West Highland White Terrier
||12 14 years
|Area of Origin:
|Date of Origin:
||Fox, badger, and
the middle of the nineteenth century, it happened that the breeder
of the Cairn Terrier in the country of Argyll, Scotland got
some white pups in his litters. Those pups were selected and
bred to obtain the West Highland White Terrier, which is simply
a White Cairn. Westies were originally bred for controlling
the population of rats, fox, otter and other vermin. The Westie
first gained attention in 1907 as the Poltalloch Terrier, named
for the home of Col. E.D. Malcolm, who had been breeding the
Short-Legged White Terriers for the previous 60 years. The breed
has gone under several different names, including Roseneath,
Poltalloch, White Scottish, Little Skye and Cairn.
busy Westie is happy, curious and always in the thick of things.
It is affectionate and demanding, one of the friendliest terriers.
It is not friendly, however, toward small animals. It enjoys
a daily romp in a safe area or a walk on lead, as well as playtime
at home. It is independent and somewhat stubborn. It barks and
Westie enjoys the outdoors, but it can also function as an indoor
dog if taken for regular exercise. It needs either a short to
moderate walk on leash or a good game in the yard every day.
It should sleep inside in all but the mildest climates. Its
wire coat needs combing two or three times weekly, plus shaping
every three months. Shaping for pets is by clipping, and for
show dogs is by stripping. In some areas, it may be difficult
to keep the coat white.
Official Breed Standard
The general appearance of the West Highland
White Terrier is that of a small, game, hardy-looking Terrier, possessed
of no small amount of self-esteem; with a varminty appearance; strongly
built, deep in chest and back ribs; level back and powerful quarters
on muscular legs and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination
of strength and activity. Movement should be free, straight and
easy all round. In the front the legs should be freely extended
forward by the shoulder. The hind movement should be free, strong
and close. The hocks should be freely flexed and drawn close in
under the body, so that when moving off the foot, the body is pushed
forward with some force. Stiff, stilted movement behind is very
Head and Skull:
The skull should be slightly domed and when
gripped across the forehead, should present a smooth contour. There
should only be a very slight tapering from the skull at the level
of the ears to the eyes. The distance from the occiput to the eyes
should be slightly greater than the length of the foreface. The
head should be thickly coated with hair and carried at a right-angle
or less to the axis of the neck. On no account should the head be
carried in the extended position. The foreface should gradually
taper from the eye to the muzzle. There should be a distinct stop
formed by heavy, bony ridges, immediately above and slightly overhanging
the eye, and a slight indentation between the eyes. The foreface
should not dish or fall away quickly below the eyes where it should
be well made up. The jaws should be strong and level. The nose must
be black should be fairly large and forming a smooth contour with
the rest of the muzzle. The nose must not project forward giving
rise to a snipy appearance.
Should be widely set apart, medium in size,
as dark as possible in colour. Slightly sunk in head, sharp and
intelligent, which, looking from under the heavy eyebrows, imparts
a piercing look. Full or light-coloured eyes are objectionable.
Small, erect and carried firmly, terminating
in a sharp point. The hair on them should be short, smooth (velvety)
and should not be cut. The ears should be free from any fringe at
the top. Round, pointed, broad, large or thick ears are very objectionable,
also ears too heavily coated with hair.
Should be as broad between the canine teeth
as is consistent with the sharp varminty expression required. The
teeth should be large for the size of the dog and should articulate
in the following manner: - the lower canines should lock in front
of the upper canines. There should be six teeth between the canines
of the upper and lower incisors. The upper incisors should slightly
overlap the lower incisors, the inner side of the upper incisors
being in contact with the outer side of the lower incisors. There
should be no appreciable space between the incisors when the mouth
is closed ensuring a keen bite; a dead level mouth is not a fault.
Should be sufficiently long to allow the
proper set-on of head required, muscular and gradually thickening
towards the base allowing the neck to merge into nicely sloping
shoulders, thus giving freedom of movement.
The shoulders should be sloped backwards.
The shoulder blades should be broad and lie close to the chest wall.
The joint formed by the shoulder blade and the upper arm should
be placed forward, on account of the obliquity of the shoulder blades,
bringing the elbows well-in and allowing the foreleg to move freely,
parallel to the axis of the body, like the pendulum of a clock.
Forelegs should be short and muscular, straight and thickly covered
with short hard hair.
Compact. Back level, loins broad and strong.
The chest should be deep and the ribs well-arched in the upper half
presenting a flattish side appearance. The back ribs should be of
a considerable depth and the distance from the last rib of the quarters
as short as is compatible with free movement of the body.
Strong, muscular and wide across the top.
Legs should be short, muscular and sinewy. The thighs very muscular
and not too wide apart. The hocks bent and well set in under the
body so as to be fairly close to each other when standing, walking
or trotting. Cow-hocks detract from the general appearance. Straight
or weak hocks are undesirable and are a fault.
The forefeet are larger than the hind ones,
are round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded and covered
with short, hard hair. The hind feet are smaller and thickly padded.
The under surface of the pads of feet and all nails should preferably
12.7 to 15.2 cm (5 to 6 in) long, covered
with hard hair, no feather, as straight as possible, carried jauntily,
not gay nor carried over the back. A long tail is objectionable
and on no account should tails be docked.
Colour pure white, must be doublecoated.
The outer coat consists of hard hair, about 5 cm (2 in) long, free
from any curl. The under coat, which resembles fur, is short, soft
and close. Open coats are objectionable.
Weight and Size:
Size about 27.9 cm (11 in) at the withers.
Male animals should have two apparently normal
testicles fully descended into the scrotum.