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AKC Meet the Breeds: West Highland White Terrier

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The hardy West Highland White Terrier, more commonly known as the "Westie," is known for its friendly, strong-willed personality and a remarkably bright white coat. Said to be "all terrier," this breed possesses a large amount of spunk, determination, and devotion stuffed into a compact little body. The confident Westie excels in a variety of AKC events, from conformation to agility to obedience.

A Look Back
The West Highland White Terrier is said to originate from Poltalloch, Scotland, and due to this, was originally known as the Poltalloch Terrier. He was also sometimes referred to as the Roseneath Terrier, after the Duke of Argyll's estate. The Westie was first shown in the United States in 1906 under the Roseneath name, but this was changed in 1909 and he has been known as the West Highland White Terrier ever since.

Right Breed for You?
The Westie loves people and makes an affectionate addition to any family. This devoted, happy, and faithful dog also makes a wonderful travel companion due to its small size. Their dry coats are a combination of a soft, dense undercoat and a rough outer coat. Daily brushing and regular clipping or stripping of the coat is necessary.

  • Terrier Group; AKC recognized in 1908.
  • Ideal height is 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Vermin hunter, family companion.



AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

Comments (4)

  • cochiaj 17 Feb, 2012

    I have a Westie and she is the sweetest dog ever (and did I mention cutest dog ever?)! She has a BIG personality for a LITTLE dog. Everyone loves her,. She is friendly and very protective and she is a terrier through and through. Highly recommnend Westies to everyone!!!!

  • tramelgerald 11 Jun, 2010

    I have a Westie named maz that is 10 years old. He love to cuddle with me on the sofa. He sleeps with me till I fall asleep and then goes to his doggie bed. He is very friendly with people, but a guy tried to rob me and max took a chunk out of his leg causing him to run away and i was safe . I LOVE HIM

  • ItsJustJan 5 May, 2010

    I had one for over 10 yrs, he was a rescue, we named him "Scotty Doggie", since when we found him we thought he was a Scottish Terrier. We live on a small farm, he loved it there!!
    My friend has emphysema, would this type dog be a good match for her, she just loves them? If not, could you please tell me what breed would be?

  • rosesred 1 Nov, 2009

    Westies are the sweetest dogs! I highly recomend getting one. They are great for all ages! :) :)