Fun West Highland Terrier Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 05, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
West Highland terrier facts are great for dog enthusiasts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 11.3 Min

Are you looking for a cute pet dog? If yes, you may want to check out the West Highland white terriers as they are one of the cutest breeds of dogs.

They are also known as the Roseneath terrier, the Poltalloch terrier, or the Scottish terrier. However, you need to be careful about the dog's coat, and it should be white.

The West Highland white terrier's temperament is calm and affectionate. They are also independent and confident, making them a great watchdog breed.

These dogs are devoted to their pet parents, and they can easily adapt to an apartment lifestyle.

Edward Donald Malcolm, the 16th Laird of Poltalloch, was one of the first to show huge interest in the breed, and it is said that the modern version of the West Highland white terrier was bred by him. At some point in history, this breed was also bred for catching rodents.

The American Kennel Club recognized the West Highland white terrier breed in 1908, so we can say that they have existed in the U.S. for over a century now! Find this information interesting.

Keep on reading to learn more West Highland terrier facts. Also, check out our articles on toy poodles and Pekingese to find out more about small dog breeds.

West Highland Terrier Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a West Highland Terrier?

The West Highland terrier is a type of dog that is categorized as a terrier dog breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

What class of animal does a West Highland Terrier belong to?

The West Highland terrier falls under the class Mammalia and they belong to the genus Canis, like all other domesticated dogs.

How many West Highland Terriers are there in the world?

As a breed that is extensively found throughout the world, it is hard to put up an exact number for the West Highland terrier population.

Where does a West Highland Terrier live?

These dogs live in human households. They belong to the respected Terrier group that was used for hunting rodents, and the West Highland white terrier dogs also belong to Scotland.

Since the 1700s, these dogs have been extensively bred as pet dogs as well as show dogs. They are a popular choice for becoming lap dogs because of their small size. These white dogs have been present in America for over a hundred years, and are now found all over the world.

What is a West Highland Terrier's habitat?

West Highland white terriers love comfort and they can easily find it in an apartment environment. However, as a pet parent, you need to make sure that the dog is getting enough space for keeping itself active.

The West Highland white terrier has a double coat which helps them to stay warm in cold climates. Due to their thick coats, these dogs aren't suitable for places that get too hot. They may need regular clippings while staying in a warmer place.

Who do West Highland Terriers live with?

The West Highland white terrier dog breed is known for its affectionate and bubbly nature. They love to be playful with the humans that are around them.

This breed is great with kids as well as with other pets. However, you will need to train them for socialization right from the puppy stage. These dogs cannot tolerate being alone, so do not leave them alone in the house for more than a few hours.

One of the concerns about them is their behavior towards strangers. Westie dogs take a while to get comfortable with a new person, so warn people from trying to touch the dog on their very first meet.

How long does a West Highland Terrier live?

The average life span of the West Highland terrier is around 12-16 years. The lifespan of a dog may depend on many factors, one of them being its health condition.

Hence, to give your dogs a fruitful lifespan, it is quite important to care for them appropriately. Consult an experienced vet as soon as you get a Westie puppy to make the process as smooth as possible.

How do they reproduce?

Female dogs go through estrus (heat) cycles about twice a year. If a bitch and a dog have mated during this time, then the former has a chance of getting pregnant. The average gestation time for a female Westie is around 58-68 days.

The bitch has up to five Westie puppies in each litter. The puppies are born blind and hence, are dependent on their mothers. As small white dogs, the Westies can be at risk while they are pregnant.

What is their conservation status?

Westies are yet to make it onto any of the conservation lists, implying that they are at no threat of becoming extinct.

West Highland Terrier Fun Facts

What do West Highland Terriers look like?

A West Highland terrier with white fur.

Westies are one of the white dog breeds, so only those with a white coat are accepted as pure dogs in their breed. The outer coat of the Westie is often stiff and long.

Pet parents do like to leave their coats without regular clipping because of their gorgeousness. Regular Westie grooming can make their coat smooth and free from matting. The hair around their eyes and ears needs to be trimmed regularly as it grows quite fast.

Their coat is also supposed to be straight and free from any kinks or curls. One of the characteristics of the West Highland white terriers is that they do not appear fluffy.

When it comes to the look of their body, the Westie is one of the breeds that are small and compact. They are rather short-legged, but their legs are quite muscular, and it helps the Westies to run quite fast.

The West Highland white terrier also has shorter hindlegs compared to their forelegs. The West Highland white terrier has a rounded head with almond-shaped brown eyes that are deep-set. The Poltalloch has ears that are slightly erect and are covered with fur.

It is better to keep the fur on their ears trimmed to help them hear better. They have a muscular and short body, along with a tail that is shaped like a carrot.

How cute are they?

Very, the West Highland White Terrier is one of the cutest dog breeds that you can have. They look great because of their long white outer coat, which gives them a classy look. As they are quite small, kids would also love a West Highland white terrier as their pet.

How do they communicate?

While the West Highland white terrier's temperament is rather affectionate and calm, these dogs can be fairly loud. So, if you have a problem with a dog breed that is rather loud, then Westies can be quite irritating.

Other than vocalizing, West Highland white terriers are also quite intelligent, and hence, they can easily pick up other communication cues during their training. Unspayed Westies will also use the scent of their urine to mark territories or to look for potential mates.

How big is a West Highland Terrier?

