The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, is a small, sturdy breed of dog originally from Scotland. They are known for their snow-white double coat and outgoing, friendly personality.
West Highland White Terriers usually weigh between 6.8 and 9.1 kg and measure between 25 and 28 centimeters at shoulder height. They have an average life expectancy of 12 to 16 years. According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), they belong to Group 3, which includes Terriers.
Breed history in brief
The history of this breed is long and linked to Scotland itself. There are records that during the time of King James VI of Scotland, in 1567-1625, there were already White Scottish Terriers. There are various theories about the first ones, from being white descendants of the Scottish Terrier to reports of a Spanish Armada ship wrecked off the Scottish coast in 1588 carrying white dogs. They were originally bred to hunt vermin, such as foxes and badgers, in the Scottish Highlands.
The name "West Highland White Terrier" first appeared in 1908, in a book published on otter hunting, the same year it was exported to the USA. They became popular as a companion dog and the AKC recognized them as a distinct breed in 1908.
The West Highland White Terrier has a small, stocky build with a level back, pointed ears, short legs and a long, feathered tail. They have a wedge-shaped head with a black nose, dark eyes and small, erect ears.
The coat is dense, double, hard and fibrous. Despite the appearance, it is not a soft, silky coat. As the name implies, the coat of this breed is always white.
The West Highland White Terrier is known for its friendly and outgoing personality. They are active, playful and loyal to their owners, being very affectionate dogs. They are also confident and independent, with a strong prey drive. They are intelligent and trainable, but can sometimes be stubborn.
Common health problems
Like all dog breeds, the West Highland White Terrier is susceptible to certain health problems. Some of the most common health problems in the breed include craniomandibular osteopathy, atopic dermatitis, Krabbe disease and Shaker syndrome.
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