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West Highland White Terrier

Group: Terriers (Group 2)
Club: West Highland White Terrier Club of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Kathy Beimers
Phone: 0402 988 917

Brief History
Records dating back to the 15th century in Scotland describe dogs with rough coats and small stature being used to chase vermin.  Believed to be the origin of our current Westies, these dogs were likely to be Cairn, Skye and Scottish terriers. It was not until the 1800s that we begin to see the development of ‘white’ terriers. The colour was easier to spot during hunting than the darker dogs. Owners of these white dogs began selectively breeding for colour and eventually the first recognized breed club for these terriers was set up in Glasgow in 1905.

Average Life Span
When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 12 to 16 years.

Big-hearted, clever, alert and full of self-esteem.

The Westie is a brave and energetic dog, yet he will also easily adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle. They are not needy dogs but are very loyal and don’t like to be ignored. Full of mischief, with a great sense of humour, they possess much self-esteem. A Westie likes to do things in his own way, yet he is eager to please. A big dog in a small dog body, Westies know how to make the most of every situation and once properly trained are pure joy to have around. Westies like to dig as they were bred to hunt vermin and dig them out when they hid underground.

General Breed Description
A white dog, the Westie is a small, game, well-balanced, strongly built, hardy looking terrier. Deep in the chest and with powerful hindquarters set on short muscular legs, the Westie shows a combination of strength and activity. The head should be shaped to present a round appearance with widely set eyes under heavy eyebrows. Ears are small and erect. The foreface is strong with a powerful jaw. A Westie’s tail is set at twelve o’clock. He loves company but is certainly not a lapdog, preferring to get “down and dirty” rather than sitting on the couch all day!

Coat and Care Requirements
Although they do not moult, Westies require regular grooming. They have a double coat, with the outer coat consisting of straight hard white hair, while the undercoat is short soft and close. For pet Westies a weekly groom with a slicker brush is required in between clipping which is needed at least twice a year. Show Westies are hand stripped or ‘pulled’. Westies do have a strong character and are very clever, so proper training is essential. They love to play and enjoy being outdoors, however a small yard is okay provided they get regular walks and have access to the family activities in the house as well.

Height: 28cms (11ins).

All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does.

Westies suit owners who have time to spend with them. They are very adaptable and can enjoy taking a leisurely stroll with an older adult or equally running around outdoors playing with the family. A small, fenced yard is suitable, provided they get plenty of company inside and regular walks as well. Westies need the comforts of home such as snuggling up in your blankets, usually straight after they have been outside digging up an old bone!

In Conclusion
Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders