West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier or ‘Westie’ is one of the most popular dogs in the terrier group. The Westie is an alert, lively and feisty little dog with a kind and loving temperament.

West Highland White Terrier Breed Group

Terrier

Size of the West Highland White Terrier

Small

Colour varieties of the West Highland White Terrier

The breed comes in just the one colour, white.

Country of Origin

Scotland

The West Highland White Terrier through history

The West Highland White Terrier was developed by the Malcolms of Poltalloch in Argyllshire from Cairn ancestry. The early names for the West Highland Whited were the Poltalloch terrier and the Roseneath terrier. The Westie was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1907.

The Westie was originally used to hunt foxes, otters and vermin. Today, the WHT is kept simply as a companion pet.

West Highland White Terrier introduction and overview

The West Highland White Terrier is also known as the Westie, Westy or W.H.T. It is a small, low-set squarish dog with a striking white double coat and dark eyes. The coat has featherings on the chest, legs, abdomen and tail. The head is strong with lots of facial hair that creates the distinctive round face. The Westie is not only of the most popular dogs in the terrier, but indeed in all the breed categories.

Size and weight of the West Highland White Terrier

Height bitch 36-41cms

Height dog 36-41cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 6.8-9.1kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 6.8-9.1kgs

Exercise requirements of the West Highland White Terrier

The Westie requires an hour of exercise off the lead daily. It’s a small dog, making it adaptable to most living spaces. The Westie can happily live in a city or apartment as long as it receives the adequate amount of exercise and stimulation.

West Highland White Terrier temperament

The Westie is an energetic, enthusiastic, friendly dog with a confident attitude. It is a dog that loves the company of people, and children too. It is generally sociable and friendly with other dogs. Care should be taken around cats, and contact with other smaller pets in the family should be avoided.

Is the West Highland White Terrier a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The Westie is fairly easy to train, so suited to a novice owner. It's also a great size for most family homes. However, new owners should be aware of the high grooming costs involved for this particular breed.

West Highland White Terrier coat length

Medium.The Westie has a thick, white double coat. The featherings on the abdomen and legs can grow very long, without regular grooming.

Grooming requirements of the West Highland White Terrier

The Westie requires daily brushing with a soft slicker brush to remove mud, twigs, tangles and matts.. The coat requires professional clipping and shaping every 8-12 weeks. Expect to pay from £30-£40 for a full grooming session for your Westie.

Ears need to be cleaned and checked regularly for any sign of infection.

Hypoallergenic?

No. This breed sheds throughout the year, so is an unsuitable choice for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the West Highland White Terrier

The Westie is a fairly healthy and hardy dog but prospective owners should be aware of the following known health issues recorded in the breed and consult their breeder:

  • Skin allergies
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy - Westie Jaw

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the West Highland White Terrier

A healthy Welsh Terrier should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 12-16 years.

Approximate West Highland White Terrier pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay around £350-£500 for a pedigree WHT puppy. Litters are frequently available throughout the UK, with 2,692 pedigree puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

There are generally 3-5 puppies in an average litter.

Estimating how much a West Highland White Terrier would need to be fed each day

A bitch or dog 9kgs requires 175gms of complete dry food daily.

The weekly cost of feeding a 9kgs bitch or dog is around £4.50

Our figures are based on feeding an above average quality and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket. A good quality feed is suggested for the energetic dogs in the terrier group.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment