West Highland White Terrier picture, also known as Westie, Roseneath Terrier and Poltalloch Terrier
Canis lupus familiaris

  The versatile West Highland White Terrier is fun and adaptable for all sorts of lifestyles!

West Highland White Terriers are is very adaptable in its living arrangements. Westies do quite well living in an apartment or living in the country. Westies are spunky, friendly, and easy to train. They are more easy going than most other terrier breeds, though they do enjoy chasing other animals for fun. They also make good watchdogs.

The West Highland White Terrier is also known as Roseneath Terrier and the Poltalloch Terrier. Westies are solid white, medium sized dogs. They are prone to chronic skin problems and hip problems, so it is important to investigate these things when selecting a dog of this breed.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s)

West Highland White Terrier, Westie, Roseneath Terrier, Poltalloch Terrier

Breed Type

The Westie is a small terrier that was originally bred to control vermin, fox, and otter populations. This is a lively breed that is fond of people. They are adaptable to various living conditions and climates.


The West Highland White Terrier is a result of selective breeding of Cairn Terriers. They were said to have been bred to be white to keep them easily recognizable to hunters. They are sometimes crossbred with poodles to produce Westie Poos.


West Highland White Terriers are solid white with medium-sized dark eyes. Their coat is rough, and their paws thickly padded. They have pointy, erect ears and a scissors bite. Males average 10-12 inches tall and 15-22 pounds, and females 9-11 inches tall and 13-16 pounds.

Care and Feeding

West Highland White Terriers need foods that are high in protein, such as poultry and lamb. Carbohydrates are also needed, and can be provided in the form of potatoes and wheat. Beef and horse meat are not recommended for this breed. Westies require regular brushing and as-needed bathing. They should be trimmed every three months and stripped every six months.
There are several health problems that Westies should be monitored for, so annual checkups are crucial. Vaccinations should be given on the following schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

The West Highland White Terrier sheds very little, and when trained properly, is not destructive indoors. Therefore they do not necessitate a lot of extra cleaning.

Housing Your Dog

Westies are adaptable to a variety of housing conditions. They can do well in apartments or in the countryside. They are independent enough to be left alone for moderate periods of time.

Social Behaviors

Westies get along well with adults and older children that they know. They are also fairly friendly to strangers. They rarely pick fights with fellow canines, but they enjoy chasing other animals for fun.

Handling and Training

Westies are intelligent dogs, and they usually do very well in hunting, chasing, obedience and agility training.


Daily walks are important to ensure that a Westie gets enough exercise. If they have a safe area in which to do so, it is also good to let them play off the leash regularly.


Westies are prone to several health problems, some of which may be hereditary. Therefore it is important to check out any potential mates thoroughly. Breed standards dictate that Westies be solid white, so that is an important thing to look for as well.

Common Health Problems

West Highland White Terriers may develop skin problems, hernias, liver disease, and hip or jawbone problems. Keeping an eye out for signs of these and taking them in for scheduled checkups is crucial.


Westies are fairly easy to find from breeders, and they may also be found in pet shops. Average prices range from $350 to $700.


West Highland White Terrier“, Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
West Highland White Terrier“, Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
Cusick, William D., “What to Feed a West Highland White Terrier“, Referenced online, 2008
Choosing a West Highland White Terrier“, PetPlace.com, Copyright 1999-2008

Featured Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock