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West Highland White Terrier

 

That's a tail, not a handle! But the bonnie, bold West Highland White Terrier was bred with a wiggly little tail strong enough to withstand being used to pull these earthdogs from burrows and holes. (Do not try this at home.) These type-A terriers are entirely too feisty to be lapdogs, no matter how cuddly they might look. Westies, as they're known to their fans, are among Americans' favorite terriers.

Originally from Scotland, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 15-20 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier group.

 

AKC RecognizedY
Breed's original pastimeHunting
OriginScotland
Breed groupTerrier
Average lifespan12-14 years
SizeMedium
Bark factorModerate
AKC Ranking31
Family Terrier
Date of origin1800s
Original function Vermin hunting
Today's functionEarthdog trials
Average size of maleHeight: 10 Weight: 15-21
Average size of femaleHeight: 10 Weight: 15-21

 

Other nameNone
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangersFriendly
Ease of training Hard to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS A WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?

Affectionate, fun-loving, and playful, West Highland White Terriers are typically wonderful with children. However, like any dogs, they do best when supervised with kids. These bold, busy dogs aren't above making a bit of mischief from time to time. They often get along well with other household dogs and pets, but they're still terriers — rodents, outdoor cats, and other furry creatures are always going to look like food, not friends.

WHAT IS WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?

This is a very active breed. Your West Highland White Terrier will need a daily chance to explore, sniff, and romp every day, in addition to a longish walk or a short run.

Like many terriers, the Westie enjoys barking and will always let you know if she's got something on her mind. Be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often. And like many terriers, your West Highland White Terrier might have a different landscaping vision for your backyard than you do. Keep an eye on her if you don't want big holes in your flower beds.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER?

Bright and a wee bit stubborn, West Highland White Terriers respond well to training. They'll learn quickly, but their attention tends to wander. Keep training sessions short and fun, and be patient and consistent with your furry friend. Reward good behaviors with play and treats.

Westies don't have the best recall — there's no amount of training in the world that will make a chipmunk who crosses their path anything less than absolutely fascinating. Best to keep your furry friend on a leash unless you're playing in a well-fenced area. Many West Highland White Terriers do well at dog parks, if they can be convinced not to boss the other dogs about.

CARE & HEALTH

HOW MUCH DO WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

They look like they might be fluffy and soft, but a West Highland White Terrier's coat is actually stiff and dry. They're below-average seasonal shedders. Plan to comb your Westie a few times a week, and have her clipped or hand stripped a few times a year.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIERS HAVE?

As a breed, West Highland White Terriers are generally healthy. Some are vulnerable to heart disease or slipping kneecaps.

Some tend toward pudginess, so be mindful about meals and snacks. This breed can also experience liver problems or allergies that might require a restricted diet. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about how to keep your Westie happy and healthy.

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