The West Highland white terrier, commonly called the Westie, is a small, hardy, and rambunctious breed that possesses no small amount of self-esteem. They're fun-loving and always excited to do anything with their owners, whether it be hiking and taking long walks outside or lying around the house and cuddling. The Westie's distinctive white coat—which feels tough rather than fluffy—sets them apart from their terrier relatives. And when their head is trimmed round and chrysanthemum-like, their little faces are irresistible. 

But don't let that cuteness fool you: Despite being rather short in stature, there's not a lot a Westie is afraid of. The West Highland white terriers are excellent vermin hunters, and they will chase just about anything that moves. Known for their tenacity, adaptability, and affection for their humans, Westies are a long-loved breed (their lineage dates back to the 1800s!). 

Temperament 

Both a hunter and a snuggler, these little guys are very affectionate with their owners while also fostering a strong prey drive. They have a predisposition to run and chase (after hundreds of years of being bred to hunt rats and other rodents), so it's a good idea to keep your terrier on a leash or make sure he has a fenced-in yard to play in. 

The West Highland white terrier is just as smart as he is scrappy, so while it might take patience, he can be quite well-trained. 

Because they're great problem-solvers and total people pleasers, Westies are a breed that does well with agility training. West Highland white terrier puppies are especially full of energy and need plenty of activity during the day—playing, hunting, and going for walks—to become snuggle bunnies at night. 

Westies are wonderful family pets. They get along well with cats and other dogs, and they are social butterflies that love being around people. Make sure your Westie has continual socialization experiences starting in puppyhood.

Living Needs 

Westies thrive with their people. It doesn't matter if you're a city dweller or live on a farm—they can be happy with apartment living (with lots of walkies) or on acres of land. And while they need to live primarily indoors and be close to their humans in order to deter undesirable behaviors like barking and digging—attributes that, according to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America, were bred to make effective hunters—Westies love to run around, be outside, and dirty up their white fur. 

"I think one of their unique features is how much they enjoy being outside and do outdoor activities like long walks and real hikes.  When you do take your Westie outside, make sure he's inside a fenced-in yard or kept on a leash. Otherwise, he might fall victim to the irresistible temptation of a squirrel and take off after it. While West Highland white terriers can be left alone for longer periods of time, they appreciate the noise of a TV or radio to keep them company, and they definitely need plenty of toys so they stay busy and active. And don't forget to pencil in play time—it's what Westies love best.

 

Living Needs 

Westies thrive with their people. It doesn't matter if you're a city dweller or live on a farm—they can be happy with apartment living (with lots of walkies) or on acres of land. And while they need to live primarily indoors and be close to their humans in order to deter undesirable behaviors like barking and digging—attributes that, according to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America, were bred to make effective hunters—Westies love to run around, be outside, and dirty up their white fur. 

One of their unique features is how much they enjoy being outside and do outdoor activities like long walks and real hikes. There is a large misconception that small dogs just like to be inside, held all the time, and cannot touch the floor. If that's what you are looking for, then a Westie is not for you.

When you do take your Westie outside, make sure he's inside a fenced-in yard or kept on a leash. Otherwise, he might fall victim to the irresistible temptation of a squirrel and take off after it. While West Highland white terriers can be left alone for longer periods of time, they appreciate the noise of a TV or radio to keep them company, and they definitely need plenty of toys so they stay busy and active. And don't forget to pencil in play time—it's what Westies love best.

Care 

Westies are not high-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming, but they do require daily brushing—thankfully, mud picked up during their outside zoomies comes out easily. Their short, double coat isn't prone to shedding, so don't worry about finding little white hairs clinging to your couch or clothes. Simple brushing and regular trips to the groomer will keep their fur gleaming. 

But while they look cute and show dog-worthy with a perfectly trimmed round head, West Highland white terriers are not dogs that particularly enjoy being pampered.

Even though they are small dogs, they don't tend to be prissy or delicate. A really unique feature of the breed is the fact that they can so comfortably share both favored family pet status as well as be competitive athletes that participate in things like agility, time trials, and hunting sports."