The West Highland White Terrier is known for the advertising of Black and White Scotch Whisky and for Caesar brand dog foods.
Body: Compact with a flat, level back, powerful loins, arched ribs, and deep chest.
Coat: Outer coat is straight, coarse, and hard. Undercoat is soft.
Ears: Small, wide set, pointed tips, and carried erect.
Eyes: Medium size, almond-shaped, deep set and wide apart, brown with black rims, somewhat sunken; expressively piercing and intelligent.
Feet: Small, and round with dense pads, and black nails. Forefeet are larger than hind feet.
Head: Broad, slightly domed skull, tapering to the eyes, well-defined stop, blunt muzzle, and black nose. Abundantly covered with hair.
Legs: Forelegs are short, well-muscled, and well-boned. Hindquarters are well-muscled with angulated thighs, short, muscular legs, with well-bent hocks.
Neck: Proportionately long, and well-muscled.
Weight: 15 – 22 pounds
Height: 10 – 11 inches
Tail: Relative short, carrot-shaped, and covered with hard hair.
Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Not recommended with children
Low dander – may be good for people with mild allergies
May be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sexual gender
Well known for advertising Black and White Scotch Whisky and for Caesar brand dog food, the West Highland White Terrier is a handsome, self-confident, nimble, and courageous breed once used to control fox, otter, and other vermin around the farms and harsh terrains of Scotland. He was purposely bred to be white so that he wouldn’t be mistaken for a fox or other prey.
AKC Standard says, “The West Highland is all terrier, with large amounts of Scottish spunk, determination, and devotion crammed into a small body. They are indeed all that can be desired of a pet: faithful, understanding, and devoted, while still gay and light-hearted. Outdoors they are good hunters, exhibiting speed, cunning, and great intelligence. As the breed standard says, the true Highlander is “possessed with no small amount of self-esteem.”
Westies are happiest when in the hands of a single owner. Though he will tolerate one or two older and respectful children, he isn’t fond of being taunted and may nip at younger children. They should be supervised until they learn how to respect him. He is not a toy to be teased, picked up, and played with by an unruly child. Westies can easily be injured by being dropped, stepped on, roll onto in bed or from jumping off of high places.
Although he is generally tolerant of cats and other dogs, he may show some aggression towards other dogs of the same sex and he will likely torment other small pets, such as rabbits, that he views as possible prey.
He loves to play, loves to go wherever his owner goes, enjoys long hikes and sniffing the flowers, gets great pleasure in relaxing on the deck or patio, and will play tirelessly in the snow.
Because of his terrier instincts he will take chase to anything that moves and he perceives as prey. Keep him on a leash or in a fenced in yard to prevent him from bolting out in to traffic or getting into other harmful situations.
Early obedience training is important. He is best suited for an experienced dog handler with the patience and ability to work with his stubborn, sometimes tenacious personality. He is highly intelligent and will likely outsmart, and exhaust an inexperienced handler. Training should always be upbeat with positive encouragement, gentle correction, reward-type treats, and lots of praise for a job well done.
AKC Group: Terrier Group
Bred to hunt fox, badger, otter, and vermin.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Vigorous daily walks and time to run and play.
Grooming: Brush two to three times weekly.
Some owners have their Westies stripped (plucking out of dead hair) two to three times annually.
Life Expectancy: 14 – 15 Years
Allergies – from fleas, ticks, and other parasites
Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL) – a degenerative disease
Patellar Luxation – dislocation of the knee caps
Legg-Perthe’s – deterioration of the femur (thigh) bone
Copper Toxicosis – accumulation of copper in the liver
von Willebrands Disease (vWD) – a bleeding disorder
GDC – for clearance of GCL
Country of Origin