It is a small, energetic dog with a lively and lovable personality.
The Westie is very loyal and smart but also possesses an independent spirit.
Both active and cuddly, the Westie is versatile and adaptable, making the breed a great fit in most households.
The average lifespan of the Westie is 12 to 16 years.
The West Highland White Terrier typically weigh between 6.8 and 9.1 kg (15 and 20 pounds), and the average height is between 25–28 cm (10–11 inches) at the withers. The body should be shorter than the height of the dog at the shoulder.
Its coat is pure white and consists of a soft furry undercoat overlaid by a straight, hard outer coat. It is thought that this breed of terrier is descended from the same ancestral stock as the other Scottish terriers—the Dandie Dinmont, Scottish, and cairn terriers.
Commonly, Westies have bright, deep-set, almond-shaped eyes that are dark in color. Their ears are pointed and erect.
The breed probably originated at Poltalloch, in the former county of Argyll, Scotland. It was bred there for many years by the Malcolm family, whose dogs appear to be traceable back to the time of King James I of England.
Scottish white terriers were recorded as early as during the reign of James VI of Scotland, who reigned between 1567 and 1625. The king ordered that a dozen of these white terriers be procured from Argyll to be presented to the Kingdom of France as a gift. Sandy- and brindle-coloured dogs were seen as hardier than those of other colours, and white dogs were seen as being weak. At various times during the breed’s existence, it has been considered a white offshoot of both the Scottish Terrier and the Cairn Terrier breeds.
George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, bred a breed of white Scottish terriers known as the “Roseneath Terrier”. Another breed of white Scottish terriers also appeared at this point, with Dr. Americ Edwin Flaxman from Fife developing his line of “Pittenweem Terriers” out of a female Scottish Terrier which produced white offspring.
The person most closely associated with developing the modern breed of West Highland White Terrier is Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch. Malcolm owned terriers used to work game – the story told is that a reddish-brown terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot. Following this, Malcolm decided to develop a white terrier breed, which became known as the “Poltalloch Terrier”. The first generation of Poltallochs had sandy-coloured coats, and had already developed prick ears, which is a trait seen later in the modern breed.
By 1896, when the breed was first shown at Scottish dog shows, it was known as the West Highland White Terrier, referring to the northwest part of Scotland where Westies earned their fame.
In 1903, Malcolm declared that he did not want to be known as the creator of the breed and insisted that his breed of white terriers be renamed. The term “West Highland White Terrier” first appears in Otters and Otter Hunting by L.C.R. Cameron, published in 1908.
The breed has been in the US since the early 1900s. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908. Canadian Kennel Club recognition followed in 1909.
The breed spent the period that immediately followed as being “in vogue”, becoming popular almost immediately upon its arrival in the US.
Amusing, spunky, and portable, the Westie has been a popular companion dog in America for well over a hundred years. Juicy Couture and Black & White Scotch whiskey are two of the brands that have used the Westie’s delightful image to attract customers.
The popularity of the breed during the early 20th century was such that dogs were being exchanged for hundreds of guineas.
J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has a Westie named Brontë.
The breed is used as the mascot of the dog food brand Cesar.
The Australian dog food manufacturer Mars Incorporated uses the West Highland White Terrier breed as the face of their My Dog brand. The Westie can be seen on My Dog packaging, website, and television[ and print advertisements.
The West Highland White Terrier is one of the most expensive breeds of small dog breeds. Usually, the average cost of purchasing a pet quality puppy from a reputable breeder is about $1,200 to $2,500. However, for a Westie puppy with top breed lines and a superior pedigree, you may need to pay between $3,500 and $5,000.