The Dog Of The Highlands West Highland White Terrier

The Dog Of The Highlands West Highland White Terrier

At around 1700s,​ the​ Isle of​ Skye and other highlands in​ Scotland were already producing lots of​ small terriers. Scottish breeds were separated into two: the​ Skye terriers and the​ Dandie Dinmont terriers.

The Dandie Dinmonts were categorized as​ a​ separate breed. the​ Skyes included the​ Scotties,​ the​ Cairns and the​ West highland white terriers or​ the​ Westies.

It was also noted that these terriers were the​ hybrids among the​ crossed Cairns,​ Scottish,​ and Dandies terriers. One could assume that the​ hybrid would really be loyal and its hunting instincts could not be belittled. in​ fact,​ many royalties in​ Scotland owned terriers that were very similar to​ the​ Westies of​ today.

Another remarkable story is​ about a​ Westie that stopped a​ mother from constantly yelling at​ her daughter. Every time the​ mother would yell at​ her teenage daughter,​ the​ Westie would attack the​ mother. the​ aggression of​ the​ dog got worse over the​ years that resulted in​ the​ mother's complete inability to​ scold her teenager.

It turned out that the​ girl was actually rewarding the​ dog for his protection by calming and soothing him down after every "threat" from her mother. Many would perceive that the​ daughter was able to​ help her mother to​ change her ways when in​ fact she was helping herself by rewarding the​ dog for its behavior.

The following are some of​ the​ basic facts breeders would really love to​ know about Westies:

Category: Terrier Living Environment: indoors (highly recommended); outdoors (fenced yard)

Coat: about two-inch coarse and wiry outer coat and soft,​ dense,​ and furry undercoat Color: white

Height: between 10 and 12 inches

Weight: between 13 and 22 pounds



• they like to​ bark and dig
• they are not as​ willful like most terriers
• they love companionship

When properly trained

• they can become fairly friendly towards strangers
• they develop close affinity with behaved children
• they love to​ chase cats but they do not hurt them
• they can become a​ very good watch dog • they can become very lively

Breeders should note of​ the​ following health issues:

• Chronic skin problems
• Perthe's disease (hip problems)
• Jawbone calcification
• Cranio mandibular osteopathy (lion jaw)
• Patella luxation,​ a​ disorder in​ the​ kneecap
• Liver ailments
• Deafness
• Congenital heart disease

Care and Exercise:

• Their coat should be brushed regularly using a​ brush with stiff bristles.
• They should bathe only when necessary.
• Their whole coat should be stripped at​ least twice a​ year and trimmed every four months.
• The fur on​ the​ eyes and ears should be trimmed using blunt-nose mirrors.
• They will surely be more agile and healthy after regular sessions of​ play and/or walk.


As noted,​ they share the​ same lineage with Cairns and Scotties (from Skye terriers),​ and even with the​ Dandies. This trio was developed in​ the​ Isle of​ Skye,​ which was one of​ the​ highlands in​ Scotland. it​ was noted that white whelps were chosen from the​ wiry-coated Cairns,​ Scotties,​ and Dandies to​ produce the​ variety that were known as​ Poltalloch terriers.

Following are some items in​ the​ history that show the​ Westies' reputation of​ being owners' favorite companion dogs.

Records in​ the​ history mentioned that around 1620,​ King James 1 of​ England requested some small white dogs from Argyleshire in​ Scotland. Colonel Malcolm,​ who was considered as​ the​ originator of​ Poltalloch terriers,​ that are very similar to​ the​ Westies of​ today,​ accidentally shot his terrier (a dark one). From then on​ he vowed to​ have only white terriers.

In the​ 19th century,​ terriers that were very similar to​ the​ Westies were known as​ Roseneath terriers in​ honor of​ Duke of​ Argyll's interest and patronage of​ this breed. Roseneath was the​ name of​ his estate at​ Dumbartonshire.

In the​ first-ever dog show that were organized in​ the​ late 1800s,​ the​ Westies were called as​ White Scottish terriers. in​ 1904,​ they were classified under the​ name West Highland White terriers.

During the​ mid-1900s,​ breeders of​ the​ Cairns in​ Argyll,​ Scotland selected white puppies from the​ stock and interbreed some to​ obtain white Cairns. However,​ in​ 1917,​ the​ American Kennel Club ruled that Cairns could be listed if​ they have the​ Westies' lineage. We can say the​ history repeats itself for this delightful terrier is​ now mostly a​ favorite companion dog of​ many households.

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