West Highland White Terrier: photo and description of the breed


  • Country of origin: UK (Scotland)
  • The size:
  • Growth:
    25-28 cm
  • The weight:
    8–10 kg
  • Age:
    up to 15 years
  • FCI breed group:
  • Brief information

  • Funny, sociable and very cute dogs;
  • Sometimes they can be a little stubborn;
  • Courageous and bold, devoted to the owner.
  • History of the breed

    The name of the breed of the West Highland White Terrier indicates the geography of origin and color of this dog: the birthplace of these dogs is the western highlands of Scotland, and the only acceptable color of its coat is white.

    The West Highland White Terrier is one of the representatives of the Scottish Terrier group, which also includes the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Skye Terrier and Cairn Terrier. By the way, the latter is the progenitor of the West Terriers. At home, in Great Britain, the West Highland White Terrier was already known in the 19th century, but officially the first club of lovers of this breed was registered only at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The ancestors of this breed were known as early as the 12th century: terriers were used for burrow hunting for fox, badger and otter. Having proven themselves to be loyal, devoted and efficient hunting assistants, the animals aroused the interest of the lairds (representative of the untitled Scottish nobility). Full-fledged breeding of West Highland White Terriers began at the end of the 19th century, when Duke George Campbell bred a breed of white dogs called “Roseneath Terriers” in honor of the name of his estate. Similarly, Dr. America Edwin Flaxman became interested in breeding white terriers, starting a branch of “Pittenium Terriers”. However, the official founder of the modern West Highland White Terrier is Laird Edward Donald Malcolm. According to legend, he decided to breed white terriers, because once he accidentally shot one red dog during a hunt, confusing it with a fox. The Poltalloch Terrier branch he founded is a direct line for all today’s representatives of this breed.

    West Highland White Terrier: photo and description of the breed

    The name of the West Highland White Terrier was first fixed in 1908, and the final breed standard was formed only by 1930.

    For convenience, these dogs are sometimes diminutively called “vesti”.


    Despite its compact size and cheerful disposition, the West Highland White Terrier is a true hunter! These hardy dogs helped people catch foxes, otters, badgers and other small animals. Today, they act as a companion dog and do their job perfectly.

    The West Terrier is a tireless and energetic dog. A restless pet needs games, active walks and communication with the owner. He is devoted to the family and will gladly accompany her on travels, even long ones. In addition, a feature of the West Highland White Terrier is its determination and courage.

    By the way, representatives of the breed have a rather sonorous voice and are not averse to demonstrating it once again. To prevent the pet from barking in vain, the dog must be trained. The West Highland White Terrier is smart and curious and will love to learn new things. True, sometimes he can be a little stubborn, especially if he is tired. Nevertheless, a smart dog will surely please the owner with his knowledge. Therefore, the West Terrier is great for people who have no experience in animal training.

    Representatives of the breed are quite friendly and sociable, but at the same time they can be jealous. West Highland White Terrier, despite the quiet neighborhood with other pets, requires attention and affection. These dogs are good with school age children. They will enjoy playing and walking with the kids.

    Description of the West Highland White Terrier

    West Highland White Terriers are compact and short-limbed. These are stocky but very mobile dogs.

    Rounded broad head covered with thick hair. The dog has a very intelligent and insightful look. Her eyes are medium sized, almond shaped and dark in color. The relatively large nose should also be black. Ideally, dark graphite or black color should also be eyelids, lips, palate, fingertips and claws of the animal. Pointed small ears are set straight and not too wide, there is a small fringe on the outside of the shells (except for the upper parts). The tail can reach up to 15 cm in length, is held almost vertically, in no case is bent or wrapped in a ring.

    The main external feature of dogs of this breed is a long (up to 5 cm) stiff white coat. It must not be wavy or curled and cannot be any other color. Extremely rarely, due to hereditary causes or care errors, a yellowish undertone may appear. In the second case, you can easily get rid of it by changing the diet or light trimming.


    A distinctive feature of this breed is a white coat. She needs a lot of maintenance. Once every ten to fifteen days, the dog is bathed using a special shampoo and conditioner. Brush your pet daily.

    In addition, representatives of the breed need trimming and haircut. Owners should do this at least three to four times a year.

    Conditions of detention

    The West Highland White Terrier loves to walk, preferably about three hours a day. On the street, it is worth keeping the pet busy with games and any activity, giving the dog the opportunity to throw out energy.

    Representatives of this breed feel great in the city, but they will also be happy with life in the countryside. However, when letting the dog go for a walk in the garden, it is necessary to remember an important trait of terriers: they are big fans of digging in the ground.

    Predisposition to disease

    West Highland White Terriers rarely suffer from hereditary diseases, however, in some cases, they may have genetic ailments such as congenital deafness, hip dysplasia, diabetes mellitus, or von Willebrand disease (sudden bleeding, similar to hemophilia). In addition, these dogs may suffer from skin conditions such as atopy, ichthyosis, and epidermal dysplasia.

    West Highland White Terrier: photo and description of the breed

    Sometimes dogs of this breed have diseases of the nervous system (Shaker’s syndrome), the genitourinary system (hyperuricosuria), the musculoskeletal system (Perthes’ disease) and the cardiovascular system.

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