The West Highland white terrier is a dog that is commonly referred to as the Westie. This is a small yet sturdy dog that has its roots from England. The Westie has a small head that when compared to the rest of the body seems out of place. The blunt muzzle of the dog is slightly shorter than the head is. The muzzle of the dog is shorter than the size of the skull. The muzzle tapers from the eye region downwards to where it comes to the nose level. The nose of the Westie is predominantly black, though it is not uncommon to see the color coat of this dog being different.
The teeth of the dog meet in a scissors bite, and the dog has a complete dentition. The eyes of the dog are almond in shape and the dog dark eyes with the exact shade being determined by the color of the coat of the dog. The ears of the Westie are ever erect and stand upright and are triangular in shape. The legs are sets too low to the ground. The tail is relatively short and hangs below the top line of the dog. Common practice is to remove dewclaws when the dog is a few days old.
The dog has a double coat that is comprised of an undercoat that is soft, short and dense while the upper coat is long and tough to the touch. Coat color is solid white and with no variations being accepted. Average height is 10 – 12 inches while the average weight range is 13 – 22 pounds.
The Westie is a playful, hardy and fun dog. It is cooperative and respects the owner and these traits make it easy to train as it does not only listen to the owner, but it does love to impress them. The Westie has also been shown as a dog that loves to travel. It also loves to be by the company of children, especially when they play. It is advised that play sessions where the dog is present should always be moderated to ensure that rough play does not come.
The Westie forms bonds easily with other dogs and is quite friendly. They form bonds well with other humans easily, provided they are approved by their master. These dogs may tend to be aggressive especially when they think that it is fun. They ought to be discouraged to do so. These dogs are very good companions and bring a lot of love to their immediate families. Though small, these dogs are very good watchdogs when trained how to do it.
It is prone to hernia, liver disease, skin problems and problems with its teeth.
Low mortality rates are seen in this dog. Average lifespan is 15 years.
Though the dog has a double coat, shedding is minimal. A bi weekly brushing of the hair is recommended to ensure the dog does not matt.
This dog originated from Scotland and came up in the 19th century from the Cairn terrier. It was recognized by the AKC in 1908.