Country of OriginScotland
Nicknames and Other NamesWhite Roseneath Terrier
Poltalloch Terrier
Roseneath Terrier
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupTerrier Group
Bred ForHunting fox, badger, and vermin
Recognized ByANKC, NZKC, FCI, KC, UKC, CKC
Life Span13-15 years
Ideal Weight15-20 pounds (male and female)
Ideal HeightMale: 11 inches
Female: 10 inches
Fur TypeStraight, hard
Common ColorsWhite
AvailabilityWidely available
AchievementsFeatured in brad advertisements
and shows
Suitable for ApartmentsYes
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToCairn Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is also known as Poltalloch Terrier, White Roseneath Terrier and most commonly, Westie. It is a small-sized dog that does well as a pet in an active family. They can adopt an apartment life but they need to be provided with the required exercises. It is a very lively and fun dog that makes great as a family companion.

The West Highland White Terrier is a hardy looking dog with a hair on the face that acts as a frame. The body is compact with a deep chest and muscular legs. The ears are erect that is set wide apart. The tail is short, shaped like a carrot and stand erect.

Origin and History

The origin of the West Highland White Terrier is in Scottland. It is believed that it was descended from terriers like the Cairn Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Scottish Terrier, and the Skye Terrier. The original purpose to bred this breed was to control vermins and hunting fox, badger, and otter.

According to history, a man named Colonel Malcolm mistakenly shot his beloved brown terrier thinking it as a fox. To avoid this mistake in the future, he started breeding only white terriers that are now known as the West Highland White Terrier.

West Highland White Terrier History
West Highland White Terrier standing.
Image Source: AKC

The American Kennel Club recognized the West Highland White Terrier in 1908 as a member of the Terrier Group.

Is West Highland White Terrier Child-Friendly?

The West Highland White Terrier is loving of children but is best suited with children above 7 years old. Small kids can play rough by pulling hairs, tails that can annoy your dog and it can snap.

It is best to keep the West Highland White Terrier if your kids are above 7 years. They also do well with small kids too but very close supervision is necessary to avoid any bad behavior of either party.

West Highland White Terrier is good with older children
West Highland White Terrier laying with a baby girl.
Image Source: instagram-@doggychampagne

Temperament, Behavior, and Personality

Temperament: The temperament of the West Highland White Terrier is happy and fun. They love to play and should always be occupying their ideal time playing or working. Therefore, they make a great companion for an active family.

Behavior: It is a small-sized dog with terrier traits. So, it will, with no doubt, dig, and bark a lot. This behavior cannot be trained and controlled as it is natural. They are attached with family members and if they are left alone for a long time, they will probably disturb your neighbor by barking continuously. Therefore, they should not be left without any family member with them.

Personality: The West Highland White Terrier has a personality of bold, independent, and strong-willed dog. It is happier and affectionate than most of the other terrier dogs. Its tendency to bark at every sound and sight makes it an excellent watchdog.


Training West Highland is moderately difficult to train. it is a smart dog and independent which can make it stubborn sometimes. However, with a firm and consistent leadership, it can be trained.

Use positive methods of training by rewarding them with treats and vocal praises. Rewarding them with treats after every task completion will motivate them. Do not use force hand on them as it can make them scared and they will not be able to focus on the training.


  • The American Kennel Club has originally registered the West Highland White Terrier as Roseneath Terrier, which was changed in 1909.
  • It has appeared on a hit animated program “King of the Hill”.
  • The Juicy Couture and the Black and White Whiskey company have highlighted the West Highland White Terrier in their advertisements.

Health Issues

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesCataracts, Inflammatory Bowel Disease,
Patellar Luxation, Pulmonary Fibrosis
Craniomandibular Osteopathy
Vaccination RequiredRabies, Canine Parvovirus, Leptospirosis,
Canine Parainfluenza, Canine Distemper,
Kennel Cough, Canine Coronavirus
SheddingNone to Minimal Shedder
DroolingLow Drooler
GroomingAdvanced Grooming Required
Weight Gain PotentialAverage to High
Separation AnxietyHigh Chance
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 18%
Fat: 5%
Fish Oil

The West Highland White Terrier is generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 13-15 years. During these years, they can face a few canine health problems, which are explained below:

  • Cataracts: It is a condition where it cause sopacity on the lens of your dog’s eyes resulting in a poor vision. There will be cloudiness in its eyes . It can be removed through surgery to improve vision. Consult a vet if their is any sign of cataract in your dog.
  • Patellar Luxation: It is common in small dogs that causes dislocation of the knee joints. It causes pain that does not allow a proper movement for your dog. Therefor, a timely treatment after consulting the vet is necessary.


The West Highland White Terrier comes in white colors according to American Kennel Club. They strictly register only white color West Highland White Terrier.


Height and Size: The average height of the male West Highland White Terrier is 11 inches and female is 10 inches. Whereas, the average weight is between 15-20 pounds.

Cost: The average cost of the West Highland White Terrier puppy is between $800-$1200 USD.

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