With his bristly white face and dark sparkling eyes, the West Highland White Terrier makes a smart, proud, spunky, and hearty companion. Outdoors he is a speedy and skillful hunter; indoors he is an affectionate and devoted companion. Owners will especially appreciate a typical Westie mischievousness.
The Westie loves people. His carrot-shaped tail is usually wagging, in hopes of making a new friend. With other animals he is generally friendly, but can get scrappy if not supervised. He's smart enough to learn exactly what you teach him, but he's independent enough to try a few things on his own. He will alert his family to visitors.
The Westie is one of the Scottish breeds of terriers. His two-inch outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch. It is a little shorter on the neck and shoulders. He needs professional clipping every few months.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: Strong, confident, active.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, 11 inches at the withers; females, 10 inches. Slightly shorter in length than in height.
Over a hundred years ago, Cairn Terriers had litters that often included Cairns, Scotties, and Westies. The white puppies were considered unsuited to the vermin-catching work that the heather-colored Cairns performed. Breeders felt the white dogs would stand out in the scrubby landscape, then the foxes, badgers, and other vermin would be able to see the dogs and escape from them. The Malcolms of Poltalloch, Scotland, disagreed. They preferred the little white dogs, and the family continued to breed them for many generations. They provided the ancestors for many of today's Westies.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.