West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier (or “Westie”) is the happiest and friendliest of all the Scottish Terriers and makes a wonderful pet.
History Bred in the wild highlands of Scotland to hunt rats and mice, the Westie shares a common ancestor with the Scottie and Cairn terriers. In the 19th century, extensive selective breeding resulted in the development of the different types of terrier. To begin with the Westie had two names: the Poltalloch Terrier, after the town, and the Rosenarth Terrier, after the Duke of Argyll’s estate in Dumbartonshire. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1908.
Temperament The West Highland is affectionate, energetic and playful, but some possess a wicked stubborn streak, so start a training regime as soon as possible. They interact well with children, giving as good as they get, without being too aggressive. With an energetic and very alert nature, this terrier makes an excellent guard dog, quick to bark when strangers call.
Care and Exercise The Westie has a gorgeous white double-coat. The inside coat is made up of fine closely-knit hair, the outer coat is formed by coarse, straight hair, about 2 inches log, with shorter hair on the head, neck and shoulders. The outer coat is more or less continuously moulting, and needs combing three or four times weekly, and trimming on a monthly basis. As a natural hunter, the Westie needs regular exercise, and loves playing catch and retrieve games outside. They’re also good at escaping under thick hedges or through fence posts, so make sure your yard provides a safe and secure environment.
Health A strong and robust breed, with few health problems. Though some are prone to leg and hip problems, jaw calcification and chronic skin ailments.