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How To Choose A West Highland White Terrier

Updated on November 30, 2016

Westies makes a great addition to most families.

The West Highland White terrier are known to be light hearted little dogs that have big personalities.

So, you have decided you are going to purchase a West Highland White terrier, a "Westie". Westies are wonderful little light-hearted dogs that are quick to learn, and as a rule very self sufficient with wonderful unique personalities.

Westies are lovable, but will never be mistaken for a lap dog. If you are looking for a cuddly lap dog, a Westie may not be the right breed for you. The breed is notoriously independent, and won't tolerate being held for very long periods. They like to be in close proximity to their human family, but they also need their own space. As a rule, when a Westie chooses a sleeping area they will seek out a private space, the space may be well away from the family. This sleeping area will most likely be somewhat protected on three sides; they like to "cover their backs" when they sleep. Naturally there are exceptions to this rule. If the dog is taught to be a bit of a lap dog, it will most likely be a lap dog. However, the Westie is not a natural lap dog. They like to call the shots, and can be a bit aloof.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Westie

When purchasing a West Highland White terrier most pet owners prefer to buy a young puppy, and train the dog themselves. This can be rewarding. If buying a puppy, make sure you are home regularly enough to train the puppy properly. Westies are easy to train, but someone has to be in the home to do the training. Remember, it can be a frustrating and time consuming task to train a puppy. The other option is to purchase a dog that is a bit older, and has already been trained by the breeder. This is a good option, and many breeders can accommodate with a dog that is a little older and trained.

Finding A Good West Highland White Breeder


How To Choose A Breeder

Choosing a reputable breeder is very important. It is impossible to know when picking out your particular puppy just how that dog will turn out emotionally and physically. This is the best reason to find a good reputable breeder. A good breeder strives to breed healthy dogs that will exhibit traits that are natural to the dog they chose to breed. There are three choices when it comes to breeders; pet shop breeders, backyard breeders, and serious hobby breeders.

The pet shop breeder is the worst possible choice you can make when buying a dog. The puppies are poorly bred, and are thought of as merchandise to be sold for at a high profit. This form of breeding as a rule puts out sickly, unstable dogs, and I highly recommend you stay clear of pet shop breeders.

The backyard breeder can also be a poor choice. This type of breeder may be a Westie owner that thought it would be "fun" to have puppies. They know little about puppies and the training of puppies. As a rule they are not well acquainted with the stud dogs, and can offer little information on his background. They are unaware of the history of the breed, and any special needs of a given breed. To sum it up, they are ill-equipped to breed dogs, and lack the knowledge one needs to be a good breeder.

Your best choice when buying a dog is to find a serious hobby breeder. They have done their homework on the breed they are selling. As a rule, they are dog fanciers and do not look at breeding as a profit-only venture. They are breeding for show dogs. They strive to breed the best of their chosen breed. They will take responsibility for any and all pups produced, and stand behind their dogs. You can be assured the dogs are healthy, and have been given all the veterinary care they need as puppies along with proper training. A good breeder of Westies will belong to the "West Highland White Terrier Club of America", and/or other well known Westie Clubs. They will most likely be involved in showing their dogs. A good breeder will ask you questions, and be very discriminating on the homes their puppies go to. They will guarantee their puppies, with an agreement to take the puppy back if for some reason you find you are not compatible with your new puppy. They will give you time to have the puppy looked at by a veterinarian of your choice, just to ensure there are no health problems looming, and that the puppy is in a good healthy condition.

A good breeder will have numerous references. They will be able to provide you with such references, in the way of other persons that have purchased dogs from them, along with their own veterinarians references. The breeder should be able to answer questions on the breed, and show a good knowledge of the breed's history. The breeder should also provide written instructions in regard to the puppy's needs. Diet, exercise, and health care needs as a puppy and adult dog. The kennels should be clean, providing the dogs with a healthy environment. The dogs should be comfortable with the breeder, and show a good rapport with them. The dogs in the kennels should be of good temperament, and healthy in appearance. The good breeder will never sell a puppy that is too young to leave its mother.

And finally, the breeder should provide you with a record of the dates and types of vaccinations and worming that has been done on your puppy, along with any and all records on visits to the vet the puppy may have required while in the breeder's care. It is also desirable to ask questions on the health of the parent dogs. The breeder must provide you with A 3- to 5-generation pedigree, and a "blue slip" to apply for registration of the Westie into the AKA.

Deciding Whether To Purchase A Male Or Female Westie?

Male or female? In regard to temperament, there is little or no difference between the two in the Westie breed. It is said that Westie males are more affectionate than female Westies. The female is smaller and lighter, so easier to control on a walk or carry when necessary.

Characteristics To look For When Choosing Your West Highland White Puppy


Characteristics To Look For When Choosing Your Westie

Westies' ears stand up naturally at each side of their fluffy, happy face. At the opposite end, a perky short tail, which by nature's design comes to a gradual point. As adults, it is desirable for the male Westie to be 11 inches in height; the female 10 inches in height. A Westies coat should be pure white. They have a double coat; the undercoat being soft and fluffy, the top coat a bit coarse and wiry. This dual coat is natural to the Westie. The breed was developed and bread for a hard and dangerous job - that of hunting out and killing vermin. So the dual coat provides the Westie a good natural form of protection, not only from the elements, but the claws and teeth of its prey. The dry texture of the Westies coat also works to cut down on doggy odor. Due to this dryer coat they require less baths. They can be kept clean with frequent brushing and dry cleaning (this is done by adding a bit of cornstarch to the dog's coat, brushing it out after a few minutes.)

What To look For When You Go To Pick Your Westie


All Puppies Are Cute

Once you have found a trustworthy breeder here are a few tips on choosing the right puppy.

Age is important; a puppy is usually ready to be taken to its new home at the age of eight to twelve weeks. You may find that all Westie pups look alike; they pretty much do all look alike. Look for a puppy with a sturdy build. The dog should feel firm, with good muscle tone. Their legs should be straight. The pup should be active when picked up, squirmy, after a short time relaxing and willing to be petted and cuddled a bit. Their coats should be thick and clean. There should be no discharge from eyes, nose or ears, and no odor at the ears. The eyes should be bright, with an alert look. The gums should be moist and pink. The dog should be active with the other pups. It's a good idea to ask the breeder about the puppy's personality. They can help you pick a dog that will be suited to your needs and your personality.

It"s always smart to observe the dam for her individual traits. Does she appear overly shy, aggressive, stand-offish. Is she patient and watchful of the puppies, and not overly aggressive of the liter? Do the parent dogs look in good health? Are their coats healthy and do they appear active with good stamina? It is well known puppies can and do inherit traits from the parent dogs.

If you do your homework, you are more likely to pick just the right dog. The Westie is a wonderful breed. They are bright, happy spirited dogs, and will bring with them their own special outgoing personality. They will fast become your best friend .


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