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West Highland White Terrier Information

Description of the West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terriers are compact, hardy, sturdy little dogs that have a rough, white, two inch uncurled coat and a dense, soft undercoat.  The west highland whiter terriers have medium length natural coats that are somewhat shaggy.  They have deep set, dark, bright eyes and a penetrating gaze.  Their average height is from nine to twelve inches at the withers and weigh anywhere from thirteen to twenty-two pounds.  West Highland White Terriers have small, pointy, erect ears that give them an alert look.  Between five and six inches long, their tail is carrot shaped and held upright.  They have muscular limbs and deep chests and, for their size, a very strong, heavy bone structure.

Temperament of the West Highland White Terrier

Social dogs, the West Highland White Terriers enjoy being the center of attention and activity.  Happy and friendly, they can also be stubborn, demanding and very independent at times.  Easy to train, these hardy little terriers are usually friendly to strangers, make wonderful family pets, and get along well with older, well-behaved children.  Although they may occasionally snap when irritated, they are not vicious.  The spunky, cocky, friendly, robust little West Highland White Terriers love companionship and make great watchdogs.  Because of their size and temperament, they are easy to take traveling.  This breed does like to bark and dig.

Grooming & Shedding of the West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terriers straight, wiry, short, double coat sheds no hair or very little hair.  Brush or comb their hair once or twice a week and bathe them monthly or when needed.  Use blunt nosed scissors to trim the hair around the eyes and ears.  Pets require minimal clipping but show dogs do require their coats plucked and stripped.

History of the West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terriers, developed in west Scotland, descended from cairn terriers, Scottish terriers, and Bedlington terriers that occasionally produced white puppies in the litters.  They selected and bred these white dogs to obtain the West Highland White Terriers.  Some believe this selective breeding could have taken almost a hundred years to produce the qualities that they desired in the breed.  The West Highland White Terrier breed held many names over the years including Cairn, little Skye, white Scottish, and Roseneath.  Registered by the American Kennel Club in 1908, the Roseneath name, which the West Highland White Terriers originally registered under, came from the Duke of Argyll’s home in Dunbartonshire, Scotland.  On May 31, 1909, they changed the breeds name from Roseneath to the West Highland White Terrier.

Health Issues of the West Highland White Terrier

  • Major Concerns: globoid cell leukodystrophy, Legg-Perthes, CMO
  • Minor Concerns: copper toxicosis, patellar luxation, cataract
  • Occasionally seen: deafness
  • Suggested tests: knee and hip


Characteristics of the West Highland White Terrier


Males 10-12 inches (25-30cm)

Females 9-11 inches (23-28cm)


Males 15-22 pounds (7-10kg)

Females 13-16 pounds (6-7kg)


15 plus years




Yes –with regular exercise



Young Children


Need exercise space

No –with regular walks

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