West Highland White Terrier

Alternative Name
Poltalloch Terrier Roseneath Terrier White Roseneath Terrier (nick Westie (or Westy))

Basic Info

West Highland White Terriers are a breed of dog known for their spirited personality and brilliant white coatThey typically weigh about 15 to 22 lbs (7.510 kg) and their average height is 11 in. (28 cm) at the withers. Their tails, typically naturally "carrot-shaped", should never be docked and are held upright. The tail should be between 5-6 inches. They have a soft, dense undercoat and a rough outer coat, about 2 in. long, that requires regular grooming. Some Westies have "brandy stains" on their backs and/or feet, but this is undesirable in show/breeding specimens. The natural coat is of medium length and somewhat shaggy like that of a Cairn Terrier. Many enthusiasts prefer the "teddy bear cut" where their face looks like a really cute teddy bear, but the rest of the fur is cut short. Their paws are slightly webbed, which one can notice by trying to pass their finger between the dog's toes.


Many of these dogs have skin allergies, and as a result they can be troubled by skin and fur disorders. Flea bites can trigger a skin disease which can result in the dog losing fur from the affected area of its body. If the undercoat falls out because of disease then the dog will need a dog coat to keep it warm. Like most other dogs, these terriers generally require 13 hours of sleep out of every 24. Westies will usually conform to the sleep patterns of their human companions, and take several naps during the day as well, to accrue their needed sleep. Care Westies are prone to have issues with dry skin and bathing too frequently may aggravate these problems. Washing once a month or on a longer interval will generally not cause issues. However, frequent brushings are needed to keep the coat clean and oils evenly distributed throughout the coat. Washing with a detergent-free, baby-oriented, or another soft skin shampoo will help keep a Westie's skin hydrated. Weekly washing of the inside of the ears will prevent oil and wax build-up.

West Highland White Terrier picture



This breed, descended from working terriers, has a lot of energy, tenacity, and aggression towards its prey, which was originally the rabbit and other, smaller animals such as squirrels. This history has endowed the Westie with a bold temperament that leads many to call them "big dogs in a little body." Because of their strong prey drive and the resulting tendency to run off at the sight of any small animal that catches their fancy, Westies must be kept on a leash at all times while out-of-doors. They need regular exercise, and because of their small size they make good apartment pets. However, diligent training should be provided for the dog. They are always alert and consider themselves guard dogs, although their size prevents them from providing any real intimidation. They are independent thinkers with no small amount of self-esteem, and must be trained firmly from an early age. If not raised with other cats and dogs from an early age, they may be aggressive towards such animals later in life. Like all dogs, the Westie responds better to love and gentleness than to cruelty. As with most terriers, harsh training methods are often met only with stubbornness.




Westies are descended from Cairn Terriers, who occasionally whelped white puppies naturally, and Scottish Terriers; who also occasionally produced white offspring. White offspring from other British Terriers such as the Bedlington Terrier and Dandie Dinmont Terrier were occasionally introduced to the bloodline for desired characteristics, but this practice generally stopped in the 1850s. Some sources credit Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm and his kin of Poltalloch, in the Argyll region of Western Scotland as an originator of this breed in the 1800s. Other sources credit the 8th Duke of Argyll (Chieftan of Clan Campbell) as an originator of the breed. However, there may have been some cooperation between the two gentlemen. It may have taken as long as a hundred years of selective breeding to produce all the desired qualities. Their white coat made them highly visible when hunting on the Scottish moors and easily distinguished them from their game. They also possess keen intelligence and a sturdy frame. Originally the breed was known as Poltalloch Terriers (after the name of Malcolm's home), although they were also known as Roseneath Terriers (after the name of Argyll's home), White Roseneath Terriers, and at the end of the 19th century, briefly as a white variety of the Scottish Terrier.

Common Foods

pellet dog food

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