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West Highland White Terrier

 Photo of West Highland White Terrier
Photo: courtesy of Linda Field

West Highland White Terrier Books

Group: Terrier - Breed Standard


The West Highland White Terrier 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.


Height: approximately 28 cms (11 ins)

West Highland White Terriers, commonly known as Westies, are a breed of dog known for their spirited personality and brilliant white coat. They have bright, dark brown to black, deep-set eyes with a penetrating gaze. The ears are small, pointed and erect, giving the animal an alert ready-for-anything look. Their tails, typically naturally "carrot-shaped", should never be docked and are held upright. The tail should be between 5-6 inches. They also have deep chests, muscular limbs, a short, closely fitted jaw with scissors bite, and slightly convex skull.

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. Their paws are slightly webbed, which one can notice by trying to pass their finger between the dog's toes.


Their history has endowed the Westie with a bold temperament that leads many to call them "big dogs in a little body." They are always alert and consider themselves guard dogs, although their size prevents them from providing any real intimidation. They are great companion dogs and get along with other animals such as cats. They also are compatible with children. If traveling they make great companions, since they can adjust easily to new situations and people and because of their small size. They are very energetic but get tired out and need to take several naps per day. Westies are good with elders, disabled, and young children. They make very good company.


Westies only need one steady walk a day, but won't complain if they've missed one.


Like all dogs, the Westie responds better to love and gentleness. As with most terriers, harsh training methods are often met only with stubbornness. See our books on training

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Last link added: 09 Apr, 2008