West Highland White Terrier



About the West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, is a small and energetic breed that has captured the hearts of many dog enthusiasts around the world. With its distinctive white coat and lively personality, the Westie has become a beloved companion and a popular choice for families and individuals alike.

Origin and History

The West Highland White Terrier originated in Scotland during the 19th century and was bred for hunting small game, such as rats and foxes. The breed was developed from other terrier breeds in the region, including the Cairn Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. The goal was to create a small, agile, and fearless dog that could navigate the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands.

Originally, Westies were primarily working dogs, but they soon gained popularity as household pets due to their charming personality and adorable appearance. They were officially recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom in 1907 and later by the American Kennel Club in 1908.

Physical Characteristics

The West Highland White Terrier is a compact and sturdy dog with a well-balanced body. They typically weigh between 13 to 20 pounds (6 to 9 kilograms) and stand about 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. Their most distinctive feature is their dense, double-layered white coat, which is weather-resistant and helps them blend in with their surroundings during hunting.

Westies have a small, erect, and pointed ears that stand out against their white fur. Their eyes are dark and expressive, and their black nose complements their overall appearance. They have a straight and strong tail that is carried upright.

Temperament and Personality

West Highland White Terriers are known for their lively and outgoing nature. They are friendly, affectionate, and make excellent companions for individuals and families of all ages. Despite their small size, they possess a confident and fearless attitude, which can sometimes translate into stubbornness. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and obedient pets.

These terriers are highly intelligent and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. They are quick learners and excel in various dog sports and activities, such as obedience, agility, and tracking. Their natural hunting instincts can also be harnessed through activities like scent work or interactive toys.

Grooming and Care

The Westie's white coat requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. This includes brushing at least once or twice a week to prevent matting and remove loose hair. They are considered a low-shedding breed, making them suitable for individuals with allergies.

Regular bathing is necessary to keep their coat clean and free from dirt and debris. It is important to use dog-specific shampoos and conditioners to maintain the health of their skin and coat. Additionally, their ears should be checked regularly and cleaned to prevent infections.

As an energetic breed, the Westie needs daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are essential to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially engaging in destructive behavior.

Health Concerns

While generally a healthy breed, West Highland White Terriers can be prone to certain health conditions. These may include skin allergies, dental issues, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeders prioritize the health of their dogs and conduct relevant health tests to minimize the risk of hereditary diseases.

Regular visits to the veterinarian, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can contribute to the overall well-being of a Westie. It is important to provide them with a nutritious diet that meets their specific needs and to keep up with vaccinations and parasite prevention measures.


The West Highland White Terrier is a delightful and affectionate companion that brings joy and laughter to many households. Their striking appearance, coupled with their spirited personality, makes them a beloved choice for dog lovers around the world. Whether you are seeking a loyal and playful friend or a versatile competitor in dog sports, the Westie can fulfill both roles with their intelligence and natural abilities. Consider adding a West Highland White Terrier to your family, and experience the love and devotion they offer as a pet.

If you are interested in learning more about West Highland White Terriers or finding a reputable breeder, visit our website for comprehensive information and resources on this delightful breed.

Julieth Bill

Hi, I'm Julieth Bill. Before I was a writer for the NBCpet.com blog I was known for inventive and unusual treatments of dogs, cats, bird, fish, snakes, horses, rabbit, reptiles, and guinea pigs. Julieth worked for major zoos around the world. He Also Receives Pets a Scholarship.

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