It is thought that in the middle of the 19th century, a breeder of Cairn Terriers who lived in the country of Argyll, Scotland was blessed with some white puppies in his litters. Those puppies were selected and bred to obtain the WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER, which in the 19th century, was simply a white Cairn. The West Highland White Terrier was originally bred for controlling the population of the fox, otter, rats and other vermin. This spunky little terrier is now mostly a companion dog.

It is probable that the Westie and all of the terriers of Scotland came from the same stock; the Cairns, Scotties, Dandie Dinmonts and West Highland Whites are branches from the same tree and its roots.

Westie Facts:

  • Sturdy, hardy, compact
  • Usually 15 to 22 pounds
  • Always white; sometimes with a darker dorsal streak
  • Many types of coats, e.g., soft, hard, straight, curly
  • Average life span 12 to 14 years
  • Usually housebroken by 6 months of age
  • Need to be groomed every 4 to 8 weeks
  • Requires daily brushing
  • Requires frequent nail clipping
  • Has a happy, peppy personality
  • Never totally grows up!
  • Easy to train
  • Less likely to cause allergies in humans (but there are those who ARE allergic!!)
  • As with any ‘being’ with hair, they will shed; however, with good grooming, the shedding can be minimal when compared to many breeds
  • Are suitable for people in towns and cities as well as the country
  • Are usually good travelers
  • Very active indoors and will do okay without a yard
  • Personality
  • Vocal; they bark and some ‘talk’
  • Dig and have been know to demolish a shrub or small tree
  • “Game” terriers; chase small critters; squirreling is their favorite pastime
  • Excitable!
  • Best for adults and children over the age of 10
  • Best for owners who can provide firm but loving guidance
  • Enjoy obedience school and are fast learners
  • Require fenced areas or daily long walks
  • Play hard and growl in their play
  • HIGH ENERGY; very active little dogs and stay that way for many years
  • Generally social
  • Extremely self-assured toward other dogs
  • Can ‘usually’ learn to live with cats but the cats always need to have escape routes
  • Very smart, tenacious, robust, friendly, cocky and spunky
  • Don’t respond well to harsh corrections; you get their full attention when you ignore them
  • See the AKC or National Breed Club for the breed standard of these alert, gay, courageous, self-reliant but friendly little dogs.

CLICK HERE for the AKC Site and Search on ‘Westie’ OR CLICK HERE for a direct link.

CLICK HERE for the National Westie Club.