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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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West Highland White Terrier


West Highland White Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 10" - 11"
  • Weight
  • 15-20 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Poltalloch terrier, Roseneath terrier, Westie.


The westie originated in Scotland.

Date Of Origin

this breed developed in the 1800's.


The westie is believed to have been developed on the Poltalloch estate of the Malcom family and the Roseneath estate of the Duke of Argyll. It was bred to be part of a working pact bred to hunt fox, badger, and vermin. The Carin terrier occasionally whelped white puppies. In the 1800's these puppies were selectively bred to produce a breed that was easily visible on the Spanish moors. Evidence of the breed is seen in two paintings by Sir Edwin Landseer done in about 1839. Despite its hunting past,most westie's are now companions. In the early twentieth century the westie was often crossed with the Carin terrier, their color difference being the main distinction between the breeds today.


The Westie is a small, well balanced, and hardy dog with a compact body that is slightly taller than it is long. It has a broad skull and blunt muzzle; dark brown, almond shaped eyes; a black nose; and small, naturally erect ears with pointed tips. The tail is short and shaped like an inverted carrot. It is double coated with a hard, straight outer coat that is about two inches long. The coat is bristly around its face, giving its head a rounded appearance.


The westie is an alert, fun loving, and friendly dog. It is stable, courageous and self reliant, with great self esteem. Although it is independent it is loyal to its family. Like most terriers, it tends to dig. It may not be suitable for all children.


Originally, like so many terriers, this dog was bred for the hunting of game in the lair, and in this role it always proved itself tenacious and threatening. Now this sympathetic and spirited dog has become an appreciated and sought after family friend. It will gladly live in an apartment, but also loves its freedom and should have available a terrace or small yard.

Health Concerns

Atopy, cataracts, copper toxixosis, craniomandibular, osteopathy, deafness, enzyme deficiency, inguinal hernia, Legg-Perthes disease.

Additional Information

This dog will require professional grooming from a young age and through out its entire life, Be sure you are ready for the financial burden of this before investing in this breed.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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