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West Highland White Terrier

Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Terrier

Height: 9 inches (Male)

Weight: 13 pounds (Male)

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Great Britain
Male height: 
9 inches
Male weight: 
13 pounds
Straight outercoat with a soft, dense undercoat.

The West Highland White Terrier ("Westie") shares a common ancestor with the Cairn Terrier and Scottish Terrier - generic rough-coated terrier stock of Scotland. From these working terriers, white puppies were selected to form the Westie. Their distinctive all-white coats made them easy to see in the Scottish countryside, and they have been popular there for more than 300 years. Like all the other terriers, the Westie was used for vermin control.

An established family in Argyleshire, the Malcolms, is credited with further refining the Westie. They kept white terriers since the 18th century, when the breed was often called the Polltalloch Terrier. At Roseneath, the Duke of Argyll's estate, the white terriers became known as Roseneath Terriers in the 19th century, and they were shown as such at Crufts in England in 1907. The breed was registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908 but wasn't officially called the West Highland White Terrier until 1909.

The West Highland White Terrier is hardy, devoted, and happy-go-lucky, exhibiting typical terrier tendencies - sturdiness, a no-nonsense attitude, loyalty, tenacity and independence. But this dog is not as volatile as some of the others in his group. In fact, the Westie standard warns against excessive pugnacity (having a combative personality). Inclement weather is no deterrent to his energetic personality, and he makes a fine family pet.
At home: 
The Westie is adaptable and can make a good apartment dog as long as he's given plenty of exercise and the opportunity to explore. Like most terriers, he is a good watchdog who will bark at any suspicious behavior. He loves to dig, so a secure fence is necessary.
The Westie needs a fair amount of exercise to release pent-up energy. He is happy to accompany anyone who's going out on an adventure, whether it be a stroll through the neighborhood or to the kids' soccer game.
Westies like to eat but can be finicky. Feeding several smaller meals a day may be more to his liking - but make that sure the food is a high-quality, age-appropriate dog food.
The West Highland White Terrier is one of the easiest terriers to train. He is eager to please and responsive, particularly enjoying the attention and rewards he receives for doing what you ask. Keep training sessions short and positive, and train him throughout his lifetime to keep him mentally engaged.
Westies get along well with older children. A properly socialized Westie can get along with other dogs, but he'll occasionally practice a bit of one-upmanship with other males. A true terrier, he sees smaller pets as prey.
The average life span of the West Highland White Terrier is 12 to 14 years. Common health problems of the breed include hernias; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease; liver disease; skin problems; and White Shaker Dog Syndrome.
Fun fact: 

During times of limited sunshine, "winter nose" can occur in Westies, in which the nose loses some of its black pigment. It's a harmless condition that's easily fixed with calcium and vitamin D.

Grooming blurb: 
Although the white Westie is low to the ground, he doesn't really get dirty. His is a wash-and-wear coat that quickly comes clean of dirt and mud with a simple brushing and combing. He is not a shedder, but his thick coat needs to be hand-stripped several times a year to keep him from becoming shaggy.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.

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