Breed Information: West Highland White Terrier

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Breed Description: The West Highland White Terrier is an elegant looking dog breed with a compact, sturdy body, small enough and with short enough legs to go where its quarry would take it. Its tail must be long enough to enable its master to pull it from holes. This dog breed is very affectionate and loves human and animal companionship.

Group: Terrier Group

Purpose of Breed: Hunting rats

Country of Origin: Scotland

Average Size: Ranges from 10-11 inches and 15-22 pounds.

Color(s): White

Coat Type: A double coat-wiry and flat on the outside and soft on the inside.

Grooming: This breed is an average shedder with a coat that should be brushed daily to stay in top condition. Special grooming is necessary if the dog is to be shown. Standard care is required for eyes, ears, pads and nails.

Exercise Needs: West Highland White Terriers require a moderate amount of exercise, but adapt well to apartment living if given daily opportunities to romp and play. They are hunters by nature and should be turned out in a safely enclosed area or exercised on a lead.

Temperament: The West Highland White Terrier is an active and assertive breed that is best suited to living with adults and older children. This breed can be very independent and strong-willed. It is alert and courageous and makes a wonderful watchdog. They make good obedience dogs with proper training and will get along with most other companion animals if introduced properly.


Common Ailments: Susceptible to patellar luxation, skin problems, hernias and liver disease.

Life Expectancy: Averages 12-14 years Trivia: There is a legend that says West Highland White Terriers were developed to be seen easily in the field after a hunter mistakenly took his red colored terrier for a fox and shot it.

More Information: West Highland White Terrier Club of America

West Highland Terrier

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By Kym (Guest Post)
May 8, 20080 found this helpful

and not to mention, cute as a button!

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By Jaz (Guest Post)
August 24, 20080 found this helpful

I've heard these dogs are fantastic with young kids because they love rough play can anyone back that up?

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 239 Feedbacks
August 24, 20080 found this helpful

to Jaz: Did you read the info posted? "...assertive breed that is best suited to living with adults and older children." That's what I've observed over the years also. The ones I've known don't really like "kid play" although I'm sure there will be a torrent of posts from people with small kids who have them.


Just my experience that they don't enjoy playing with young ones.

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December 28, 20090 found this helpful

Westins are very loveable, funny fellas who love play time with small children as well as older, their little personalities are so funny they love to run and jump and are cute little sniffers. Yes they love to hear themselves bark but good watchers! prisjam, Dallas, Texas

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June 22, 20100 found this helpful

Westies have a tail "so you can pull them out of burrows". Well, I didn't know that. I thought their lovely little 'antennae' type tail was for wagging ferociously when they were lizard hunting in the garden :o)

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May 15, 20120 found this helpful

This breed is great. We've had 4 over 35 years. Easy to train, very smart, strong willed but they are like a large dog in a small body. As far as small children go, if they are raised around small children they are fine.


It is when they aren't used to the quick movements of small children that they tend to react because they are scared.

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October 16, 20170 found this helpful

Lost my Katie last year. She was 16. Looking for another perhaps an mature dog since I am also "mature"now. The Westie breed is a very good choice for companionship. They are energetic in the puppy stage but they are a little more sedate after the third or fourth years. I miss her everyday. My first pedigreed anything.

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