West Highland White Terrier: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts

The West Highland White Terrier Hypoallergenic coat is pure white and comprises of a soft furry undercoat, overlaid by a hard outer coat. The coat protects him from harsh weather while keeping him warm at the same time.

Often, this pooch has been referred to as a big dog in a small dog’s body because he is not stubborn, pushy, or temperamental.

This breed was initially developed for ratting, herding and hunting; hence, they are capable of thinking on their own. However, presently, they are more channeled into obedience and agility rather than ratting.

Your white mutt incorporates his love of life and silly antics that allow him to get along with anyone. Their playful temperament will enable them to quickly and energetically run after anything that is in motion.

It is said that this breed was bred to come only in white to make it easily distinguishable from its quarry. This has since helped lower hunting accidents.

Breed Overview

Other Name: Poltalloch Terrier, White Roseneath Terrier, Roseneath Terrier, Westie

Origin: Scotland

Height: 9.8-11.0 Inches

Weight: Female: 6-7kg, Male: 7-10kg

Life Span: 12-17 years

Colors: White

1. Personality & Temperament

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The Cesar dog breeds are confident, bold, fun-loving, and intelligent enough to find joy and happiness in the little pleasures of life like a belly rub, squeaky toys, and food.

He is a perfect fit for a family looking for a mischievous dog because his love of life and happy disposition makes him an instant favorite when he gets into your home.

His mischievous personality makes him easy to get along with people. He quickly settles in and enjoys being part of a new family.

Even though he rarely starts a fight, the Westie won’t walk away from one either. With a skip in his step and a sparkle in his eyes, he greets all adventures in life with liveliness.

2. How to Care for a West Highland White Terrier


When it comes to eating, West Highland Terrier Black is not like most dog breeds, in that they are picky eaters.

To maintain proper nutrition for your pup, make sure you feed him premium-quality small dog food. Ensure that the diet is rich in animal proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey. If your Westie is allergic to certain foods, consider finding nutritious dog food for allergies.

For their active disposition, it is crucial to make sure that they are getting enough carbohydrates. His diet should also include fiber to balance the gut.

It also helps to understand what kind of dog is the Cesar dog, to determine the best dog diet.


The West Highland Terrier puppy has beautiful, thick double coats that needs regular care. Hence, brushing his coat regularly is recommended to maintain general cleanliness of their white hair, avoid matting, and ensure healthy skin.

However, make sure to use a brush specifically designed for thick hair, especially to remove dead hair or mats. Bathing should be at least once or twice a month, or when needed. Depending on his lifestyle or where you live.

Your pup’s coat can get shaggy pretty fast. Hence, you might consider learning how to clip and strip his coat on your own rather than take him to a professional groomer every few weeks for thorough trimming or cleaning.


As a high-energy dog breed, the Westie is always ready and waiting for any action. Westies have the stamina to put in a full day of work quickly.

They need mental stimulation, and so a significant amount of exercise is vital. They tend to spend time playing, jumping, and investigating new smells and sights.

Westies may need vigorous exercise primarily because they were initially bred for energy demanding jobs like hunting and herding. However, even a slow evening stroll around your block will suffice.

Without enough exercise, your Westie may either put on weight or eventually vent their pent-up energy into chewing, barking, or digging.


The Westies are easy to train, which makes them more adept to understanding action prompts like “sit.” Training is even faster if you use games and rewards because they are always up for an activity.

Because they were bred for tasks that required intelligence, decision making, and concentration, they need to exercise their brains regularly.

Hence, using interactive dog toys and including obedience training will give your Westie a brain workout to make training much more manageable.

Because Westies are sturdy, no-nonsense dogs, whether it’s crate training, potty training, or dog bed training, consider pampering him and keep the training sessions upbeat, entertaining, and consistent.

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3. Common Health Issues of West Highland White Terriers

12-17 years, that’s the answer to the how long do Westies live question. But, like all dog breeds, West Highland White Terriers hypoallergenic are also prone to specific health issues.

If you are considering to get a Westie, make sure the seller or breeder can at least provide you with his health clearances that prove that he has been tested and cleared for a particular condition.

For a Westie puppy you should ask them to provide health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hypothyroidism.

You should also get clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundations that prove the eyes are healthy and also from Auburn University for thrombopathia.

Common health issues that affect Westies include:

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

If your West Highland White Terrier has Legg-Perthes, there is a decrease in the blood supply to the head of his femur, which leads to the disintegration of the head of the femur connecting to the pelvis.

The first symptoms include atrophy and limping of the leg muscle, which occurs when the Westie is 4-6 months old. Surgery can help correct this condition.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Also referred to as the Westie lung disease, it scars the connective tissue of the lungs as well as the supporting tissue in the air sacs. This makes your Westie’s lungs lose elasticity, preventing oxygen from passing effortlessly into the blood.

Prevention for Pulmonary fibrosis in Westies is very critical because there is no cure, and the prognosis is often poor. Limit exercise, prevent any respiratory infections and keep a healthy weight to keep this disease at bay.

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4. Children and Other Pets

Like other dog breeds, adult supervision is required when the West Highland White Terrier is around children, especially younger ones. However, Westies are loving dogs, which makes them get along with kids.

It is recommended that children be seven years old and above to be around a Westie.

Westies are equally suited for multi-dog homes because they are good with other dogs as well. However, they have a strong prey drive that can cause them to chase cats and small animals.

Hence, it may be hard for the West Highland White Terrier to differentiate between the cages hamster in your kid’s room. A Westie is therefore not favorable for you if you have any other small pets like birds or rabbits.

5. The history of West Highland White Terriers

The Westie dog breed first made their debut in 1907, at a dog show in London. In 1908, the breed was first registered under “Roseneath Terrier” with the American Kennel Club, before formally adopting “West Highland White Terrier” in 1909.

They share a history with Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Cairn Terriers, and Scottish because they are considered to be part of the same breed. With a Scottish origin, the West Highland White Terrier was originally bred for badger, hunting fox, and otter and for killing vermin.

They can be traced back to a small breed of earth dogs that were given to the king of France by James VI of Argyllshire.

Their white color, according to breed lore, was as a result of Colonel Malcolm accidentally shooting and killing one of his wheaten-colored Cairns while hunting fox.

It was from the devastation that he became determined to prevent such accidents by breeding only white dogs.

6. The Regular Expenses of Owning A West Highland White Terrier

The cost of Westie puppies varies depending on their breeding. Adopting a Westie can range around $200-$300 while buying from a breeder usually costs anywhere between $1000-$1500.

7. West Highland White Terriers Rescue Groups

There are many West Highland White Terriers in need of fostering and adoption. If you are looking to adopt one consider these Westie rescues:

2 thoughts on “West Highland White Terrier: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts”

  1. I have 2 males. My older, 12 1/2, a rescue, has bladder & prostate cancer, but holding his own. The younger, by 13 months, is as feisty and playful as a puppy. I love my Boys beyond words.

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