West Highland White Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- West Highland White Terriers, also known as Westies, are small, sturdy and well built dogs with a white coat. They have erect ears, a soft undercoat and rough outer coat. The outer coat is straight, harsh and wiry. The under coat is close, fluffy, and soft. Their coat is brilliant white in color and lends to this breed an elegant look. They are moderate shedders. Their bodies are compact and their heads have a fox-like appearance.
- Other Names:Westie
- Country Of Origin:Scotland
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Terrier
- Despite their size, Westies are bold and courageous, active and alert. They can make good family pets and show loyalty to their owners and belongings. They do need a fair amount of exercise but tire quickly so need to sleep after an exertion. The Westie is energetic and spunky. They alert to danger by barking and are good watchdogs. A Westie is a wonderful family pet that prefers to be the only pet in the home. They get along with children over the age of ten who are well behaved. They can be demanding and assertive, and exhibit true terrier traits and also have a tendency to snap when irritated. The West Highland White Terrier is a social, fun loving breed that does best in an active and attentive household. Early social training is imperative if they have to live with other dogs as they can be rather dominant.
- Effortless and free.
- Care and training:
- The West Highland White Terrier 's double coat requires brushing twice weekly. They also require having their coat professionally stripped at least two times per year. They should only be bathed when necessary, as they are prone to dry skin. The coat needs to be hand plucked two or three times a year by a professional groomer. A weekly groom is all that is needed to get rid of the loose hairs.
Westies are intelligent but can be rather naughty so remain consistent in their training. The West Highland White Terrier must be trained beginning at an early age especially in the area of socialization. They respond best to love and gentle guidance. As with most all Terrier breeds, harsh methods of training are met with stubbornness. The Westie is usually open to obedience training provided it is done fairly and consistently.
- Overall Exercise:
- 60 - 80 minutes per day.
Westies need exercise. They are energetic little dogs who love to play with a ball. They enjoy digging and some do wander off, so make sure the garden is well-fenced.
- Feeding Requirements:
- This breed is easy and relatively inexpensive to feed.
- Personal Protection:High
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Medium
- Level of Aggression:Medium
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Medium
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:2-8
- Life Expectancy (yrs):15
- Health issues:
- This breed is healthy and robust. There may be some problems with skin allergies, patellar luxation, hernias, cranio mandibular osteopathy (lion jaw), deafness and congenital heart disease. They can also be susceptible to atopy, cataracts, copper toxicosis, enzyme deficiency, inguinal hernia, and Legg-Perthes disease.
- They were developed in the high mountains of west Scotland and claim ancestry to the Scotch Terrier. For a long time, the Westie was interbred with the Cairn, and white ones were simply called Westies, while the colored ones were called Cairns. The Westie is thought to be around 300 years old. King James I, King of England in the 1620s, was reported to have requested "little white earth dogges" that may have been Westies. Sir Edwin Landseer's painting in 1831 titled "The Breakfast Party" features several Highland Terriers. They were very much like the West Highland White Terriers of today. They were at one time cross bred with Cairn, Scottish and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. In the later 1800s there was a strain of white Scottish Terriers who were owned by Colonel Malcolm of Polltalloch and were known as Polltalloch Terriers. West Highland White Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin, fox and badger, and be distinguished from the prey when hunting. They were bred specifically to be white so the hunter wouldn't accidentally shoot the dog instead of the prey.