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West Highland White Terrier


General Description:

Westies are a small hardy breed with outgoing happy personality. They are very smart but are independent, very persistent, and can be dominant. They will co-operate for the owners who work with them, pay attention to them, and love them. They love to be with their owners, supervising every aspect of their life. They make good travelling companions, in motorhomes, cars, boats, etc. They were bred to hunt small game so tend to need to be controlled out of doors and unfenced.



Approx 11" at the shoulder, 14 to 20 lbs.





Energy Level:

Moderately high, although older dogs can be "couch potatoes", they are always ready for a new activity.


Life expectancy:

14 to 16 years



Not recommended for children under 5 without adult supervision, good with older children. Children should be taught that running releases a chase the prey instinct in Terriers, that waving hands can cause snapping.


Other animals:

Like to chase cats, will kill small animals like rabbits, hamsters, etc Generally ok with other dogs although they can be dominant.



Good companions, earthdog activities, agility, tracking, obedience.



Need to be thoroughly brushed and combed weekly, clipper at groomers every 2 to 3 months. Ideally should be stripped (plucked weekly). Minimal shedding if groomed.



Atopic allergies, CMO (cranial mandibular oesteopathy), cruiciate ligament problems, Legge-Perthes.


Best with:

Experienced terrier owners. Must have fenced yard. They are best with owners who understand and will appreciate Terrier temperament. They do better with a lot of attention.


Not for:

Not for those expecting perfect obedience. Westies are very smart but tend to be independent thinkers. They can be stubborn, not knowing when to give in, they need to be outsmarted (not always easy to do). They should not be with small children unless supervised by an adult.



Generally happy, upbeat, outgoing personality, like to be with their owners supervising every activity. They are usually easy to train, particularly if they can see a benefit for themselves.



Do not do well being left alone for long periods, can be champion diggers. Some can be barkers if left by themselves in a back yard. They are not for those people wanting a quiet, gentle, totally obedient dog.


Further Information:

Breed Details

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