West Highland White Terriers or westies are known as brave, small and friendly dogs. Originaly they ware developed in West Scotland for game hunting (fox and badgers), but now one of most popular companien dogs.
Westie is a small dog, their height at the withers usually are about 28cm, weight arround 10kg. Strong and compact body, white double and dense coat (soft underlayer, streight and hard top coat). Their legs are short, mascular and strong. Their head looks too small for their body, so we grow hair longer on this part and even make it look as fluffy as possible in dog shows. Teeth are big and strong. Nose and eyes are black, it looks very contrasty in white fur, like three coal peaces. Thats why their face looks sweet and gentle.
Westie is perhaps one of the most sociable and affectionate terrier dog. But we can not forget their origin as a dangerous animal hunting dog. Usually westie behave good with other dogs because of their intelligent and socialistic temperament. To gain this we must socialise our westie from early puppy days. Westies can become a perfect companien for children, but as well, westies must be correctly socialised from puppy days when child and westie must learn to play safely.
West highlan white terriers like to mark and dig. Especially if they spend a lot of time on their own. If you like to be ofthen outdoors this breed is perfect for you, as this dog enjoys activities outside. This is brave, courageous and determinant dog despite their size. Westies love to be in centre of attention. So they will do their job to occupy your attention and organise activities with them very well.
Westie coat needs regular brushing, especially if their top coat is not streight and hard. Their soft underlayer as well must be brushed out, as it will fall all arround your home. Westie coat requires special shampoo, as usuall shampoo can soften their coat too much, so it will not be dirt protective and skin becomes dry and irritated. Grooming is recomended once in one and half or two months. Bathing as rear as possible. Coming back home, better clean the dirt only, not wash all dog. If the coat is in good condition, the coat will not keep dirt, you can brush it out easilly. If you bath your westie too ofthen, coat will loose its advantages, become too soft, skin irritated or even too dry. Do not get fooled that white westies must be washed every day. No. Their coat is perfect for rear washing even being white.
It is recomended to clean their eyes, snout and legs regulary. Cliping nails more often if you spent more time outdoors then in a city.
Westies do not need a large dose of excercises but they really need two walks a day. They love spending time outdoors. You will make a present for them every time you take them to the park or forest, where you let them safetly run leash free. Please remember their hunting habits and be more careful when your westies meet smaller animals.
Westies are very independent, stuborn and quite selfish dogs. But thie intelligence lets them use these characteristics wisely. So wisely that they become even more adorable becouse of that. People say its hard to train westies. Let’s not forget their intelligence and here. If westie knows what for you train them, they will do everything. It can be delicious treats, belly rub or lots of attention. Westies will do anything for attention, use this property wisely and you will have well trained westie. When you want them to train something it is important to be persistent. I mean, always always keep your opinion, no matter what. If you want them to sleep in their bed, not yours, never change your mind. Not for a single moment. Remember that they are very persistant and keep asking for permision, so keep in mind your opinion all the time. If you teach them new tricks also be persistent, patient and clear, show same guester, tell same comand, show how you want them to act and give a treat and pet imidiatelly after westies makes trick correct. Never prise your dog for almost made something, for bad behaviour. If your westie barks too much, wait untill dog stops and then pet your dog. Negative reinforcement gives neagative result on westies. Remember they are confident and bossy dogs, they love to rull they hate to be punished and can become even agresive. Treat them right and you will be happy with your westie even being stubborn and bossy. I will write separate article about bossy dog training.
Westies usually bark a lot. You can read here why they bark. Their origin is to track territory and allert of anything unusal or new. That sometimes can be any noise, leaf, neighbours doors, not necesary real alert of course. But good training will do its work and barking really can be reduced. I think this subject also needs separate article. So stay tuned.
Westies are small dog and thankfully they are longlived dogs – 12-16 years. There are some westies known who lived even 22 years. Its a great motivation to treat them right, it comes back with long years together. This includes balanced food, enough activities, happy friendship, corresponding health care.
Everything stated in this article can not be applied to every westie. A lot depends on many factors, like training, enviroment they ware born, grew up, parents, character. Just like humans, all alike but all different.