West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed
|Life Span:||ranges from 12 to 14 years.|
|Litter Size:||ranges from 2 to 5, with an averge of 3 per litter.|
|Group:||Listed under the Terrier family, the Westie belongs to the dog family that was developed to kill rodents and vermin, trained to retrieve and kill these critters by digging or going underground after them. Two groups, the long-legged and short-legged breeds, belong to the Terrier group.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||The traditional color of the West Highland White Terrier is white, but some may be a wheat color or a white with darker colored paws. But in AKC shows the colors other than white will be disqualified, as that is the only acceptable standard color of the West Highland White Terrier.|
|Male Height:||around 11 in height|
|Male Weight:||average weight of 15-24 pounds.|
|Female Height:||around 10 inches in height.|
|Female Weight:||average weight of 15-24 pounds.|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The West Highland White Terrier has the ability to live on a farm, in a city apartment, with a family of two, a grandmother, or a very overcrowded house with the whole extended family. The only thing it requires is a lot of human companionship, somebody to go for walks or throw balls, play with dog toys, and love.
The Westie is not a fragile dog, rating medium on both the heat and cold tolerance scales. It is very high on the watchdog scale and ease of training, but nothing is as high as the affection level of this breed. The dog is a watchdog, and watches things continuously-letting its owner know what is going on. BUT the Westie is still friendly to strangers, expecting them to play ball or to pet them.
Known to many people as the "Westie," this breed is a small dog but is very well balanced and hardy. Always able to exhibit good showmanship when exhibited, especially when they are groomed properly, they are very elegant looking with a beautiful white coat and bright dark button eyes.
For a more detailed look, the head has a round appearance from the front view, with dark and almond shaped eyes with black rims. Erect and small ear end in sharp points, while the muzzle is blunt tipped with powerful jaws, tapering toward the nose area. The teeth appear to be too big for the small dog, with six incisor teeth between the canines of the upper and lower jaw.
With a double coat, the Westie is strongly built, while deep in the chest and back ribs. The back is straight and the hindquarters are powerful with very highly muscular legs. When exhibiting in shows, the breed demonstrates great strength and energy levels. Its gait is free and easy, while showing a distinctive drive that is powerful to see. Its legs see to not move in a square when viewed from the front, while the hind movement is free and strong.
The wiry coat of the little Westie needs brushed about three times a week, or more depending on the lifestyle, with shaping and stripping once every three months. If the West Highland White Terrier is to be shown at a dog show, shaping will be done by stripping, while clipping does the job adequately as pets.
The coat of the Westie is a harsh double coat, and was originally developed to provide protection when hunting. The tail with full hair was necessary to pull the dog backwards out of shallow holes when it was digging and hunting varmints.
Originating in the highlands of Scotland, many breeds have the West Highland White Terrier blood line in them, all originating back to the early 1800s with each breed deriving their name from the areas of their origin. These short-legged Scotland terriers are now known as the Scottish, Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers--and all were bred as small game hunters. Not raised as pets alone, each breed of terrier was a working dog and had a specific purpose-keeping vermin in control for the Scotland villages, coalmines, mills, farms, and homes. Zestful diggers and hunters as they were, flower gardens and vegetable patches today presents a challenge to these little hunters.
Originally these dogs had colors which ranged from red to cream, and cream to white. Because one of his red dogs were killed emerging from the hunt, Colonel Edward Donald Malcom, of Poltlloch, Argyllshire, Scotland, bred his hunting lines down to white because of that situation. This brought on the Poltlloch White Terrier, or eventually the West Highland White Terrier. Up until that time, all white terriers were killed immediately at birth.
In 1907, the Westie breed was listed as the West Highland White Terrier at the Crufts dog show in England. The name was derived from the rugged character of the terrier dog, and the area of which it was developed. In 1909, the West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded as a member club of the American Kennel Club.
The Westie is a very intelligent dog who loves human companionship both indoors and outdoors-but do have issues with other pets or small animals. Introduce them gradually to the little newcomers, making sure the Westie is not ignored or pushed back. Happy, curious, and always trying to get into the middle of everything, they are considered one of the most affectionate of all the terriers with their also demanding personality-yet can still feel jealousy if their homeland is threatened.
They are very popular due to their extreme versatility. And like most terriers, this breed loves to bark and dig-or dig and bark-anyway, they have a tendency to do both at the same time, while showing off their independence and stubborn attitude. A high energy level requires walks in the park, leash-training lessons, fetching balls or toys, or sleeping. Due to a high need to stay active when awake, sleeping about 13 hours a day is required by the little Westie when they finally collapse. In fact, many Westie owners say that if their West Highland White Terrier is contented, they can sleep as much as 22 hours a day! But when they are awake, watch out for a pure energy ball of business.
Its faults are listed as excess timidity or excess pugnacity. Another fault listed is in reference to its gait, when there is lack of reach in front, and/or drive behind-stiff, stilted, or too wide movements.
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The West Highland White Terrier ranks #109 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Sporadically, the disease has been reported in the beagle, miniature poodle, basset hound, Pomeranian, and blue tick hound. Minor concerns are copper toxicosis, cataracts, patellar luxation, deafness, with suggested testing areas as the hip and knee.