West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

Breed Characteristics

Active. The West Highland White Terrier has a fine sense of hearing. Lovable family pet. Needs a lot of attention; does not do well alone, becoming quite destructive. Westies equal barkers plus diggers. Should stay on a leash when not in a fenced area.

Is the West Highland White Terrier (Westie) approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



Argyleshire, Scotland, 1800s; shares ancestry with the Cairn, Scottish, and Skye Terrier. The West Highland White Terrier was previously known as the Poltalloch Terrier and subsequently renamed as the Roseneath Terrier. The breed came about when a Scottish breeder of the Cairn Terrier whelped some white pups in his litter. Those pups were subsequently selected and bred to obtain the first West Highland White Terrier, or simply a white Cairn Terrier. The Roseneath Terrier was renamed in 1909 to the West Highland White Terrier.

Original Purpose

Hunting foxes, otters, and badgers; vermin extermination.

Behaviour and Temperament

Tenacious, affectionate, proud, happy, spirited, friendly, independent.

What are some Physical Features of the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)?

25.5 to 28 cm; 6.5 to 9.5 kg. Colour is white, of course; however, at one time they came in a variety of colours.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

Dense, hard, straight outercoat; soft undercoat. Moderate maintenance required; brushing twice a week with a stiff bristle brush to prevent mats. An all-white coat is always more difficult to keep presentable. Professional grooming is recommended; stripping for show, clipping for pets. Westies shed very lightly when groomed correctly.

Life Expectancy of the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

14 to 15 years.

West Highland White Terrier (Westie) Puppies in the Community

Have a West Highland White Terrier (Westie)?

Health Concerns

Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO), globoid cell leukodystrophy, anemia, skin problems (allergies), cataracts, diabetes, orthopaedic problems (patellar luxation, Legg-Perthes, hip dysplasia), dilated cardiomyopathy.

Exercise Needs

Moderate to high; Needs daily long walk although play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, Westies can become destructive if not exercised thoroughly.


Can adapt well to apartments if given sufficient exercise. Very active indoors and will do okay without a yard.


Bonds with the whole family. Playful but does best with older children; not good with toddlers unless socialised very early. Some wary of strangers, others are friendly. Some can be snappish when irritated. The Westie rarely starts a fight, but he won't walk away from one he is in. Can get overexcited or aggressive with other pets; not good with small animals or dogs. Will chase cats.


Low to average; these are very independent dogs.

Recommended Activities

Obedience, agility, earthdog trials.