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West Highland White Terrier - Fun Facts and Crate Size

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West Highland White Terrier - Fun Facts and Crate Size

West Highland White Terrier

  • AKC recognized in 1908
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy: Medium
  • Recommended Crate Size: 30” dog crate*

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Introduction

Cute as a bug and white as snow, the West Highland White Terrier is a popular choice of dogs for apartment and condo dwellers.  He’s practically perfect to pack along most anywhere.  And talk about getting attention!  This white furry friend always gets his fair share.

While the West Highland White, affectionately known also as the Westie, was originally bred to hunt down rats and keep other small critters at bay, a lot has changed throughout the years.  He now finds his place as a charming companion and a lap lover.

If you’re thinking this little white dog looks familiar, you’re probably right.  He’s featured on the labels of Cesar’s gourmet dog food cans. 

If you are thinking that you can’t live without this adorable and affectionate dog, there are a few things you should know about him first so you can decide if he is your white Scottish knight in shining armor or...not.

Breed

The West Highland White Terrier hails from Scotland.  Their history dates back to the days James Vl of Scotland reigned which was between 1568 and 1625.  The king had a great number of Terriers rounded up in the land so they could be gifted to the Kingdom of France.  The brindle and sandy colored Terriers in the mix were, at that time, considered to be a hardier breed while white ones were believed to be weaklings. 

The West Highland Whites are thought by some to be white offshoots of the Cain Terrier and the Scottish Terrier.

The Whites have always been considered curious creatures, even back in 1588 when a ship from the Spanish Armada wrecked on the island of Skye, carrying white Spanish dogs.  The dogs were kept separated. 

Meanwhile, back in Scottland, the 8th Duke of Argyll, George Campbell, had bred a group of white Scottish Terriers which were called “Roseneath Terriers”.  A doctor, Dr. Flaxman, developed a breed of white Scotties too that were named “Pittenweem Terriers” that kept turning out white, unintentionally. 

When the whites continued to appear no matter what coloring the fathers were, it was finally theorized that the ancient Scottish Terrier trait of white coloring was trying to reappear. By the end of the 19th century, white Scottish Terriers were added to dog shows in a class of their own.

But the single person most responsible for the origination of the Westie is Edward Malcolm who was the 16th Laird of Poltalloch.  He owned many Terriers - one of which was red and brown and was shot because it was mistaken for a fox.  He then set about on a mission to develop white Terriers.  At first, the white Terriers were believed to have been the Poltalloch Terrier but not wishing to have his name attached to the breed in any form or fashion, they were renamed the West Highland White Terrier.

It was in 1904 when the first breed club for the Westie was formed.  The WHWT made their way across the pond to America in 1907 and 1908.  Four years later, the white fur-balls were welcomed into the highly acclaimed American Kennel Club.  Although they were originally listed as the Roseneath Terrier, they were officially recognized as the Highland White Terrier soon after. 

The Westie was instantly a hit in the United States.  In 1924, however, some mixing with Scottish Terriers and Cairn Terriers took place within the United Kingdom.  It wasn’t until 1930 that a stable standard came to be which is reflective of the adorable dog we know today as the West Highland White Terrier.  ‘

The West Highland White Terrier is known for his intelligence as well as for being friendly.  He prefers to live in a cooler climate because his coat is equipped for his homeland where it is often rainy and frigid. 

This dog has deep Terrier roots that are sometimes pleasing and other times, not so much.  He is best behaved when he has gotten his energy level down and can concentrate on being good and loveable.  He does like a soft spot on the sofa or in your lap.  He’s a good cross between an independent active dog and a laid back lover.

The WHWT is in the top third of the most popular AKC dog, coming in at the 193 spot. He is an Earthdog.  Throughout the course of his three hundred years, he’s made his place in the hearts of many, even celebrities like Paris Hilton, Betty White, Duchess Kate Middleton, Rob Schnieder, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Aniston, the late Cary Grant, High Laurie, and countless others.

