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West Highland Terrier

History

The West Highland Terrier, or simply Westie, was used in fox and badger hunting as well as vermin control. They are a small and compact little dog with dense fur and a short tail. They were originally called the Poltalloch Terrier, they were first registered with the modern name in 1908.

Behaviour

Westies are independent, contended and endlessly curious dogs. They enjoy company and are make great family dogs. They tolerate children if shown respect, but may turn snappy with less respectful children. They have lots of energy and need plenty of exercise - more than you might guess for such a small dog. Recall is good in this breed once they are trained, but like most terriers they have a strong prey drive, and will chase anything small and furry! They need mental stimulation within the home, and without it they can turn destructive. They thrive on different forms of training, although they can be stubborn, and they like to push boundaries, and will want to be boss. They bond closely with their owners and like to please,

Westies are very sociable and like playing with other dogs and people. They may be aggressive with other dogs if not properly introduced, and they are fearless, not backing down from any other dog, even if it is much bigger than them. They tend to bark a lot and make good watchdogs, always alerting you when someone is at the door. They love ball games and like to dig and splash around in puddles, which can soon mess up their white coats.

Getting Westies accustomed to baths and grooming at an early age is vital. They need brushing twice a week and clipping/stripping every few months to keep their white coat looking good.

Temperament

The Westie is an independent, happy and curious little dog. They enjoy the company of humans and do well in a family environment. They get along fine with respectful children, but they do have their limits and won’t tolerate rough play. They tend to be fine with strangers. Despite their small size, Westies have heaps of energy and need a fair amount of exercise each day

Health Problems

Health wise, as a breed they can suffer from epidermal dysplasia (a nasty skin condition). Specialist food can sometimes help with this. Westies can also suffer from Craniomandibular Osteopathy which is hereditary. Other possible issues include allergies, copper toxicosis (build up of copper in the liver which can be fatal), eye diseases, lysosomal storage disease (degenerative disease of nervous system), luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap), Legg Calvé Perthes disease (degeneration of the femoral head which can cause lameness and joint swelling), canine hip dysplasia (CHD), deafness and digestive diseases.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 16 years
  • Weight: 15 - 20 lb
  • Height: 10 - 11"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
  • Size: Small
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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West Highland Terrier Pictures

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