West Highland White Terrier: A Complete Guide

Are you having a situation where your significant other wants a dog to cuddle and love, while you want one with whom you can turn the house upside down while playing?

Or, maybe you want a dog for the outdoors while your significant half wants a dog that will go perfectly with the white furniture?

What if we told you that West Highland White Terrier can be a perfect choice for the both of you?

This snow white colored breed looks like dogs you see on pet food commercials, in fact, they are often the actual stars of commercials.

But, even though they might look like they are just for show, they do come with a sturdy physique and with a huge heart and sometimes an edgy attitude.

But, the most important thing about West Highland White Terriers is that they are amazing friends and once they become a part of a family, they are all in.

Well, at least when it comes to families that can keep up with them.

That is exactly why we decided to write this guide so that you, first of all, see if this breed is fit for you and your family.

Then, once you know you are a match made in heaven, you can get to know them much better and know what to expect from day one.

But first, let’s see what to pay attention too before making that final choice.

West Highland White Terrier Puppies – Before You Buy…

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier is an intelligent dog breed.

Before buying a pup of any breed, there are some questions you should ask yourself so that you are sure you are making the right choice.

For example, will the price of the puppy fit your budget? Or, how can I find a reputable breeder? Are the puppies of this breed complicated to take care of?

Once you have these answers, you can proceed with getting to know and falling in love with the breed you have chosen.

When it comes to West Highland White Terriers, here are the answers to the most important questions.

What price are West Highland White Terrier puppies?

First of all, you need to see if this breed fits into your budget plans. To do that, you have to know what price range to expect.

Of course, you can find West Highland White Terrier pups for a low price, but in 99% of the time, it will turn out to be a poorly-bred puppy that is already a bit too old to start shaping it into a well-mannered dog.

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Also, there’s a great chance that the pup’s parents are not clear of hereditary health issues and that the entire litter didn’t even see a vet, let alone checked for defects or current health problems.

To avoid such “bargain” deals, it is best to contact West Highland White Terrier clubs and ask for breeder recommendation.

Yes, a pup with all the necessary paperwork and health clearances will cost significantly more, but you will know what you are getting and what to expect.

On average, a healthy and with a great genetic inheritance pup, goes from $1000 to $1300.

The price can go even higher if you have a representative of a champion family that has won many prestigious competitions.

How to find reputable West Highland White Terrier breeders?

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier doesn’t shed much.

Since, just by looking at the pup, you cannot possibly know if it comes from pure blooded, healthy parents, choosing a reputable breeder is extremely important.

Here, you have 3 options:

  • Dealers or Pet Shops

This is the worst choice you can make! The pups you find in pet shops or from dealers are poorly bred and even more poorly raised.

They are treated as if they are a merchandise and not as a living being, and the end profit is all that matters.

And, since they want to spend as little as possible of their profit, high-quality food, and expensive health tests are not on their agenda.

  • Backyard Breeder

Not as bad as pet shops, but still a bad choice. A backyard breeder is someone who already owns a female West Highland White Terrier, and has found a male for breeding.

He is in this so that he can just sell the puppies and earn money.

What is bad with this scenario is that these “breeders” consider themselves experts even though they clearly aren’t.

Their pups didn’t have x-rays of their hips, and even if they did, they were not evaluated by the OFA or GDC, nor were they registered.

Unfortunately, this is in most cases because the breeder wasn’t aware of the problems that come with this breed.

Or, even worse, the breeder simply didn’t care about that and was interested only in the money.

  • Serious Hobby Breeder
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If you want to make a perfect choice, this is the way to go. A serious, dedicated and reputable breeder considers this far more than just a hobby.

He or she is in it for the love towards this breed. Yes, they do earn money (nice money) for the pups, but that is not their main focus.

If the breeder is involved in the Dog Sport because he loves and enjoys it, the results are superb.

Also, they take healthcare very seriously, so you will always get a full documented health history of both the parents and their pups, and you will know exactly what to expect or not.

Reputable breeders will take responsibility for each and every puppy that comes from them and they are a perfect choice if you want a healthy puppy with no hidden flaws.

3 Little-known facts about West Highland White Terrier puppies

Here are some little-known facts you should be aware of before welcoming the puppy to your home:

  • They don’t like harsh and boring training

West Highland White Terrier puppies are known to have great self-esteem and strong will, even in the early stages of their lives.

So, when it comes to training, you might have a problem if your approach is a bit on the harsh side and if they get bored.

So, the solution is to have a positive attitude and spice it up so that your pup doesn’t lose interest.

  • They are independent

Even while still a pup, West Highland White Terrier can be left alone at home while you are out.

You just need to make sure all his toys are accessible and that the radio or TV is playing, and your puppy will have a great time on its own without a problem.

  • They are great “alarms”

If there’s one thing these dogs are great at, it’s barking. Even while still pups, they will alert you if they hear or smell something suspicious.

However, without a proper training, this can turn out to be an “alarm” for just a fly passing by.

Physical Traits of the West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier has a prey drive in his DNA.

