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West Highland White Terrier Breed Fact Sheet

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West Highland White Terrier Breed Information

Group 2: Terriers

Energy Level: Moderate - high

Original Function: Fox, badger, and vermin hunting

Temperament: Alert, gay, courageous, self-reliant but friendly

Characteristics: Small, active, game, hardy, possessed of no small amount of self-esteem with a varminty appearance.

Recommended for: Most people/families.

Lifespan: 12 – 14 years

Height: 28cm (11")

Colour: White, pigmentation of nose, pads & nails should be black.

Coat: Medium length, harsh, straight.
Breed standard states "Colour pure white, must be double coated. The outer coat consists of hard hair, about 2 inches long, free from any curl. The undercoat, which resembles fur, is short, soft and close. Open coats in the ring are not favoured.

General Appearance: Small sized body. Head thickly coated with hair, dark eyes looking from under heavy eyebrows (bones), imparting a piercing look. Small erect ears. The tail is 5-6 inches long, which when dog is mature.
Strongly built; deep in chest and back ribs; level back and powerful quarters on muscular legs and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination of strength and activity.



The West Highland White Terrier was sometimes known as the Poltalloch Terrier or the Roseneath Terrier, they were selectively breed for its white coat so they would be highly visible in the field. Like other Scottish breeds the Westie was a great working dog.
They are friendly, very playful and alert, they make wonderful family pet being able to tolerate lots of adult and children's company. They are very brave and make great watchdogs.
Yes, they are avid hunters and can eradicate vermin without seeing marks on the pelt.
They have no road-sense and should not be allowed off the lead unless having some obedience training.
They are very intelligent dogs and many of the breed here in Australia have successfully competed in the obedience ring and in the USA.

Grooming- Westie coats are high maintenance and should be groomed, by first brushing the coat away from the skin and then combing it flat, removing all the knots (the soft lint- type undercoat stops dirt and matter from penetrating the skin) at least 3 times per week. The coat should be harsh, straight and not wavy - free from any curl.
Regular bathing is not desired, due to washing out their natural oils which can cause skin complaints.
Stripping of the coat is the best way to keep the coat harsh.
Recommend clipping by electric clippers with a #5 blade. Clipping does tend to make the coat soft, curl/wave if the dogs have soft and waves already in their coats, Westies with straight hard coats will not curl/wave when clipped.
Particular attention should be paid around the anus, trimming the hair to keep it clean and checking the pads for burrs, grass-seeds and clogs of dirt that capture in the hairs of the pad. Toe nails should be regularly tipped to keep the feet tidy and the dewclaws need attention to stop them from growing and curling into the skin of the legs.

Exercise- regular walk and play sessions will keep them fit and happy.

Health- They can be susceptible to skin allergies. It is recommended that the purchaser buy a Westie from a registered breeder to ensure the health of the dog and be given guidance with the care of looking after this wonderful breed.
For Diet and other general dog health information Health/Nutrition


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