The West Highland White Terrier: A Spunky Scot

West Highland White Terrier History

West Highland White Terriers are part of the Scottish Terrier family, tracing their lineage back to Cairn Terriers, Skye Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers and other Scottish Terriers. Westies (as they are affectionately known) were bred for their distinctive white coat so hunters could tell the difference between their dogs and the animals they were hunting. Urban legend has it that a huntsman decided the dogs must be white after mistaking one of his own for a fox.

Westies were bred for more than 100 years prior to their first appearance at dog shows. They were officially recognized by the AKC in 1908 and have since become treasured family pets.

Strong-Willed and Tenacious

Westies are lively, active and enormously fun to have around. These dogs weren’t meant to be lap-loungers—they were bred to run, chase and dig! In fact, Westies love to dig so much that they often get stuck in their own holes. Breeders selectively bred for a strong tail so their owners could pull them out of the hole by their tails instead of having to dig them out! These dogs can easily live in an apartment, but owners should be sure they have the time and attention to keep their Westie engaged and out of trouble.

Their coats do require a fair amount of grooming. Westies have a wiry outercoat and a thick undercoat, making them well suited for cold weather environments. Daily brushing and combing is recommended, but because the hair is dry, it’s important to not bathe your dog too often. For the best coat care, owners should plan on visiting a groomer every four to six weeks in addition to daily brushing.

Health Considerations for the West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terriers can have their share of health problems. Their skin and coat is unique to the breed and can benefit from a diet to support skin and coat health.  ROYAL CANIN® BREED HEALTH NUTRITION® West Highland White Terrier contains a special blend of nutrients to help keep their skin and coat healthy.