West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier | Dog Lovers Festival Breed Directory


The “Westie” as they are affectionately known, have been recognised as a breed for over 100 years. Westies possess the classic terrier temperament; they are active, alert, game and full of self-importance.

The West Highland Terrier is a breed from Scotland with a distinctive white fluffy coat and the modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century.


West Highland White Terrier (Westies) are independent, assured and self-confident and can make a good watchdog. They are a loyal breed that bonds with its owner and are highly social and friendly.

Grooming and Physical Needs

  • Grooming Needs: Westies should be brushed once a week with a slicker brush to remove dead hair, as they do not shed with their nails needing a trim at least once a month.
  • Coat Type: Westies have a double coat – a soft white under coat and a wiry outer coat.
  • Moulting: Generally do not shed and so are good for people with allergies.
  • Exercise Needs: Westies love to run and play. If you have a small yard or live in an apartment then they should be walked for 15 to 20 minutes per day.
  • Average Life Span: 12 – 15 years


  • Family: Westies love attention, human company and enjoy being part of all family activities.
  • Temperament: Alert, courageous, self-reliant but friendly.
  • Trainability: Westies are very intelligent, but can also be stubborn. Short sharp sessions will help keep their attention and keep them from getting bored.
  • Sociability (Other Pets): Westie puppies are very accepting of other pets but when introducing a new family pet to an older Westie be sure to supervise them until they settle in.
  • Barking: Westies are not yappy, but they are territorial so they will bark to let you know if it’s a visitor at the front door or the neighbour’s cat climbing on their fence.


Westies are problem solvers – if they can’t go around something, they try to go under, over or through. They are masters of camouflage – when they find muddy puddles they will roll in them to expertly blend into their surroundings.


Westies are big Dogs in a little body and should never be let off lead near a road.