Acquiring a West Highland White Terrier
Find a Westie
Is a West Highland White Terrier the Right Dog for You?
Each West Highland White Terrier and potential owner are unique.The information provided on our website is intended to help educate potential owners about the unique nature of the West Highland White Terrier.
You may be interested in a West Highland White Terrier for a variety of reasons ... as a pet, a show dog, an obedience competitor, a working dog, or a combination of these things. Whatever your objective you, the dog's owner, will be responsible for the care and training that will enable your Westie to fulfill its potential.
A Westie is an all white, compact, sturdy package of frolicsome energy, looking for some fun. His ears stand up naturally. His tail is short by nature's design. As adults, males measure about 11 inches in height with bitches being about 1 inch less. The breed was developed for the hard and dangerous work of destroying vermin. The physical characteristics of the Westie are described fully in the Breed Standard.
The Westie's coat is double to protect him from the elements and from the teeth and claws of his quarry in the hunt. The outer coat is hard with softer undercoat for insulation. Puppies may have more of the softer undercoat, but with proper hand stripping, the hard coat will emerge. The adult coat sheds lightly, so he must be brushed to remove the dead hair. This coat is a "dry" rather than oily coat so that it does not absorb soil readily or have a marked "doggy" odor.
A Westie needs very few baths. The hard outer coat is easily kept clean with a brush and occasional dry cleaning. This is done by brushing white powdered chalk or corn starch into the coat. When the powder is brushed out, the soil comes with it. A Westie kept as a pet requires grooming every eight to twelve weeks for a tidy appearance. A weekly or bi-weekly schedule is necessary for the dog appearing in the show ring. Dogs not competing in the show ring may be clippered to maintain a neat appearance.
Personalities of Westies vary greatly. Some are cuddly lapdogs, while others are too independent to be held for long periods. Some enjoy following you around throughout your day, while others are content to lie in a corner of the room. One thing is consistent, they are loving companions and once they steal your heart, you will be hooked for life.
Westies are very curious and will find ways to put their smarts to work. They are "earth dogs" and many do like to dig. They love to explore, which means they can often get into situations you had no idea existed. They definitely can keep you on your toes! It's a good idea to provide them with as much mental stimulation as you can. There are many activities to do with your dog and they all enjoy a nice walk to explore their environment.
Westies are very people-oriented and like being with you whenever possible. While they do not require a huge amount of exercise, they can get bored and look for "adventures" when they do not get enough attention and human companionship. Some enjoy the company of other pets; however, some are definitely happiest being an "only".
Most people prefer to get a young puppy and raise it themselves. This can be very rewarding, but also time consuming and may be overwhelming. Other people prefer a dog that is out of puppyhood and has already had some training and socialization. This page will discuss the pros and cons of both, and how to select a Westie of any age.
Additional information can be found on the following pages.