West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier​ - Terrier Group

Quick Facts

OriginScotland

Height: 11”-12”

Weight: 15-20 lbs

Color: White

Lifespan13-15 years

Temperament: Devoted, cheerful, charming

 

Overview

With how many ratters have come out of Scotland, you have to wonder exactly how many rats that island has. West Highland White Terriers have been involved in the hunt for around 300 years. Maybe their job description has change, but their terrier tenacity and intelligence stays the same.

You can easily spot a Westie by their all-white coat. They shed minimally and require a medium amount of grooming. They make wonderful family pets and even better watch dogs. These pups can be stubborn so having a sense of humor is an absolute must.

Celebrity Owners

Whoopi Goldberg, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey, Alfred Hitchcock, Ashley Judd, Betty White, Helena Bonham Carter, Jennifer Aniston, Julianna Hough, Lillian Gish, Melissa John Hart, Paris Hilton, Pauley Perrette, Priscilla Presley, Rob Schneider, Robert Carlyle, Susan Jeffers

Fun Facts

  1. Westies’ coats were intentionally left all white to make them easily distinguished from prey on hunts.

Health

Before bringing a pup home, always request health screening from both parent pups. Westies are prone to the following health issues:

  • Heart disease: There’s a myriad of causes of heart disease in dogs. Age, health and nutrition all play a vital role. With 95% of heart diseases coming in small dog breeds who are 5 years or older, thinking about preventative care and coverage is smart to do.
  • Patellar luxation: Luxating simply means out of place or dislocated. Patella is a kneecap. A Luxating patella is a kneecap that chronically moves out of its normal position.
  • Hip dysplasia: This condition is when the socket joint in the hip isn’t large enough, or more often too shallow, for the femoral head.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: This disease occurs at the head of the femur (the ball and socket joint in your dog’s hips. Here, the femur degenerates which can cause the hip to collapse and can cause arthritis.
  • Inguinal hernias: A hernia occurs when contents of the do’s abdomen pushes through the muscle wall.
  • Copper toxicosis: This happens when a pup is not able to metabolize copper and it ends up storing in the liver which eventually becomes toxic. This will cause chronic illness.
  • Addison’s disease: Addison’s disease results from the body not producing enough specific hormones. It occurs in the adrenal glands above the kidneys, producing too little cortisol and aldosterone.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is caused by when the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye is increased.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca: Also referred to as dry eyes, this refers to the dryness of conjunctiva that lines the eye under the eyelid.
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy: Also known as Westie Jaw, this condition effects the lower jaw. The jaw swells, which causes pain.

While you always hope your pet will live a long and healthy life, it is always a good idea to invest in pet health insurance.

Keeping your dog’s mouth clean and problem free goes a long way to your pup’s overall health. Dental hygiene can be the cause or can be the byproduct of other serious health issues.

Visual inspections can be performed to keep track of the signs of potentially waning oral health. These signs can be anything from bad breath to abnormal chewing to loss of appetite.

Keeping ahead of these warning signs can pay dividends. A preventative approach can delay and stop many of the common dental problems from arising.

Oral health can be tackled in five basic steps:

  1. Brushing your dog’s teeth to prevent an undesirable buildup of plaque
  2. Feed your dog a diet where the high quality dog food has dental benefits
  3. Regularly give your dog dental toys and treats
  4. Use mouthwash, to help where brushing misses
  5. At the sign of any abnormalities, consult a vet. You can even do it virtually, from the convenience of your home.

Dogs are just like humans in that they can experience anxiety. The degree to which they are susceptible to anxiety and how they deal with anxiety is breed specific. Left unchecked, initial signs of anxiety could give way to an anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can lead to a myriad of behavior issues.

Knowing the signs and symptoms will best equip you to keep ahead of it and to nip it in the bud at the earliest signs. There are options available to help with anxiety.

Are You Covered When Your Pup Gets Sick?

