Animal-World > Dogs > Terrier > West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Westie, Roseneath Terrier, Poltalloch Terrier

Family: Canidae West Highland White Terrier picture, also known as Westie, Roseneath Terrier and Poltalloch TerrierCanis lupus familiarisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Lauren Odom
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These are truly the best dogs in the world. At 11 months my little guy Wally was trained enough to walk without a leash. Taking care of him has even inspired me to... (more)  Zachary Wulf

  The versatile West Highland White Terrier is fun and adaptable for all sorts of lifestyles!

West Highland White Terriers are is very adaptable in its living arrangements. Westies do quite well living in an apartment or living in the country. Westies are spunky, friendly, and easy to train. They are more easy going than most other terrier breeds, though they do enjoy chasing other animals for fun. They also make good watchdogs.

The West Highland White Terrier is also known as Roseneath Terrier and the Poltalloch Terrier. Westies are solid white, medium sized dogs. They are prone to chronic skin problems and hip problems, so it is important to investigate these things when selecting a dog of this breed.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s) West Highland White Terrier, Westie, Roseneath Terrier, Poltalloch Terrier

Breed Type The Westie is a small terrier that was originally bred to control vermin, fox, and otter populations. This is a lively breed that is fond of people. They are adaptable to various living conditions and climates.

Background The West Highland White Terrier is a result of selective breeding of Cairn Terriers. They were said to have been bred to be white to keep them easily recognizable to hunters. They are sometimes crossbred with poodles to produce Westie Poos.

Description West Highland White Terriers are solid white with medium-sized dark eyes. Their coat is rough, and their paws thickly padded. They have pointy, erect ears and a scissors bite. Males average 10-12 inches tall and 15-22 pounds, and females 9-11 inches tall and 13-16 pounds.

Care and Feeding West Highland White Terriers need foods that are high in protein, such as poultry and lamb. Carbohydrates are also needed, and can be provided in the form of potatoes and wheat. Beef and horse meat are not recommended for this breed. Westies require regular brushing and as-needed bathing. They should be trimmed every three months and stripped every six months.
There are several health problems that Westies should be monitored for, so annual checkups are crucial. Vaccinations should be given on the following schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

The West Highland White Terrier sheds very little, and when trained properly, is not destructive indoors. Therefore they do not necessitate a lot of extra cleaning.

Housing Your Dog Westies are adaptable to a variety of housing conditions. They can do well in apartments or in the countryside. They are independent enough to be left alone for moderate periods of time.

Social Behaviors Westies get along well with adults and older children that they know. They are also fairly friendly to strangers. They rarely pick fights with fellow canines, but they enjoy chasing other animals for fun.

Handling and Training Westies are intelligent dogs, and they usually do very well in hunting, chasing, obedience and agility training.

Activities Daily walks are important to ensure that a Westie gets enough exercise. If they have a safe area in which to do so, it is also good to let them play off the leash regularly.

Breeding/Reproduction Westies are prone to several health problems, some of which may be hereditary. Therefore it is important to check out any potential mates thoroughly. Breed standards dictate that Westies be solid white, so that is an important thing to look for as well.

Common Health Problems West Highland White Terriers may develop skin problems, hernias, liver disease, and hip or jawbone problems. Keeping an eye out for signs of these and taking them in for scheduled checkups is crucial.

Availability Westies are fairly easy to find from breeders, and they may also be found in pet shops. Average prices range from $350 to $700.

References "West Highland White Terrier", Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
"West Highland White Terrier", Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
Cusick, William D., "What to Feed a West Highland White Terrier", Referenced online, 2008
"Choosing a West Highland White Terrier",, Copyright 1999-2008

Lastest Animal Stories on West Highland White Terrier

Zachary Wulf - 2013-02-04
These are truly the best dogs in the world. At 11 months my little guy Wally was trained enough to walk without a leash. Taking care of him has even inspired me to start my own pet supply company named after him. It is called The Wallyboy Company and can be found at

Fay McIntyre - 2012-11-04
I have a 12 week old male westie he will be 13 weeks next Tuesday next week I feed him 30g of backers puppy food in the moring and in the eveing I'm I feeding him enough I went away this weekend my wife's mates looked after him he now has worms and has been sick as well and when he poos he has blood In it as well I have given him on worm tablet should I take him to the vets to see if he is ok he is not being his normal self.

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-11-04
    Yes, take him to a vet to make sure everything is ok.  Puppies that age need all the nutrients that they can get and the worms will deplete that.  Better safe then sorry.
Shannon - 2010-11-15
I have a west highland white terrier that is after a mouse in my house! If he catches will it hurt him? Give him a disease or anything?

  • Ronalee Brownson - 2012-07-19
    No! It won't hurt him! It is their nature to go after rodents! We lost our little dog, only 4, to back problems and then paralysis in his back legs - he was the most loyal, valiant, loving dog we have ever owned and looking for another Westie!
Alice Hammond - 2012-06-13
We got our Westie (mixed) at the Humane Society. He is so adorable. We have had him since Dec 2011. They said he was a year old. Sometimes when we feed him he gulps everything and does not chew it up then later throws it back up. I noticed in the article I read that they can have hernias. Would this be a cause of his getting sick? We have tried all types of dog foods and he will not eat anything that has beef in it. We have tried the ones with chicken and after reading they like lamb I will try that. The vet at the Humane Society did not say he had anything wrong with him. How can we tell? Thanks for your information on the website!

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-06-13
    Some dogs will eat way too fast and then they do throw it up.  Sits like a brick in their stomach.  Why don't you try mashing up the food a little (so he isn't swallowing whole chunks) and add about a tablespoon of yogurt for digestion and settleing the stomach.  You can also raise his bowl maybe about 6 inches using the stair, a stool etc.  Something stable so he can't knock the bowl over but something a little higher than the floor.  Westies aren't real big but they are pretty bush.  You could also try feeding him twice a day in small amounts rather than once a day with a larger amount.  It would be a good idea to have him checked out and mention this to your vet. 
Cris - 2010-07-15
Dr. jungle, can you please put an article about fox terrier?

Debbie Danner - 2010-12-06
My Westie is 6 years old and recently started having problems walking when I took him outside to go potty. I called him inside and he had trouble moving his back legs. Today he had problems moving his front legs. It is really cold about 20 degrees. I'm really worried. Please rsvp.

  • Editor's Note - 2010-12-07
    Does he have trouble moving his legs while indoors where it is not so cold? I would advise taking him to a vet.
  • Betty - 2011-06-07
    Westies are prone to arthiritis. Do you have a regular vet? Ask him/her about this medicine called Rimadyl. My Westie takes it at mealtime, Its a small pill so i give her half in the morning and the other half at night. This drug is meant to drug for provide comfort for dogs with arthritis. Routine monitoring should be done while on any medication. My Westie is almost 13 years old and she is still trotting around like the best in town! She has bouts of stiffness- I do notice that when its cold outdoors it gets extra sensitive. My vet said that it can be because of the quick transfer of warm and cozy indoors to very cold outside. They pee and poop in the oddest positions and the instant warm to cold may stiffen up. Have a sweater for outdoors but take it off inside.
    Good luck,

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