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West Highland Terrier

West Highland Terrier Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

A small, white, energetic and friendly Scottish breed of dog.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Also Known As:Westie
Type:Mammal

Size:

West Highland Terriers are considered a Small dog breed.
Weight:6-10 kg.
Height:28 cm (11 inches).
Length:35-40 cm.

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a West Highland Terrier is 12-16 years

Behavior:

What type of dog is a West Highland Terrier, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

West Highland Terriers, also known as Westies, are small, energetic dogs that have friendly and outgoing personalities. They are intelligent, curious and playful and they love to be around people.

Westies have an independent streak, but they are also very loyal and affectionate with their owners. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They are also very adaptable and can thrive in a variety of living situations, from apartments to large homes with yards.

Westies are generally good with children and other pets, but they can be a bit territorial and may need to be socialized early on to prevent any aggressive behavior. They have a high prey drive and may chase after small animals, so it’s important to keep them on a leash or in a fenced area when outside.

Overall, Westies are lively, fun-loving dogs that make great companions for active families. They are full of personality and are sure to bring a smile to your face with their playful antics.

Intelligence

West Highland Terriers are generally considered to be intelligent dogs. They are quick learners and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, including obedience training, agility and even tricks. They are also renowned for their problem-solving abilities and can figure out how to get what they want. However, like all dogs, their intelligence can vary depending on the individual dog and their training and socialization.

Trainability

West Highland Terriers are generally considered to be intelligent and eager to please, which can make them relatively easy to train. However, like all dogs, they have their own unique personalities and may require different training methods based on their individual temperament and behavior. Consistency, positive reinforcement and patience are key when training any dog, including West Highland Terriers. It is also important to start training early and socialize them with other dogs and people to help them develop good behavior habits.

Sleep

West Highland Terriers typically sleep for around 12-14 hours per day. However, this number may change due to their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and older dogs may require more sleep, while younger and more active dogs may need less. It’s important to provide your Westie with a comfortable and quiet place to sleep and to ensure they get enough rest to maintain their health and energy levels.

Bark

West Highland Terriers bark quite a bit, especially when they are excited or feel threatened. They are also known for their tendency to bark at strangers and other animals. However, with proper training and socialization, their barking can be controlled.

Drool

West Highland Terriers are not heavy droolers. They may drool occasionally, especially if they are excited or have just eaten, but it is not a common trait of the breed. Overall, they are considered to be a relatively low drooling breed.

Lick

West Highland Terriers are moderate to heavy lickers. They are affectionate dogs and often show their love by licking their owners. However, excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety or stress, so it’s important to monitor their behavior and seek advice from a veterinarian if necessary.

Jump

West Highland Terriers are agile and athletic and they can jump quite high for their size. On average, they can jump up to 2-3 feet high. However, their jumping ability can vary depending on their age, health and individual physical abilities. It’s important to train and exercise them safely to avoid any injuries.

Dig

West Highland Terriers are moderate diggers. They have a natural instinct to dig, which can be traced back to their history as hunting dogs. However, with proper training and exercise, their digging behavior can be controlled. It is important to provide them with enough physical and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and resorting to digging.

Good Fit for You?

Is a West Highland Terrier the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a West Highland Terrier.

Exercise

West Highland Terriers are a high-energy breed and require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They should have at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, which can include walks, runs, playtime in a fenced yard or interactive games such as fetch or tug-of-war. It’s important to note that Westies can be prone to weight gain, so it’s important to monitor their diet and exercise routine to ensure they stay at a healthy weight.

Space

West Highland Terriers are small dogs and do not require a lot of space. They can adapt well to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, they still need some space to move around and play. A small yard or a daily walk can provide enough space for them to burn off energy and stay healthy. Overall, they are a good choice for those who live in smaller spaces.

Apartment

Yes, West Highland Terriers can be a good dog to get if you live in an apartment. They are small in size and are adaptabile to different living situations. However, it’s important to note that Westies are active dogs and require daily exercise and mental stimulation. They also have a tendency to bark, so training and socialization are important to prevent excessive barking. Overall, if you are willing to provide the necessary exercise and training, a Westie can make a great apartment dog.

