West Highland White Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

West Highland White Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

by ScritchSpot

Bred to hunt vermin, this terrier is of Scottish origin and a longtime family favorite.

Weight – Female: 15-20 pounds; Male: 15-20 pounds

Height – Female: 10 inches; Male: 11 inches

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

Group: Terrier group

Temperament: sweet, loyal

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

Many dogs have identifiable appearances, but the Westie, known officially as the West Highland White Terrier, is a specialty hunting dog that even has its own haircut. Westies have soft hair that is thick and requires frequent professional grooming. Their soft black eyes and noses make a specific profile that, when paired with an open mouth, give Westies a sweet, comical expression that humans love. 

Born in the 1700s in the Scottish Highlands, this dog was known as an “earthdog” for its rat catching abilities. Before packaging and pest control, families relied on dogs and cats to keep pests away from their food supplies. The Westie came into popularity to serve this purpose amongst the people of Great Britain.

Westies are loving family dogs whose prey instinct is strong, but their sweet temperament allows them to be around children and other pets so long as they receive early socialization. Their grooming needs are a bit higher, but this is offset by their ease of trainability and sweet demeanor. These dogs also have fewer health problems, and behavioral issues are few when training with positive reinforcement methods.

Westies have been models for everything from Juicy Couture clothing prints to Scottish whisky. Their unique build and snow-white coat gives them a very identifiable appearance. They are expressive, vocal, and known to have strong personalities that many people desire in a dog. Like other terriers, they can sometimes fare best as the only pet in the household. 


Westie lovers enjoy the low-shedding coat of their pet. His coat is easy to groom and requires regular brushing and trimming to prevent matting. Brush his teeth regularly and bathe as needed.

Energy Level

Westies are generally calm while indoors but can get excited zoomies outside. They are known for their happy and entertaining personalities, so give them plenty of toys and activities to engage their senses. 

Health Concerns

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cardiac disease
  • Patellar luxation

Always consult a reputable breeder who screens their stock for hip and cardiac problems. Westies are stocky for their size, so keep their joints and bones in good condition with regular veterinary care. Insurance can help you keep your long living Westie in great shape.