West Highland White Terrier Overview
While rough-coated terriers have been a part of Scotland for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until the selection of white colored pups became popular that the White Highland, or “Westie” was created. They had a distinctive all-white coat, making it easy to find and not accidentally mistake them for the game they were hunting. Westies have been used for vermin control in Scotland and worldwide for over 300 years.
West Highland White Terrier Characteristics
This dog breed is probably one of the most recognized and popular of the rough-coated terrier breeds. Their faces appear on many popular dog food brands, with pricked triangular ears, adorable rough white coat, and a short, sturdy body. Their coloration and looks give them both a friendly and loving appearance, helping aid in their popularity.
West Highland White Terrier Temperament
Westies are as charming as their looks, however, they are serious when it comes to hunting. They are spunky and devoted and will exhibit all terrier traits such as hunting, digging and barking. Westies can be defensive toward other dogs, however, this breed tends to get along better than others in the terrier group. Like most terriers, they are devoted and loving toward their owners.
West Highland White Terrier Care
The Westie lives on average 12 to 14 years, slightly under average compared to other small breed dogs. Health concerns include copper toxicity, globoid cell leukodystrophy (a nerve disorder commonly known as Krabbe Disease), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, pulmonary fibrosis, skin allergies and white shaker dog syndrome.
West Highland White Terrier Coat
The coat of this dog breed is very easy to care for, unlike many other terrier breeds. The coat rarely sheds but does need occasional hand-stripping to prevent it from being shaggy in appearance. Beyond this minimal care, the Westie’s coat is considered “wash and wear” due to its ease of cleaning.
West Highland White Terrier Training
Westies are an easy dog to train, as far as terriers go. They learn quickly and respond well to their owner’s requests. Some socialization may also be needed to help combat their hunting instincts if they are to be around other dogs and pets, however, the Westie usually does better than other terriers in this regard.
West Highland White Terrier Activity
Anywhere his human goes, the Westie wants to follow. They don’t require much activity, however, they do love to be part of the action of their human family members. This includes spending time on walks in the neighborhood, spending time together indoors, or just coming along when it’s time to pick the kids up from soccer practice.