Species group: Terrier Group dogs
Other name(s): Westie; Westies; Westy
The high-spirited White Highland White Terrier is a sturdy dog with a large spirit in a small package, a combination that attracts pet owners who want an energetic companion who likes to play. This breed was developed from a female Scottish Terrier that produced white puppies, and the terrier instinct to chase down vermin like rats and foxes still survives. The Westie doesn't belong in a household with smaller pets that invite the chase, including rodents and rabbits. It can also present a challenge to an unconfident owner who doesn't know how to properly train a bold, somewhat stubborn dog. However, if you know how to establish limits, you can have a lot of fun with the Westie.
Appearance / health:
The West Highland White Terrier is a small, strongly built, and hardy terrier. The almond-shaped eyes are widely set apart. The chest is deep and strongly built with a straight back. The tail is relatively short. The forelegs are muscular.
The Westie’s coat is fairly easy to groom and sheds little to no hair. All it needs to keep the coat looking good is regular brushing with a stiff bristle brush. Regular bathing is not required; the Westie needs to be bathed only when necessary. Hair around the ears and eyes require trimming with blunt nosed scissors. The whole coat is normally trimmed once every four months and stripped on a yearly basis.
Though these dogs enjoy regular walks or play sessions in the park, they don’t mind missing their exercise once in a while.
The Westie is a generally fairly healthy breed. They are susceptible to skin problems, hip problems, and liver disease.
Behavior / temperament:
The West Highland White Terrier is a very playful companion dog. Despite the small size, the Westie does well as a watchdog. The breed likes to dig and bark.
Westies can learn fast and can excel in obedience competition. These strong-willed dogs need to be handled firmly and consistently without harshness.
The breed can be quite noisy and tends to bark at every new sight and sound. They may not be the breed for people who live close to their neighbors. They should not left outside in the yard, unsupervised.
affectionate, Westies Rule, great family dog, enthusiasm, big personality
strange people, holy terror, dry skin problems, high prey drive, barker
hearty appetite, recall training, relatively lowmaintenance, coarse double coat, bright white coats
Happiest dogs in the world
West highland white terriers are one of my favorite breeds of dog ever! I have had several Westies in my lifetime and I am here to tell you about their unique qualities. Currently we have two Westies, Bonnie and Oreo. Both of these dogs have been with us since they were puppies. They are nine and eleven years old and based on the longevity of the breed and their healthy lifestyles, they may well live into their twenties! In 2006 we had three young daughters, a Chihuahua and a miniature Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua mix (both rescues) and we were definitely not looking for another dog. My husband (who knew I had raised Westies in my 20's, rescued and unexpectedly brought Oreo home one day. I heard him come in the side door and say, "Don't be mad." I looked up and in my husband's arms was this little face (Oreo was about 5 1/2 months old at the time) and not knowing whether to kiss or kill my husband, I reached out and put the puppy on the floor. Our two little black dogs came and stood on either side of him. All three of them looked up at me as if to say, "Hey, mama, we make an Oreo cookie, right?" My children came running into the room and the decision was made! Two years later when the call came about a female being born the "runt" of a litter and having made it through the night, we knew we had to form a quartet! Bonnie joined us in 2008 and not a day goes by that we don't thank our lucky stars these two characters have us and each other. It was love at first sight for us and we highly recommend the breed to you. Westies are one of the most intelligent dogs ever bred! Their disposition screams happiness on a daily basis. Oreo was housebroken and learned several adorable tricks very quickly. Sit, stay, come, beg, roll over, speak, fetch and dance became part of a daily routine within weeks. We "crate trained" him to house break him. This is a method I really like because the puppy's paws seldom touch the floors for the first 7-10 days. When he was with us indoors, we were holding him or working on behavior training. When we were outside in the backyard, he had supervised free time to explore. Oreo was tucked into his crate at night on the floor near my bed and in the morning I opened the door, picked him up and took him straight to the lawn in the backyard to do his business. Every day we walked him on a leash in the morning and the evening. These dogs crave a consistent routine when they are young and if you provide them with a schedule, as adult dogs they will be able to travel anywhere with you. Westies need mental stimulation as well. They were originally bred to go after small game and even to climb down into dens or the crags in rocks to retrieve food. Books written about the breed tell that their short docked tails were designed for a hunter to be able to reach down into a space and pull them out, using their tails like a handle, with the