Left Alone

West Highland Terriers are generally social dogs and do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They may become anxious or bored and exhibit destructive behavior such as chewing or digging. It is important to provide them with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction to keep them happy and healthy. If you need to leave your Westie alone for extended periods, it is recommended to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to provide them with company and care.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, West Highland Terriers are generally good with kids and families. They are known for their friendly and outgoing nature and they enjoy being around people. However, like all dogs, they should be supervised when interacting with children to ensure that both the dog and the child are safe. It is also important to teach children how to properly interact with dogs and to respect their boundaries.

Perfect Fit

A West Highland Terrier would be a perfect fit for a household that is active and has a lot of time to devote to their pet. They are energetic and love to play, so a family with children or an active individual would be ideal. They are also great for apartment living as they are small in size and do not require a lot of space. However, they do need daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Westies are also renowned for their loyalty and affection towards their owners, so a household that values companionship and affection would be a great fit for them.

Pros and Cons:

While they make great pets for some, there are also some downsides to owning one. Here are five pros and cons of owning a West Highland Terrier:

ProsCons
1. Lively and playful1. Can be stubborn and difficult to train
2. Low-shedding coat2. Prone to skin allergies and other health issues
3. Good with children and other pets3. Require regular grooming and maintenance
4. Alert and protective4. Can be prone to barking and excessive noise
5. Adaptable to different living situations5. Can be high-energy and require lots of exercise

Overall, West Highland Terriers can make great pets for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to train and care for them properly, but they may not be the best fit for everyone.

Cost:

The cost of a West Highland Terrier in Australia can vary depending on several factors such as the breeder, location and availability. On average, a West Highland Terrier puppy can cost between $2,000 to $4,000. However, it is important to note that the initial cost of purchasing a dog is just one aspect of the expenses involved in owning a pet. Other costs such as food, grooming, veterinary care and training should also be taken into consideration.

Breed History:

West Highland Terriers were originally bred in Scotland in the 1800s for the purpose of hunting small game such as rodents, rabbits and foxes. They were specifically bred to be small and agile enough to fit into small burrows and dens to flush out their prey.

The breed was developed by a Scottish breeder named Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm, who wanted to create a white terrier that was better suited for hunting in the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands. He crossed several terrier breeds, including the Cairn Terrier, to create the West Highland Terrier.

Over time, the Westie’s hunting skills became less important and the breed became more popular as a companion dog. Today, they are still active and energetic dogs, but they are now primarily kept as family pets.

Current Usage

West Highland Terriers are primarily kept as companion pets. They are popular for their friendly and lively personalities and their small size makes them suitable for apartment living.

However, Westies were originally bred as working dogs in Scotland to hunt rodents and small game. While they are not commonly used for hunting anymore, some Westies still have a strong prey drive and enjoy activities such as tracking, agility and obedience training.

In addition, Westies have been trained as therapy dogs to provide emotional support to people in hospitals, nursing homes and schools. They are also used as service dogs for people with disabilities, such as hearing or vision impairments.

Overall, while Westies are primarily kept as pets, they can also be trained for various working roles based on their specific temperament and abilities.

Guard Dogs

West Highland Terriers are not typically considered good guard dogs. While they may bark to alert their owners of potential intruders, they are generally friendly and affectionate towards people and are not aggressive. They are more suited as companion dogs due to their loyalty and playfulness. If you are looking for a guard dog, there are many other breeds that are better suited for that role.

Where Are They Found?

West Highland Terriers are popular in many countries around the world. However, some countries where they are particularly popular include:

1. United States6. France
2. United Kingdom7. Sweden
3. Australia8. Norway
4. Canada9. Denmark
5. Germany10. Finland

These countries have a strong Westie community, with many breeders, clubs and events dedicated to the breed.

Climate

West Highland Terriers are best suited to temperate climates with moderate temperatures and low humidity. They can adapt to a range of climates, but they may struggle in extreme heat or cold. They have a thick double coat that provides insulation in cold weather, but they can overheat easily in hot weather. It’s important to provide them with adequate shelter and access to water in all weather conditions.

Population

It is impossible to determine the exact number of West Highland Terriers in the world as there is no central registry or database that tracks the breed’s population. However, according to the American Kennel Club, the West Highland White Terrier is the 41st most popular dog breed in the United States, which suggests that there are a significant number of them in the country alone. Additionally, the breed is popular in many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Physical Appearance:

West Highland Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs with a sturdy and compact build. They have a distinctive white, double-layered coat that is coarse and wiry on the outside and soft and dense underneath. Their coat is often trimmed short to keep it neat and tidy.

