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West Highland White Terrier

The sharp contrast of sparkling dark eyes and button nose, against crisp white fur and sharply pricked ears gives the West Highland White Terrier or ‘Westie’ an attractive appearance. With a compact body, fox-like head and hard, shaggy double coat, the Westie is unmistakable for any other breed. 

12 – 16 years
7 – 10kg
25 – 30cm
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed may encounter health problems

The West Highland White Terrier breed can suffer from:
- Patellar luxation
- Legg-Perthes disease 
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) which is a painful condition where the tear gland stops working properly. 
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which is a type of lung disease.
- Craniomandibular osteopathy which is a disease that affects young dogs and causes abnormal bone growth, particularly in the jaw bones.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.


Courageous, cheeky, jaunty and affectionate, loyal to their families and friends, the Westie is understandably an appealing little dog. Perfectly capable of being trained to a high level with the right encouragement, they still retain that working terrier nature, willing to take on foe many times their size. Not afraid to be confrontational, the Westie is a good watch dog, alerting the whole household loudly to anything they believe constitutes ‘trouble’.

Did You Know?

  • With their bright white coat and dark eyes and nose, the Westie been a long-standing favourite of artists and advertisers for many years. From Gallant the Westie who featured in artist Marjorie Turner’s works in the early 1900’s, to the Black & White Scotch whisky brand, Rheingold beer and as the face of several dog food brands, the Westies attractive face is undeniably appealing.  
  • They also appeal to celebrities and even royals with owners having included HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Matthew McConaughey, Whoopi Goldberg Hugh Laurie and many others.
  • Despite their small size they have an incredibly loud bark. Interestingly, they were actually bred this way so that if they ever got stuck underground when hunting, their owner could locate them. 
  • West Highland Terriers have very sensitive skin on their ears and they can get sunburnt – so make sure you pop on some dog-safe sunscreen! 
  • Westie’s were developed to have a super strong tail that they can be pulled out by if they ever get stuck in a hole.  
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