Seven interesting statistics about West Highland white terriers in the UK

Seven interesting statistics about West Highland white terriers in the UK

Breed Facts

The West Highland white terrier is a petite, plucky and quite energetic little dog breed that hails from Scotland, and one that can be a rewarding and highly entertaining pet to own. As a native British breed, they have been around long enough that most dog owners know the breed on sight, and they are versatile enough to be a viable choice of pet for many different types of owners.

They’re petite, but not lapdogs, and retain many of the key terrier traits that historically saw such dogs used for a wide range of working roles, but they’re also loving, affectionate, and small enough to suit most types of homes.

While the breed is very well known, they’re not in or really that close to making the top ten list in terms of popularity, falling in 43rd place overall in the UK. However, they’re common enough to cross many people’s minds as a breed to consider when looking for a new dog, and a breed with a very strong following of enthusiasts too.

We’ve collated a range of interesting factual statistics about the West Highland terrier population in the UK from a range of reliable resources including our own advertisement data from here at Pets4Homes, as well as the Kennel Club and Royal Veterinary College, among others.

Based on this information, this article will share seven interesting statistics about West Highland White Terriers in the UK. Read on to learn more.

Westies have seen quite a steep decline in popularity since the turn of the millennium

The West Highland white terrier was one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK when breed statistics were taken by the RVC in 2004, at which point Westies accounted for 4.79% of all puppies born that year. Assuming that the figure had been relatively stable for a few years by that point, this would mean that in 2004 almost one in every 20 dogs you’d see in the UK would have been a Westie!

However, by 2015, Westie births accounted for only .9% of all puppies born during that year, which would mean just under one in every 100 dogs you’d see would have been a Westie.

Westies have a longer average lifespan than most dogs

The average lifespan for West Highland white terriers in the UK is 13.4 years, which is longer than the average across dogs of all breeds and types. The average is considered to be 12 years, which makes the Westie quite a long-lived breed, and of course, many dogs of the breed will live for even longer.

Male Westies tend to outlive females

In the vast majority of dog breeds (and for humans too!) the males tend to get the short straw in terms of lifespan, and the females of the species usually outlive them by a measurable proportion.

This is not the case for the West Highland White terrier, however, and males of the breed usually outlive females by almost a year.

The average lifespan for male Westies is 13.8 years, and for females, 12.9 years.

Respiratory disease is the main cause of death within the breed

Lower respiratory tract disease is cited as the cause of death for 10.4% or one in ten Westies, and this is not generally a common cause of death across most dog breeds.

However, this is also a disease that tends to be slow to develop and occur in later life. Ergo rather than necessarily indicating a flaw in the breed that makes them more prone to it, may indicate the opposite; ie., that the average dog of most breeds doesn’t live to the sort of age at which this type of disease is apt to manifest in the first place!

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the breed

Cancer accounts for 10.2% of all Westie mortalities, or almost the same number as for respiratory disease. However, cancer is a very common cause of death across all dog breeds, often being the main one; and an occurrence rate of a touch over one in ten is actually quite low, particularly when factoring in the Westie’s long average lifespan.

Spinal cord disorders are the third most common cause of death in Westies

Accounting for the cause of death in 7.8% of West Highland white terriers is spinal cord disease, but even so, the condition is not common enough nor thought to be caused by a hereditary risk factor so as to be considered anomalous or of great concern in the breed population overall.

West Highland White terriers are middle of the road in terms of purchase costs

Finally, as of January 2020 the average advertised price for pedigree West Highland white terriers for sale in the UK was £785 each, and for non-pedigrees, £559 each.

With the broad average across breeds of a similar size being around the £600-£700 mark, this places the Westie firmly in the middle of the pack in terms of cost to buy.



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