West Highland White Terrier
[Nickname - Westies]
West Highland White Terrier Description
The West Highland White Terrier is a sweet, elegant looking dog, and is small, sturdy, and hardy. He has a very appealing expression, with his dark eyes and black button nose. The coat of the West Highland White Terrier is soft and dense underneath, with a wiry outer coat. The coloring of these dogs is solid white, hence the name.
An adaptable, intelligent, and confident little dog, the West Highland White Terrier has become an enormously popular family pet over the years. These spirited creatures thrive on the affection, interaction, and companionship of their owners, and have bags of energy to burn up. This is not the right choice of pet for those with little time or inclination to be active, as they do need a fair amount of exercise, preferably interactive play and activity. The West Highland White Terrier is courageous, inquisitive, and loves to chase, which means that he must be supervised in a safe and secure area when he is not on a leash. These dogs can be a little arrogant, stubborn, and demanding, and are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. They are very intelligent, eager to please, and quick to learn, which makes training less of a challenge. They also have excellent problem solving skills.
The West Highland White Terrier will bark to raise an alarm, which makes him an effective watchdog. They love to dig, and many are a little too fond of the sound of their own bark, so be prepared for anything but a quiet life. The West Highland White Terrier can have a possessive streak when it comes to his food and belongings. He tends to try to dominant same sex dogs. He does not get along well with cats at all. Because of his high prey instinct, he will avidly chase and probably catch smaller running creatures and should not be trusted around them. The Westie tends to get along with visitors, and is fine around older, gentle children. Younger kids may be too boisterous and rough for his liking.
The grooming requirements for the West Highland White Terrier can be fairly extensive. You will need to brush his coat around twice a week, and you may need to get the coat trimmed or clipped every few months. Show dogs will need to have the dead coat stripped every few months. The hair around the bottom needs to be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, and monthly bathing is also recommended. When groomed properly the West Highland White Terrier is a low shedder, and may therefore suit those with allergies.
Originating in the highlands of Scotland, many breeds have the West Highland White Terrier blood line in them, all originating back to the early 1800's with each breed deriving their name from the areas of their origin. These short-legged Scotland terriers are now known as the Scottish, Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers--and all were bred as small game hunters. Not raised as pets alone, each breed of terrier was a working dog and had a specific purpose-keeping vermin in control for the Scotland villages, coalmines, mills, farms, and homes. Zestful diggers and hunters as they were, flower gardens and vegetable patches today presents a challenge to these little hunters.
Originally these dogs had colors which ranged from red to cream, and cream to white. Because one of his red dogs were killed emerging from the hunt, Colonel Edward Donald Malcom, of Poltlloch, Argyllshire, Scotland, bred his hunting lines down to white because of that situation. This brought on the Poltlloch White Terrier, or eventually the West Highland White Terrier. Up until that time, all white terriers were killed immediately at birth.
In 1907, the Westie breed was listed as the West Highland White Terrier at the Crufts dog show in England. The name was derived from the rugged character of the terrier dog, and the area of which it was developed. In 1909, the West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded as a member club of the American Kennel Club.
Intelligent as the West Highland White Terrier is, it is important to understand the whole concept of the Westie personality and essence of who they are. One article says it all, "The Westie is really a big dog inside a small dog's body." The dog has the personality that is spunky, intelligent, bold, independent, lots of self-esteem--and stubborn. These varied qualities of the little Westie terrier breed in mind, will help prepare a person for the beginning "fun of training a Westie."
If a Westie is given too much at once, the breed will quickly develop the ability to acquire the upper hand, becoming bossy and aggressive to the point of becoming aggressive and snapping or biting. The assertive nature of the Westie, notwithstanding its intelligence, needs to be properly understood to avoid any behavior issues that could develop. But before any training begins, the thing to know before starting is whether it suffers any negative setbacks such as lack of companionship, lack of discipline, activity, or exercise. If none of these are available, then the Westie can become very destructive if left alone.
Some commands are more important than others-at least to begin with. The West Highland should know the five basic commands plus some-come, heel, sit, down, and stay. Combining them to form a sit-stay and down-stay is also very beneficial for a dog such as the Westie with an overwhelming attraction to people combined with high energy. Stay firm yet positive, always ending every training session with a command the dog does know, even after spending an hour or so learning new ones.
There are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed. This includes Legg-Perthes, cataracts, CMO, vWD, seizures, allergies, and luxating patella. The parents of the West Highland White Terrier puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates. They should also be screened for GDC and luxating patella.