Skip to main content

Facts About Westies

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

We're a couple in Scotland with a Scottish Terrier of our own.

FACTS

  • Lifespan: 12 - 16 years
  • Weight Male::6 - 9kg Female:6 - 9kg
  • Height Male::25 - 28cm Female: 25 - 28cm
  • Pedigree: Yes
  • Breed group: Terrier
  • Nicknames: West Highland White Terrier; Westie; Westy; Poltalloch Terrier; Roseneath Terrier; White Roseneath Terrier
  • Features:

    Upright ears (naturally - however some have been known to stay floppy - our very own still haven't popped up yet, and there are no health concerns.

    Coat: Short; double coat, hard coat, straight; White
  • Overall Grooming Needs: High
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes! Little to no casting!
  • Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
  • Energy Level: Very energetic
  • Tendency to Drool: Low
  • Tendency to Snore: Low
  • Tendency to Bark: High
  • Tendency to Dig: High
  • Social/Attention Needs: High
  • Bred For: Fox, badger, vermin hunting

Westie

  • The infamous Wesite is formally known as a West Highland White Terrier.
  • The Scottish, cairn and West Highland white terriers came from common stock with different fanciers culling different colors.
  • Consistently, one of the most popular breeds and for very good reason!
  • Super cute, happy, fun-loving, outgoing and adventurous!
  • Great family pet, companion dog and always do well making appearances in shows.
  • Very intelligent and love to please which means training can be easy, however they do have a bit of a stubborn streak in them (commonly known as WESTITUDE!).
  • Known to get on well with children and love nothing more than to be part of a family, however extra care has to be taken when a Westie is around smaller animals and pets because they are terriers, their instinct is hunt remains very strong even in a home environment.
  • Despite their lovely white fluffy double coats looking spectacular, they love nothing more than to dig and roll around in mud or worse (fox poo)
  • Form strong ties with their owners which can lead to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time, especially without enrichment toys to keep them occupied.

Our Experience

My husband is allergic to dogs and we had come to the conclusion that we would probably never be able to get a dog, never mind his favourite cheeky wee terrier Westie.

That was until we moved house and met our neighbours cockapoo, we discovered he wasn't allergic to him - this was surprising and I felt a great sign as I have always had dogs and missed having a furry child running around.

So I started doing my research and was looking at possibly getting one, however we just weren't feeling 100% convinced we would end up with a hypogenic one like our neighbours as they are a mixed breed. Not completely disheartened knowing we could at least play with the neighbours dog, we temporarily gave up.

That was until the neighbour's had a little visitor and it was a Westie. It was then our hearts melted seeing my husband was not allergic we had a better chance with a pure bred.

We started looking at breeders and put our names downs on a few waiting lists and was told there was a long wait as Westies are very popular, we weren't in a rush as we were getting married but wanted to at least find a reputable breeder and let them get to know us to.

We got talking with a breeder who didn't live hundreds of miles away and was very thorough with her vetting.

We were told puppies were due around our Wedding Day, but they did not turn up for a few days later. We were super excited, but still knew there was a chance we might not be able to have one of the puppies especially if my husband was allergic to them. Our breeder was well aware of this and was very supportive.

After a few weeks we went to go visit the breeder with the pups and their mum. We interacted with the dogs, asked all the questions we could think of to the breeder and it was very promising. My husband is usually very allergic to both the fur and saliva, and thankfully he was totally fine with all the pups and their mother.

Needless to say about 5 weeks later we brought our little bundle of fluff home!

She learned most of basic commands and potty training in the first week or two which was great. She slept through the night and was surprisingly great for not destroying toys or furniture etc

However, when it comes to Westitude, she definitely has it in spades! She is very affectionate BUT only when she wants to be and will be very stubborn when it comes to things like recall (most of the time she is great, as long as there are no seagulls, puppies to play with or rodents around).

Scroll to Continue

Unlike her peers, she is rather fussy with her food. It took us getting a second pup (more on that later) that got her eating regularly.

She gets a predominantly high protein diet (various meats), with some kibble in between and other goodies such as fish oil, sprats, pumpkin and chia seeds, bone broth, kefir yoghurt, blueberries, liver and other bits and bobs that are safe for dogs. She maintains a very healthy body weight and her coat is so soft and bright white.

She goes to professional groomer every 6 weeks or so for a bath, blow dry, de-shed and trim. In between these she has a bath at home every couple of weeks and daily brushing. She loves her groomer and gets so excited to go in (probably because she is a pamper pooch and loves getting the 1 to 1 attention).

We started taking her at 12 weeks for a bath and blow dry to get her used to the sounds, smells and being left with a stranger for an hour or so who would be handing her. At six months old she was able to have a proper groom. We have found because her coat is so soft and tangle free she very rarely gets any knots and dirt once dry just falls off of her, which is handy since she loves to get dirty!

She LOVES to dig, my plants and grass was suffering and instead of getting angry I realised she needed that outlet and it was only natural behaviour so instead we set up a "sand pit" where she could dig away safely. She took to it straight away and my plants now get to live another day (as long as I don't plant any in a low flower bed) - of note Geraniums apparently must be very appealing look or smell wise as she didn't just dig them up and tore them out and flung them around like she was tossing a caber or competing in the hammer throw at the Highland Games.

She has NO FEAR! it doesn't matter if she's walking high up on a ledge, or playing with dogs 10 times her size she has fun pushing those boundaries and enjoys being as adventurous as we let her.

From day 1 we took her in the car for long and short journeys getting her used to settling and resting in her seat knowing we went to all sorts of places like parks, beaches, family, friends and the vets. She only has positive associations when going in the car (even to the vets where she gets lots of attention and treats!). The only time she really makes a fuss is if she's really needing to relieve herself and even then a quick pit stop she will get back in and settle back down. She will occasionally look out the window, but doesn't bark or become disruptive, she will just quietly observe, chew on her toys or sometimes snuggle up to her little brother.



WESTIE GROUPS

There are many Westie Groups on Facebook and many individuals even have an Instagram these days.

One of the ones we follow is Westies of Glasgow where a monthly walk is organised. The event changes locations around Glasgow for people from all over the place to get there either by car or public transport.

It tends to be the same people that turn up every month, we humans found it great to ask others about experiences and advice as our Westie was our first and despite lots of research online, sometimes it is just easier to ask other owners for their experiences.

So if you are in and around Glasgow look up the group and we will hopefully meet you on one of the walks!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Kally

Related Articles