West Highland White Terrier is from Scotland. Scotland is the home of several terriers, including the Cairn Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Scottish Terrier, and West Highland White Terrier. All of these breeds share ancestry at some point in history. A Westie fancier, Colonel Edward Malcolm, is said to have had a reddish-colored dog who was shot by hunters who mistook the dog for a fox. At that point, Colonel Malcolm decided to breed white dogs who would stand out in the field.
West Highland White Terriers stand between 10 and 11 inches tall and weigh 15 to 20 pounds. This is a compact dog, with medium-sized, dark brown eyes and small, erect ears. The body is slightly shorter than the dog is tall at the shoulders. The tail is short. The undercoat is soft, while the outer coat consists of hard, straight, white hairs. The face is framed by the coat to present a round appearance. The coat should be brushed a couple of times each week to keep it neat and clean. Show dogs must be presented in a specific way, with the coat hand-stripped (or plucked). West Highland White Terrier owners usually have the dog clipped every four to six weeks. Potential West Highland White Terrier owners should discuss coat care with a West Highland White Terrier breeder.
West Highland White Terriers are active dogs who enjoy long, brisk walks and a chance to play in the yard. They can be great at amusing themselves with toys, but when bored can be destructive chewers or dig amazingly large holes. All exercise should be on leash or within a fenced-in yard. West Highland White Terriers are easily trained when the owner has figured out what motivates the individual dog. Although not stubborn, West Highland White Terriers can be independent.
A West Highland White Terrier may be too much terrier for a first-time dog owner. They can be good with children but will not tolerate rough play and are too easily stimulated to be a part of a large group of kids playing. Male West Highland White Terriers can be aggressive toward other male dogs. Most West Highland White Terriers should not be trusted with other small pets. Health concerns include eye problems, deafness, copper toxicosis, and Legg-Perthe’s disease.
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