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Westy - meet the little terrier you'll want to adopt

Westy - conoce al pequeño terrier que querrás adoptar

Lobo Azul |

Knowing all the details of a dog before adopting it is the best way to gain its trust and, in addition, offer it an adequate quality of life. Even more important is to know if the breed we want to adopt adapts to our expectations of an ideal pet, since in many cases the physical appearance can give us a wrong perception of the canine's behavior, as happens with the Westy .
  • Small size .
  • Weight : Between 6 and 10kg.
  • Hair type : Abundant, messy and white.
  • Character : Balanced and affectionate
  • Health : Healthy
  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 16 years.
Also known as the West Highland White Terrier or Westie , this breed of dog has a calm, shy and gentle appearance. But, like a good terrier, he is an energetic and brave dog. In addition to the beautiful white color of its coat, this dog is characterized by its incredible personality, which is why it has been described as one of the best pets . Although their origins in Scotland were destined for hunting and surveillance, regardless of their height, these dogs gained popularity in society until they became excellent companion animals. Do you want to know more about the Westy? In this article we give you all the details you need to know about this breed. This way you will discover if it is the pet you are looking for for your home.

History of the Westy

The West Highland White Terrier, or white terrier as it has also been called, has its origins in Scotland, specifically in the western highlands of the country. In fact, the name "west highland white terrier" translates as west highland white terrier , which makes its origin clear. Used mainly for hunting small prey such as rabbits, foxes and badgers, these dogs were considered part of the pack of short-legged terrier that inhabited Scotland, such as the Cairn, the Dandie Dinmont and the Scottish Terrier. However, some time later, these dogs were separated until they were identified as individual breeds.
West Highland White Terrier
As for the specific appearance of the Westie, it has been said that it was due to an incident that Colonel Edward Malcolm had with one of his red canines, where the small animal was killed when it was mistaken for one of the prey that hunted From that moment, Malcolm decided to start breeding white terrier dogs only, to be used in hunting. Although the absolute veracity of this story has not been confirmed, it agrees in some aspects with the origin of this little friend, suggesting that it may be the basis of his birth. After its appearance, this breed gained the preference of society , both as a hunting dog and for other activities, including surveillance and, above all, companionship. Their popularity has not ceased since 1907, when they were presented at a dog show, where attention was focused on them. Until now it continues to be widely accepted within homes, large or small, ideal as a hiking companion, or simply to fill the whole family with love.

Appearance of the West Highland White Terrier

Although it is a small dog, the white terrier is characterized by its formidable and compact physical appearance. He has a well-built, muscular and strong build. His back is straight, and his chest is deep and muscular.
scottish white terrier
The limbs of these dogs are short but muscular, which provides them with great agility and excellent posture. They are ideal dogs for small spaces, due to their compact size that favors them in this matter. Let's take a closer look at the Westie's physical characteristics below:

Height and weight

As we have detailed, it is a dog with a small stature. In fact, it does not exceed 35 centimeters at the withers, being in the case of females a little smaller in height. In the case of weight, these dogs can reach up to 10 kilograms maximum, that is, it is not a dog with exaggerated dimensions.


Its head is a characteristic aspect, as it tends to appear larger than the rest of its body. In addition, it is covered by abundant and slightly messy fur. His facial expression is a curious aspect, because he shows great tenderness, but also the characteristic intelligence of a terrier. The eyes of these dogs are small, round and usually dark in color.
West Highland Terrier
His nose is black and medium in size. While its snout is slightly protruding, with a strong bite due to its large, well-placed teeth. This aspect provides it with a significant advantage when hunting foxes inside their den. The Westy's ears are another interesting point, they are set high, pointed and raised, although small. They give the appearance of always being attentive.


A detail of this terrier that is curiously valued is its tail: it is thin, but covered with abundant and somewhat thick fur that makes it look a little thicker. It has a length of 12 to 15 centimeters, always remaining straight and pointing upwards.


If there is something that cannot be overlooked when we talk about the Westy, it is his coat. Bright white in color, the only one accepted in the standard, it has an abundant canvas that grows to exceed its spine, divided into two layers. The inner layer, ideal for protection from cold temperatures, is dense, smooth and soft. While the external one, rougher, thicker and more abundant, makes it worth regular visits to the hairdresser to avoid knots and excessive hair loss.

