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West Highland White Terrier

Origin

The West Highland White Terrier originates from Poltalloch, Scotland and was once called the Poltalloch Terrier and later was called the Roseneath Terrier, named after the Duke of Argyll’s estate. The breed came about in the mid 19th century when a Scottish breeder of the Cairn Terrier whelped some white pups in his litters.

Those pups were selected and bred to obtain the West Highland White Terrier, which is simply a white Cairn. In 1909 the breeds name was changed from the Roseneath Terrier to the West Highland White Terrier. Like the Cairn, the Westie was originally bred for controlling the population of rats, fox, badger, otter and other vermin.

Description

The West Highland White Terrier, often simply called the Westie, is a small, sturdy dog. The head is in proportion to the body and when viewed from the front gives off a round appearance. The blunt muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull and tapers towards the nose. There is a defined stop. The nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite with teeth that are large in proportion to the dog.

The almond-shaped, deep-set, dark brown eyes are set wide apart. The ears are erect set wide apart on top of the head, triangular in shape coming to a point. The legs are somewhat short but not too low to the ground. The tail is relatively short, about 12.5-15 cm, long, thicker at the base and tapering to a point. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The double coat has a straight, hard outer coat that is about 5 cm long with a soft, dense undercoat. Coat colours are solid white.

Temperament

West Highland White Terriers are game and hardy little terriers, which are easy to train. They have friendly personalities, are fairly friendly toward strangers and get along well with children. This dog is easy to travel with.

They are lively and extremely self-assured toward other dogs, but will not start fights as long as their owners display proper leadership. They may chase a cat for fun, and need to be corrected if they do attempt this. The West Highland White Terrier is robust, friendly and spirited. They love companionship. Despite their size, they make a very good watchdog. The Westie likes to dig and bark. If a Westie is allowed to think it is pack leader they may snap when irritated and be aggressive towards other dogs.

A lack of leadership on the owners part can cause many behavioural problems, such as biting, guarding food and possessions. A West Highland White Terrier who has an owner who knows how to display firm, confident, consistent, leadership will not experience behavioural problems.

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs 25-30cm Bitches 23-28cm.
Weight: Dogs 7-10kg Bitches 6-7kg.

Health Problems

The West Highland White Terrier can be prone to chronic hernias, liver disease Legg-Perthes disease (hip problems), jawbone calcification and skin problems.

Living Conditions

The West Highland White Terrier can be prone to chronic hernias, liver disease Legg-Perthes disease (hip problems), jawbone calcification and skin problems.

Exercise

These little dogs need daily walks. Play will take care of some of their exercise requirements; however, as with all dog breeds, play will not fulfil their primal instinct to walk. They will also enjoy a good run in a safe open area off the lead such as a park or the open country side.

Life Expectancy

About 15 or more years

Grooming

Grooming The harsh, straight, short-haired double coat is fairly easy to groom and losses little to no hair. Simply brush regularly with a stiff bristle brush. Brushing should keep the coat clean, so bathe only when necessary. Trim around the ears and eyes with blunt-nosed scissors. The whole coat should be trimmed about every four months and stripped twice a year.

Group

Grooming The harsh, straight, short-haired double coat is fairly easy to groom and losses little to no hair. Simply brush regularly with a stiff bristle brush. Brushing should keep the coat clean, so bathe only when necessary. Trim around the ears and eyes with blunt-nosed scissors. The whole coat should be trimmed about every four months and stripped twice a year.

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