small game still in their mouth! These dogs are seemingly never too tired to chase a ball, fetch a stick or learn any number of tricks. Their curious nature can get them into lots of trouble if they are not continually redirected and behavior trained at an early age. They are very social dogs and love to be part of a pack or clan. Puppy training (classes) are recommended to help with focus. Once a Westie learns a behavior, it will become part of his identity and he will use the ability to charm you constantly. They mimic human traits and can pick up vocabulary like no other dog I've owned. Like little humans with fur they will wait until you are talking and take a "cue" from any conversation you are having to perform for you. In fact, these little guys are such good actors I have often considered building an act and taking it on the road! America's Got Talent, look out! Whether you are a single, a couple or you are not sure what might happen in the future, Westie's are the perfect dog for the long haul. Families with young children are rewarded with loyal pets who do not balk at the constant attention and handling that toddlers and children like to bestow upon their pets. A word of caution about puppies however. Teething will be done on ANY object within reach, so before they play together, be sure your child is old enough to understand the puppy is not "biting" them or perhaps it is better to keep babies and very young children together with the puppy ONLY under close adult supervision. The breed is hearty and does well with only an occasional bath but if you really want to show off the lines, have or learn how to do your own grooming on a regular basis. Nail trimming is essential and should start at an early age so that your pet will not balk at it in the future. Westies look best with a closely shaved neck and back, tapered to the floor skirt and short cropped and feathered tail and ears. There are many books written on the subject and "stripping" is the method I prefer to use. Sometimes the "puppy cut" is best if your yard has long, rangy grass, no grass or burr weeds. There have been several occasions where our "white" dogs were not white at all and living in the drought of California we had a tough time keeping grass instead of dirt down in the yard. This cut has the added benefit of making your dog look like a youngster, too! West Highland Whites have notoriously dry skin so keeping the corn and allergens from their diet is very helpful to alleviate itching. Grain free foods with an Omega 3 (fish oil) added are really helpful to maintain a shiny coat. Puppies should be "plucked" daily at an early age to ensure that a strong top coat will follow the downy, soft undercoat they are born with. A regular coat and teeth brushing is in order as well. Puppies have an inherent need to chew so be sure to supply good quality toys and healthy items in order to keep your best shoes and personal items free from damage. Nylabone with nubs makes a wonderful puppy chew item. Our dogs are STILL happy to pull this style bone out of the toy box and gnaw away. Until recently I personally have frowned upon rawhide for this (or any) breed because of the digestive problems and brown markings on their fur that can become problematic around a Westie's mouth as a result of chewing rawhide. Recently our veterinarian introduced an "enzymatic" rawhide to his dental line of products and we picked some up after Oreo had his teeth professionally cleaned. So far, with a weekly brushing, he has been doing very well and so has his BFF, Bonnie. As our dogs have begun to age, we have also introduced products like glucosamine chondroitin on occasion to help with arthritis, joint stiffness and a hip or back pain issues that come up with a change of weather. As I write this, my girl has her head on my shoulder and reminds me that such is life. We all need a nap every once in awhile to be able to perform like we did when we were kids. They may be getting a bit older but every night around 7:30pm when they look at each other and then start to wrestle and jump on each other and race around the room just like they did when they were pups, I am so grateful they are not moving out to go to college or travel abroad anytime soon. These furbabies are here to stay..
From petlover2 Mar 6 2018 10:07PM
Hard e-collars are THE best way to prevent your pet from messing up their incision site
Hard e-collars are very effective at keeping dogs' mouths off their incision sites. These are the cheapest and most effective way of reducing incision site complications. I send every surgery patient home with an e-collar. These surgical procedures are often performed on younger patients that are very prone to trying to lick their incision sites..
From Rachel_Muur_DVM 3 days ago
It is very important to socialize puppies by exposing or introducing them to members of the family and friends, other pets, from even other species, different environments, noises, etc., so he will not be fearful of people in general, other dogs, and everyday sounds, objects, and enclosures. Sharing with other pets and people will teach your dog how to behave. Dog parks tend to be safe places to socialize. Just make sure your dog has the vaccination program up-to-date, is periodically dewormed, and checked by the vet at least once a year. .
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