West Highland Terrier

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Poltalloch Terrier
  • Roseneath Terrier
  • Westie
Country/Date of origin:
  • Scotland
  • 1800′s
  • 10 to 11 inches
  • 15 to 22 pounds
  • The sunniest disposition in the terrier family.
  • Choose your lifestyle and the Westie will happily adapt to it.
  • One of the few terriers that does well with other pets.

The West Highland White Terrier has a shared history with the Cairn, Scottish, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers (all of which probably come from the same stock).  However, it was a single family—the Malcolms of Poltalloch, Scotland—that was responsible for refining the little white terriers that were originally called by the name of their estate.  Many hunters favored the white coats, which were easily visible in the field.  It is believed that the white coats were selectively bred when they popped up in litters of Cairn Terriers.  The Malcolms quite fancied these game, earth dogs and kept the white strain alive for over a hundred years.  First introduced at British shows in 1900, the Westies were introduced to American fanciers in 1908.  However, it was not until the 1960′s that they skyrocketed on the popularity charts.

Body Type:
  • A compact, wiry terrier with a short face and impish expression.
  • Very small, pointed, erect ears are not altered.
  • The short tail is natural, not docked.
  • Front feet are bigger than hind feet, as might be expected in a digging dog.
  • Harsh double coat about 2-inches long.
  • White is the only allowed color.
  • Requires professional grooming.
Health and Wellness:
  • Legg-Perthes disease.
  • Cranio-mandibular osteopathy.
  • Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency.
  • Congenital deafness.
  • Globoid cell leukodystrophy.
  • Cataracts.
  • Atopy.
  • Generalized tremor.
  • Copper-storage hepatopathy.
  • Demodicosis.
  • Mitral insufficiency.
What you should know:
  • Sometimes referred to as the white dog in the Black and White Scotch ads, Westies are not white, Scottish Terriers.  This breed is much more upbeat and less quarrelsome.
  • Excessive barking can be a problem if a Westie becomes bored.
  • Likes to dig under fences, whereupon it will set out to see the world.
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