West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

West Highland White Terrier Club

The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, is a small but spirited dog that’s captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world. With its distinctive white coat and lively personality, the Westie has become a popular breed for both families and individuals alike.

The West Highland White Terrier’s roots can be traced back to Scotland in the 19th century. The breed was developed for its tenacity and hunting skills, specifically for pursuing vermin such as rats and foxes. The Westie is closely related to other Scottish terriers, including the Cairn Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. Over time, breeders selectively developed the Westie to be a distinct and charming companion.

One of the key moments in the breed’s history occurred in the 19th century when Colonel Malcolm from an area known as Poltalloch in the west Scottish Highlands decided to breed white terriers, as he believed that they were easier to distinguish from prey during hunting. The result of his efforts was the establishment of the white terrier we now know as the West Highland White Terrier.

The Westie is a small, sturdy dog with a double coat. The outer coat is straight, harsh, and white, while the undercoat is soft and dense. The breed’s characteristic bushy eyebrows and erect ears contribute to its alert and expressive appearance. The Westie’s compact size, typically weighing between 13-22 pounds (6-10kg), makes it a suitable choice for those living in both apartments and houses.

Despite its small size, the West Highland White Terrier possesses a big personality. Known for their confidence and determination, Westies are lively and playful companions. They’re intelligent dogs with a strong sense of loyalty to their families. Be aware that this loyalty can sometimes translate into a bit of stubbornness, so consistent training from an early age is essential.

The Westie is generally good with children and other pets, making it suitable as a family dog. However, like any breed, early socialization is crucial to ensure they develop proper behavior around other animals and people. Their alert nature also makes them excellent watchdogs, as they are quick to bark at the approach of strangers. And yes, they do love a good bark (which has a certain sharpness to it)!

The West Highland White Terrier’s coat requires regular grooming to maintain its characteristic white appearance. Regular brushing helps prevent matting and removes loose hair. Additionally, routine ear cleaning, dental care, and nail trimming are essential aspects of their overall health and well-being, as well as carefully trimming the hair that grows in front of their eyes.

Exercise is crucial for this energetic breed. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys can help fulfill their physical and mental stimulation needs. While they enjoy indoor play, they thrive on outdoor activities making them adaptable to various living situations.

The West Highland White Terrier’s charming appearance and lively personality have made it a beloved companion for many families. With a rich history rooted in Scotland, these small terriers have evolved from skilled hunters to delightful family pets. As with any breed, responsible ownership, early training, and regular care are key to ensuring a happy and healthy life for the Westie. If you’re looking for a spirited and affectionate companion that brings joy to your home, the West Highland White Terrier might just be the perfect addition to your family.