West Highland White Terrier: The Truth About Westie Dog Breed

Photo of author
Written By swipets

We will share guides, how-tos, food guides, and training tips for your beloved pets.

The truth about West Highland White Terrier dogs, or Westies, is that they are typical terriers—intelligent, independent, and a little stubborn. They are tough and determined, willing to go underground after a fox or badger.

This can make them a handful to train, requiring patience and firmness. While they are active and make friends easily, they do not like rough handling and may not be as friendly with other dogs. Positive, consistent training and leadership are necessary to prevent behavior problems such as irritable snapping and hyper-excitability that may lead to biting.

Overall, Westies are alert and active and require no pampering, but they can be trained effectively with time and patience.

West Highland White Terrier: The Truth About Westie Dog Breed

Characteristics Of West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, also known as Westies, is an intelligent and independent breed with a determined nature. They are tough and capable of chasing foxes or badgers underground. Training them can be a bit challenging, requiring patience and firmness.

However, they are playful with children and make good friends, although they may not be as friendly towards other dogs.


The West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, is a small and sturdy breed. They have a compact, muscular body, a broad chest, and strong legs. Their double coat consists of a soft undercoat and a white, wet outer jacket. Their dark, round eyes and a black button-like nose give them an alert and intelligent expression.


Known for their lively and outgoing nature, Westies are friendly and confident dogs. They are independent and can be a little headstrong sometimes, but they are also very affectionate towards their families. Their intelligence makes them quick learners, but their strong-willed nature requires consistent training and firm leadership. Westies are generally good with children but may not get along well with other dogs, so early socialization is essential.


Overall, West Highland White Terriers are considered to be a healthy breed. However, like all dogs, they are prone to specific health issues. These include skin allergies, dental problems, and conditions like patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Regular vet check-ups and preventative care can help maintain their well-being.

Activity Level

Despite their small size, Westies are energetic and active dogs. They enjoy daily exercise, such as brisk walks and playtime in a securely fenced yard. Mental stimulation is also crucial for their well-being, as they are intelligent and curious dogs. Interactive toys and puzzle games can help keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.

Grooming Needs

Westies have a high grooming requirement due to their double coat. Regular brushing is necessary to prevent matting and to keep their coat looking its best. They also require professional grooming every 6–8 weeks to maintain their neat appearance. Additionally, they may need occasional hand-stripping to remove dead hair and promote healthy coat growth.

Tendency To Bark

Westies are known to be vocal dogs and tend to bark. They are alert and will bark to alert their owners of any perceived threats or intruders. Early training and socialization can help minimize excessive barking and teach them when to bark.

Males Vs. females

Regarding personality, there is not much difference between male and female Westies. Both genders can be equally affectionate, independent, and energetic. The main difference is in size, with males typically slightly larger than females. However, individual temperaments can vary, so it is essential to choose a Westie based on their unique personality rather than their gender.

West Highland White Terrier: The Truth About Westie Dog Breed

Pros And Cons Of Owning A West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is an intelligent and independent breed. Their rugged and determined nature makes them a handful to train. They are great with children but may not be as friendly with other dogs.


  • Adorable and charming: Westies are known for their cute, lovable appearance, fluffy white coats, and bright eyes. They make for a visually pleasing and attractive pet.
  • Playful and energetic: Westies have a fun-loving and lively nature. They enjoy playing games, walking, and engaging in various activities. They can bring a lot of joy and entertainment to their owners.
  • Good with children: Westies are generally good with children and can become great companions for kids. They have a playful and friendly temperament that matches well with the lively nature of children.
  • Low-shedding: Although they have a double coat, Westies are considered low-shedding dogs. This makes them suitable for individuals sensitive to pet hair or who prefer a cleaner environment.
  • Affectionate and loyal: Westies are known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners. They form strong bonds with their families and can be highly affectionate towards them.


  • High-maintenance grooming: Westies require regular grooming to keep their coats clean and tangle-free despite being low-shedding. Their dense and wiry fur must be brushed, trimmed, and stripped periodically to maintain its texture and appearance.
  • Stubbornness: Westies are intelligent dogs but can be pretty stubborn. This can make the training process challenging and time-consuming. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques are necessary for practical training.
  • Tendency to bark: Westies have a strong instinct to bark and may do so excessively if not properly trained and socialized. Their alert nature and protective instincts can lead to frequent barking, a nuisance for the owner and neighbors.
  • Prone to specific health issues: Like many dog breeds, Westies are predisposed to particular health problems, including skin allergies, respiratory issues, and joint disorders. Regular vet check-ups and a well-balanced diet are essential to maintain their health and well-being.
  • Not always friendly with other dogs: While Westies can be sociable and social, they may not always get along well with other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Proper socialization from an early age and ongoing training can help manage their interaction with other animals.

In Conclusion

Owning a West Highland White Terrier can be a rewarding experience, but it does come with its own set of challenges. Considering the pros and cons before bringing a Westie into your home is essential. With the proper training, care, and attention, a Westie can make a loving and loyal companion for many years.

West Highland White Terrier: The Truth About Westie Dog Breed

Frequently Asked Questions Of West Highland White Terrier: The Truth About Westie Dog Breed

What Is The Truth About Westies?

Westies are intelligent, independent, and a little stubborn. They are tough and determined dogs, making them challenging to train. They are good with children but may not be as friendly with other dogs. Proper training and leadership are necessary to prevent behavior problems.

What Is Good And Bad About West Highland Terriers?

West Highland Terriers, or Westies, are intelligent and independent dogs. They are good with children and make friends easily, but they may not be friendly with other dogs. Proper training and leash control are essential. They are active and require daily brushing.

Their independent nature can make training a challenge.

What Are The Behavior Problems With Westies?

The behavior problems with Westies include irritability, hyper-excitability, and the potential for biting. Positive and consistent training is necessary to ensure they become great family companions. Westies are alert, active, and independent, which can make training challenging, but they can be trained successfully with patience and time.

They are not as friendly with other dogs, so proper socialization is essential.

What Is The Personality Of A Westie Highland Terrier?

The personality of a Westie Highland terrier is alert, active, and independent. They are brave and self-reliant ratting terriers, requiring no pampering. They have keen intelligence and can be trained with time and patience. However, their independence can make teaching a challenge.


West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are a unique and spirited breed with their own characteristics and care needs. They are intelligent, independent, and slightly stubborn, making training challenging. However, with patience and firmness, they can be well-behaved companions.

Westies are friendly with children but may have issues with other dogs. With proper guidance and training, they can be great family pets. Understanding their behavior and traits ensures a harmonious relationship with these lovable terriers.

Leave a Comment