Profile of the West Highland Terrier: A Loyal Companion

West Highland Terrier Dog

The West Highland terrier is also known as the "Westie" and the "Highlander." This breed is a hardy, rugged outdoor hunting dog. The Westie is one of the most popular companion dogs in the U.S.

West Highland Terrier Breed Overview

The breed originated in Scotland in the nineteenth century from Cairn terriers. The Westie was bred in a specific region in Scotland known as the Highlands. Breeders developed this little terrier to follow and destroy agricultural pests living in the terrain of his homeland.

Origin and History

This breed was developed in the Scottish Highlands in the nineteenth century and claimed the same ancestors as other Scottish breeds, including the Cairn terrier and Skye terrier. The Westie hunts fox, otter, badger, and rodents.


The Highlander is not a lap dog! This breed needs plenty of time with family members and outdoor activities. West Highland terriers are intelligent, curious, and friendly but maybe overbearing with other dogs. The Westie is known for his enormous ego!


The Westie coat is double, hard, and never fluffy or soft. When groomed, this dog is plucked for showing.

  • Coat color: The breed is always pure white with no trace of markings or shadings.
  • Height: The Westie is between 10 and 11 inches tall.
  • Weight: This breed weighs between 15 and 22 pounds.
West Highland White Terrier Dog

Grooming the West Highland White Terrier's Coat

Pet parents need to groom the dog's coat every few days. Overall, the Westie's coat is relatively easy to care for, and the long hair needs to be plucked two to three times a year. Show dogs need more attention.

West Highland Black Terrier

The breed standard for the Westie is evident when it comes to the color. There are no black West Highland terriers. If you see a "black West Highland terrier," you are likely seeing a Scottish terrier or Scottie dog.


Earth dog trials are the perfect dog sport for this little breed. If you live near the country, the Westie enjoys long hikes, and a "sniff walk" is an excellent form of exercise.

Health Concerns

This small breed may need ongoing lab work done during a wellness exam with your vet. There are some health issues pet parents need to know about when purchasing a puppy.

  • Atopic dermatitis luxating patella
  • Aggression
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Dry Eye (KCS)

Small Dog Breed Diet

There are many diets designed for small breeds, and the Westie needs a high-quality diet. Pet parents need to ensure a small breed stays trim and does not gain weight. An obese West Highland terrier may have health and joint issues.

West Highland Terrier puppy

Caring for Your Senior Westie

The West Highland white terrier lifespan is nine to 15 years. This age range may vary based on proactive visits to the vet. All old small breeds need to visit the vet at least twice a year for supplements and pain medication to address achy joints.

Westies Commonly Appear in Advertising Logos

The Westie breed is oftentimes used as a distinctive brand and logo for many famous products. The iconic brands include "Ceasar" and "Black & White Scotch Whiskey." Both companies have Westies appear on the packaging.

Westies Are Perky and Cheerful Characters

This breed is known as a personable and cheerful dog. The Westie is a great candidate for pet parents with an active lifestyle as it was developed to chase vermin! This sturdy and confident dog enjoys long walks in the country, and a reputable breeder may be found on the West Highland White Terrier Club of America's website.

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Profile of the West Highland Terrier: A Loyal Companion