The average height of a Westie is around 10-11 in (25-28 cm). They are about the same height as a Jack Russell terrier, which gets to an average height of 10-12 in (25–30 cm).

How fast can a West Highland Terrier run?

Though the exact speed of the breed cannot be found, the Terrier group is known for its fast speed.

How much does a West Highland Terrier weigh?

According to the American Kennel Club, the average weight of the Westies dog breeds is about 15-20 lb (7-9 kg). The weight of the dog will depend on their size, however, the females often have lesser weight than the males.

The West Highland white terrier has the potential to gain weight, so as a pet parent, you need to be careful of their diet. Maintaining a proper weight will help them to avoid adverse health conditions.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male Westie is called a dog, while a female Westie is called a bitch.

What would you call a baby West Highland Terrier?

A baby of the Westie breed is called a puppy.

What do they eat?

One of the most important things about a pet is its diet. Dogs should have high-quality dog food, that is rich in protein and other nutrients.

At times, the pet may also need special food according to the need of specific breeds. An adult West Highland White Terrier should have a cup and a half of food daily, but the proportion may change according to their size, weight, height, and age.

When you get a Westie puppy, make sure to consult with a vet to give them the best kind of food. Also, it is very important not to abruptly change a Westie's diet.

Try to do it gradually by introducing the new food along with their old food in small portions. Keep them away from pet rodents, as these dogs are one of the breeds that are known for being predatory.

Are they slobbery?

No, Westies don't seem to be too slobbery. However, it shouldn't restrict you from giving your pet regular grooming sessions. As they are one of the breeds with a double coat, regular brushing of their beautiful white coat makes it healthy and keeps it tangle-free.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the West Highland terrier makes a great pet dog. It is also quite easy to take care of this breed as they are mostly fuss-free.

One of the things that they are adamant about is training. So, you will need to be patient while training your Westie puppy. If you cannot handle them, try to get a professional trainer with experience in handling West Highland terriers.

If we look at the brighter side, training these dogs can help the West Highland white terrier get into dog sports competitions. Apart from training, it is also important to maintain their diet properly and have a regular grooming routine.

When it comes to grooming, the West Highland white terrier doesn't require many things, but the fur above their ears and eyes should be clipped regularly. You should also brush its coat twice or thrice a week to keep it in good health.

A bath from time to time will also work great to keep the body fresh and free from any odors.

The Westies are also known for their low shedding quality, so they are a good breed for those who are allergic to dogs that shed a lot.

However, it is always better to consult a doctor before getting a dog. To get a better idea about the care of this dog, you should consult a vet who has a wholesome idea about them.

The owners must also note that the West Highland white terrier breed is known for its high energy level, which makes them quite playful. If you like to spend time outside, then Westies can be your perfect partner to tour the world.

All they need is a little bit of training, and they will be good to go.

Because of their high activity need, small dogs need a minimum of 45 minutes of exercise every day. The good and loving nature of the Westie makes them a perfect choice of pet for all dog lovers.

Did you know...

The west highland terrier dog breed is also known as Westie, West Highland white terrier, Roseneath terrier, Poltalloch terrier, Scottish terrier, or Scotty dog. It is important to point out that the Scottish terrier is also a distinct dog breed related to the Westie.

Westies have sensitive ears, which should be saved from probable sunburns.

The famous children's book author, J. K. Rowling, has a Westie named Brontë.

The Black & White whisky brand is known for using West Highland white terriers in its advertisements.

This breed is also known for being fond of burrowing. This habit might be reminiscent of the days they spent as ratters. They are also great at getting into small spaces, so you need to be aware of their movements so that they don't get stuck in any small spaces.

Only a white Westie puppy is accepted by the American Kennel Club and other dog sports organizations, so you should be careful about choosing a puppy from the breed.

Characteristics and health issues

Knowing the characteristics of a dog breed is quite important, while you are planning to make them a part of your family. When it comes to the West Highland white terriers, they are affectionate dogs, who also have an independent side.

They are playful dogs who crave a lot of attention, and you should give them that. The Westie also loves to play with squeaky toys and chew toys.

Even though they were once bred as ratters, these dogs aren't aggressive. Also, as we have said earlier, training Westies requires a lot of patience.

Another important aspect of pet dogs is the care for their health. Though the Westies aren't prone to frequent health conditions, there are some diseases that a pet parent should know about.

A disease that is seen among the puppies of this breed is Craniomandibular Osteopathy disease. It affects their skulls while the dog is growing up.

It is important to get your dog from a responsible breeder who is aware of the common health conditions and who uses healthy parents for breeding puppies. Another condition is Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which affects the hind legs of dogs.

Other diseases that may affect a Westie include pulmonary fibrosis, obesity, diabetes, patellar luxation, and cataracts. Please immediately contact a vet if you suspect any disease in your pet dog.

Is a Westie a good family dog?

Yes, the Westie dog breed is a great family dog, as they can easily become friends with your children. The Poltalloch white terrier is also known for being a great buddy for other pets.

They can be a little tough to break at first, but the small dogs soon become affectionate and loving to their human family. Make sure to get your pet from a responsible breeder that has had the experience of rearing Westies.

Improperly bred dogs are often unhappy because of adverse conditions. So, inquire about the source of your West Highland white terrier dog breeds before bringing them home.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Bichon Frise facts or Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable West Highland Terrier coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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