Cesar’s Gourmet Dog Food, Juicy Couture, and Black and White Scotch Whiskey have all chosen this breed for their mascots.

What is it about this breed that makes them so darn loveable?  Read on to find out...

Appearance

Probably the most noted attribute about the Westie is its pure white coat.  It’s a double coat with harsh fur and a softer undercoating that causes the top layer to stand out a bit fuller, especially around his face.  Another recognizable feature of this dog is his rounded appearance which is due, in part, to the full fur effect he sports, thanks to his double coat.

This breed is of medium size, weighing in around 15 to 20 pounds and standing between 9 and 11 inches tall.  His structure is well-balanced.  His legs are powerful and slightly longer than some of the other Scottish Terrier type breeds.  He’s sturdy, compact, and tough for a little guy and the way his shoulders are positioned make him look even stouter as does his deep, proud chest and straight back. 

Strength and agility are pronounced in every inch of this small ratting dog’s being.  He is shorter than he is long, perfect for the ratting purpose he was bred for and his little paws turn out just slightly which gives him an optimal grounding grip even on steep, rocky surfaces, again, ideal for the ridding of vermin.

The Westie has solid jaws accentuated with scissor-type teeth.  He has very dark, piercing, almond-shaped eyes that contrast against his white coat, this dog is very striking.  His ears stand erect and come to a point and puppies have pink markings on their noses and footpads that turn black as they age.  The tail of a WHWT is short but quite sturdy and thick - intentionally planned so he could be pulled out of a critter hole if the need arose.  It wags a lot too because he’s such a happy soul.

The coat of the West Highland is about two inches long and is longer on the back and sides so it is usually trimmed in order to blend into the shorter coated areas of his neck and shoulders.  There is, however, a considerable amount of hair that is generally left around his head so it acts as a framer for his face, yielding the famous Westie expression.

Nutrition

The proper nutrition for feeding a West Highland White Terrier depends on his size, age, metabolism and activity level. It is recommended that you speak to his veterinarian or breed to determine the ideal details of his nourishment like amount and frequency and what type of food is best.  For sure you will want to feed him high-quality food.

As a puppy, most likely you’ll want to feed him twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This schedule very well may change as he gets older and can hold more food in his little tummy.

Westies love to indulge in tasty treats and human food as well.  They are fairly energetic so normally, in the wild, they would burn off the calories of all they ate.  But, since they are fully domesticated now, they don’t get as much chance to burn it all off and can become overweight.  Obesity in dogs is as dangerous as it is in humans.  It can be the gateway for such issues as heart disease, bone, and joint issues, Diabetes, and a world of other problems.

As with all pets, you’ll want to ensure fresh water is always available and encourage him to drink plenty of it.

Grooming

Even though they have a full double coat, Westies do not tend to shed a lot.  The problem is...their hairs are bright white so it’s difficult to conceal them on darker carpet, clothing, and furniture.  Regular brushing will help though.  You for sure need to brush him out thoroughly once a week but every day is even better.  His hair is somewhat long and wavy and is wiry.  It can get tangled or matter so brushing will keep mats away.  Brushing will help to get rid of dead hair and will also stimulate the skin underneath to be healthy.

Bathing a West Highland is a must.  You will want to keep him snow white.  Many pet parents bathe theirs once a month or even more frequently but you can decide what amount is right for your Westie based on how dirty he gets and how he tolerates bath time.  

Although most don’t mind a good scrubbing because, after all, that’s getting some love, bathing him too often can dry his wiry coat out and can cause his skin to become irritated too.  Do be sure to use a dog-friendly, hypoallergenic, conditioning shampoo and towel dry him when bath time is over to give him a good fluffing.

Some West Highland White Terrier pet parents use special shampoos on their pups to keep them bright and white.  If you do so, be sure to use one that isn’t going to break him out or expose him to harsh chemicals.  The more natural, the better.  There is nothing wrong with doing so as long as it is not harmful to him.

