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The West Highland White Terrier is a small,
sturdy, spunky and compact dog originally
bred to hunt small game. The breed is believed
to have originated in Poltalloch, Scotland
in the nineteenth century. The most popular
legend of how the breed came to be, tells
us the distinctive all white coat is credited
to Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm. It is
believed Malcolm desired an all white terrier
after one of his dogs with a reddish coat
was mistaken for a fox and was shot. It
was at that moment, legend states, that
Malcolm decided to make it his mission to
produce an all white terrier which would
easily stand out during the hunt. Another
version of how the West Highland Terrier,
or Westie for short, originated was by luck.
This story claims that also in the nineteenth
century, among a breeder's litter of Cairn
Terriers, there were several all white puppies.
The breeder then selectively bred them to
maintain the desirable all white coat. Regardless
of which story is true, many are in agreement
that in addition to Cairn Terriers, Scotties
and Dandie Dinmonts are also very likely
related to the West Highland White Terrier.
In 1907, The West Highland White Terrier
was first shown in London at the Crufts
dog show and in 1908, the breed was officially
recognized by the American Kennel Club in
the Terrier Group.
The ideal height of a West Highland White
Terrier is Ideal height is 10 to 11 inches
(25 - 28 cm) at withers. Females are generally
just a bit shorter than males.
The weight of a West Highland White Terrier
can range between 15 - 20 pounds (7 - 9
kg) for males and and 13 - 16 pounds (6
- 7 kg) for females.
Type: The West Highland
White Terrier has a double coat. The top
coat is about 2 inches (5 cm) long, harsh
and straight. The shorter undercoat lies
close and is soft. Regular brushing is necessary
to help keep the coat in good condition
and helps reduce shedding. West Highland
White Terriers are very light shedders.
The color of West Highland
White Terrier's coat is all white.
The West Highland White Terrier is charming,
hardy and robust. This mischievious breed
is also feisty, proud, keen and friendly.
The White Terrier makes an excellent and
enjoyable family pet and does well with
well behaved and respectful children. Westies
are very smart, learn quickly and respond
best to positive training methods. However,
they can become easily bored, therefore,
creative training is also recommended. A
West Highland White Terrier needs to have
an owner which is their pack leader. This
breed is alert and makes a good watchdog.
Westies have lots of energy and need to
be exercised daily - but be warned, his
favorite form of exercise is digging! The
Westie enjoys country or city life and on
a last note, they're great little vermin
Concerns: The West Highland
Terrier is generally a healthy breed, although
there are several concerns which include
Craniomandibular osteopathy or lion jaw
(is a non-cancerous bony growth), Westie
Lung Disease (or pulmonary fibrosis), skin
and allergy problems and White Shakers Syndrome
which small dogs are prone to. The average
life span of a West Highland White Terrier
is between 12 - 15 years.
• The West Highland White Terrier
was initially named Poltalloch Terrier,
but was also referred to as Roseneath Terrier.
When this breed was first shown in the U.S.
in 1906, it was under the Roseneath Terrier
name. In 1909, the name was permanently
changed to the West Highland White Terrier.
• Black & White scotch whisky
features a white and black dog its label.
The white dog is a West Highland White Terrier
- the black dog is a Scottish Terrier. The
Westie is also featured on the Cesar brand
AKC: Terrier Group
ANKC: Terrier Group 2
CKC: Group 4 Terriers
FCI: Group 3 Section 2 Small-sized Terriers