Pet Advisor Blog

West Highland White Terrier – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Small
Weight: 13 to 22 pounds
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Longevity: 15
Bark Tendency: High
Aggression: Medium
Compatibility to other pets: Medium

Adopt a West Highland White Terrier, Dog Breed Guide


West Highland White Terrier were spefically bred to be all whites to avoid being mistaken for a fox and accidentally shot during the hunt!

Official Name

West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier is more popularly known as the Westie.


Date – Middle part of the 19th Century
Country – Scotland
Family / Group – Terrier

Recognized By:
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Kennel Club
United Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
Canadian Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
National Kennel Club
New Zealand Kennel Club
Club Español de Terriers – Spanish Terrier Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.


West Highland White Terrier are dogs that originated in Scotland during the middle part of the 19th century. The pioneer breeders was avid huntsman Col. Edward Malcolm who specifically bred only white terriers when one of his red terriers was accidentally shot when it was mistaken for a fox! Losing one of his beloved dog made Malcolm breed only white terriers, starting a breeding programs in his family’s Poltalloch Estate and also used the Duke of Argyll’s Roseneath Estate during the initial breeding. Westies were bred to be pack hunters that hunt foxes, vermin and badgers.

This particular breed became so popular with noble huntsmen that Sir Edwin Landseer depicted Westies in two of his paintings. Today, they are no longer bred as hunters. These all white terriers are now famous for being companions.


West Highland White Terrier are dogs that will show friendliness towards their family. These well balanced and very hardy dogs are true blooded terriers and will love digging. These are also very alert dogs with impressive courage and are known to be self-reliant. All in all, Westie dogs are very stable, loyal and fun loving.

Bred For

Westies are dogs that were bred to be pack hunters that hunt foxes, vermin and badgers. They were made to be all white to avoid being mistaken for foxes.


The West Highland White Terrier are dogs that can adapt to all living conditions. These dogs will do great in rural, suburban and in city living conditions. They may not be ideal apartments pets as these dogs can get very vocal.


West Highland White Terriers are dogs that will be moderately easy to groom. These small terriers shed hair in little amounts or none at all.


Westies are known to be easy to train.


This particular terrier dog breed is plagued with various medical problems ranging from eye problems, hearing problems, skin issues and enzyme deficiencies. The are also prone to Legg-Perthes disease, inguinal hernia, atopy, craniomandibular osteopathy and copper toxicosis.


Westies may be small terriers but they are terriers nonetheless. These small dogs should be taken regular walks and also be given ample time to play.