West Highland White Terrier (Westy)

West Highland White Terrier (Westy)

Despite its size, it is impossible not to see it: its pure white coat glows from afar, and the dark eyes and black nose give it its characteristic look. The upper coat is comprised of coarse and uncurled hairs about 5 centimeters long. Underneath is a dense and soft undercoat. The small ears and the tail of up to 15 centimeters are erect. This snow-white beauty has a height at the withers of up to 28 centimeters and weighs between 7 and 10 kilos.

West Highland Terriers: From hunting dog to fashionable dog

The West Highland White Terrier ancestors were unwanted, as they were white dogs born of the Cairn Terrier breed by accident. Since the color white was considered a symbol of weakness in this breed, most white puppies were doomed to die. But one hunter liked the canine’s cheerful and alert nature: in the late 19th century, Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm exclusively bred white terriers with success; this gave rise to the West Highland White Terrier breed.

The shiny coat had the advantage that it could not be confused with other animals during hunting. In 1905 there was already a club of lovers of the breed in Scotland. Two years later, it was recognized as an independent breed by the English Kennel Club.

The West Highland White Terrier became known in Europe in the 1990s through television and print advertising for a dog food brand and became a fashionable dog, but this boom has since subsided. Even today, the westy remains a legend in the hunting world as, like all Scottish terriers, they were used for independent hunting of badgers, otters, rats, and foxes.

West Highland Terriers: charismatic personality

Under the pretty coat of the West Highland White Terrier hides high self-esteem. The breed is considered fearless and quite intolerant of unfamiliar dogs. West Highland White Terriers are close to people and tend to bond very closely with their families. However, with strangers, they prefer to keep their distance.

Westies are usually easy to teach, cheerful, and playful. They make good watchdogs, but some tend to bark a lot because their craving for exercise and entertainment isn’t covered. After all, a busy Westy doesn’t tend to overdo it on the barking.

Training the West Highland White Terrier

In general, these white beauties learn easily and are well educated. However, this education must consider the stubbornness of the Westy. Since it was a breed that hunted independently in fox burrows, Westies even today tend to want to take on the role of alpha male in conflicts. If you ignore controlling this, you will soon have a little tyrant sitting on your couch.

That is, the little dog with great self-esteem needs to be guided with clarity and consequence. Don’t be fooled by the West Highland White Terrier’s charisma, as many know how to use their innocent gaze of a little angel.

Early socialization with other animals is of great importance. Otherwise, your West Highland White Terrier can turn into a little fighter who wants to constantly compete with other dogs, even the much larger ones. The best thing is that you go to a dog school with your puppy, as there he will be in contact with other quadrupeds of different sizes.

In everyday life and especially in humid climates, West Highland White Terriers tend to have a brownish coat. Keeping the dog pure white in any weather takes time and discipline. This includes daily brushing to prevent the hair from getting matted. Prepare him from puppyhood to care through routine and lots of praise. The upper hair of the West Highland White Terrier does not fall out on its own but must be removed manually.

The best way is to trim it regularly every 10-12 weeks. With a special blade to unload, loose hairs are removed. The coat should not be cut with scissors, as this can cause skin problems since the dense hair is only cut and the volume is not reduced. In some areas, you can actually cut the hair with scissors.

west highland white terrier

Get advice from a professional on downloading and trimming your furry if you want to do it yourself. Otherwise, you can go to a dog groomer every 2-3 months. Although shampoo washes are rarely necessary, use a mild dog shampoo for stubborn dirt. In addition to grooming, you can accustom your dog to regular dental care with a dog toothbrush and a special paste.

What do I feed My West Highland White Terrier?

Like all dogs, the West Highland White Terrier is also carnivorous and requires a high meat content diet; it is better than food is with grains. It does not matter if it is dry food or wet food. Meat should come first on the ingredient list.

A West Highland White Terrier who comes to a new home should continue to eat the food they are used to for the first few days. If you want to change the food later, do it carefully and gradually, mixing more of the new food into each day’s familiar one. This also applies to change from puppy food to adult dog food. Changing its diet too quickly can lead to diarrhea. In general, young dogs receive four rations a day and adults two.

If you don’t feed your West Highland White Terrier properly for his size, weight, and activity level, he will gain weight quickly. Remember that snacks are also food and should be included in the daily amount that the quadruped receives. To keep the teeth of white color as the fur, you can give snacks for dental hygiene, such as dehydrated ox ears.

Due to the large television presence of advertising in the 90s, the West Highland White Terrier became a fashionable dog. This is something of little benefit to any breed. Due to the massive spread of puppies that this produced, some health problems appeared that still accompany the West Highland White Terrier today. This is why it is even more important to support serious breeders.

