Dog Breeds

West highland white terrier

The color of the robe was supposed to distinguish west highland white terrier in hunting from animals, meanwhile, he made him a home pet. Westie is a dog-friendly to people and although sometimes he is distrustful of strangers, he usually befriends them quickly.


West highland white terrier is a typical terrier – full of temperament, lively, independent, fearless and endowed with a strong character. His lovers say that he has all the advantages of this group of dogs, and at the same time there are no disadvantages. He is cheerful, mobile and always ready to accompany his master. Very attached to the owner, he can follow him step by step, but he is not obtrusive and does not require constant attention – he patiently waits until he has time for him. It is not aggressive or excessively noisy.

Westie is a dog-friendly to people and although sometimes he is distrustful of strangers, he usually befriends them quickly. Inborn vigilance and a well-developed sense of observation make him a good watchman.

It is hard to find a more tireless companion of children’s games. However, his friendly attitude towards children is largely determined by previous experiences – badly treated at the puppy age, he remembers it for a long time and it is difficult to convince him later to change his unfavorable attitude. Westie is tolerant of the small animals with whom he shares the house, but one should not forget that he still has his hunting instinct. The tendency to chase can be felt during walks, so it’s better to keep your pet on a leash in busy places.

In relation to foreign dogs – especially larger ones – this terrier is sometimes feisty, but it does not start fights. Regardless of the weather, westie enjoys spending time outdoors. He should not take part in exhausting training (e.g. run by bicycle), but he will keep pace with his owner even on a long trip.


West highland white terrier was bred to hunt small predators – mainly foxes and otters. He was characterized by great courage, endurance and fierce (he has kept these qualities to this day), which is why he coped well with animals much larger than himself. Contrary to appearances, the white robe of the little hunter was not difficult to care for – on hard, rough hair dirt did not stick.

Modern westie is above all a nice companion dog, although it still hunts perfectly for home and garden pests. He can successfully participate in work trials and competitions organized for terriers (e.g. dredging). He is agile and lively, so you can do some sports with him, e.g. agility or dancing with a dog; properly motivated he will cope even in obedience.

West highland white terrier. Training and education

Westie is intelligent, learns easily and willingly – as long as he is consistent, but gentle. Like all terriers, he is stubborn and independent, so training him requires patience and positive motivation – many treats and praise. Even then, however, he often executes the command after a short while. He must not be treated brutally – a slightly raised voice is enough for a scolding. This curious, ubiquitous pooch quickly gets bored, so the lessons should not last too long.

West highland white terrier

Raising a small westie should start from the first days in a new home, but you have to remember that the puppy should not be set too high requirements, although he should not indulge in everything. Our terrier needs to be properly socialized – contact with other dogs, people, new situations and places. Owners with little experience can take advantage of dog kindergarten classes.

Who is this race for?

Westie is not difficult to raise and can adapt to any conditions, so even a person with no experience in taking care of dogs can handle him.

He needs a forgiving and patient owner who respects his independence. Suitable for both elderly people and families with children.

West highland white terrier. Advantages and disadvantages


  • requires systematic and professional care
  • can be feisty of strange dogs


  • devoted to the owner, but not obtrusive
  • intelligent, eager to learn
  • a good friend for children
  • watchful watchman
  • can play some dog sports
  • even suitable for a small apartment
  • easy to raise, if handled correctly


A typical – for this generally resistant breed – genetic disorder is chronic hepatitis caused by excessive copper build-up in the body. Like other small westie breeds, it can sometimes suffer from aseptic femoral head necrosis (Legg-Perthes disease).

Occasionally, crani-mandibular osteopathy affects puppies aged 3-8 months. This disease consists of non-neoplastic, non-inflammatory growth of the jaw, occipital and temporal bones (the changes may go back on their own).

Because of the white coat, westie is susceptible to contact and food allergies (hypersensitivity to one of the feed ingredients), food intolerance (hypersensitivity to several feed components) and atopy. You should also check the condition of the teeth and remove the scale if necessary.


Westie has a good appetite and is generally not picky. It is best to give him high-quality medium-protein food, intended for small breeds, which can be varied with white cheese, kefir, yogurt and vegetables.

If we decide to prepare meals ourselves, we must remember to supplement the diet with calcium and vitamin preparations. It is not recommended to give the dog bones, as this may cause hard deposits in the intestines and lead to a condition called coprostasis.


Westie robes require systematic and professional care. The dog of this breed does not molt – a small amount of hair in the apartment testifies to their mechanical removal rather than seasonal replacement of the coat. They are easy to clean because they do not stick to the ground.

