Westie Breed Characteristics

Westies are small, sturdy dogs with short legs, typically weighing in at around 15-20 pounds, and standing between 10 and 12 inches tall at the shoulder. Their signature feature is their long snow-white coat that may be wavy or straight. Their coat is double: they have a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, harsher outercoat. Additionally, the hair on their head, muzzle, and legs is shorter than the rest of their body. Their muzzle is short and blunt, with prickly and pointed ears and eyes that are typically dark brown and alert.


The Westie is a feisty, happy-go-lucky breed that loves to play and run around. They are known for their independent spirit and terrier character, which can make them a little stubborn at times. However, they are also very loving and loyal companions who love spending time with their families. These dogs are active and thrive on being around people, making them a great choice for those who lead active lifestyles. They are also relatively easy to train, although they can be a little headstrong at times.


Overall, the Westie is considered to be a hardy breed that is resistant to many health problems. Some of the most common health issues that these dogs experience include joint problems and skin conditions such as yeast infection.

Joint Problems

Westies are prone to joint problems, especially in their hips and elbows. This can cause them significant pain and difficulty moving around. There are a few things you can do to help minimize your Westie’s risk of joint problems, including:

  • Feeding them a high-quality diet that is low in processed foods and rich in healthy fats.
  • making sure they get plenty of exercise;
  • providing them with a soft surface to sleep on.
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You can also give them supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin if their joints are starting to show signs of wear and tear.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are a common problem in Westies, but they can be treated successfully with the right approach. Yeast is a type of fungus that lives in the body and is normally found in small amounts in the gut and on the skin. However, when it overgrows, it can cause problems such as an infection. There are a few things that can increase the risk of a yeast infection in a Westie, including:

  • a diet that is high in sugar or carbohydrates,
  • stress,
  • a weak immune system.

Symptoms of a yeast infection can vary depending on where it is located. If the infection is on the skin, common symptoms can include redness, scaling, and itching.

How to Care for a Westie?


Westies need regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and free of mats. Brushing your Westie’s coat once or twice a week should be enough, but you may need to brush more often if he or she has a lot of hair. Be sure to use a good quality dog brush, and pay special attention to the areas around the ears, legs, and tail. You may also want to trim your Westie’s hair around his or her paws every few months. West Highland White Terriers also need their teeth brushed at least once a week to keep them healthy. Use a toothbrush designed for dogs, and a toothpaste made for them as well. You can also give your Westie a dental chew toy to help keep his or her teeth clean.


While they are bred as companion dogs and as such are not particularly active, Westies do require some exercise to stay healthy and happy. A short walk or playtime in the yard is usually enough to meet their needs. Some Westies will also enjoy a good game of fetch or chasing a toy around.

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Cost of a Westie Puppy

Westie puppies can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000 depending on the breeder. It is important to do your research before buying a Westie puppy to make sure you are getting a healthy and well-socialized dog. Breeders who have dogs that have been health tested and who raise their puppies in a healthy environment are typically more expensive, but the investment is worth it in the long run.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

A kennel is not the only place to get a Westie. If you can’t afford it but still want to obtain a Westie from a legal source, you may want to consider adoptong from one of many rescue centers, Westie Rescue being arguably the biggest. This nonprofit organization helps find homes for abandoned and homeless West Highland White Terriers. Since 1987, it has helped thousands of dogs find new homes. They provide resources for adoptive families, including training tips. They also work to raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and the importance of adopting from animal shelters.

The History of the West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed


The exact origins of the West Highland White Terrier are unknown, but it is believed that they originated in Scotland in the late 1700s to early 1800s, and were used as a working dog in the highlands. They are related to other Scottish terriers, including the Aberdeen Terrier and the Cairn Terrier. They were bred for their white coat, which allowed them to be easily seen in the dark and treacherous terrain. The West Highland White Terrier was also used as a vermin hunter, and was excellent at hunting down rats, rabbits, and other small pests.

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The breed was brought to the United States in the early 1800s by Scottish immigrants and quickly became popular both as a working dog on farms and in mines and a companion. The West Highland White Terrier was first recognized as a breed by the English Kennel Club in 1907. However, they were not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1930. The breed has continued to grow in popularity over the years, and is now considered to be one of the most popular terrier breeds in the world for its loyal and playful personality, as well as high energy levels.

Westie Trivia: Westies in Pop Culture

Westie dogs have appeared in various pop culture mediums over the years.

  • For example, Rosemary Wells’ McDuff series of children’s novels, which are written and illustrated by Susan Jeffers, follows the misadventures of the eponymous Westie, McDuff.
  • In Asterix and the Actress, a 2002 French animated film, the main antagonist is an actress who uses her westie dog as a weapon in her evil schemes.

Westie dogs have also appeared in various advertising campaigns. A notable example is the 2008 commercial for the Volkswagen Jetta, where a west highland white terrier named Pancake is used to show the agility and speed of the car.

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