The coat of the West Highland white terrier, as the name suggests, is white in color. The undercoat is soft, dense, and thick, and the outer coat is rough-textured. The outer coat can grow up to 2 inches long. This breed is also known as the 'Westie'. It has powerful hindquarters on its muscular legs. On an average, the height of this dog is 11 inches for males and 10 inches for females at the withers. Withers is the area which is the highest point on the dog's back, located on a ridge between its shoulder blades. The ears are small and have sharp points. They are generally erect. The head has a round shape in the front with a closely-fitted jaw. The muzzle is blunt with a large and black nose. The teeth seem large if compared to the entire proportion of the body. This dog has a large bone structure. Eyes are deep-set, almond-shaped, dark, and bright. They look almost piercing. The tail is on the shorter side and has a length of around 5-6 inches. The weight is around 15-20 pounds.
This breed is very energetic and fun to have around. It will keep you on your toes with its mischievous behavior. It requires loads of attention and companionship as well. This dog would expect you to play with it a lot. It is intelligent and may be a little obstinate at times.
Some individual dogs of this breed may get along with children while some prefer quiet surroundings. Some may also be possessive of their food and toys. It depends on every individual dog. However, this breed may not tolerate rough handling by small children, so care must be taken.
Due to its high energy and abounding stamina, this breed does well in a yard where it can run around. To keep your dog happy, ensure that you take him/her out for plenty of walks and have time to play games as well. Always ensure you have interactive games with your dog as this is something most dogs love, and it also proves to be a good form of exercise for them. This breed loves games and toys, and also enjoys chasing and fetching balls.
Grooming is one of the most important factors for any breed of dog. When it comes to this ever-energetic breed, you need to begin grooming as soon as possible. Always brush this dog to keep its fur clean and free from all sorts of tangles. You will have to buy some brushes, combs, a special flea comb, and also a pair of scissors. Always keep the hair length trimmed around the eyes and the ears. Hair which grows around the feet should also be trimmed. The tail also requires trimming so that the original shape is retained. A bath is necessary at regular intervals.
Even if your dog stares at you lovingly when it is time for food, do not ever feed him/her more than what is required. This is a small dog, so give it small portions of dry food every day which will provide it with adequate nutrition. Include protein in the diet for a healthy skin and a thick coat.
The life expectancy of this breed is 12 to 16 years. The litter size is 1 to 5 puppies. This breed is commonly affected by health issues such as abdominal hernias, craniomandibular osteopathy, skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and hyperplastic dermatitis, or luxating patella, where the knee caps slip and get displaced.
The West Highland white terrier is not different from any other dogs. It needs your love and care. Its loving temperament makes it a wonderful pet.