Once every few days you should brush the westie with a thick brush. It is also worth systematically cutting the hair from between the fingertips for hygienic reasons (the dog brings less sand and mud) and health reasons (fungal infections sometimes develop in dense fur between the fingers, especially when it is wet outside).

Trimming (plucking of hair) is carried out for the first time in puppies before the age of three months, although many breeders do it much earlier (even at the age of 4-5 weeks). Treatments should be short, but often repeated, so that the pooch gets used to them, and the hair will grow back evenly and get the right rough structure. An adult dog should be trimmed every 2-3 months as the coat grows back. For the procedure, you can use blunt trimmers or pluck your hair with your fingers.

We bathe Westie in a shampoo for rough-haired dogs (using a different coat may soften the coat), preferably for white ointment. After rinsing the shampoo thoroughly, apply conditioner and comb the coat. Next, dry the dog thoroughly with a dryer set to medium temperature, modeling the hair so that it fits properly. You must also remember to trim your claws.

Preparing the westie for the exhibition requires knowledge of the pattern and considerable skills, so it’s best to entrust this task to a breeder or specialist care salon. After initial trimming the dog, he bathes in cosmetics suitable for his coat and dries thoroughly. Then corrective trimming is performed, and then the shape is further improved with scissors. After applying the hairstyle, a special foundation (e.g. colestral) is applied to the hair, which is then applied with a powder that gives the coat a more coarse structure. Sometimes it is lightly upholstered and varnished to maintain its proper appearance.

Westie exhibits on a ring adapted to the color. You should also get used to standing calmly on the table, because this skill is necessary both during care treatments and at the exhibition.

West highland white terrier

When buying a puppy of this breed, remember that the costs of living do not include expenses for appropriate cosmetics and care treatments.


For the first walks, westies can be worn in braces, but they should not be used constantly, because in a growing and pulling a puppy on a leash they can lead to deformation of the shoulders and standing out of the elbows. The best will be strong collars made of leather (they can not be lined with colored felt, because under the influence of moisture they will permanently color the fur) or tapes; Chains are also not recommended, because of they often dirty and break hair. You can use standard or automatic leashes – choosing them is a good way to overstate your dog’s weight.

Little westie is unlikely to destroy objects, but for a few hours of forced loneliness, it is best to leave him in a properly secured room and restrict his access to the rest of the apartment. He should have his lair there, a bowl of water and toys – the best would be plush or rubber mascots, balls or natural teethers.


West highland white terrier belongs to the group of short-legged terriers used for hunting underground and exterminating rodents. All these dogs had a common ancestor, which was a small stable pinscher with short or rough hair.

The homeland of westie is the region of Scotland called West Highland – hence its name. The breed developed and formed in the district of Argyllshire, where as early as the 16th century rough-haired varieties of small terriers used in hunting were known. At the beginning of the 17th century, Jakub I Stuart was to give several white terriers to the King of France.

It is difficult to determine the exact origin of westie – its close cousins are reportedly cairn terrier and scottish terrier, which litters were born white puppies. Initially, they were considered useless and were eliminated from the culture.

It was only Colonel Edward Malcolm of Poltalloch who was interested in hunting. In 1860, during one of the hunts, he lost his beloved red dog, who was mistakenly considered a fox. From then he decided to breed only white terriers and use them for work. Conducting the appropriate selection, he created a new breed, initially called – after his name – poltalloch terrier. At the time, the terms white scottish terrier and roseneath terrier were also used.

The westie was first shown at the Edinburgh exhibition in 1904. Three years later the breed was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club and given its current name. The first champion was the legendary Morven, considered the progenitor of the breed. However, it resembled the current westie slightly – he was more similar to the Scottish terrier in terms of both construction and coat.

In the United States, the west highland white terrier appeared at an exhibition in Westminster in 1906. For an English dog named Kiltie sold overseas in 1911, its owner collected a huge amount of £ 400 for those times.

World War I decimated the majority of the English white terrier population, so in the interwar period several excellent dogs were brought from the United States to renew the kennel. The modern westie type was formed in the 1920s. The breed standard has survived almost unchanged to this day.


West highland white terrier – group III FCI, section 2, reference number 85

  • Country of origin: Great Britain
  • Size: Height at the withers about 28 cm
  • Coat: consists of straight and hard coat hair, about 5 cm long and a short, dense and soft undercoat
  • Color: white
  • Maturity: 1.5 years
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Weather resistance: resistant

Interesting facts

The lovers of west highland white terriers were Karol Darwin, Pablo Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock. Westie is often used in advertising campaigns – his image appears on the label of a well-known whiskey brand, he was also the mascot of one of the car concerns.

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