It’s time to get an insight into the West Highland White terrier’s physique, so that you know if this dog can fit your house or apartment.

A little hint, yes, he definitely can.

How big is a full-grown West Highland White Terrier?

This is a sturdy little breed that has a proud deep chest and comes in a shape that is slightly rectangular.

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When it comes to males, the maximum height you can expect is some 11 inches, while the weight goes from 15 to 20 pounds.

The females, like most in dog world cases, are slightly smaller and can grow up to be some 10 inches high while the weight goes from 13 to 15 pounds.

As you can see, they can fit even the smallest of apartments, but they have a heart the size of a mountain and it’s reserved just for you and your family.

What is the life expectancy of the West Highland White Terrier?

If you take care of your dog the way it needs to be taken care of, you should expect from 12 to 16 years filled with fun and laughter.

Of course, there are cases when these dogs lived even longer, but that depends on many factors and if your dog was born under a lucky star.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terriers are a breed that is well known for being intelligent, fun-loving, yet confident and bold as well.

Even the simplest things such as food, a belly rub, or squeaky toys, will bring them enormous pleasure. This is why this breed is loved by many, even though they can be quite mischievous.

Also, these dogs, even though come with relatively high self-esteem levels, aren’t too full of themselves.

In fact, they are famous for being friendly and getting along with everyone, and for the love towards their family.

You can rarely see a West Highland White Terrier to start a fight with other dogs or cats. But, we know how Terriers are, meaning, you will never see them back out of a fight as well.

When it comes to kids, this breed is great with them, but if you have small kids like infants and toddlers, you shouldn’t leave them unsupervised.

Your Terrier might misinterpret your child’s lack of “softness” the adults have when playing, and snap.

However, with older kids that know how to act and play with them, there won’t be a single problem whatsoever. On the contrary, they will wear each other out and fall asleep at the end of the day like babies.

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As for homes that already have other pets, the Westies can get along with them as well.

But, in order to avoid the cat and dog “tornado” around the house, you should start with the socialization right from the start.

This will also help brush out the hunt drive these dogs have in their DNA, and your pet parrot or hamster will be able to run or fly around the house freely, without a pair of mini jaws snapping at them all the time.

West Highland White Terrier Diet

For your West Highland White Terrier, the recommended diet includes one half to a full cup of dry, high-quality food. We recommend splitting that amount into two meals throughout the day.

Of course, the amount of food your dog requires can be different, and that depends mostly on how big and active your dog is.

For the best diet plan, you should consult first the breeder and later the veterinarian who takes care of your dog.

How much Exercise does a West Highland White Terrier need?

Unlike other, more energetic breeds, the West Highland White Terrier doesn’t require too much exercise.

You will have to take him out for a walk at least two times a day, and half an hour to 45 minutes will be quite enough.

This breed is generally known as being calm and lazy-looking while in the house. But, once they are out, it’s like their instincts kick in and they turn into running and barking machines.

However, you won’t have to put up with that for long, and soon, it will be back-to-home time, where your West Highland White Terrier will return to its chilling-at-home mode.

West Highland White Terrier Health and Conditions

When West Highland White Terrier’s health is concerned, there’s no reason to be worried because they are quite healthy in general.

However, each breed comes with its own health issues you should be aware of, and the same goes for the Westies as well.

When buying a puppy from this breed, make sure that the breeder you are buying it from, presents all health clearances that are important for this breed.

This is your assurance that the puppy you are about to buy is cleared of a particular West Highland White Terrier condition.

The conditions you should see the clearances for include:

  • From OFA – von Willebrand’s disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, and hypothyroidism
  • From CERF and Auburn University for thrombopathia – confirmation of normal eyes
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All of these health clearances can be checked and confirmed on the official OFA website.

My final thoughts on the West Highland White Terrier

We have reached the end of our West Highland White Terrier guide and by now, you definitely know if this is or isn’t a breed for your home and family.

If you did choose this all white, looking for some fun breed, remember what you learned from this guide: Reputable breeder, early training that is positive and interesting, and regular moderate exercising.

A few things we didn’t mention but you should also know is that the fluffy coat these dogs come with, isn’t just for show, but for the actual protection of animals, their ancestors used to encounter during the hunts.

Their coat isn’t too demanding and they don’t shed that much. You will have to brush your pet every two months.

Yes, it is really easy to take care of their coat, and the fact that they have a dry hair, makes them even lower maintenance because they lack that dog smell not everyone tolerates.

And, speaking of hunting, don’t forget that your Terrier has that prey drive in his DNA and that if not socialized right from the start, you will be seeing chasing birds, cats, and other animals all the time.

All in all, this dog is suited for a wide range of owners, whether we are talking about families or a single person.

They would prefer a more energetic and adventure loving owner, but if you are more laid back and more into chilling at home and taking a slow walk with your dog, the West Highland White Terrier will gladly become your loyal companion and love you more than life itself.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

6
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9
Family Safety
7
Friendliness
8
Health Concerns
8
Life Span
7.5
Exercise Required
7.5
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 7.9 / 10

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