The West Highland White Terrier is a real celebrity in the advertising world. We reveal what else makes the Westie a superstar.
It’s one of those faces: You recognize it, you’ve definitely seen it somewhere before. And yet: You can’t classify the name right now.
Don’t worry, we’ll help you out! The handsome dog with the fluffy fur is called the West Highland White Terrier. But he is usually just called West Highland Terrier or – even shorter – Westie.
The dog breed is more or less famous in Germany as the face of a dog food brand. Little Wuschel’s face is depicted on countless products. That’s why the dream in white looks at us with nice regularity with gentle beady eyes.
You can’t blame the dogs for their successful modeling careers. The breed is one of the most popular family dogs in Europe. In addition, she impresses with her beautiful appearance and spirited and cheerful character.
In our breed portrait of the Westi you will find out everything you need to know about the West Highland White Terrier. We reveal where he comes from, what he looks like, and why puppies should be trained consistently despite their cuteness.
What Does a West Highland White Terrier Look Like?
He is only about 28 cm tall. Nevertheless, he is so eye-catching and impressive that the small, fluffy dog can lead advertising campaigns worldwide. The Westie is a special motif in the advertising industry, especially because of its white fur and its generally affectionate and good-natured charisma. The terrier’s face not only advertises dog food, but also a traditional brand of whiskey.
The terrier’s cuddly coat is of medium length. It is divided into the wavy but not curly top coat and the dense undercoat. The coat of fur grows about the same length all over the body. This also applies to the dog’s face. As a result, they make a rounded impression on the outside, although the shape of the head is rather elongated, as with all terriers.
The coat color is – without exception – snow-white. The radiant white is a special feature among the dog breeds since white fur colors were not at all popular with many hunting dogs and were considered a blemish up until the 20th century.
The Westie’s black snub nose and dark beady eyes are considered particularly beautiful. Puppies often have pink noses. Black only develops with age.
How big is a West Highland White Terrier?
With an average height at the withers of between 25 cm and 28 cm, the white dogs belong to the small dog breeds. Differences between males and females are rather minimal.
How heavy is a West Highland White Terrier?
The ideal weight for the terrier is between seven and ten kilos for males and between six and seven kilos for females.
How old does a West Highland White Terrier get?
The breed brings with it good health. On average, the fuzzy terriers live 12 to 16 years with good care. Like other small dog breeds, they also reach a rather proud age.
What character or nature does the West Highland White Terrier have?
Almost all dog breeds from the terrier family are known for their confidence and temperament. Even the shooting star among them is no exception. The Westie is considered to be full of life, exuberant, and courageous. He is by no means impressed by larger and stronger dogs. Rather, he would like to show them cheekily and cheekily in their place. In general, however, dogs are by no means aggressive in character: they are very friendly, curious, and peace-loving.
His bond with his human family is very close and his loyalty is high. As a result, however, the Westie also demands a lot of attention and affection. With appropriate socialization, the dog gets along well with children, but it usually does not tolerate rough and rough treatment. In families with babies or small children, it does not fit so well. Strangers or animals are usually announced loudly and the dog stays at a distance from guests.
Like all terriers, the Westie is also a real sports cannon. He absolutely loves games, sports, and outdoor fun and is generally enthusiastic about all kinds of toys. If you’re toying with the idea of getting the button-eyed dog, the first thing you should do is get yourself a big box of dog toys. Because for the Westie one thing is clear: the more balls and chewing bones, the better.
Where does the West Highland White Terrier come from?
The origins of the West Highland White Terrier can probably be traced back to the 16th century. Already from this time, there are reports about white Scottish terriers, which are considered to be the ancestors of today’s Westies. At that time, white dogs were considered rare because they were wrongly attributed to less performance and intelligence in the hunt. White puppies were often killed immediately after birth.
The Scottish nobleman Edward Donald Malcolm began breeding white terriers around the beginning of the 20th century after, according to legend, an accident occurred while hunting: Malcolm’s Cairn terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot.
To prevent something like this from happening again, he became a breeder. He began crossing the Cairn Terrier breed with other dog breeds such as the Scottish Terrier. However, he only used animals that had clearly visible light or white fur. The resulting new breed was officially recognized as the West Highland White Terrier by the British Kennel Club in 1907.
West Highland White Terrier: Proper Keeping and Training
Because of their small size and fuzzy appearance, the Westie is sometimes mistaken for a lap dog who doesn’t need much exercise and just lies around anyway. This is absolutely not the case. Like all terrier species, the dogs are, as mentioned, real sports cannons and need a lot of exercise and fun outdoors every day. Agility, dog dancing, track games, and many other activities ensure physical and mental workload and health not only for the Westie but for all dog breeds. Only they turn the dog into a satisfied, balanced and happy family member.
Typical of terriers, the Westie is also a little stubborn. In its original function as a hunting dog, it was required to act independently and confidently. This is still noticeable today, far away from the hunt. Therefore, start training the puppy as early as possible and remain loving but unyielding in all situations.
The dog has to learn that he occupies the lowest rank in his family pack. This is a role that he fills without any problems, provided he trusts his caregivers to be in the alpha position. Insecure or inconsistent people and dog beginners are therefore not suitable for keeping a Westie.
What Grooming Does the West Highland White Terrier Need?
If you’re wearing white clothes, you’re probably extra careful not to get them dirty. The Westie doesn’t care about that at all. As a dog, it’s natural for him to romp around outside or roll on the floor. And that’s exactly what he should be allowed to do!
However, caring for the coat proves to be relatively demanding. You should brush the white coat regularly. This can be necessary up to daily. However, a regular bath is neither necessary nor recommended, since even mild dog shampoo is harmful to the skin if used too often. Also, because Westies don’t shed their coats naturally, the dogs need to be trimmed every few months. You can do this yourself if you have the appropriate knowledge or you can leave this care to a dog groomer.
What typical diseases does the West Highland White Terrier have?
In general, the Westies belong to robust dog breeds with good health. Breed-specific diseases are rare, but can still occur. Conditions that may be more common within the breed include:
- craniomandibular osteopathy, a painful bone disease in the skull of dogs
- skin diseases,
- the metabolic disorder Krabbe’s disease,
- the so-called “white dog shaker syndrome”, in which the dogs get violent attacks of tremors
- the ureteral ectopia.
How much does a West Highland White Terrier cost?
At the latest after his modeling career, the West Highland White Terrier has become a sought-after and popular family dog. Especially in Great Britain, but also in Germany, the breed is regularly one of the most popular pets. That’s why there are a lot of breeders in Germany where you can look around for puppies. The price for a puppy from a reputable breeder is around 1,000 euros.
There are certainly cheaper offers on the internet and in the classifieds, but you should definitely refrain from buying these so-called “trunk puppies”. It is highly probable that costly preventive health care was dispensed with here, which means that the price can be pushed down. With such a “breeder” you buy a real surprise bag with often sad content: the dogs are sick and often don’t have long to lay eggs.
Rely on a reputable breeder. He takes good care of the puppies, makes sure they grow up healthy and develop their character, and is most likely to have a happy new family member for you.