West Highland White Terrier Complete Profile
Height: About 28 cm (11 inches)
Weight: 7 – 10 kg (15 – 22 lb)
Life Span: 13 years
Temperament: Active & friendly
Country of Origin: Scotland
AKC Group: Terrier
Other Names: Westie
General Appearance: Sturdy, confident and compact.
Colour: Always pure white.
Coat: The outer coat is wiry, flat, straight and about 5cm (2 inches) in length. The under coat is dense, soft and short.
Tail: Straight, carried high and about 13-15 cm (5-6 in) in length.
Ears: Small, erect and covered with short, velvety hair.
Body: The body is compact with a deep chest and level back. The ribs are well arched and the shoulders are sloping.
Happy, affectionate, extroverted, agile, alert and lively. West Highland White Terriers are extremely confident little dogs that can be cunning and ingenious but also stubborn and independent. They are straightforward to train, but Westies can be persistently naughty and their handler needs to remain consistent and not give in to their charming nature. These dogs are excellent playmates for children as they can withstand rough play. Some Westies may be dominant towards other dogs, but this largely depends on their social upbringing. To prevent them from chasing cats when they are fully grown they need to learn to tolerate them during puppyhood.
The coat should be hand-plucked two to three times a year and shouldn’t be washed frequently. When the coat gets dirty, it is best to let the hair dry and then brush the dirt out. Westies do need a trim every now and then to keep them looking tidy, along with regular brushing. The advantage with this breed is that they don’t have the typical dog odour.
Westies love playing with balls and toys and frolicking in the garden or backyard. They need regular exercise and are keen diggers. They are likely to wander off and need to be kept in a well fenced area.
It is believed that the West Highland White Terrier evolved from blends of the Scottish Terrier, Cairn Terrier and Dandie Dinmont. They were originally bred to hunt vermin. In the late 1800s there was a strain of white Scottish Terriers who were owned by Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch (they were known as Poltalloch Terriers), which were very similar to the West Highland White Terriers that we know today. The first recognized show for the West Highland White Terrier was held in London in 1907.
Westies are steadily growing in popularity and it’s no wonder, as they are a handy size to pick up, love people, are generally calmer than other terriers and make delightful and entertaining family companions.
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