West Highland White Terrier | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a friendly little dog, but rough and brave at the same time. Developed as a hunting dog, today it is one of the best pets that exist.

He is a very affectionate and sociable dog, that is why it is ideal for families with children, who can give them a lot of company and affection. In addition, this breed needs to do moderate physical activity, so it is perfectly compatible to have a Westie in a small apartment or house, while its dose of daily walks.

Dog sheet West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier photos

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Physical characteristics

The West Highland White Terrier – the most elegant and energetic of the group of short-legged terriers in the UK. This is a small but extremely confident and courageous dog. His addition allows him to be sturdy, agile and omnipresent.


  • Height 26-28 cm.
  • Weight 7-10 kg.

Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is medium in size and round in shape. The forehead and occiput are slightly convex. The muzzle is short. Well marked transition from forehead to muzzle. Brow arches with a pronounced protrusion.
  • Jaws: The teeth are strong. Jaws tightly compressed, powerful. Bite “scissors”.
  • Ears: The ears are small, erect, set high.
  • Eyes: The eyes are medium in size and almond shaped. Deeply sunken, set well apart. The gaze is attentive, penetrating. The color of the iris is dark.
  • Frame: The body is small and strong. The chest is deep. The back is muscular, regular, widens towards the waist. The neck is broad at the base, strong and muscular. The ribs are smoothed at the edges.
  • Limbs: The legs are muscular, powerful, short, in proportion to the body.
  • Coat: The coat is hard, straight, length – 5 cm. On the stomach and legs a little longer than on the rest of the body. The undercoat is soft, resembling fur. The color is exclusively white.

Character and behavior

West Highland White Terriers have a cheeky, confident, and affectionate character. They are always alert and brave, making them excellent watchdogs.

They can also be sneaky and stubborn, but they will always remain totally loyal to their family. However, they must stay in contact with cats while young or else they will try to drive them away as adults.

With children

West Highland White Terriers are not very loyal to children under the age of 10-12, as their proud nature is not very willing to put up with their pranks. With older children, they gladly play, showing them affection.

With other animals

Unlike the rest of their terrier parents, the Westie is willing to accept the presence of other dogs and even cats in their lives.This breed is ruthless towards small animals, so keep your guinea pigs and hamsters away.


Diseases that can occur in West Highland White Terriers:

  • Cranial osteopathy;
  • Atopic dermatitis;
  • Epidermal dysplasia;
  • Ichthyosis;
  • Congenital deafness;
  • Hip dysplasia;
  • Diabetes ;
  • von Willebrand’s disease;
  • Cardiovascular illnesses ;
  • Meningoencephalitis in white dogs;
  • Perthes disease;
  • Shaker syndrome;
  • Hyperuricosuria.

Life expectancy

West Highland White Terriers live an average of 13 to 15 years and are less prone to hereditary diseases than their terrier counterparts.


The West Highland White Terrier is a dog breed with a wavy coat that will require you to brush it 3 times a week. And with maybe regular haircuts.

These animals should be combed out by dismantling the tangled areas with your fingers. You should bathe your dog at least once a month, but more often is better because he’s more likely to have close contact with you and your children, and maybe even sleep in the same bed.

Nails are cut 3 times a month, eyes are cleaned daily, ears – 3 times a week.


The West Highland White Terrier needs exercise. He is an energetic little dog who likes to play ball. He also likes to dig or walk around, so make sure your garden is well fenced.

As an adult, the Westie needs about an hour of daily exercise, although these very active dogs are looking forward to the extension of this period.

History of the breed

The West Highland White Terrier was born in Scotland – the inhabitants of this beautiful mountainous country appreciated these small dogs, on the one hand, for their ability to catch rats, badgers, foxes and otters, and on the other hand, for their cheerful and joyful character. Catching rodents in barns and pantries was a very important activity, since the life of the family in winter depended on the quality and quantity of food. The West Highland White Terrier shares the same roots as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Skye Terrier, Scottish Terrier, and Cairn Terrier, all of which are considered different branches of the same breed.

The earliest evidence of the emergence of the West Highland White Terrier dates back to the 16th century, when James I of Clan Scrimgeour presented such a dog to the King of France. In addition, in those distant times, the breed did not have a pure white coat color, and dogs could be of different shades. However, there is a legend that tells why of all the flowers only white remained.

One day Colonel Malcolm of the town of Poltalloch was hunting and saw a fox hiding behind a cairn. He shot and killed the animal. However, getting closer, the colonel saw that it was not a fox at all, but his dog – since then the West Highland Terrier also acquired the word white (white) in the name of the breed.

Since Colonel Malcolm, being an enthusiastic breeder and an influential person, set out to eradicate other colors from the breed so that in the future such cases could not occur in principle. After all, a snow-white dog cannot be confused with either a fox or a badger. The West Highland White Terrier was recognized by the Kennel Club of England under its current name in 1906. Previously, it was also known as the Poltalloch Terrier and the Pink Terrier.


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