About Westies

Krusty1 Limerick

About Westies.

First and foremost, allow me to put right a common mistake!

The Westie’s full breed name is the West Highland White Terrier. They come in one colour, and one colour only: WHITE!

Many people confuse them for the Scottish Terrrier, an entirely different breed. The Scottish Terrier is significantly bigger than the Westie, with quite a different personality. The Scottie is almost always black, but can also be found in wheaten and brindle.

In fact, the Westie and Scottie are not that closely related! the Westie’s closest relative in the dog world is the Cairn Terrier, which ranges in colour from almost black to wheaten. But not white!

The Westie, The Scottie, and the Cairn, are all Scottish breeds of terrier. They were bred to kill rats and vermin. To do this job, a dog has to be very determined, fearless, driven, stubborn and resolute. This means that the Westie is quite a handful, which often surprises owners who are unaware of their dog’s origins.

It is often said that an owner should try to match their personality to the temperament of their chosen dog breed. So, if you’re shy, mild-mannered, easily-swayed, or indecisive, the Westie probably isn’t the breed for you! It is no coincidence that successful Westie owners tend to be just as stubborn as they are!

There is a serious side to this though. Westies are small, and they look very, very cute. This convinces many people that they would make an ideal family pet. But think again! Those traits that Westies were bred to have mean that they are not necessarily suitable for family life.

Photo of a Westie called BooWhilst Westies are extremely loyal, and they tend to be quite happy characters, they do have quite a quick temper. Remember that they were bred to kill rats: these fast-moving and formidable prey had to be tackled with lightening-quick speed, and without hesitation.

Any indecisiveness on the part of the Westie would get him badly bitten or injured. This ability to respond immediately translates itself into a dog who is extremely alert, reacts to the slightest noise or movement, barks to alert the handler there’s action afoot, and who is extremely determined to get the outcome he wants.

The Westie is no lapdog: he has quite a work-ethic, and does not like to be treated like a toy. They tend not to like being picked up and cuddled. They tend to growl at you if you disturb them while they sleep.

They also tend to growl at you if you try to move them from a comfy spot on the sofa! They get frustrated very quickly if they’re stopped from doing something they’re determined to do. A cornered Westie will often quickly defend himself by coming out fighting.

In fact, the Westie, like many terriers, has a general lack of tolerance for things that he has no control over, and tends to be very quick to use his teeth to express his opinion and to get control. This does not make them bad dogs: this is the way they were bred to be.

The problem is that this behaviour is not something inexperienced terrier owners are aware of, and this results in many differences of opinion between owner and Westie. This temperament is clearly not suitable to have around small children. Until children are well and truly old enough to learn how to respect a dog, the Westie should be avoided.

Westie fans love them because of their stubbornness, not in spite of it. If you want a mild-mannered and biddable dog, please don’t get a Westie!


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