West Highland Terrier, Best Among Small White Dog Breeds

Among the small white dog breeds is the ever-popular West Highland Terrier. This sturdy little white dog leads a fabulous double life as a favourite character in marketing and literature. Westies are also an adored family pet who sometimes has a reputation for being a handful.

Small white dog breed

Television shows like House and Jeeves and Wooster feature white West Highland terriers named Wilson and Macintosh, respectively. The American Girl series features a white Westie named Coconut, and a Westie named Fergus has his own children’s book. The talents of this jaunty little dog have even been tapped to sell dog food.

If you’re thinking, “Oh, I know that dog. He’s a wee bit of Scottish dandie,” you’re right! This small white dog hails from Scotland, and they have become the breed standard that most people picture when someone says, “white terrier.”

West Highland Terrier Snap Shot:

Breed names: West highland terrier, West Highland White Terrier or affectionately known as Westie or Westie Terrier
Popular small white dog breed: 37th in 2014 AKC rankings and are smart, intelligent, robust and active small dogs ideal as companion dogs and family pets
Temperament: loyal happy active small white dogs with bold independent personality that enjoys social interaction and family life
Size: Height 10 – 11 “ or 25.5 – 28 cm   Weight: 14 – 22  lbs or 6.4 – 10 kg       Lifespan: 12 – 16 yrs
Non Shedding coat or very sheds very little shedding to be classed as non shedding.
Colour: always completely white double coat with dark brown eyes
Training/exercise: Their independent and determined character respond well to firm training and participate well in obedience and agility events

Best Character Traits of West Highland Terriers

1. Westie Personality

Your Westie will be an inquisitive little guy who likes to keep his mind as sharp and active as his body. The first thing most people notice is that the white West Highland Terrier has unfailing confidence. You may remember the A. A. Milne quote that says, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” The Westie knows he is braver, stronger and smarter. That’s a lot of personality to pack in such a small body.

2. Westie Independence

If you’re looking for a dog that is always ready for the next adventure, you’ll find your new best friend in a Westie. This robust small dog breed will want to be on the go with you, fearless and interested in the world around them. The great thing is that they are not the crazy dog that everyone points to when you’re out in public but the cute white west highland terrier temperamentlittle dog.

Some people will tell you that the Westie is stubborn, but she will tell you that she’s merely proving what she knew all along: that she’s in the right!

3. Westie Loyalty

When at home you can expect your Westie to be alert and paying attention to your every move. Their independent and self assured natures make them comfortable to be with you rather than on you and happily follow you about the house and garden.

Westies are loyal little dogs to their owners but they also make sure that they are the centres of your world; they apparently never got the memo that the world revolves around the Sun, and not around Westies!

Small white dog breeds

4. The Terrier in Westies

The Westie is a terrier and certainly not a designer dog that is meant to languish on your lap or accessorize your wardrobe. The white West Highland terrier will be an active yet independent pet that still wants to hunt prey, whether those are lizards from you back porch or squirrels in the back yard.

If he likes you, he’ll share his spoils with you. If your other pets are guinea pigs or rabbits, they will present a challenge for your Westie like for many other small white dogs breeds including Jack Russell terriers or even poodles.

5. Training and Obedience

Of allPopular small white dogs the small white dog breeds the white West Highland Terrier can be an exasperating handful for owners. A Westie owner needs to be prepared to be consistent, calm and firm in training, exercising and caring for this small white terrier.

The respond very well to dog training and enjoy taking part in obedience and agility events as well as the show ring. Their bold character traits combined with their small size and shape, will make you glad you chose West Highland Terriers for your canine companion.

The “Look” of West Highland Terriers

1. Westie Shape

The West Highland terrier should have a deep chest, a straight back, and short, muscular legs that give him a burly and well-built appearance. The dog’s round head should be proportionate to the angular, stocky body that appears flat on the sides.Westies

The dog’s eyes will be a rich dark brown, rimmed in black. They should be medium-sized and round, and they should give a sense that he is inquisitive about his surroundings. His pointed ears are small and alert. His nose and lip colouring is also black. The black-rimmed eyes and nose give the appearance of buttons on a cute stuffed animal.

The Westie is made for business, though, because he has usually large teeth for his size.

Westies have short, uncropped tails that they carry high. The front paws are larger than those in the rear – all the better for digging – and the pads should also be black.

2. Westies Non Shedding Coat

West Highland White Terriers have a double coat with a soft undercoat cover by an outer coarse coat which left Westies a small white doglonger along the sides and at the back of the body. The face of this small white dog breed are often trimmed shorter to enhance the classic Westie facial expression of interest and alertness.  The West Highland Terrier is always white.

If you are looking for small dog breeds that don’t shed, then the West Highland White Terrier is a great match for you. They do shed but so little they are considered to be non shedding dogs and less with the correct grooming a couple of times a year.

Not only do Westies have this low to non shedding attribute but it is also are said to have a low dander rate from their skin as well. This coupled with their small size enhances their popularity with busy couples and families.

3. Westie Height and Weight

Your West Highland terrier will stand at ten or eleven inches (25.5 – 28cm) tall at the shoulders, and his body weight should be in proportion to his size, or about 14-22 pounds (6.4 – 10 kg). He has a compact and sturdy-looking appearance.

The Westie is considered a small dog bred of a height that many dogs owners prefer. Of all the small white dog breeds this sturdy small white dog seems bigger due to their personality and independent attitude.