Grooming

Westies shed very little. Their all-white coat should be brushed once a week to remove any dead hair. Every 4-6 weeks it will need to be hand stripped. Some owners prefer to clipper the hair themselves, or have a groomer do it, which will make the hair softer.

Give your pup a bath every 4-6 weeks. Be mindful that washing their hard coat too often can cause skin irritation or remove the coat’s natural properties. Keep their eyes and ears clean and clear of debris. Clip your pup’s nails regularly and brush their teeth several times per week.

Cost

$1,000 – $5,000

Exercise

Your Westie will need around an hour of exercise per day. Whenever you are on walks, you will need to keep your pup on a leash. They have strong hunting instincts and are more likely to run after their prey than return when called.

If have a secure fenced in area, you pup will love to romp and play with more freedom. If you do not, consider taking your pup to a dog park when possible.

Be aware that Westies can have issues with other dogs. They are not likely to be the aggressor, but they won’t likely back down. Keep an eye on that pup!

Nutrition

Your Westie will eat around 1 ½ -2 cup of food per day between two meals. The exact requirements for your dog will vary with age and activity level. Be mindful that little dogs that receive lots of treats and or table scraps end up overweight. A little dog that is overweight is significantly more likely to develop other health issues.

We’ve taken a look at some premium dog foods, high in nutrition here.

Are You Feeding Your Dog The Best Food?

Training

As with all dogs, early socialization with humans and other pups is an absolute must. Westies are bred to be independent. This is something you will be working against from day one. Training is a must. You will need to approach it with patience and determination.

Keep your sessions fresh and full of positive reinforcement. Be sure to include quiet commands to deter barking in your sessions. Also avoid allowing your pup to dig unless you are prepared to deal with this for the duration of your relationship.

Proper training is essential to ensuring the safety of your dog and those around you. Having your dog come when they should, and in general having them listen is something you want to address early in your pup’s life, as it will pay dividends down the line. There are many tried and true training programs to accomplish this training – faster and better than you might think!

Unless you’re living on a farm, or have the space, a yipping dog, or one that barks all day when you are gone could be an issue with the neighbors and/or landlord. Historically, dogs would bark to communicate with the rest of the pack when hunting and bark as a warning shot to predators eyeing up their flock. Barking is deep rooted in dogs and manifests itself in many ways and for a variety of reasons.

Just like any habit or instinct, there are effective ways you can train this issue away.

The Best Dog Vitamins and Supplements To Keep Your Pup Healthy. Period.

Supplements

A solid Glucosamine Supplement for hips and joints will go a long way to helping your furry friend.

Other helpful supplements include full-spectrum hemp oil or CBD oil. Fish oil skin and coat supplement.

Ensuring a comprehensive preventative vitamin and mineral plan is essential to keeping your dog healthy. Truth is, there are vitamins and minerals that your dog needs, but doesn’t produce naturally. While many of these vitamins and minerals can be found in your dog’s current diet and dog food, the question becomes, are there enough vitamins to ensure they aren’t deficient.

Poor nutrition can lead to some of the most common health issues, such as weak joints, compromised immunity, increased allergies, and low energy.

Vitamins play a vital role in your pet’s health and overall life expectancy. Here are some multivitamin and joint relief options.

As regulations around marijuana have eased, the emergence of CBD oils for humans and dogs have sprung up.

Just to begin to dispel the negative stigma, CBD extract comes from Hemp, marijuana’s cousin. Unlike its cousin, there are no psychoactive qualities in CBD oil. An emerging number of clinical and institutional studies have shown the wide variety of healing qualities in CBD, including pain management, and the containment of seizures and epileptic episodes.

Explore this remedy further to see all the health benefits that have transformed the lives of so many dogs to date.

Have You Tried CBD For You Dog's Health?

The Good

  • Medium grooming
  • Low shedding
  • Good watchdogs

The "Ruff"

  • Stubborn during training
  • Prone to bark
  • High prey drive