The West Highland White Terrier – or ‘Westie’ to its friends – is a chirpy chappie who truly embodies the essence of the Terrier type. This determined little dog’s silky muzzle and plucky stride is guaranteed to raise a smile. Equally suited to life in a house or a flat, easy to train, and a tireless playmate for kids, the Westie is a bona fide all-rounder. Here’s our run-down of the breed’s characteristics.
Breed Group: Terrier
Coat length: Medium
Exercise: Up to 1 hour per day
Grooming required?: More than once a week
Long story short, the West Highland White Terrier is simply a white version of the Cairn Terrier. In 19th century Poltalloch, Scotland, some white pups emerged in the litter of a Cairn and were intentionally bred to further the white variety. Both the Westie and the Cairn have retained their original instinct for hunting rats and other vermin. Due to their predatory drive, this breed isn’t recommended around smaller pets.
The Westie tends to live between 12 and 14 years.
This breed is prone to hip, knee, skin and eye problems. Legg-Perthes Disease and deafness is also a risk.
The happy chappy
Are you a hardy soul? Snap! Westies are always game for a walk; come rain or shine. Their boundless energy and cheerful disposition has made them a great family pet – not to mention one of the most popular Terrier types. Watch out for excessive barking, which may need to be controlled through obedience training.
Small Dog Syndrome
There’s a risk that your West Highland White Terrier will end up running the household if it isn’t appropriately socialised to encourage good behaviour. The temptation to ‘baby’ a small and adorable dog such as this is high. Stay strong.
Quick to please and slow to tire, Westies are among the easiest dogs to train.
The West Highland White Terrier is reportedly quite difficult to housebreak, which is surprising, considering how easy they are to train to do other things. (Who made the rules, hmm?)
Where to find West Highland Terriers
West Highland White Terrier Groups
Keen to meet other Westie owners and their pooch-shaped pride and joy? Find a group below.
Adopt a Westie
Want to adopt a West Highland White Terrier in need of a loving home? Find a rescue centre below.
Sold on the plucky little Westies all-round appeal? Take a look at these Kennel Club Assured Breeders.