Westy Behavior

The temperament of the West Highland White Terrier makes it classified as one of the best pets, especially in homes where there are children. These dogs are balanced, affectionate, with a tender and alert look. In addition to that, they are characterized by a determined personality , very self-confident, brave and energetic. All of these attributes seem exaggerated due to his small stature, but the Westy is a dog that handles its dynamism very well. They are sociable dogs and generally tend to get along well with other people and animals. However, the innate function of hunters and watchers offers an instinct that remains active. If he perceives any danger or risk towards his people, he will not hesitate to attack in some way.
His sympathy is not only towards people, but also towards other dogs, he is usually very playful and adapts perfectly to other dogs without any problem. With other animals it is a little more limited, because it is a hunter by nature. In homes where there are children, the Westy is an exemplary dog , perfect for playing and entertaining the little ones in the house with his tenderness and energy. However, it is necessary to be careful how children treat these dogs, because due to their size, rough play can be counterproductive. The height and weight of these dogs allows them to be easily adapted, especially to small spaces such as apartments. They do not usually remain very calm, in fact they have a pronounced tendency to bark excessively and make holes in the ground, so if you have a garden or you like permanent silence, this dog is not a good option. However, its training will not be complicated, since it is an intelligent animal that learns the orders given to it very quickly , although it requires patience, as it is usually independent and stubborn, it does not like to receive orders frequently.

Westy Education

Although they have a strong, independent and very confident personality, training these terriers is not complicated at all . His great intelligence and attention span make training him very enjoyable. However, it requires that this education process be constant and regular, since they also have an independent and very lively behavior, so they will make their own decisions about their actions. It must also be remembered that these are hunting dogs by nature , that is, with smaller animals they can be a little aggressive because they consider them prey. This instinct can be controlled with an adequate teaching process where socialization is the main basis. It should begin to be trained at an early age because, although it does not have obvious behavioral problems, if it is not trained it can be a dog with destructive behavior and uncontrollable barking. It is also important to keep in mind that traditional education or shouting and abuse will not work in training a Westie. These dogs respond effectively to positive reinforcement, that is, the technique based on motivation and reward . Although you don't need to be an education expert to train this canine, you do need to know how to handle its energetic and confident personality. So that there is a connection between the dog and its owner, the teaching process will be easier and even fun. Practicing tricks will be a lot of fun and will also make him show off more easily, as he tends to be a friendly dog ​​by nature.
scotland white terrier

Westy Health

The little Westy is a generally healthy breed. It has a life expectancy that reaches between 12 and 14 years, usually in perfect health. However, there are breed-specific diseases that must be highlighted and in most cases the main cause of appearance is genetic. These are:

Craniomandibular osteopathy

It is a pathology that consists of abnormal growth of the canine jaw. It is mainly hereditary in origin and begins to be pronounced in Westies from puppies, around the first 3 months of life. Although it is not a highly serious pathology, it requires medical attention and, above all, application of treatment for its disappearance. In most cases, this disease disappears by 12 months of life.


Globoid leukodystrophy, dislocations, eye problems and copper poisoning are some of the diseases that rarely affect these dogs. However, adequate veterinary control and care adapted to their needs will be enough to maintain an adequate state of health.

How to care for the West Highland White Terrier

If you are wondering the proper way to care for your Westy once you have adopted it, you should read the following aspects that are essential to maintain an adequate state of health in these canines:


The Westie's skin and coat are a bit delicate, which is why the issue of bathing must be treated with special dedication. First of all, it should be noted that if you bathe very frequently, you may suffer from skin rashes. For this reason, a proper bath at least every four weeks will be enough to keep these canines impeccable. It is necessary to keep in mind that the shampoo and conditioner used must be exclusive to this breed. The vet will be able to give you more details about it. After each bath it must be dried evenly and completely. Especially the ears, care must be taken to ensure that they do not remain wet, as this can lead to infections.


Regular brushing is essential to maintain hygiene, shine and, above all, avoid knots in the Westie's coat. Practicing this several times a week will be of great help. Furthermore, this is a dog that feels good when brushed. It is necessary to pay attention to areas such as the paws and mouth, which are the most likely to get dirty. A good way to clean their white fur in these cases is with wet wipes, for example.


Although it is not a dog that requires an exaggerated amount of exercise, it is necessary for these dogs to stay active constantly , as they must channel their energy in some way. At least three walks a day, complemented with exercise routines either outdoors or at home, will be enough for the Westie to stay healthy, avoid obesity and also be a completely emotionally balanced animal.


Despite being characterized by their independence and security, these dogs greatly enjoy the company of their owners and the entire family. That is why they require attention and frequent sharing with their loved ones. You must then have a considerable amount of time to dedicate to these canines and prevent them from suffering from separation anxiety or loneliness.
white terrier


After having known the most precise details of the Westy, we can highlight that it is a great dog in a small size. Their energetic, brave, independent personality, but also tender, friendly and full of fun, contrast perfectly and provide their owners with a perfect companion dog . These canines are also excellent watchdogs and protectors. Despite their height, they have outstanding courage and this makes them stand out, in addition to the easy adaptation to small spaces without problem. Enjoy the company of these canines at all times, now that you know more about them, consider if it is the ideal pet for you. We suggest:
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