West Highland White Terriers

West Highland White Terriers

Playful and Self Reliant

West Highland White Terriers are a breed of dog from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat and a somewhat soft undercoat. Despite having longer legs than other Scottish terrier breeds, it is a medium-sized terrier.

Lifetime Care

Breed Profile





9-11 inches


Life Span





Patella Luxation

of dogs

What is it?

When the dog kneecap moves out of place. Also known as a trick-knee.

Clinical Signs

  • Limping

  • Inability to bend the knee

  • Refusal to Jump

  • Inability to run

  • Hunched Lower back

  • Bowlegged stance in the hindlimbs


A luxating patella can be treated medically or surgically. Some of the common treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Temporary exercise restriction

  • Surgery

Eligible vet bill


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan could cover*


Your Net payment


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*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been satisfied and the annual coverage limit has not yet been met. Annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit and coverage limits, and exclusions may apply. Eligibility may vary. Visit https://www.spotpetinsurance.ca/sample-policy for full terms. For Canada enrollments only, reimbursement rate is based on the pet's age.



Persistent. Personality is outgoing.


They are playful around families and have high energy levels.


They love people and can make affectionate additions to any family.

Lifetime Care


The coat of White West is double and hard


They are available only in white color.




To keep the Westie looking its best, regular grooming is a must.


These dogs are typically very difficult to train.

West Highland White Terrier: Introduction to the Breed

For over 300 years, the adorable West Highland White Terrier (Westie, for short) has charmed owners with its intelligence, confidence, and playfulness. Small terriers like this diminutive but sturdy dog are among the most popular. Westies are 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder with dark piercing eyes, a compact body, and a carrot-shaped tail wagging with delight. There is a gameness and courage beneath the plush-toy exterior of this working terrier, as well as a plush-toy exterior. It is surprising how strong and tough Westies are since they were bred to hunt rats and other underground rodents. Soft and fluffy, the all-white double coat feels hard to the touch. As alert and active ratting terriers, Westies are plucky and self-reliant: they require no pampering, chase anything that moves, and are difficult to train because of their independence. With time and patience, Westies will train nicely, thanks to their faithfulness and keen intelligence.

Although they are stocky, they are quite fast and agile. Known for their dense, harsh white coats, West Highland White Terriers are instantly recognizable. Despite having relatively short coats, these animals are tough enough to push through brambles and shed dirt easily. To remove a dead undercoat, the coat needs to be clipped or hand-stripped. In the fields, their white color helped their guardians to distinguish them from the prey they were hunting. Although these dogs have white coats, they are not albinos. Around the eyes, mouth, and nose, they typically have dark pigment. Its ears are upright, and its tail is moderately long and sturdy.

The Westie is a typical terrier breed. Smart, independent, and a little stubborn, they can make great pets. The fact that they are willing to go underground after a fox or badger indicates that they are tough, determined little dogs. As a result, they can be difficult to train, and it is important to be patient and firm with them. The dogs are lively and fun, but they don't always require human guidance. As a result of their terrier temperament, Westies may be dangerous around other small house pets such as bunnies, or even with dogs, they haven't been raised with. The breed tends to be nuisance barkers and serious diggers, as befits its heritage.

A pet is one of the most significant decisions you can make for your family. Research the available puppies and consider which will best suit your family and lifestyle before purchasing another one. Consider carefully what characteristics you would like in a dog, as well as those you would prefer to avoid. Here are a few things you should know:

West Highland White Terriers are generally:

  • Smart

  • Independent

  • Stubborn

  • Tough

  • Short-tempered

This Terrier is an excellent choice if you are looking for a loyal, loving family pet.

What are the Origins of the West Highland White Terrier?

Nobles landed gentry, and poor farmers of the old British Isles all faced the same problem: infestations of rodents that pillaged grain stores and carried diseases among them. Rats could be found and dispatched by using an array of terriers called earth dogs. Scottish terriers, such as the Westie, Cairn, Skye, Scottish, and Dandie Dinmont terriers, are thought to be branches of the same family.

Poltalloch Estate is where the Malcolm clan began breeding the little white exterminators, which became known as the West Highland White Terrier in the 1700s. For almost 100 years, they were bred there and maintained there. Some breeds were called Poltalloch Terriers, while others were called Roseneath Terriers, after another Scottish estate where early breeding took place. In 1896, when the breed was first shown at Scottish dog shows, it was known as the West Highland White Terrier, after the northwest part of Scotland where it earned its fame.

The Westie has been a popular companion dog for over a century now. It is amusing, spunky, and portable, all of which help make it a great companion dog. Two brands that have used Westie's delightful image to attract customers are Juicy Couture and Black & White Scotch whiskey.

What are the Risks for the West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed?

Generally, responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as cardiac disease and patellar luxation before selling them. A Westie's teeth should be brushed often, and you should use toothpaste designed for dogs to brush them. For a dog to live a long and healthy life, it is important to take them to the vet for regular checkups and parasite control.

The West Highland breed is prone to cardiac disease, so it is important for all Terriers over the age of six to have a veterinary check-up every six months to assess their heart condition and overall health. There is also a possibility that the Terrier may be prone to obesity and early tooth loss, which is why regular exercise and dental care are vital for this breed. To help keep your pup healthy, make sure that you take them to the veterinarian on a regular basis. A health clearance indicates that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a certain condition. Here are some health concerns the Terriers.

Some Terrier health problems may include:

If you want to buy a puppy from a good breeder, make sure the parents of the puppy are health-cleared before you buy the puppy. A health clearance demonstrates that a dog has been tested for and cleared for a particular condition after it has undergone a series of tests.

As a breed, Terriers are among one of the simplest dogs to keep, having been bred to exist on scraps and to hunt on their own. If a dog consumes too many rich treats, he may become very heavy. They live well into their teens and are hardy little dogs.

Especially with other dogs and pets, Westies should be socialized early and continuously. It is important for these dogs to get plenty of exercise, as they are still close to their hunting roots. If left to their own devices, they can excavate your garden and bark while doing so. To protect their homes and families, Westies bark as an alarm.


It is usually best to start training terriers as soon as possible, using creative and positive methods, backed up by a firm hand. There are many dog sports that West Highland White Terriers can excel at, including obedience, agility, and earth dog trials. As much as they enjoy the company of humans, you should socialize them with children and insist they accept handling and grooming for them to thrive. The process of grooming a dog can be as simple as clipping the dog's coat a couple of times a year or as complex as hand stripping the coat of a show dog.