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The Spirited West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed
Home Dog Breed The Spirited West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

The Spirited West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

by CareTips Dog
The Spirited West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

The West Highland White Terrier originated in Scotland, where they were bred to hunt vermin. Their ancestry includes Cairn and Scottish terriers. They are recognized by major kennel clubs including the AKC.

Introduction West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

The West Highland White Terrier is an energetic, fun-loving dog that thrives on quality time with their family. They have a sturdy, compact body covered in a coarse, white double coat. Westies are highly intelligent and independent. While affectionate at home, they can be feisty and stubborn. This breed needs consistent training and supervision.

Adaptability: ⭐⭐⭐

Adapts Well to Apartment: ⭐⭐
Good for Novice Owners: ⭐⭐
Sensitivity Level: ⭐⭐⭐
Tolerates Being Alone: ⭐
Tolerates Cold: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tolerates Hot: ⭐⭐

All Around Friendliness: ⭐⭐⭐

Affectionate with Family: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Kid Friendly: ⭐⭐⭐
Dog Friendly: ⭐⭐
Friendly Toward Strangers: ⭐⭐

Health and Grooming Needs: ⭐⭐

Amount of Shedding: ⭐⭐⭐
Drooling Potential: ⭐
Easy to Groom: ⭐
General Health: ⭐⭐⭐
Potential for Weight Gain: ⭐⭐⭐
Size: ⭐⭐

Trainability: ⭐⭐

Easy to Train: ⭐⭐
Intelligence: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Potential for Mouthiness: ⭐⭐⭐
Prey Drive: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tendency to Bark or Howl: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wanderlust Potential: ⭐⭐⭐

Exercise Needs: ⭐⭐⭐

Energy Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intensity: ⭐⭐⭐
Exercise Needs: ⭐⭐
Potential for Playfulness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Appearance: Small, sturdy terrier with coarse white coat. Pointy ears, black nose.
  • Characteristics: Spirited, energetic and independent. Devoted and protective of family.
  • Popularity: Ranks 34th most popular breed by AKC.Temperament: Lively, affectionate, and feisty. Intelligent but stubborn. May be aggressive with other animals.
  • Lifespan: 12-16 years.
  • Coat Color: Pure white double coat. Puppies may have lemon or wheaten coloring that fades as they mature.
  • Breed Type: Purebred terrier. Descended from Scottish and Cairn terriers.

Caring for a West Highland White Terrier


  • High-quality dry food for small dog breeds. 1⁄2 to 1 cup daily, divided into 2 meals.
  • Avoid overfeeding. Prone to weight gain. Limit human food treats.
  • Always provide access to clean, fresh water.


  • Active household. Short walks and indoor play daily. Access to fenced yard ideal.
  • Toys that appeal to their nature as vermin hunters. Food puzzle toys prevent boredom.
  • Can adapt to apartment living if properly exercised but may be vocal.


  • Daily brushing of wiry double coat essential. Hand stripping 2+ times per year.
  • Frequent bathing as needed. Clip nails monthly. Clean ears and teeth regularly.

Take Care Method:

At least 30-60 minutes of activity daily plus mental stimulation. Firm, consistent training important for this strong-willed breed. Lots of family time.

Preparing for a West Highland White Terrier

Tips for New Owners:

  • Prepare for an energetic, vocal dog. Secure fences/screening and commit to training.
  • Puppy-proof your home. Securely store items they may destroy or swallow.
  • Invest in grooming tools and commit to weekly brushing. Hand stripping or clipping 2+ times per year.
  • Socialize thoroughly as a puppy to prevent aggression toward other pets.
  • Common health issues: skin problems, deafness, Cushings disease. Regular vet care is key.
  • Vaccines needed: Distemper, rabies, parvo, kennel cough. Annual booster shots recommended.

Popular West Highland White Terrier Names

  1. Male Names: Angus, Archie, Baxter, Brody, Finn, Murphy, Otto, Piper
  2. Female Names: Bonnie, Callie, Holly, Lucy, Maggie, Molly, Sadie, Stella

Finding a West Highland White Terrier

  • Most Popular Regions: Western Europe, North America, Australia
  • Average Price: $1000 – $2000 USD from quality breeder
  • Breed Rescues: Westie Rescue Network, WestieMed Inc

What to Look for When Adopting:

  1. General Health: Clear eyes/ears, healthy skin, proper weight. Energetic and friendly.
  2. Vaccines Up To Date: Current rabies vaccine at minimum. Full vaccine history for puppies.
  3. Medical History: Rule out skin conditions, orthopedic issues, deafness. Ask about genetic testing.

How to stop a Westie from biting?

Start training bite inhibition young. Firmly say “no bite” and redirect to a toy. Praise gentle play. Provide plenty of chew toys.

How to socialize and raise a friendly West Highland White Terrier?

Positive socialization starting in puppyhood through controlled interactions with people, dogs and environments. Reward calm, friendly behavior.

How do you train a Westie?

Use positive reinforcement techniques like food rewards and praise. Seek professional help for obedience classes and to curb stubbornness.

How often should a West Highland White Terrier see the vet?

Annual check-ups are recommended plus immediate visits for any concerns. Senior dogs should have biannual vet visits.

Are Westies good family pets?

Yes, when properly trained and exercised, Westies make delightful family companions. Supervise young children due to tendency to nip.

Are West Highland White Terriers good with kids?

Most Westies thrive with respectful, dog-savvy kids. Supervise interactions until trained. Their energetic nature may overwhelm very small children.

Are Westies good with other pets?

Westies tend to be dog-aggressive. Early socialization helps but they may still see smaller pets as prey. Monitor closely.

Is the West Highland White Terrier a smart dog?

Yes, Westies are highly intelligent. Their independent nature means they need training and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.

What is the Westie temperament?

Westies are energetic, lively dogs devoted to family. They are affectionate yet stubborn. Tendency towards dominance and aggression if not trained properly.

How many different types of Westies are there?

The West Highland White Terrier has only one breed standard. Some variations may exist based on bloodlines.

What is the Westie’s lifespan?

The average lifespan for a West Highland White Terrier is 12-16 years. Providing good veterinary care helps maximize their life expectancy.

Can Westies cause allergies?

Westies do shed moderately. Their small size leads to less overall dander so they may cause fewer allergies than larger breeds.

Are West Highland White Terriers aggressive?

Westies can show dog aggression if not properly socialized/trained. With proper handling they are delightful family companions.

Do Westies have problems with hair loss?

No, their wiry double coat does not easily suffer hair loss. Regular grooming and hand stripping prevents shedding and removes dead hair.

By following our website, you can find the perfect dog breeds for you and provide them with the best possible dog care. Remember that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment that requires time, money, and patience. But it is also a rewarding experience that will bring you joy and companionship. All information in Dog care tips.

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