The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie orWesty, is a cottish breed of dog with a distinctive white coat. The breed remains very popular in the UK and is in the top third of all breeds in the US since the 1960s.
Commonly, Westies have bright, deep-set, almond-shaped eyes that are dark in colour. Its ears are pointed and erect. The body should be shorter than the height of the dog at the shoulder.
I t also has a deep chest, muscular limbs, a black nose, a short and a closely fitted jaw with “scissors”. The Westie’s paws are slightly turned out to give it better grip than flat footed breeds when it climbs on rocky surfaces. In young puppies, the nose and footpads have pink markings, which slowly turn black as it ages.
It has a soft, dense, thick undercoat and a rough outer coat, which can grow to about 2 inches (5.1 cm) long. The fur fills out the face to give a rounded appearance. As it develops into adults, its coarse outer coat is normally removed by either “hand-stripping”, especially for dog-showing, or otherwise clipping.
The temperament of the West Highland White Terrier can vary greatly, with some being friendly towards children whilst others prefer solitude. It will not tolerate rough handling such as a child pulling on its ears, and can be both food and toy possessive. Members of the breed are normally independent, assured and self-confident and can make good watchdogs. It is a loyal breed that bonds with its owners, but is often always on the move requiring good exercise (15–30 min). Westies are highly social and are the most friendly and jolly of all the Scottish breeds of terrier.
It is a hardy breed, and can be stubborn leading to issues with training. A Westie may need to have its training refreshed on occasion during its lifetime. Having a typical terrier prey drive, it tends to be highly interested in toys especially chasing balls. It does retain the instincts of an earth-dog, including inquisitive and investigative traits, as well as natural instincts to both bark and dig holes.
Generally speaking, the breed is healthy. However, as in many breeds it is predisposed to conditions found in many breeds, such as abdominal hernias. Westie puppies may be affected by “lion jaw”. The breed is prone to skin disorders, patellar luxation, hernias and liver disease. Deafness and congenital heart disease can occur.