View West Highland Terrier Dogs and Puppies for sale on the Pets4Homes website.
The cute facade of this little, spirited dog belays the fact that it is still a terrier and while he will happily sit on your lap for cuddles, he is just as likely to make mischief and chase the cat! As the name suggests, this dog originated form Scotland and was originally bred to hunt foxes, otters and vermin. The size, nature and care requirements of this dog make it an ideal choice for almost everyone, and can happily live in a family with children and other animals provided correct and early socialisation and exposure to them.
Known by almost everyone as simply the Westie, the West Highland White Terrier was recognised as a breed at the turn of the 20th Century by the Kennel Club, although historical articles and paintings indicate the presence of ancestors of the Westie as far back as the 1500's. The more recent developments in the Westies history however, tell of one Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch who, in the 19th Century, after having an accident while hunting, shot his own dark-coated dog, having mistaken it for game. Affected and grieved by this, he endeavoured to raise only white terriers to ensure that this mistake could not happen again. Unlike other breeders, he then kept the white and lighter coloured puppies from subsequent litters he bred, and selectively reared only dogs for this colour in his cairn terrier strain of dogs. His dogs became known as Poltalloch Terriers and were soon highly prized as they retained their high hunt-pray drive with the added advantage of being very visible due to their light colour which made them easier to distinguish from wildlife, even under harsh field and weather conditions.
Average height at the withers: Males and females between 10-12 inches.
Average height: Males and females between 6.5-9 kg.
The striking, pure white coat of the Westie is its stand out feature which off sets its dark, almond shaped eyes and black button nose perfectly. The coat itself is soft and thick undercoat and a coarser and longer top coat which is often hand stripped for showing purposes to expose the soft undercoat. The small ears are always pointed and held erect. The hair around and on the face is often left longer to show off the characteristic softness of face synonymous with Westies.
For a smaller dog, it is remarkably well muscled and has a deep chest with a body that should, overall, be shorter than its height. It is compact and well balanced dog.
Like many small dogs, the Westie has forgotten that fact and as a result has developed a big personality! Bold, mischievous, hardy and loyal, this dog can fit into almost anyone's life although as a terrier, its hunt instinct is alive and kicking and as a result it will chase many things if it is allowed to. This behaviour is best focussed on its toys such as chase with a ball as it is possible, unless well socialised from an early age, it will chase -hunt other 'prey' such as other animals such as the family cat/small furries and can display dominance over other dogs and children. This is especially relevant if they live with mainly older adults and have less frequent contact with children, for example when the Grandchildren come around.
Westies can stand quite a lot of rough house play, with children, adults and other dogs, but will make it known if the signs aren't read and they wish to stop but they are generally sociable and confident little dogs who adapt to and fit in many lifestyles. They are bright dogs who will learn new things quickly. They are known as one of the most friendly of all the terrier breeds and are a joy to have around, if a tad mischievous at times!
West Highland White Terriers are very hardy and tough little dogs and have not succumbed to many conditions, genetic or otherwise. An average life span of a Westie is between 12-16 years. They can have a tendency to allergies and food intolerances, especially some tinned meats which contain wheat and red meat, but a hypo allergenic tested dog food should be the answer to this.
In addition, some pups are afflicted with a condition called Craniomandibular Osteopathy. Commonly known as 'Lion Jaw' or even 'Westie Jaw', this developmental disease can only be passed onto the pup if both the parents carry the gene for it. It usually manifests between the ages of 3-8 months old. The condition itself also affects a few other breed of smaller terrier types and unrelated breeds such as the Great Dane. Its primary cause is to make eating and drinking very difficult and symptoms include swollen jaw and excessive drooling. It is possible to control the disease using anti inflammation medications under your vets direction, however, sometimes the only possible route is to have the dog euthanized.
The West Highland White Terrier requires grooming minimal grooming per week as a dog who does not shed its coat as much as many others. This is especially the case if the owner takes it to see a professional groomer 3-4 times a year to have the coat pulled by hand. This is recommended in warmer weather when the Westies thick coat can be overwhelming for it and cause it to overheat. This is dog that will fit in around your life very easily and will take as much exercise as you can give it, and will happily walk for miles and will appreciate a good run in the park or be content with a quick run in the garden as your time dictates.