In addition to brushing and bathing him, you’ll want to give him a regular trimming or take him into a groomer to have it done.  Otherwise, his wiry hair will become out of control and unsightly.  Some Westie owners have their dogs stripped twice a year.  If your dog is showing, you’ll certainly need to.  But, if not, you might want to skip the time consuming, uncomfortable ritual and call it good. 

Do, however, trim his feet and around his eyes and ears.  When trimming and shaping up the hair around his face, keep it in a round framing style, typical of the breed.  Show dogs usually have the hair around their faces plucked to produce a fuller frame but there is no reason to put your pup through that If he’s not being shown.

Some owners find it more convenient just to take their Westie in for grooming as needed.  They can look quite motley if not tended to and not all pet parents are cut out to do the cutting.  If you do elect to use a groomer, your West will probably soak up the extra attention he gets.

The area around a West Highland’s eyes can sometimes become tear stained.  Keeping them clean and dry will help prevent that.

Keep a good eye on his ears.  Westies are prone to ear trouble, perhaps because their ears stand erect and can easily collect dirt and debris which breeds bacteria.  Keep his ears clean and dry.  If you notice any signs of irritation, infection, or inflammation, or if he is pawing at them, take him to his vet right away.  Untreated ear infections are not good.  They can end up warranting surgery and can even result in loss of hearing.

This dog will dig all day long if you let him.  If he does, check his nails for dirt and clear them if he has any or built up caking of mud.  He may naturally wear his toenails down but if not, you’ll need to trim them up.  Keep an eye out for any chipping, cracking, or splitting and tend to the problem immediately if he has an issue.

You’ll definitely need to brush his teeth to keep tartar buildup at bay and to prevent gum infection and tooth decay.  It will help rid his morning breath too.  Using a doggie toothpaste and toothbrush is very helpful, especially if it comes in a delicious dog-friendly flavor.  Once a week is good but two or three times a week wouldn’t hurt him any.

Exercise

The West Highland Terrier needs a bare minimum of 30-45 minutes of exercise every single day. He will simply not be healthy nor happy if he doesn’t get that allotment.  He’s fairly easy to exercise though.  A full 45-minute walk once a day is usually sufficient or you can break it down in half and take him twice if you’d rather. 

The Westie is medium sized with medium energy so when you are walking briskly, he is practically running.  That having been said, his 45 minutes of walking at a decent pace will get his energy out and will keep him healthy too. 

Before you even start out the door with him, you’ll want to be sure you have laid the hierarchy on the line.  YOU are his leader.  Of course, you don’t want to lord over him harshly, but you’ll need to be firm and assertive.  He’s a Terrier, remember?  If not told otherwise, he is sure HE is the boss. 

Go out the door before him and invite him to come along.  Be sure he walks behind or beside you but never in front of you.  By all means, keep this guy on a tight leash.  If a squirrel scampers past, he is likely to take off running after him.  You’ll want to have the reigns on him. 

You’ll also want to keep a watchful eye out for larger or aggressive dogs.  The Westie is not a trouble maker at all but neither will he back down if challenged.  He could never have been a good exterminator had he been a chicken.  Be ready to intervene if you have the need to. 

In between walks, this dog loves to play.  He can’t get enough of having fun so oblige him and play ball or Fetch often with him.  Flyball is of special interest to him too.  He also adores a good game of chase.  When you aren’t available, chances are good that he will entertain himself to some extent. 

You simply must provide regular mental exercise and stimulation for this breed too.  He is so smart, he is apt to get very bored if you don’t.  He’ll excel in brain games so play plenty of them with him. He will astonish you - time after time with his intelligence and his ability to solve problems.  Treat mazes and doggie puzzles are especially fun for the Westie. 

One of the best things about the West Highland is that he is so cute and snuggly but he’s not as fragile as some small dogs are.  He’s pretty athletic too.  Remember, he used to hunt little creatures all day and that wasn’t easy in the rough and tumble Scotland terrain.  When you are going out for a walk, jog, or hike, might as well take this buddy along.  He’ll be all up for it.

