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West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed

West Highland White TerrierThere is no other member of the Terrier Group that is more friendly and affectionate than the West Highland White Terrier, or “Westie” for short. These adorable bundles of joy are alway happy, curious, and thrive on being the center of attention. It makes the perfect house dog for all family types are wonderful around children.

The fun-loving temperament of the Westie carries over to strange dogs and people, as they are always looking to make new friends. Somewhat reserved around other pets in the house, these dogs quickly bond, making them amiable with every member of the family. At night they make excellent watchdogs, and will bark at any approaching person, animal, or sound.

A Brief History of the West Highland White Terrier

The roots of the West Highland White Terrier go back to Scotland, during the 1800s. The breed actually shares its bloodline with various other terriers from that time, each with outstanding hunting abilities. Small animals such as badger, fox, and vermin were hunted by these efficient terriers.

At one point, various different breeds were all considered to be the same. The list included the Skye Terrier, the Westie, the Scottish Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier. Distinctive strains were produced through selective breeding, based on qualities such as color and coat type, which were easily maintained throughout Scotland and several islands to the west of the country.

The West Highland White Terrier first gained popularity in 1907. At the time it was named the “Poltalloch Terrier”. Over the years the breed went through several more name changes, including: Little Skye, Roseneath, Cairn, and the White Scottish. In fact, the breed was registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1908 as the Roseneath Terrier, but soon changed in 1909 to the West Highland White Terrier.

Upkeep Requirements for the West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is not the kind of dog that should live outside. Although they do have tolerance to moderately hot or cool temperatures, they should spend most of their time indoors. However, having access to a fenced-in yard during the day is ideal, with sleeping arrangements being inside at night with the rest of the family.

Westies need daily exercise to take care of their high energy levels, but due to the small size of the breed, these requirements can be met with a few walks on the leash and some playtime in the yard or living room. Grooming requirements call for a thorough brushing of the dog’s wiry coat, two to three times weekly. A professional clipping is also recommended every few months to keep the coat neat.

West Highland White Terrier Health Concerns

The average lifespan of the West Highland White Terrier is between twelve and fourteen years. Major health concerns that run common in the breed include CMO, Legg-Perthes, skin disease, and globoid cell leukodystrophy. Minor health issues reported are KCS, copper toxicosis, patellar luxation, and cataracts.

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