West Highland White Terrier

Dog Breed Profile

West Highland White Terrier

• High energy level
• Medium exercise needs
• Moderately playful
• Very affectionate
• Friendly towards other dogs
• Friendly around other pets
• Very friendly around strangers
• Difficult to train
• Great watchdogs
• Not very protective
• High grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Medium tolerance to cold

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This busy little dog breed is known to be one of the friendliest terriers, and is an affectionate family member. The West Highland White Terrier is faithful and curious and loves to be the center of attention. He travels well because of his size, and requires daily brushing to keep his double coat groomed.

While he loves people he does not do well with other small animals. He loves to go for walks and spend time playing outdoors in a fenced in area. He’ll also do well playing indoors. The West Highland White Terrier is small and short-legged, which came in handy during his days as a hunter capable of fitting into small spaces in pursuit of his prey.

  • Cannot be expected to live outdoors except in very mild climates
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for are his knees and hips
  • Grooming needs include daily brushing and shaping every three months
  • The West Highland White Terrier is a very affectionate and friendly, playful animal that is trainable
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, not very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 15 to 21lbs and 11 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 15 to 21lbs and 10 inches tall

Care & Health:

Given enough exercise this breed is ideal for living as a house pet. The West Highland White Terrier can sleep outdoors in very mild temperatures but is much happier indoors with his family.

Be sure to brush him daily to keep his coat healthy and have him shaped at least four times a year.

Major Health Concerns:

– globoid cell leukodystrophy, Legg-Perthes, CMO

Minor Health Concerns:

– copper toxicosis, cataract, patellar luxation and occasionally deafness

Test for:

– knees and hips

Life Span:

– 12 to 14 years

Breed History:

Originally known as the Poltalloch terrier, the Westie’s lineage comes from other terriers originating in Scotland. He was prized for his ability to fit into small spaces in pursuit of vermin, badger and even fox. One of 6 breeds that was originally considered only one breed, he was shown in 1906 in the US as a Roseneath, and was changed in 1909 to its current name.

The West Highland White Terrier was originally recognized by the AKC in 1908 as the Roseneath but this changed in 1909 to reflect the name change. Over the years he garnered enough attention that today he is considered one on the most popular pets and competitive terriers today.

  • Family history is terrier
  • Originally from Scotland
  • First bred in the 1800’s
  • Original purpose was fox, badger, and vermin hunting
  • Today they are used for earth dog trials
  • Also known as Poltalloch terrier. Nickname: Westie