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.


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.



Our West Highland White Terrier owners have uploaded 388 photos

Our West Highland White Terrier owners' thoughts

Added on 30/09/2014
Joined 23/01/2013
From 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.

Added on 05/11/2014
Joined 16/12/2013
From 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.

Added on 07/12/2014

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.

Added on 18/07/2015
Joined 27/05/2014
From 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.

Added on 18/07/2015
Joined 27/05/2014
From 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.

Added on 04/09/2015
Joined 02/01/2013
From 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.

Added on 01/03/2016
Joined 01/03/2016
From West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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

Added on 27/03/2016
Joined 27/03/2016
From 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.

Added on 11/05/2017
Joined 29/01/2017
From 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.

Added on 24/05/2017
Joined 29/07/2016
From 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

Added on 01/06/2017
Joined 01/06/2017
From 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!

Added on 10/02/2018
Joined 02/08/2010
From 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.

Added on 09/03/2018
Joined 19/02/2018
From Surrey, United Kingdom

Got 2 boys from breed specific re-homing charity 2015, after we lost our previous boy. They our wonderful boys and wouldn't be without them.

Added on 17/04/2018
Joined 17/04/2018
From TREDEGAR, United Kingdom

I have only had Beau my 10 week old Westie for 3 days and an already smitten. She is very curious and confident, amusing to watch playing. Chewing everything in sight at the moment having to watch her like a hawk !!! 😀

Added on 17/04/2018
Joined 17/04/2018
From TREDEGAR, United Kingdom

I have only had Beau my 10 week old Westie for 3 days and an already smitten. She is very curious and confident, so amusing to watch her playing. she is chewing everything in sight at the moment having to watch her like a hawk !!! 😀

Added on 08/05/2018

We have inherited a westie from an old chap who has gone into care and cannot take the dog with him. "Harry" is thirteen years old, he is suffering from a cough which the vet as diagnosed as emphysema, which the vet states there is no treatment, sometimes when he cough it can be a little distressing, after a few minutes he is fine. Harry loves walks at his pace, barks at cats and larger dogs, but he is fine with small dogs and loves children. All in all he is a lovely dog.

Added on 20/05/2018
Joined 26/03/2017
From Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom

I inherited my westie (Molly} when she was five years old,I had 5 other dogs at the time and they all got on great, she is a typical westie does not like doing anything if its n ot her idea.she is now 15 , her health is very poor, she has had colitis since I got her and now is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, it has been a long hard fight to combat her colitis and lately it has been much worse, I have tried everything I know of to control it and I give her YUDIGEST probiotic tablets,is there anyone out there with this problem and could give me some extra advice, I just want her to be happy and comfortable for the rest of her life, I love her to bits, she is the only one left and very precious
Mary Davidson Newcastle Upon Tyne

Added on 26/05/2018
Joined 08/07/2016
From Kent, United Kingdom

This is my 5th westie. I have a 10 year old as well. They are wonderful dogs to own. Best dogs in the world.

Added on 26/06/2018
Joined 18/05/2016
From United Kingdom

We have had five Westies over a 35 years.All were great characters and very individual. The current pair are devoted to each other.Bonnie is by far the most healthy Westie we have had.She feisty and fun,very playful and loving.
Finlay had many health issues initially and attends hydrotherapy regularly to help his leg muscles.He is a complex dog with neurological problems so far eluding diagnosis. Finlay is very affectionate and playful. Both share all our holidays,travel well and love running on sandy Cornish beaches

Added on 17/09/2018
Joined 17/09/2018
From United Kingdom

Ellie is a very loving, cuddly dog, full of westietude ie can be stubborn. She loves everybody and all other dogs. She is 10 1/2 now, but still playful, and full of mischief. Would recommend a Westie to everybody.