Westies have a round head with a black nose and dark, almond-shaped eyes that are set wide apart. Their ears are small and pointed and they stand erect on top of their head. They have a short, muscular neck and a broad chest that tapers down to a slim waist. Their legs are short and straight and their paws are round and compact.

Westies have a lively and alert expression and their tail is usually held high and wagging. They are known for their confident and outgoing personalities and they are often described as spunky and playful. Overall, West Highland Terriers are a charming and attractive breed with a distinctive appearance that is sure to turn heads.

Coat:

Colours:

West Highland Terriers can be white, cream or light tan in color.

Hair/Fur Length:

West Highland Terriers have a medium-length double coat of fur that is typically around 2-3 inches in length. The outer coat is coarse and wiry, while the undercoat is soft and dense. Regular grooming and trimming are necessary to maintain their coat and prevent matting.

Shedding:

Yes, West Highland Terriers do shed, but their shedding is minimal compared to other breeds. They have a double coat, consisting of a soft undercoat and a wiry topcoat, which helps to protect them from the elements. They shed their undercoat twice a year, usually in the spring and fall, but regular grooming can help to minimize shedding. Brushing their coat once or twice a week can help to remove loose hair and prevent matting.

Grooming:

The West Highland Terrier requires regular grooming to maintain its coat. Its coat is double-layered and needs to be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling. They also need to be bathed every three months or so.

In terms of haircuts, the West Highland Terrier’s coat grows continuously, so it will need to be trimmed regularly to keep it looking neat and tidy. Many owners choose to take their Westies to a professional groomer every few months for a full grooming session, which includes a haircut, nail trimming, ear cleaning and teeth brushing. However, with some practice and the right tools, it is possible to groom a West Highland Terrier at home.

Hypoallergenic:

Yes, West Highland Terriers are considered hypoallergenic dogs. They have a double coat that sheds minimally and produces less dander than other breeds, making them a good choice for people with allergies. However, it’s important to note that no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic and individuals with severe allergies may still experience symptoms around Westies.

Speed:

West Highland Terriers can run at a speed of up to 32 kph (20 mph).

Health:

West Highland Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health issues they are faced with include:

  • Skin allergies: Westies may develop allergies to certain foods, environmental factors or parasites, which can cause skin irritation, itching and hair loss.
  • Dental problems: Due to their small size and crowded teeth, Westies are prone to dental issues such as tartar buildup, gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Patellar luxation: This is a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, causing pain and lameness in the affected leg.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: This is a degenerative condition that affects the hip joint, causing pain, limping and muscle wasting.
  • Cataracts: Westies may develop cataracts, which can cause vision impairment or blindness.
  • Deafness: Some Westies may be born deaf or develop hearing loss later in life.
  • Liver disease: Westies may be prone to liver disease, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice.

It’s important to note that not all Westies will develop these health issues and many can be prevented or managed with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups.

Teeth:

West Highland Terriers typically have 42 teeth.

Eyesight:

West Highland Terriers have a relatively good eyesight, but like all dogs, their vision can deteriorate with age or due to certain health conditions. They have a keen sense of sight and can detect movements from a distance, which makes them excellent watchdogs. However, they are prone to certain eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye syndrome, which can affect their vision. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help detect and treat any eye problems early on.

Nipples:

West Highland Terriers typically have 8 to 10 nipples, arranged in two rows on their underside.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

The typical litter size for West Highland Terriers is between 3 to 5 puppies. However, litter sizes can vary and may be smaller or larger depending on various factors such as the age and health of the mother, genetics and environmental factors.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for West Highland Terriers is approximately 63 days.

Heat:

West Highland Terriers typically go into heat twice a year, although this can vary depending on the individual dog.

Male vs Female:

In terms of physical appearance, male West Highland Terriers tend to be slightly larger and more muscular than females. They also have a broader head and a more prominent jawline. In terms of behavior, males can be more dominant and territorial, while females are generally more affectionate and nurturing. However, these differences can vary greatly depending on individual personality and training. Overall, both male and female Westies make wonderful and loyal companions.

