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What Is A Westie? West Highland Terrier

Updated on April 11, 2013

What Is A Westie? The West Highland Terrier

The The West Highland Terrier or Westie is a Scottish breed of dog from the terrier family. They are famous for thier all white coat, and let's face it, an extremely cute face! The West Highland Terrier is an earth dog, and was originally bred to hunt and root out small animals (rodents) from their holes. They are active, friendly, with a strong prey drive, and for the most part good with children. Let's look a little closer at the Westie, by taking a look at my dog Finn. Read on...

All images are the property of kimark421 (that's me!)


The West Highland Terrier or "Westie"

Meet Finnegan, or Finn for short. Yes, I know that Finnegan is an Irish name, but we liked it. Finn is an energetic one and a half year old West Highland Terrier or Westie. Weighing in at 16 pounds, he is on the smaller end of the breed standard, which ranges from 15-24 pounds. He is average height for a Westie (just over 10 inches). He has the Westie famous bright, dark eyes, and solid white coat with a black nose and erect ears. He is muscular and solid, and is what you would call a rough and tumble little dog.

If you're looking for a lap dog, then the Westie isn't for you!

So, now that we have the physical characteristics out of the way, let's talk about how Finn is (and isn't) "breed standard" for a Westie...

Westie Behavior

Let's take a look at typical Westie behavior, and see how Finn compares:

1. Westies are, for the most part, good with children, however they will not tolerate being handled roughly. If you are considering a Westie, and have small children, I would advise against this breed. This description fits Finn perfectly.

2. Westies shed very little. We don't find very many little white Finn hairs laying around.

3. Westies are energetic and curious. Again, this fits Finn perfectly.

4. Westies are tenacious and hard headed. True again, and this could pose some problems with training. Your Westie will probably require more patience in training than many dogs, and may require "refresher" courses now and then,

5. Westies are friendly with people (strangers). This isn't true with Finn, and he is actually scared of people until he gets to know them.

6. Westies are barkers. This isn't true with Finn either, as he very seldom barks.

7. Westies have a strong "prey drive". This is definiteley Finn, and could cause you problems if you have your Westie out in the yard off-leash.

8. Westies are food and/or toy aggressive. Finn possesses neither of these traits. (Personally I believe that ANY breed of dog can have these two problems. There are ways to train them out of it.)

All in all, Westies make a great family dog, but there are some potential health issues that you should be aware of...

Westie Dog Beds!!

Okay, these will work for any small dog...


Potential Westie Health Problems

There are some potential health problems that are associated with Westies, and they are as follows:

1. Some Westie puppies can be affected by Craniomandibular osteopathy, or lions jaw. This usually occurs between 3-8 months of age. but the puppy can only contract this if BOTH parents carry the faulty gene that causes this. Click on the link for the disease for more information.

2. Westies are prone to skin disorders, including Hyperplastic Dermatosis.

3. An inherited genetic disease globoid cell leukodystrophy

Image from the AKC website-click on the Westie for AKC Westie info!


Thinking About A New Dog For Your Home?

Consider Rescuing A Homeless Dog

If you are considering a new pet for your home, then consider this...there are literally MILLIONS of homeless dogs and cats that need a good home, and will give you years of love in return. . If you are looking for a certain breed, or a designer dog, they are available too. Yes, adopting a pet can be a serious pain in the patootie, and the process you have to go through might make you think you are applying for a job at the CIA, but the good folks at your local dog rescue are just trying to assure that once adopted, the dog will stay adopted and in a loving home. No, you can't just walk in and pay your money like the pet store at the mall, but then again, you won't be supporting your local puppy mill.

Adopt a Pet!!!

What To Do About Dog Poop...

Okay, okay. so this list will include exactly zero dog breeds. But, getting rid of dog poop is a consideration for many dog owners. How about a "green" way to dispose of dog waste? Take a look at one of my other lenses: Biodegradable FLUSHABLE Dog Poop Bags. That's right, they're flushable! Now THAT is convenient!

West Highland Terrier Breed Standards

If you would like to know more about the AKC breed standards for the West Highland Terrier, visit this AKC West Highland Terrier Page

Amazing Westie Sized Doggie Beds!

Check out these amazing doggie beds, or use the search box to browse at your leisure...

Give Us A Shout (An Arf Will Do!)

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    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      What a cute little mutt. He wouldn't stay that white at my place for long :-)

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 4 years ago

      Your photo looks so much like my Dudley. BTW, I added this lens to my list of other Westie lenses on my lens about my westie. :-)

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 4 years ago

      I have a Westie too. We just love him. Our Westie, Dudley

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      We've alwas liked the westie as a possible pet. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Oh, my goodness, how adorable in Finn. Love the pictures.

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      A terrier is a small dog with a big heart!

    • LiliLove profile image

      LiliLove 4 years ago

      Westies are adorable - great page! Merry Christmas from one dog lover to another :)!

    • csk305 profile image

      csk305 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your lense. Westies are sooo cute.

    • Thankfultw profile image

      Thankfultw 5 years ago

      I love Westies! I can see you do too! Fun and easy to read lens!

    • FionaCarroll profile image

      Fiona Carroll 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I am also going to post this cute blog to FB as Sydneysiders will all understand the question "What's a Westie? " but shall all have the wrong answer. Until they read this! Who knows, it might even generate some traffic your way?

    • FionaCarroll profile image

      Fiona Carroll 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Being called a "westie" is quite the insult where I come from.It's a socio- economic thing. Who says Australia is an eglatarian society? Anyway I digress. I am so pleased to see these cute little dogs restoring honour to the name! Great lens. I want one of these l'il doggies.

    • Go-Modern profile image

      Go-Modern 5 years ago

      Millie my Westie doesnt like children, is fine with food & toys, isnt a barker, is tenacious & nosy, likes (adult) people & is fantastic company..these a great dogs!

    • WildWilliams profile image

      WildWilliams 5 years ago

      Arf arf...

    • profile image

      josephpowell519 5 years ago

      Great lens, I really enjoyed it :) i've given this a like.

      I think you might enjoy a few of mine too.

    • alexaa7x profile image

      alexaa7x 5 years ago

    • profile image

      transcriptioncity 5 years ago

      I just love dogs!

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      I love Westies! They the cousins to the Scottish Terriers!!! :) They have so many similar traits. My Older Scottie has a girl friend Westie named Josie. They are too cute together, black and white...

    • TheHealthCabin profile image

      TheHealthCabin 5 years ago

      I'm a great Westie fan and we have been waiting for our youngest to become old enough so we can have one. He is Autistic and i worry he will be too rough with a dog. Westies are so loyal and loving i can't wait! Great Lens, Thank you.