Pet Crate Size

The standard crate size for the West Highland White Terrier is the 30” dog crate.*

* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.

More Information

West Highland White Terrier dog crate size

Personality

Oh brother, does this pup have personality, or what?  He is so intelligent, you are likely to feel like you’re hanging out with a human when you spend time with this guy.  On top of that, he’s very playful and fun.  He’s just a joy!

The Westie is a breed, though, that can vary greatly from one dog to the next.  While one may be very friendly and good with children, the next one might be a little snippy with them.  It is important to know your dog, through and through so you can make sound decisions based on your individual pooch’s personality.

Moist West Highland White Terriers are very social.  They love being with their humans and don’t mind other animals too much, especially if they are in the same household.  There are some, however, who prefer to be alone or out of the way at least. 

Loyal almost to a fault, the Westie can be counted on to bark if there is a stranger intruding through the window...or, a mailman approaching the front door.  He makes a good watchdog for this reason but is often overzealous with his vocalism.  You can address that in training.

The WHWT is suitable for a large home with a big backyard, a ranch or farm, or even a small dwelling like an apartment or condo.  He is an inside dog though.  He can certainly go out but you’ll want to supervise him.  He has the true Terrier nature of loving to dig and has the potential to run after an interesting critter that scampers past only to end up lost or in some kind of trouble. 

Many like especially love that this dog can squeeze right in a tight space living situation with them.  If he has neighbors, you’ll certainly need to curb his barking habit.

A medium energy breed, the Westie will need to be exercised every day or he will become quite naughty.  He already has a streak of mischief in him but pent up energy can quickly turn cute antics into malicious acts of willfulness.  Oh, and he is very stubborn and willful when he gets a good mind to be.  In the days of old, that was a positive, helpful trait that assisted him on the hunt.  Now domesticated, it is less beneficial to him or his family.

Although the Westie is independent by nature, he doesn’t care for being left by himself.  Whether it is the fact he misses his family and suffers from separation anxiety, or just that he isn’t happy about missing the boat to go for an outing, no one can be quite sure.  The fact remains that this pup should be crated if he tends to get into trouble when alone.  It is for his safety and the well-being of your shoes, sofa, and the likes.  When crates are introduced in the proper fashion, they provide a sense of security for dogs like the WHWT much like dens did in the olden days.

You’ll find that West Highland White Terriers demand attention.  That is usually not a problem.  Not only do family members get a kick out of their zany performances, but they also attract attention anytime they leave the house.

Busy, busy, busy, this character always has something up his sleeve.  He won’t do well with a boring lifestyle but since he thinks most everything is entertaining, he’s easy to please.  He’s fascinated by everything from the sound of the washing machine to bicycles rolling past. 

Heaven help owners when the vacuum cleaner comes out.  He will most likely bark up a storm until you assertively put a stop to such behavior.  Still, he’s so adorably cute, it’s hard to get frustrated with him.  If you’re a Westie lover with Terrier trait tolerance, that is.  Otherwise, this guy is not the dog for you.

This dog is quite curious too.  He loves to explore and is crazy about toys, especially balls he can chase and others that resemble small critters he’d love to chase down.  He also adores digging.  Beware of leaving him unattended in a yard, even if it's fenced.  He is likely to dig under the fence and be gone or at the best, have your freshly planted lawn looking like a field that’s just been sewed.  Giving him a designated spot to dig in is often helpful.

It is said that the West Highland White is perhaps the friendliest of all the Terriers.  He is very social when he’s raised to be.  He’s demanding but that’s usually not too difficult to oblige.  Give him the attention he craves and he’s very loving.

The Westie is a delightful dog and is a prime candidate for being an emotional therapy pooch due to his cheerfulness.  He has the capability to make everyone around him smile.  He’s given to brighten up even the gloomiest of days.  He will find a way. 

If he has an audience, he’ll perform by chasing his tail, playing with his toys, or showing off by whatever means is necessary to get the attention he craves and to make his people happy.  That is his newfound job now that he no longer works as a full-time ratter.