Tips and Advice:

If you are considering getting a Westie, here are some tips and advice for caring for them:

  • Grooming: Westies have a double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Brush their coat at least once a week and take them to a professional groomer every few months for a trim.
  • Exercise: Despite their small size, Westies are active dogs that require daily exercise. Take them for a walk or play with them in the backyard to keep them happy and healthy.
  • Training: Westies are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training. Start training them early and be consistent with your commands.
  • Socialization: Westies can be wary of strangers and other dogs if they are not properly socialized. Introduce them to new people and animals in a positive and controlled environment.
  • Health: Westies are prone to certain health issues such as skin allergies, hip dysplasia and dental problems. Take them to the vet for regular check-ups and keep up with their vaccinations and preventative care.
  • Diet: Westies have a tendency to gain weight, so it is important to feed them a balanced diet and monitor their food intake. Avoid giving them table scraps or too many treats.
  • Safety: Westies are curious dogs that can get into trouble if left unsupervised. Keep them in a secure area when you are not home and supervise them when they are outside.
  • Love and attention: Westies thrive on love and attention from their owners. Spend time with them, play with them and give them plenty of cuddles and affection.

By following these tips and advice, you can provide your Westie with the care and attention they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Food:

West Highland Terriers, like most dogs, have varying appetites and food requirements depending on their age, size and activity level. Generally, they require about 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. However, it’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.

West Highland Terriers are food-oriented dogs, meaning they enjoy eating and may be prone to overeating if given the opportunity. It’s important to establish a feeding schedule and limit treats to prevent obesity and other health issues. Additionally, it’s recommended to provide them with interactive toys and puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom-related overeating.

Facts:

Here are three interesting facts about them:

  1. Westies were originally bred for hunting small game such as rodents and foxes in the Scottish Highlands.
  2. Despite their small size, Westies are known for their bravery and were even used as messenger dogs during World War I.
  3. Westies have a unique coat that is made up of two layers, a soft undercoat and a wiry outer coat, which helps protect them from the harsh Scottish weather.

Names:

Names that reflect their lively nature are a good fit. Here are 15 names that would be perfect for a Westie:

1. Charlie6. Jasper11. Rosie
2. Daisy7. Lily12. Sadie
3. Finn8. Max13. Teddy
4. Gatsby9. Oliver14. Winston
5. Holly10. Poppy15. Ziggy

Famous:

West Highland Terriers are beloved for their spunky personalities and adorable looks. Over the years, many Westies have become famous for their appearances in movies, their incredible feats or their ownership by famous people. Here are some of the most famous West Highland Terriers of all time:

  1. Snowy – Snowy is the loyal companion of Tintin, the famous Belgian comic book character. Snowy is known for his bravery and intelligence and has appeared in many of Tintin’s adventures.
  2. Hamish – Hamish was the beloved pet of Queen Elizabeth II. He was often seen accompanying the Queen on walks and was known for his friendly demeanor.
  3. Uggie – Uggie was a Westie who appeared in the 2011 movie “The Artist.” He won the Palm Dog Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance and became a beloved celebrity in his own right.
  4. Smoky – Smoky was a Westie who served in World War II as a therapy dog. She helped soldiers by providing comfort and companionship during the war.
  5. Max – Max was the Westie who played the role of “Fifi” in the movie “Legally Blonde 2.” He was known for his adorable looks and his ability to perform tricks on command.

These famous Westies have captured the hearts of people all over the world and have become beloved icons in their own right.

Summary:

The West Highland Terrier, also known as the Westie, is a small breed of dog that originated in Scotland. They were originally bred for hunting small game such as rats and rabbits. Westies are renowned for their white, fluffy coats and perky ears.

Westies are energetic and playful dogs that are also known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners. They are intelligent and can be trained easily, but they can also be stubborn at times. They are good with children and other pets, but may not be suitable for households with very small children due to their high energy levels.

Westies have a long history, dating back to the 17th century when they were used for hunting in the Scottish Highlands. They were recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club in 1907 and have since become popular pets around the world.

As pets, Westies are great for families or individuals who are looking for a small, energetic and affectionate dog. They require regular exercise and grooming to maintain their coat, but are generally low-maintenance dogs. They are also good apartment dogs as they do not require a lot of space to be happy.