4. Small White Dog Breed Life Span

You can expect your Westie companion to be with you for a long time. Their life expectancy is 12- 16 years, with the average being 13 years. While these small white dogs are sturdy and robust, they can suffer from skin conditions from allergies from mild to severe in nature.

There are also some hereditary diseases that are found in Westie genetics and it is import to choose a reputable dog breeder of these small white dog breeds like the West Highland terrier.

History of the West Highland White Breed

The white West Highland Terrier belongs to the terrier dog family, and Westies are the original earthdogs, or underground hunters. These early terriers were strong and agile companions who could easily corner prey and hold West Highland White Terriertheir quarry in place.

The Westie was bred to replace the red hunting dogs used by Edward Donald Malcolm, a Colonel from Poltalloch Argyllshire in Scotland. When one of the Colonel’s hunting dogs was mistaken for a fox and killed while hunting, Malcolm made the decision to breed only white terriers so they could be easily identified throughout the fast-paced hunt action.

The breed became immensely popular, and even King James I of England inquired about the small white hunting dogs, which were quickly becoming known as the Poltalloch Terriers. Colonel Malcolm requested that his dog breed be called by a different name, and so they became the Rosenearth terriers.

In 1904, fans of this dogs established the first breed club, and only three short years later, the Kennel Club recognized the breed, with the American Kennel Club following suit one year later.

In 1909, the breed received the name it is known by today: the West Highland Terrier more correctly West Highland White Terrier.

small white dog breeds

Westies a Popular Small Dog Breed

If you are considering owning a white West Highland Terrier, you’ll own one of the most popular terrier breeds known in the dog world. In fact, they are the 37th most popular dogs anywhere, according to the 2014 AKC rankings.

Some people shy away from smaller dog breeds because they tend to be neurotic. Not so with the Westies. This chap exudes self-confidence in spades. Westies are one of the small white dog breeds that are cute without being over the top, active without being hyper-active.

Their popularity stems from their adaptability. Do you like to spend time by the water or walking? Your Westie will, too. Do you like to entertain? So will the Westie, who will be delighted to greet your visitors and socialize with them.

The Advantages of the West Highland Terriers

1. Small Home/Apartment living

cute white dogsYour Westie will likely adapt well to apartment living as long as your remember to provide plenty of exercise. Unlike having a shedding behemoth like much larger triple-coated dogs, the Westie is well suited to indoor home life because he’s a dog that sheds little.

Little dog, little feet so not so much outside coming inside when living with your Westie!

2. Non Shedding Small Dog

Her size makes her easy to bathe and groom. Best of all, the Westie is considered a hypoallergenic dog because of how little shedding she does. Of course, you’ll still need to brush her regularly and have her coat groomed professionally a few times a year for that cute Westie look.

3. Cost of Keeping a Small Dog vs Big Dog

The cost of owning a West Highland Terrier is one of the many attractions of this breed. Unlike other larger working and herding dogs that can eat $100 worth of food every month, your Westie may cost you $100/half year. They are robust little dogs and do buy from a reputable breeder to avoid some unnecessary genetic health problems.

4. Companion Dog for Active Couples

The White West Highland Terriers make for a perfect family dog because of their devoted affection for the people they live with. For couples who are active and like to have a dog with them on the move, then Westies are ideal due to their small dog statue and fondness for adventure.

small white dog breeds

5. Family Pet

They tend to love playing with older kids, possibly because their energy levels are such a good match for each other. Remember, though, that even your energetic little Westies will need a break and time-out every once in a while.

Young children do need adult guidance to learn how to be respectful of the family dog. To learn some basics in dog handling that becomes a lifetime skill for the child and enhances their relationship with their pet dog.

6. Happy Social Westies

When you’re ready to get out and socialize, take your Westie with you. She loves the chance to meet other dogs, and although she may be a little aloof around strangers, she will follow your lead.

 Wee Westie Breed Disadvantages

1. Westie the White Terrier

The white West Highland terriers have a strong prey drive, so if your Westie lives in a home with other small furry mammals like gerbils or hamsters, you will soon find that you have only a Westie.  West Highland Whit terriers will get along with other dogs and even the cat when socialized properly.

2. Westie on the Look Out!

The West Highland Terrier only barks when he thinks it’s important to alert you about something going on at the moment. These small white dogs are not a yappy dogs however, he may feel as though there is much in the world you must constantly know about, and he’s prepared with tireless alerts as he barks at passersby or leaves that blow across your patio. If you’re quick to recognize that he’s a sharp fellow, and even quicker to intervene, you can train him to respond appropriately.

3. Westie AdventurerWestie Terrier

You may also discover that gardens and some Westies do not mix, at least not if having exploratory holes dug in them will be something that bothers you. The West Highland Terrier likes to uncover possibility at every turn of the earth, and some Westies if left unattended, will amuse themselves by creating holes in search of prey. But equally they may also wander off in pursuit of the next great adventure around the corner and have selective hearing for the owners calling!

4. Westie Independance

The Westie can be insubordinate at times. If you are inconsistent in your training, she’ll look at you with complete understanding and then go about doing whatever it is that she wants to do!

Your Westie also may be prone to a little weight gain if you are not consistent about providing opportunities for exercise. That cute face just begs for treats and snacks, and those additional morsels become additional weight.

The Best About West Highland TerriersWestie puppy

With a personality all his own, the white West Highland Terrier will be energetic and loyal companion you’ve been seeking in a dog.

Of all the small white dog breeds, the Westie does not need pampering and is a character in his own right that enjoys fun and adventure. As an owner of this popular small dog breed, you’ll be delighted to have a Westie as a cherished member of your family and in your life.



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