West Highland White Terrier

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West Highland White Terrier

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West Highland White Terriers  are often simply called Westies. The Dog breed is renowned for its cheerful temperament and distinctive white coat. West Highland Terriers have bright eyesthat are typically dark and with a piercing gaze. The dog’s ears are small, pointed and erect.

A West Highland White Terrier typically weighs from 7.5 kg. to 10 kg. (15-20 pounds) and the dog is on average 28 inches tall. The tail is between 5-6 inches (about 13 cm.). The dog breed has a deep chest, muscular limbs and a large skull. The teeth generally appear quite large for the size of the dog and the dog has a strong skeletal structure for its size. The undercoat is soft and thick and the outer coat is approx. 5 cm. long (two inches), rough and requires regular brushing.

The West Highland White Terrier’s history as a breed
West Highland White Terrier descended from the Cairn Terrier (that sometimes had white puppies) and the Scottish Terrier that also sometimes had white puppies. Sometimes white terriers from Bedlington and Dandie Dinmont lines were introduced in the blood line to breed in certain traits, but this practice stopped in the 1850s.

Some sources believe that Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm of the Argyll region of western Scotland started the breed in the early 1800s. Other sources believe it was the eighth Duke of Argyll, who invented the dog breed. There may have been a collaboration between two people. It may have taken more than a hundred years of selective breeding, to breed the desirable characteristics and traits.

The white coat
The West Highland White Terrier’s white coat made it easy to see during hunts in the Scottish lands,and also made it easy to know the terrier from the game, which was important because hunters sometimes mistook brown dogs for foxes and shot hunting dogs by mistake . West Highland White Terrier also has a strong build for its size.

Originally the dog breed was called the Poltalloch Terrier after Malcolm’s home. The dog breed was also known as the Roseneath Terrier (after Argyll’s home), White Roseneath Terrier and in the late 1900s briefly as a white variant of the Scottish Terrier. West Highland White Terrier was bred to be a hunting dog and was often used for hunting small game such as rabbits.

West Highland White Terrier needs exercise and maintenance
The West Highland White Terrier is susceptible to allergies and problems with dry skin. Therefore, frequent bathing may aggravate these problems. To wash your dog once a month or with longer intervals will typically not cause problems. Frequent brushing of the coat is needed to keep the coat clean. Only wash the dog with dog shampoo and frequently cleaning the dog’s ears helps prevent ear infections.

West Highland White Terrier health and disease
Like most other breeds, the West Highland White Terrier typically needs about 13 hours of sleep a day. The West Highland White Terrier typically adjusts its sleeping rhythm to its owner, and takes several small naps during the day to get the needed sleep. A West Highland White Terrier can easily cope with moderate periods of being alone.

If you are interested in getting a West Highland White Terrier, you should consider the following:

Would you like a dog that is:

  • A small but sturdy dog.
  • Has a natural appearance.
  • Have only a modest need for exercise.
  • Barks when strangers are coming.
  • Doesn’t shed much much.
  • Is easier to train and friendlier towards strangers than most other terriers.

This can be negative depending on your personal preferences:

  • Has the classic terrier temperament.
  • Can be stubborn.
  • Likes to fill the garden with holes.
  • May bark frequently.
  • Needs to be trimmed and brushed occasionally.

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