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West Highland White Terrier

Personality:Happy, smart, loyal, entertaining

Coat & Grooming:The double coat isn’t much of a shedder; brushing, combing, and occasional professional grooming required

Energy Level:Very Active; true terriers, Westies are quick, curious, and lively

Originally: Scotland

Nicknames: Westie

Size: Small

Meet the West Highland White Terrier

​The insanely cute Westie is one of the most popular small terriers among pet owners. Standing 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder, with dark piercing eyes, compact body, and an adorable carrot-shaped tail wagging with delight, the Westie’s looks are irresistible. Beneath the plush-toy exterior, though, beats the heart of true working terrier. Bred to hunt rats and other furry critters, Westies are surprisingly strong and tough. The all-white coat should be hard to the touch, never soft and fluffy.

What's Their Story?

​The Westie is one of many terriers developed in the British Isles by farmers and country gentlemen to reduce the rodent population. The breed’s history goes back to the 1700s, when the Malcom clan began breeding the spunky white exterminators on their estate, called Poltalloch. (The breed was sometimes known as the Poltalloch Terrier.) The “West Highland” in the breed name refers to the northwest part of Scotland where Westies earned their fame.

What are they Like?

​Smart, confident, adaptable, and endlessly entertaining at play, the adorable Westie has charmed owners for more than 300 years. Like all terriers, Westies were bred to work alone. (You can’t go down a rathole with your terrier—and even if you could, would you really want to?) This terrier independence can make training a challenge, but thanks to their keen intelligence Westies will take to training with time and patience. Despite their size, Westies are sturdy, no-nonsense dogs that require little pampering.

See more West Highland White Terrier photos here

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