West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Westies “The West Highland White Terrier” is a breed of Scotland with distinct harsh white coat and soft undercoat. These have longer legs as compared to the other Scottish breeds of terrier. The fur coat fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance. This particular breed is so intelligent, are quick learners and are easy to go with children but they can’t bear rough handling. This is a hypoallergic dog breed and was once used to hunt rodents. The Modern Westies are descended from a number of breeding programs in Scotland before the 20th century.

About the West Highland White Terrier:

The best way to describe Westies is that they are full of self-esteem and they know they’re the best thing around. Although these are purebred dogs, you may still find them in shelters and rescues. This modern small white Scottish terrier was given its modern name for the first time in 1908 with recognition by major kennel clubs occurring around the same time. Other related breeds include George Campbell and Dr Aweric Edwin Flaxman’s Pittenweem Terriers. Several specific and non-specific issues of the breed, including the condition in young dogs named westie jaw causes overgrowth of bone in the jaw of the dog. These dogs are also prone to skin disorders and to the breed-specific condition called hyperplastic dermatosis. They are energetic and needs regular exercise of around one hour per day.


They stand 10-11 inches at the shoulders with dark piercing eyes, compact body and carrot shaped tail wagging with delight and seems irresistible. They actually were bred to hunt the rats and rodents and are surprisingly strong and tough. Their coat is hard to touch but has a soft undercoat They exhibit traits of plucky and self-reliant ratting terrier and can have a tendency to chase cats, squirrels and badgers. Westies can be trained nicely with time and patience. It is thought that this breed of terrier is descended from the same ancestral stock as the other Scottish terriers the Dandie Dinmont, Scottish and cairn terriers. This particular breed probably originated at Poltalloch in the former country of Argyll, Scotland and were bred there for many years by the Malcolm family whose dogs appear to be traceable back to the times of King James I of England. They are fiesty in nature and very independent but also very friendly.

Usually they are bright, deep-set, have almond shaped eyes, which are dark in color. The members have typical weight between 15-20 pounds and their body is shorter than the height of the dog. They have a deep chest, muscular limbs, black nose and closely fitted jaw with scissors bite. For better grip they have slightly turned out paws which help them to climb on rocky surfaces. The foot pads are with pink marking that turn black with age. They have short, sturdy tail and due to the history of catching rodents, the tails were bred to be thick that a westie trapped in hole could be easily pulled out by the tail.


This particular breed was recorded as early as the reign of James VI of Scotland who resigned between 1567 and 1625. Thousands of Terriers were presented as a gift by the king to the Kingdom of France. White breeds were considered weak as compared to sandy and brindle colored breeds. In 1588 a report indicated that the ship from Spanish Armada was wrecked on the island of Skye which indicated that the ship was carrying white Spanish dogs whose descendants were distinct from other breeds by Clan Donald including the families of the chiefs. One of the family was the Clan Macleod and it was reported that at least two chiefs of this family kept white terriers. The most closely associated persons for the development of the modern breed of west highland white terrier is Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch. He used these terriers for work game and these were mistaken for a fox and shot. Malcom developed white terriers which were known as Poltalloch Terriers. The first generation was with sandy coats and prick ears and this trait was later seen in modern breeds. The term”West Highland White Terrier “ appeared in 1908 and was used by L. C. R. Cameron in Otters and Otter Hunting.

This breed is successful on both sides of the Atlantic. In the conformation shows, the first member to win a show championship was Ch. Morvan in the 1905 at age of seven months. Because this breed was not much recognized, the title was not retained when the dog was re-registered as west highland white terrier. The major win of this breed came in 1942 in the kennel club dog show when Constance Winant’s Ch. Won the title of best show. This breed’s popularity during the 20th century was such that the dogs were exchanged for hundreds of guineas. In 2010, The west highland white terriers were reported to be the third most popular breed of terrier in the UK with 5361 puppies registered with the kennel club. The breed’s position was stable being in the top three of all breeds since around 1960. In 2001, it was ranked as the 30th most popular breed based on the registered American kennel club breeds and varied around 30s in decades, it ranked 34th in 2010.

They are very loyal, lovable companions.