West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are descended from Cairn Terriers and they're thought to have originated in Scotland. Legend has it that a Colonel in the Argyll region got some white pups in one of his litters, and began breeding them to get consistently white dogs. Westies were used in the hunt on the English moors because their white coat made it easy for hunters to distinguish them from the fox.
Today, Westies are mainly companion dogs and do great with families and children, as long as the children are behaved and don't rough-handle them. Westies have a lot of character, are very lively, sturdy dogs, and are quite easy to train. They do not pick fights with other dogs and love being the center of attention! They do consider themselves "guard dogs", but because of their small stature don't expect them to be able to fend off a burglar. They will, however, try their darnedest to make him think they're a big dog!
Because of their terrier nature some Westies love to dig. They can be trained not to do this however, because they want to please you!
Westies do not need a ton of exercise, making them ideal for apartment or city living. They will benefit from walks, however, so if you've got the time they'll be happier if they get at least one per day.
Westies are generally healthy dogs and do need regular grooming. Be careful not to bathe them too much as this can irritate their skin and make it too dry. They are fairly long lived, averaging about 15 years. They like to sleep, so you'll see them taking more naps than, say, a Jack Russell.
If you would like more information about this great little breed, you can visit American Kennel Club at www.akc.org. If you would like information on adopting a Westie in dire need of a loving family, you can visit www.westierescue.org or PetFinder.com.
West Highland Terrier Breeder Directory - your perfect little Westie is waiting for you.