally upright ears and need at least 20 to 40 minutes of exercise daily. They are highly energetic individuals and do not drool or snore a lot.


Q: What do you need to know about West Highland Terriers? 

A: Also known as Westies, West Highland Terriers are playful and energetic dogs. It is relatively easy to train them. They have high levels of energy as well. They do have traits of watchdogs as well.

Q: What is the purpose of a West Highland White Terrier?

A: The West Highland Terriers originated in Scotland and were mainly bred for hunting animals such as the following:

  • fox
  • badger
  • otter

They were also supposed to kill vermin like rats.

Q: Can Westies live with cats?

A: West Highland Terriers were bred to hunt small animals, but they must learn to get along with cats and live with them. They are easygoing and friendly dogs.

Q: What should I look for in a Westie puppy?

A: All Westie puppies are appealing, but you must look beyond their cuteness. They must be built sturdy with straight legs. In addition, they must feel muscular and firm and should be active when you pick them up.

Q: Can a Westie be left alone?

A: Since they are Terriers, Westies are more independent than other dog breeds. Hence, these dogs are okay with being left alone as they have something to keep themselves engaged.

Facebook Comments

Check Also

dogs with curly tails

25 Dogs with Curly Tails: The Complete List (2024)

Do you always fall for dogs with curly tails, and do you find them adorable? …

Featured On

  • Deccan Chronicle
  • Asian Age
  • APN Live
  • Latestly
  • The Spuzz
  • SpotLatest
  • inc

By clicking "SEND TIPS" I agree to the Dog Express Privacy Policy. I also agree to recieve emails from Dog Express and I understand that I may opt out of Dog Expression subscriptions at any time.
Delivered to your inbox every week!
Please check your email for updates.