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Adopt a West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen



Area of origin:


Original function:

fox, badger, and vermin hunting

Average size of male:

Ht: 11, Wt: 15-21

Average size of female:

Ht: 10, Wt: 15-21

Other names:

Poltalloch terrier

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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West Highland White Terrier Dog Temperament

The busy Westie is happy, curious and always in the thick of things. She is affectionate and demanding, one of the friendliest terriers. She is not friendly, however, toward small animals. She enjoys a daily romp in a safe area or a walk on lead, as well as playtime at home. She is independent and somewhat stubborn and may bark and dig.

West Highland White Terrier Dog Care

The Westie needs either a short to moderate walk on leash or a good game in the yard every day. Her wire coat needs combing two or three times weekly, plus shaping every three months. Shaping for pets is by clipping or stripping. In some areas, it may be difficult to keep her coat white.

West Highland White Terrier Dog Health

Major concerns: globoid cell leukodystrophy, Legg-Perthes, CMO
Minor concerns: copper toxicosis, cataract, patellar luxation
Occasionally seen: deafness
Suggested tests: hip, knee
Life span: 12-14 years

Interested in the history of the West Highland White Terrier dog breed?

The West Highland white terrier shares her roots with the other terriers of Scotland, proving herself on fox, badger and various vermin. At one time the Westie, Dandie Dinmont, Skye, Cairn and Scottish terriers were all considered one breed with considerable diversity. Selective breeding based on such qualities as coat type or color could have produced distinctive strains that would have been easily maintained in the relative isolation of the various islands in the country. The Westie first gained attention in 1907 as the Poltalloch terrier, named for the home of Col. E.D. Malcolm, who had been breeding the short-legged white terriers for the previous 60 years. The breed has gone under several different names, including Roseneath, Poltalloch, white Scottish, little Skye and Cairn. In fact, the AKC first registered her as the Roseneath terrier in 1908, but the name was changed to West Highland white terrier in 1909. Since that date she has made quite a name for herself, establishing herself as one of the most competitive terriers in the show ring and one of the most popular terriers in the home.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with West Highland White Terrier Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with West Highland White Terriers ready for adoption:

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