Sweet and loving, though, this dog takes the cake for being one of the most perfect active dogs to call your own.  Even his mischievous side doesn’t demote his rank.  He’s quite a character and once you welcome him into your home and heart, he’s like glue- there to stay.

Training

Training the West Highland White Terrier isn’t all that difficult if you go about it right.  You will need to establish yourself as his pack leader before anything else.  Having a strong bond with him by spending ample quality time with him is optimal too. Another helpful thing is to be sure he is exercised first so he can focus better.

The Westie is extremely intelligent so he’ll catch on quickly.  Getting his cooperation may be a different story entirely, however.  The more you can gain his interest by giving him a load of affection and attention, praise, and a few tasty treats now and then, the more his training will be a joint, team effort and when that takes place, the sky is the limit for this little fellow.

Never, never use negative techniques with the Westie like shouting at him or showing disappointment in him.  He is a sensitive soul and will sulk plus, he’s very apt to rebel in order to protect himself from further hurt feelings.

You’ll want to keep your sessions short and sweet with this dog.  He can easily lose his focus.  It’s not that he’s not smart because...indeed, he is smart.  But he can get bored, especially when class is lagging on.

First up will be potty training.  Provided he’s not out to stubbornly overrule you, he should be fairly easy to train.  He’s not a sissy when it comes to going outside to do his business and may even pretend he needs to just to be able to go out one more time. 

Remember to keep an eye on him and not to just let him out into the yard.  He might dig right under the fence an escape in no time flat.  The Westie isn’t tiny so he can “hold it” longer than some small dogs but only within reason.  Having a backup plan like some doggie potty pads or a kitty box is ideal for times he can’t make it out or when he’s home alone. 

Socializing this breed is imperative.  There seems to be a lot of difference in some Westies in comparison to others. Some of that is because some have been well socialized at an early age where others have not been.  Be certain that you expose him to a large variety of situations when he’s young.  Take him where it is loud and busy and also take him to quiet places of solitude where he is not allowed to bark.  Have him around people of all ages and all personalities and around other dogs and cats too.  Definitely, don’t let him be alone with small creatures like hamsters or mice.  They will not fare well.

Crate training is usually a big plus for the West Highland as long as you keep it as a positive, safe place for him to be.  Never send him to his crate for punishment.  You’ll find instructions on crate training online or in hard copy books and in eBooks.

Obedience training is done for his sake and his safety as well as for the safety and well-being of those around him, both of the human and animal varieties.  He will need to master all the basics like sit, stay, and come.  And, he’ll need to do so without the bribery of a treat in hand.  If he is darting after a squirrel and a car is coming, you need to know you can give him a lifesaving command and he will obey.  This smart breed can handle a good number of obedience commands.

Trick training is a blast with the Westie.  His intelligence and his desire for attention make him a ham.  He’ll do practically anything for you like dance and play dead.  He won’t mind performing for your friends either.  He eats it up when he’s the star and is making everyone happy.

Agility training is good for the West Highland White Terrier.  He is a natural, bred to be agile and quick.  He’s very courageous and a wee bit competitive too.  You can take him for formal training or you can teach him yourself by building him a makeshift course in his own backyard.  Whichever you decide upon, just be sure not to let him miss out on the fun and the exercise.

Brain game training is amazing with the Westie as the student.  He is such a smartie, he will catch on to them all, most likely.  You can find suggestions on brain games to challenge him with online or even in hard copy and electronic books.

The Westie is highly trainable but only if you are.  The more you master being a good teacher, the better of a student he’ll be.

Health

The West Highland White Terrier is fortunate enough to be a fairly healthy breed.  They generally have a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years on average.  The span is wide because there is a lot of debate about the exact average but that should give you a good idea.

There are, however, some health issues you should watch for which are hereditary and some that the Westie is just prone to for reasons unknown. 

