West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier originates from...

Perhaps the most popular of the terrier breeds, the West Highland White terrier is a feisty and lovable character, hailing from Poltalloch, Scotland. Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm is credited with the breed's development, having wanted to create a dog that was white and therefore easily distinguished from the quarry it hunted. Dating the evolution of the West Highland White terrier is uncertain, although records from as early as the 16th century suggest the dog is a breed of old, favoured by royal figures such as James VI of Scotland and seen within his household. It is rumoured that the King gifted a dozen West Highland White terriers to the Kingdom of France between 1567-1625. The breed adopted its name in 1909, being formerly known as the Roseneath terrier.

The West Highland White Terrier is characterised by...

A compact and agile dog, with bright eyes, upright ears, a rounded face, and short, sturdy legs. The body, head and limbs are proportioned, and the muzzle is typically short and tapering to the black nose. The double coat should always be white, and have a rough outer texture. Maintaining the colour of the coat is difficult due to the game and energetic nature of the breed, who enjoys nothing better than digging holes and playing outdoors. As with most smaller dog breeds, the West Highland White terrier is prone to 'Small-Dog Syndrome' - behaviours that include stubbornness, dominance and even aggression.

The average West Highland White Terrier...

To avoid and discourage these small dog behaviours, the breed benefits from firm but fair leadership, consistent obedience training, and early socialisation. Once trained, the West Highland White terrier has the potential to be a most affectionate, loyal and mannered companion, well suited to relaxed domestic living. The breed engages well with children when raised with them, and is compatible with other house pets when introduced to them gradually. On average, a healthy adult West Highland White terrier will weigh 6-9 kg, depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of roughly 15 years. It is not uncommon for a Westie to live into its 20s.

Because no breed is without its weakness...

The Westie is a relatively hardy breed, although it is susceptible to several health conditions and diseases. These range in severity, from mild allergies and skin complaints, to more serious cases of eye disease, orthopedic problems, urinary discomfort, and liver disease (copper hepatopathy). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or Westie Lung Disease, is a rare genetic condition that affects the connective tissues and air sacs of the lungs, causing severe breathing difficulty.

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Our West Highland White Terrier owners' thoughts

20130123 05:36 pm
Devon, United Kingdom

Well I am on my second westie - I couldn't bear being without him (or them now) - they are such characters. Yes they can be difficult but just show them who is the boss, a bit of bribery and oodles of love and you'll win them over. The rewards are great, a feisty bundle of fun - he doesn't bark (training!) who loves scritches and cuddles and walkies. A lovely companion and family member.

20131216 12:12 pm
United Kingdom

All of the above is so true, trying to dominate and having "little dog syndrome" but they are so funny. Harvey has a sort of "show pony" walk he likes to do when he is trying to charm everyone, it's so cute. He won't get up too early and go for a walk, he will not wear a coat even in the snow. We love him so much.


My son Harry & I have a Westie, Molly-moo. I have to agree with everything written about the character.
I would definitely say digging is one of their favourite hobbies. Many times she has been out digging in the soil! Molly's party trick is sitting like a little meerkat & she can stay like that for ages.
She's got an excellent temperament & is very chilled out. Thankfully she's not a yappy dog, she only barks to communicate if she needs to go out & you haven't realised or when she's feeling left out!
Molly is like a spring chicken, I think people look on her as a puppy but she's 10 yrs old. Hopefully she will be one of the Westies who make it to her 20's.

20150122 02:28 pm
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

I have 2 westies - Lily and Chloe. This is the first time I have had westies. They are great companions but can be very stubborn. Digging is what they like as well as chasing pigeons at the park. Treats work well for training and stubbornness. Westies are not for the "faint-hearted" owner. wouldn't swap my girls for the world though.

20150122 02:28 pm
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

Chloe and Lily are great but very stubborn. Digging is what they like to do best, chasing pigeons and squirrels in the park too. Treats are very helpful with the stubbornness. They are very socialble dogs and love to meet their four legged friends for a chaotic time.

20130102 08:06 pm
Caerdydd, United Kingdom

All of the above, and.... our 1st Westie would also climb, he mastered scrambling over dry stone walls and trees if there was hint of squirrel.
We are enjoying our 13 year old lady, she had a blip with bladder stones last year, surgery fixed those and now she is back in robust health again. She enjoys nothing better than a gentle potter with many characteristic Westie pit stops (locks legs & refusing to move) for sniffs.

20160301 07:49 pm
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have a white friendly westy he was born on 31/07/2016

20160327 08:58 pm
Merseyside, United Kingdom

I have a 14 yr old westie named freddie born on 5.3.02 his nickname is doc & hes wonderful with my children.He is a lovely dog & is my baby.

20170129 06:05 pm
United Kingdom

My Angus is almost a year old
He has a very stubborn streak, but is very loving he enjoys a good walk especially if there is the chance of meeting children to play with. I love him to bits.

20160729 06:52 am
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Alfie will be 11 years old in November and is still like a little puppy. He is playful and he just cannot get enough of tennis balls. He is very inquisitive and loves to play even at his age, he has lots of energy. He has such a lovely nature and is so loyal and beautiful. He is my cute little bundle of love

20170601 08:40 am
United Kingdom

Luna my westie is 9 years old. I adore her and her little scottie sis. They both came to stay for a short time while they wait for their passports to go to Singapore. Luckily for me, they end up staying with us, 5 years on still in love. I always had dogs growing up and always big dogs. Adjusting to little dogs was tuff. (sleeping in sofa, climbing in beds, lap , etc.) but westie intrigue me, they good little dogs very intelligent, energetic and obedient. Luna doesn't really like toys, balls or digging. But loves outdoor, playing with other dogs and watching out for things..
She is very stubborn when I ask her to come in at night but she likes to stay out in the garden until 2 a.m!
I would have a westie anytime!

20100802 03:55 pm
East Sussex, United Kingdom

Hamish is six years old he loves to play
he is very affectionate,and friendly to
people and other dogs.
Westies are a good family pet.