The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the “Westie,” is known for his friendly, strong-willed personality and bright white coat.
The affectionate and happy Westie makes a faithful family companion. As a highly intelligent, speedy and cunning hunter, he needs daily exercise, either on leash or in a fenced area.
The Westie’s self-reliance and independent streak can make him difficult to train. Early and consistent training—and a lot of patience—will turn a rambunctious Westie puppy into a well-mannered adult.
Westies are a compact dog with dark eyes and a carrot-shaped tail. Although he looks soft and fluffy, the white double coat is rough.
The Westie dog will typically live between 13 to 15 years of age.
The Westie was bred to be all white to make him easily identifiable from other animals.
West Highland White Terriers shed seasonally. They do need daily brushing and a coat trim every four to six weeks.
Westies are generally healthy but may be prone to weight gain. They may also be at risk for cardiac disease or luxating patella. Responsible breeders screen for such conditions to help produce the healthiest dogs possible, though.
Due to the Westie’s small size, he may prefer a small breed dog food, formulated with smaller kibble to make chewing more comfortable.
A complete and balanced small breed puppy food will have all the nutrients a Westie puppy needs for growth and development throughout his first year of life.
The West Highland White Terrier originated in 17th century Scotland and was bred to hunt rodents like rats who destroyed grain stores and spread disease. Other terriers developed in Scotland around the same time included the Cairn, Skye, Scottish and Dandie Dinmont terriers.
Though they were first popular as exterminators of the pesky rodents, they became popular at Scottish dog shows in the late 1800s.
By 1906, the Westie made its debut at American Kennel Club (AKC) dog shows. The AKC registered its first Westie in 1908 and the breed has been popular among Americans for more than 100 years.