West Highland White Terrier
(AKC Terrier Group)
West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is a sturdy, hardy, compact little white terrier with small, erect, sharply pointed ears and a black button nose. The skull is wide and slightly rounded. The blunt muzzle has a defined stop and is a bit shorter than the skull. The dark, almond-shaped eyes have a keen expression. The hair on the head is clipped for a shaggy, rounded appearance. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The top of the back should be straight and level. The length of the back between the withers and root of the tail is slightly less than the height at the withers. The undocked 5- to 6-in. carrot-shaped tail is carried gaily, but not over the back. The Westie has a double coat. The hard-textured outer coat is about 2 in. long, and always pure white. It is not supposed to be silky or soft.


The West Highland White Terrier may have been developed from a few naturally occurring white Cairn Terrier puppies in mid-nineteenth century Scotland. Though bred originally for controlling the population of rats, fox, otter, and other vermin, this charming terrier is now mostly a companion dog. It was first registered by the AKC in 1908 as the Roseneath Terrier, but its name was changed in 1909.

Key Facts:



Lively, ardent, sunny, and outgoing. Delightful and alert. Self-assured, cocky, and spunky. Knows he's wonderful. Playful and happy. Devoted to his family. May snap when irritated. Not as willful as many of the other terrier breeds.