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West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

A Westie is no lap dog. The West Highland White Terrier is a busy, intelligent breed that likes to have its nose in everything–sometimes literally. Channel your Westie’s energy and shower him with attention and you’ll have a devoted and loving family member you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.

15-22 lbs.

Exercise Requirements:
A Westie’s high energy level must be burned off daily with plenty of exercise (at least an hour a day). Be careful to keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced-in area, because thanks to their hunting instinct, Westies like to roam and could go far.

Mess Factor:
Expect some (minimal) shedding and keep your lint brush handy. Bonus: Westies have a fairly low dander level.

Barking and Volume:
This breed likes to bark. Expect to put in some time to train your Westie to pipe down.

Training Requirements:
West Highland White Terriers are smart and like to keep busy, which makes them eager to learn. They should pick up basic training quickly through positive reinforcement, but their independent and stubborn nature means that you’ll need patience. A puppy class is a wise idea. Many Westies excel at agility courses and training.

Ongoing Costs:
Health Factors: The breed is relatively healthy but can be susceptible to globoid cell leukodystrophy, Legg-Perthes and CMO. Minor concerns include copper toxicosis, cataracts and patellar luxation. *A responsible breeder can minimize the risk of genetic disorders.
Grooming: Professional grooming every two to three months.
Training: Basic training. A puppy class will do.

Grooming Requirements:
White-haired dogs have a hard time keeping their coats white. You’ll need to brush or comb your Westie’s double coat several times a week to remove loose hair and dirt. Every two or three months, your Westie will need a to visit the groomer for a trim.

Kid Compatibility:
Small animals, small people–this breed seemingly can’t tell the difference between them. Since Westies are used to going after small animals, they may nip at children. These dogs are better off with adults or older kids.

12-14+ years.

Friendliness: Towards Animals
Because the Westie was bred to hunt small animals, this dog is not going to do well around them even in a home setting. You’ll need to spend a lot of time trying to properly socialize your Westie or keep him away from your house pets. This may not be the dog for you, if small animals are your thing.

Friendliness: Towards People
Westies are friendly dogs who love attention from all sorts of people—and if they don’t get it, they’ll demand it.

A demanding bundle of energy that showers you with love.

Links and Resources:
West Highland White Terrier Club of America
Westie Rescue USA
Most large cities have their own rescue organizations for the breed.
Westie Puppy

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