Male Height (typical): 25.5-30.5 cm. (10-12 inches)
Female Height (typical): 23-28 cm. (9-11 inches)
Male Weight (typical): 7-8 kg. (15-20 pounds)
Female Weight (typical): 6-7 kg. (13-16 pounds)
Country of Origin: Scotland
Exercise Required: Daily walks and play
Expected Life Span: Over 15 Years
Best suited as: Family Pet
Other names: Westie, Poltalloch Terrier, Roseneath Terrier
Description – The West Highland White Terrier is one of the smaller breeds of Terrier and is very distinctive in its appearance. With its all white coat and proud stance it makes for an adorable pet. They sport a coat of soft white fur that completely covers the face and feet. They are considered a deed Terrier and as such will stick with a task until finished. This can include a number of things like hunting or chasing another cat or dog. They have a great personality, which makes them ideal pets for most families.
Origin & History – The actual history and origin of this breed is unclear but it is known that they got their start in Scotland. They are so closely identified with this wonderful country that they are the actual mascot for several products made there and even appear on the label of the Black and White brand of scotch. It is known that the modern breed of West Highland White Terrier started from stock dating to the early 1800’s and developed from there. They were initially bred to be hunting dogs and their white coats made them easy to see by hunters. This is important when hunting fast moving game like fox as it’s easy to mistake your hunting dog for the prey and many other breeds of dogs were lost this way by mistake. The white coat of the West Highland White Terrier allows it to easily stand out and also allows the hunters to follow the chase.
Temperament – Because the West Highland White Terrier was bred for hunting they have a somewhat aggressive nature and will long for the hunt even when kept as pets. In addition to this need to hunt they are also great companions and love the company of the family. They can be a little testy around small children and may feel threatened because of their smaller size. As long as they are approached slowly, they will warmly welcome new people as friends. Their hunting instincts come in handy as a guard dog as well and they will react with a piercing bark to any intruder, helping to keep your home and property safe.
Exercise & Grooming – Even though most of their exercise needs can be satisfied with indoor play, they should still be taken for a walk whenever possible. This breed has a need to roam and explore the outdoors. Their natural curiosity drives them to constantly seek out new areas and a brisk walk while collared fills this need. Outdoor play in a backyard is also a great way to keep them healthy. Their soft coats of fur will need attending and trimming once a month to help keep them looking great. If they are mostly an indoor pet they should also have their nails trimmed when groomed.
Health Concerns – The West Highland White Terrier is prone to dry skin conditions and should be checked for patches of irritated skin occasionally. They should not be bathed more than once a month and mild dog shampoo should be used to avoid drying their skin. Their ears need to be cleaned regularly to prevent wax buildup that can lead to infection. Since they can sometimes engage larger dogs that have entered their territory, great care should be taken to supervise these encounters. They sometimes forget their small size and may be injured in rough play or fighting with larger dogs.
West Highland White Terrier – Westies Organisations in Australia
West Highland White Terrier Club of Victoria
West Highland White Terrier – Westies Organisations in the UK
West Highland White Terrier Club of England
West Highland White Terrier – WestiesOrganisations in the US
Canadian West Highland White Terrier Club
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