West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

11 July 2023

Let's talk about... West Highland White Terriers: what are they?

  • West Highland White Terriers, or Westies for short, are a delightful and charismatic breed that originated in Scotland.
  • They were originally bred for hunting small game, particularly rodents.
  • Westies are known for their distinctive white coats that are dense and double-layered.
  • They have a sturdy and compact build, with an average height of 28 cm and a weight ranging from 6 to 9 kg.
  • West Highland White Terriers have a life expectancy of around 12-16 years.
West Highland White Terrier  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of West Highland White Terriers like?

  • Westies are known for their bold, confident, and affectionate nature.
  • They have a charming personality and are always ready to join in on the fun.
  • They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on companionship.
  • Westies are generally good with children but may not tolerate rough handling.
  • Early socialisation is essential to help them become well-rounded and comfortable around other dogs and animals.
  • They can be a bit stubborn at times, so consistent and positive training methods work best.
Dora, the West Highland White Terrier

How much exercise do West Highland White Terriers need?

  • West Highland White Terriers have moderate exercise needs and should receive around 30-60 minutes of exercise per day.
  • They enjoy daily walks, interactive play sessions, and mental stimulation.
  • While they have energy to spare, they are not as demanding as some high-energy breeds. They also enjoy exploring their surroundings, so providing a safe and secure outdoor
  • Westies appreciate a balance between physical activities and mental enrichment, such as puzzle toys or obedience training.
  • area is beneficial.
  • West Highland White Terrier puppies have plenty of energy and curiosity.
  • However, their growing bodies require controlled exercise to avoid stressing their developing bones and joints.
  • Puppies should have several short play sessions throughout the day, totalling around 20-30 minutes.
  • Gentle activities such as supervised indoor play, short walks, and basic obedience training are suitable for their age.
  • Avoid intense exercise or long walks until their bones are fully developed, usually around 9-12 months.
  • Consult with your veterinarian for specific exercise recommendations based on your puppy's age and development.
Millie, the West Highland White Terrier

Do West Highland White Terriers need a lot of grooming?

  • West Highland White Terriers have a distinctive white double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.
  • Their coats consist of a dense, harsh outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat.
  • They should be brushed at least two to three times per week to remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • Professional grooming every 6-8 weeks is recommended to maintain their coat's texture and appearance.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Skye, the West Highland White Terrier

Are West Highland White Terriers easy to train?

  • West Highland White Terriers are intelligent dogs with a touch of independent spirit.
  • While they are generally eager to please, they can have a stubborn streak, which may make training a bit challenging.
  • Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key when training Westies.
  • They respond well to reward-based training methods that involve treats, praise, and play.
  • Early socialisation and ongoing training help them become well-behaved and obedient companions.
  • Keep training sessions interesting and varied to prevent boredom.
Stanley, the West Highland White Terrier

What do West Highland White Terriers eat?

  • West Highland White Terriers should be fed a balanced, high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
  • Most do well being fed twice daily.
  • Puppies have specific nutritional requirements for growth, and they should be fed a specially formulated puppy food until they reach their full adult size, usually around 9-12 months.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, then this can be reduced to twice daily.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust their portion sizes accordingly to prevent obesity.
  • Treats should be given in moderation and as part of their overall daily calorie intake.

Are West Highland White Terriers healthy?

West Highland White Terriers are generally a healthy breed, but they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some of the health concerns that can affect Westies include:

Bones and Joints

  • Craniomandibular osteopathy - This is a bone disorder that can affect the jaw, causing pain and difficulty in eating
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Dry eye - an ongoing condition where the tear glands in the eyes don’t produce enough protective tear film, which can lead to discomfort, infections and damage of the eye


  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis - the lungs become inflamed, scarred and thickened, resulting in signs including difficulty breathing and coughing


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your dog or want to discuss further if a Westie is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves West Highland White Terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 6606 Westie members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

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West Highland White Terrier

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