One thing that can be done is to make sure you get your dog through a reputable breeder with tons of verifiable references.  This breed is quite popular which makes it tempting for irresponsible, greedy breeders to take advantage of people who are looking to purchase one.  Don’t hesitate to look through all the papers and check out the parents as well as the pup.    

Here are some medical problems to watch for:

Westie Jaw is a medical problem that is so specific to this breed, it is actually named after him, unfortunately.  It is also known as “Lion’s Jaw”.  The clinical name for it is Craniomandibular Osteopathy.  Westie Jaw involves of the bone of the jaw not developing correctly to where there are extensive changes in the skull and mandible.  The normal jaw bone is replaced by an immature bone in the inner and outer surfaces around the ages of 3 to 8 months of age.  Scottish Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Boston Terriers are also prone to this disorder.  Lesions begin to develop.  Symptoms include difficulty eating, drooling, pain, and swelling.  This is an inherited disease in which the lesions will generally stop around one year of age and may even go away or get better.  The inner ear may also be affected.  If you see any indications that your pup has this condition, get in touch with his vet right away.  If caught early enough, there are things that can be done for treatment such as the administration of anti-inflammatory medications.

Skin disorders, like Hyperplastic Dermatosis, plague the Westie too. One-quarter of all Westies suffer from at least one form of skin allergy.  Hyperplastic Dermatosis is a rare skin order but it known to affect the West Highland White Terrier.  The condition is similar to Primary Seborrhea and Seborrheic Dermatitis.  Hyperpigmentation, hair loss, and extreme irritation and rawness are common symptoms of the issue.  Be aware that is common for a Westie to be misdiagnosed with Hyperplastic Dermatosis and turn out just to have a bad case of Dermatitis or Chronic Skin Allergy. It is also common for Westies to be diagnosed with a less severe allergy when Hyperplastic Dermatosis is really the culprit.  Regardless of what type of skin allergy he has, however, it will need to be treated by his vet.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca is commonly called “Dry Eye”.  While it may sound very minor, it really isn’t.  The condition entails the drying out of the conjunctiva that is the membrane that actually lines the cornea which is the clear layer in front of the pupil and the iris.  It can also affect the part covers of the whites of a dog or human’s eyes and also lines the eyelids. It can be caused by having a medical condition, like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or another eye ailment.  It can also be hereditary which is usually the case when this malady is seen in the Westie.  The condition occurs when the lacrimal gland, or tear gland, does not produce an adequate amount of tears to keep the cornea and conjunctiva properly lubricated.  Thus, the eye is always dry.  The condition can range from being irritating to being painful.  If you notice that your dog is having trouble with his eyes, such as pawing at them or blinking frequently, please be sure to have him checked out.  Treatment is available and is relatively inexpensive and effective too.

Copper Toxicosis is seen all too often in breeds like the Westie.  It is an autosomal recessive disorder where copper is abnormally accumulated.  Severe liver disease is a possible side-effect.  Young dogs are the most likely to come down with this.  If the onset of the condition comes on in puppyhood, if it is not successfully treated, like expectancy is only three to seven years.

Obesity can definitely be a problem for the West Highland White Terrier.  He was born and bred to be very active and in doing so, he burned up the calories he ate.  Now, however, many Westies are not exercised enough.  They love to eat and can’t get enough of tasty treats and yummy people food.  When overindulging is accompanied by lack of getting enough exercise, a dog can become overweight. 

Obesity is very dangerous as it stresses the body.  Your dog’s joints may suffer and his bones as well.  He will be more likely to get heart disease, Diabetes, and a number of other medical woes.  If you think your dog is getting a little on the fluffy side, don’t think of it as cute.  Think of it as serious.  Limit his snacks and perhaps cut back on his food a bit.  Make sure he gets plenty of exercise.  If you don’t see adequate results, speak with his vet for diet recommendations.

Patellar Luxation happens when a dog’s patella, or kneecap, is dislocated from the position it is usually in within the grove of the femur, or thigh bone socket.  One sign of this problem is when a dog constantly holds up his hind leg.  If you think your dog may be suffering from this issue, have him checked immediately.

