Dog Breed Overview: West Highland White Terriers

Also Affectionately Known as Westies

West Highland White Terriers, commonly referred to as westies, are best known and bred for their signature white coat. With its short legs, stout posture and agility, this Scottish breed of terrier, was bred ideally to hunt game and other small creatures like foxes and rabbits. The average lifespan of a westie is 12 to 17 years.

Physical Traits

Westies commonly have dark, deep-set eyes, a large black nose, deep chests, short jaw with scissor bite, strong bone structure, strong hindquarters and muscular legs.

A male westie typically stands at 11 inches at the withers and weighs between 15 to 20 pounds. A female stands around 10 inches at the withers and weighs between 13 to 16 pounds.

Their white coats easily distinguish westies from other breeds, though some westies have wheaten tipping on their backs and tail. The white coat usually has a soft undercoat and a rough outercoat. Ideally a westie’s hair should be kept at 2 inches with the coat longer on the sides and should be groomed regularly. Westies are a non-shedding breed.

Personality Traits

Terriers in general are known to have very strong, independent personalities. The westie is no exception. Westies may be relatively small in size but they have the personality and bark of a dog of a much larger size. They are very energetic, friendly and sturdy little dogs.

These pint-sized pups are will be loyal and devoted to their owners, if treated well. They are easily trained and will be obedient, if they so please. They are often characterized as being very strong-willed and determined, happy and faithful and always willing to bask in the spotlight. Westies are very alert, courageous and nearly self-reliant. They are very intelligent and will become bored quite easily.

Westies are great family dogs, but as with any animal, still requires adult supervision around small children. Children who are taught to properly respect and care for animals will face few challenges with this breed. Westies have been known to nip when faced with too much excitement so it is highly encouraged to always have adult supervision to prevent such accidents from occurring.

Westies are not the yapping type of dog. They will bark to announce a visitor and will be quite vocal when protecting their territory.

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