Meet the Westie: A Breed Guide to West Highland White Terriers

Category_Breeds_West_Highland_White_Terriers Category_Dogs Writer_Carrie_Pallardy

Carrie Pallardy
“West Highland white terrier” is quite the mouthful for a dog breed. The name belongs to a small, stout group of dogs with fluffy white coats. You are more likely to recognize the affectionate name of “Westie” applied to these loyal and affable canines. Adaptable animals, Westies make good pets for a variety of lifestyles. Learn more about the breed to determine if you and a Westie are a good fit for one another. 

A Scottish Breed

West Highland white terriers might be adorable pets today, but they got their start by striking terror into the hearts of Scottish rats. Westies were one of a few different terrier breeds used to kill rats in the Scotland of the 1700s, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Malcolm clan, in particular, played an important role in breeding and caring for these dogs. The breed assumed its modern name, West Highland White Terriers, in the late 1800s, according to the AKC.

A Physical Profile

Westies are a small breed of dog, typically weighing just 13 to 19 pounds. The breed has a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years, according to The Spruce Pets.
Unlike some breeds, these terriers do not come in a variety of colors. You can always spot a Westie thanks to its snow white coat, made up of a coarse topcoat and a softer undercoat. These beautiful coats do need some regular upkeep. Owners may strip the dead hair from their dog’s coat, or you can take your Westie to a groomer for regular trims.

A Lovable Personality

Westies are no couch potatoes; after all, they were bred as miniature hunters. But, their small size does mean that they can adapt to apartment living. Regardless of your home size, Westies do need to get out and stretch those little legs on a regular basis. They need high levels of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are happy to play fetch and to go for runs and walks with their human companions.
At home, you’ll find your Westie to be fiercely loyal and extremely affectionate. Get used to having a small white shadow follow you around. Westies tend to get along with other dogs and children with the proper socialization. Keep in mind that Westies are terriers, and they do like to bark.

How to Find a Westie

When you are on the hunt for a specific breed, you have a few different options. You can monitor local animal shelters to see if any Westies come up for adoption, but pure bred dogs are often adopted out pretty quickly. You can also seek out rescue organizations dedicated to specific breeds. For example, the Great Lakes Westie Rescue helps connects pups in need of a home with prospective owners. If you prefer, you can learn about different Westie breeders and purchase a puppy of the breed.


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10% of Proceeds gets donated to the ASPCA!
10% of Proceeds gets donated to the ASPCA!

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