Cataracts involve a cloudy film on the lens of the eye.  It can be a tiny spot or it can cover the entire lens.  It is common in older dogs but can be present in younger ones as well.  The condition can cause a disruption of vision and if left untreated, can lead to blindness.  The treatment is very simple so if you suspect your dog has cataracts, an eye exam is in order.

Legg-Perthes Disease is a disintegration of the hip joint in dogs.  It has to do with the spontaneous degeneration of the femur bone head which is located in the hind leg area.  Dogs five to eight months of age are most frequently affected.

Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy is a genetic issue that is inherited.  It occurs within the globoid cell leukodystrophy and is somewhat common in some of the Terrier dogs, like Westies,  It is a neurological disease that entails the lacking of enzymes that are called galactosylceramidase.  Weakness in the muscles, difficulty or the inability to walk, tremors, and limb paralysis are some of the symptoms.

West Highland White Terriers and Maltese seem to be especially vulnerable and ironically, they are both white.  It also does occur in non-white breeds, like Dachshunds and Yorkies, but not as often. The symptoms often subside after about four weeks in females but may last the entire life of a male dog.  The disease is usually present by the age of 30 weeks and can be identified by your dog’s vet.

Deafness is not uncommon in the Westie family.  It may be present upon his birth or it may occur during his lifetime.  If you think your dog isn’t hearing well, he could be losing his hearing and should be checked so that treatment can be applied.

Just because there are things that your Westie may be apt to get, does not mean you should worry about it.  The main thing you can do is to be proactive.  You can work on preventative measures to keep him well and also by being aware of certain conditions he may be susceptible to, you can take him right in for a diagnosis and treatment if needed.  Hopefully, your West Highland White will never encounter any of these medical conditions or any others and will live a long and healthy life.

Is a West Highland White Terrier Right for Me?

If you have found yourself smitten by the West Highland White Terrier and feel that your life would be graced if he joined your household, you are not alone.  Throughout the ages, he’s landed in the lap of luxury amongst the rich and famous and royalty too and has also been a fine companion to common folk.  His aim is to please.

Sometimes, however, he gets a bit carried away with his intentions to make you like one joyous occasion and his plan goes south.  He is a Terrier, through and through.  That means he is very active, curious, spunky, and a tad naughty at times.  He’s got to do something now that his daily chores no longer involve the hunting of mice and other small creatures.

For those who are truly Westie lovers, his antics are considered cute.  They are willing to put in the time and effort to train him not to bark, dig, and be naughty.  They exercise their West Highland Whites fully each and every day and reap the benefits of having a well-behaved, loving furry friend to share their life with.

Westies who are treasured for being the gems that they naturally are will blossom.  They are highly intelligent and require mental stimulation to be healthy and happy.  They also require plenty of attention and are highly sensitive so they need loads of patience.  Those who get what they need tend to thrive.  Those who don’t...don’t.  This breed excels in agility, all sorts of training, and in entertaining their people.  A dog that is so smart and talented is a terrible jewel to waste.  He belongs to those who will bring out the best in him.

If you have young children, you are somewhat safe with this breed.  He is very good with them and will protect at all costs but, he can be rambunctious as well.  You’ll need to watch him and also to make sure he isn’t getting picked on.  Westies from on that.

Those who are not equipped to deal with this dashing dog will find him to be frustrating.  Often times they give up on their Westie and surrender him to a shelter or rescue organization.  Although the West Highland White is active and can be independent too, he is also highly sensitive.  Such an event in his life is crushing.  Avoid breaking a heart by not entertaining the thought of getting one if you aren’t completely sure he’s right for you.

If you do feel you have what it takes to offer this white ball of fur, by all means, bring one into your life and you’ll soon see what sunny days and warm snuggly nights are all about.  He’s a lively guy but a lover from his very soul.  He lives to make your life the happiest it can be and if you are up for it, he won’t let you down.



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