Some of the initially robust dogs tend to have skin allergies, knee dislocations, and craniomandibular osteopathy. In West Highland White Terriers and Cairn Terriers, Krabbe disease can occur in dogs up to three months of age and causes severe neurological damage. The disastrous result is that affected dogs do not reach their first birthday of life. There are DNA tests by which breeders can rule out this disease.

Cold and rain do not affect the ancient hunting dogs of the Scottish Highlands. However, in summer, you must ensure that your furry always has a place in the shade. Healthy Westies can live up to 16 years.

How do i Entertain a West Highland White Terrier?

Long walks and lots of games are the ingredients for your furry to have a happy life. Although the West Highland White Terrier has an above-average need for exercise relative to its size, it is not suitable as a companion for runners because it wants to have time to pry and sniff during long walks.

These playful and curious quadrupeds well receive intelligence and entertainment toys. If you want to do your furry a favor, you can find out about its possibilities as a therapy dog. With his adorable looks, a well-mannered Westy can open the hearts of many people from centers for the disabled, nursing homes, or children’s homes. Sure, this requires intensive training, but it can be a very enriching task.

Caring For a West Highland White Terrier

Charismatic puppies are suitable for many people who want to have a dog, as they are ideal as house and city dogs. Children who know how to treat a dog with respect will find a Westy as the ideal playmate for taking long walks, moving around, entertaining themselves, playing ball, teaching tricks, etc.

This little whirlwind goes for it all! Representatives of this breed do not bond with one person but rather worship the family pack. This includes cats as well, as long as the Westy is well socialized early on. However, the native hunting dog can chase other animals outside.

If you want to have one of these active dogs, you don’t need to be an extreme athlete. It is only important that you have fun playing and taking your furry for a walk. Also, if you want to maintain the pure white of its coat, you need to invest in its care.

A small dog is a great responsibility

Although it is possible to have a Westy in an apartment in the city, you must have your landlord’s permission. Think well in advance about what you will do when you go on vacation: do you know someone who will take care of him while you are away, or do you prefer to take him on your trips?

West Highland White Terrier (Westy)

Keep in mind before the dog’s arrival that having a dog is a great responsibility that requires time every day, in addition to money, for many years. Apart from the cost of the dog itself – here you must invest in a quadruped from a serious breeder – and the basic equipment (such as feeders and drinkers, the carrier, a bed and blankets, the leash, the harness, the grooming utensils coat, etc.) are added the regular costs for good quality food and the annual visit to the vet (in case of illness, several).

Finding a West Highland White Terrier Breeder

Although the great West Highland White Terrier boom is now over, there are still many breeders of this particular breed. Make sure that your breeder is associated with a breed club and that they only deliver their pedigree, chip, vaccinated, and dewormed animals. A good breeder invites you to meet the puppies and their parents at home, answers all your questions about the breeding willingly, and takes an interest in your conditions to ensure that their young have a suitable home.

Both parents and puppies should give a happy and balanced impression. The breeder has integrated the puppies into the daily routine from very early on to adapt well. Even after you have acquired your new canine friend, you can consult your breeder about the breed. Also, the breed is sure to be happy to hear from you about the puppy’s development.

Under no circumstances should you buy a non-pedigree West Highland White Terrier from a suspected breeder for a lower price. These, in general, do not follow the breed standard or take care of necessary health care. After all, the preventive exams that serious breeders do before breeding are costly but necessary to maintain the breed’s health. Also, with animal multipliers, the parents are often not in good condition, and the females often do not have time to recover between litters.

Also, stay away from private sellers who want to experience what it’s like to have a Westy puppy. Breeding involves a lot of responsibility and knowledge about genetics, health, and the West Highland White Terrier standard. It is not something that should be done spontaneously.

How do i Adopt a West Highland White Terrier?

If you prefer to give a slightly older West Highland White Terrier a new home, you have several possibilities. Your local animal shelter may have a West Highland White Terrier whose keepers have passed away or have separated. If not, you can also investigate online.

Numerous organizations mediate adoptions of this breed. Ideally, you should be able to get to know the quadruped well so that, before deciding, you can see if you are getting along. A good animal shelter will tell you all about the character by phone and check with different questions if you are a good fit. Older dogs have the advantage that they have already received a basic education. However, you will not know exactly if this was successful or not.

Older, calmer West Highland White Terriers can be the perfect companions for more comfortable people who enjoy being on a park bench while their furry explores, sniffing the surroundings. This is only possible if the dog obeys when called.

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