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The West Highland Terrier is one of those instantly recognisable breeds. I have spent time with a fair few Westies, they are sturdy, hardy little dogs who love to get out and about, chase a ball and do some exploring, they are the perfect example of a terrier. Bear this in mind as they will be unlocked to chase cats if they are not trained not to.
They come in one variety, white, and are sometimes known as the West Highland White Terrier because of this. They have a generally happy disposition and seem to do well in family life. Do again bear in mind that they are a terrier, they are not known for their patience so very small children may not be ideal.
Westies do have some health issues which are worth researching before committing to owning one. Many have skin allergies which can cause itichy flare ups. This is often caused by a specific food allergy and avoidance of grains or a certain variety of meat can stop flare ups completely. Many Westie owners have switched their dogs to the RAW diet in order to have more control over what their Westie is eating and so they can feed with a more holistic approach. It is important to note that Westies may have more than one allergy which can make feeding anything but RAW near impossible. Pet insurance does not cover skin conditions which means that if you get a Westie who has allergies then you will be footing the expensive vet bills by yourself regardless of your insurance status.
Overall the Westie is a super little dog who well deserves his place as one of the most recognisable and believed breeds.
My dog is a west highland white terrier called Joey. He is nine years old but thinks he is a pup; he can still be quite naughty. Joey was very poorly recently and things were getting very worrying indeed but, after the last week or so I feel I can say he has made a great recovery. His improvement has made me feel like writing a review of Westies with Joey being the main character.
Joey is a pedigree and his 'posh' pedigree name is 'Sydney's Lad' but really he is anything but posh-more like a rough, working class lad who is a bit on the loud side; he acts tough yet if he sees a cat in the garden he will pretend he hasn't seen it and walk as far away from it as possible so as not to lose face. Nose high in the air he will act as if he is bored with the garden and wander in taking a route as far away from the feline intruder as possible. Funny this as he didn't back down a few months ago when a fox was in his garden, but if a leaf falls on his back he will jump a mile! But Joey is definitely a small dog who thinks he is big.
Before Joey came to stay I hadn't had a pet for years although I had grown up with pets and have always loved them. Then my fourth and youngest child continued to beg and beg to be allowed a pet. She promised to care for it, as they do. One of her brothers, who is three years older than her, wasn't too keen on dogs but was getting to like them; he said he would be happy to share in the care of a pet. My eldest son wasn't too keen on having a pet but agreed to care for it when we were away on holidays. My husband was against us having a dog and so the research and purchase was left mainly to me. When Joey was ill recently my husband was very depressed about it and now is very happy to see how much Joey has improved.
CHOOSE YOUR FRIEND WITH CARE
I actually like most breed of dogs from Pyrenean mountain dogs to cute little Yorkshire terriers but, if the dog is going to stay then I'm a firm believer in doing one's research and being as practical as possible. Before obtaining a pet I would strongly advise a long hard think about the size of your home and garden; does the home suit city type dogs or those that would need long country walks. Are there children in the home or other pets? When I was eleven and talking to, an uncle about our beloved departed pet he promised to get me a dog. He kept this promise and we chose a puppy that became my best friend for many years. She was a beautiful mongrel; intelligent, loving and loyal and long lived. I would have been quite happy to have a cross breed or mongrel dog this time now, one very important factor in suitability was my daughter's asthma. My daughter had suffered with asthma for many years and this was something that made me a little reluctant to welcome a pet into the home. But I have always felt owning a pet encourages responsibility and a caring attitude so researched the effect of certain breeds on asthma in humans. I read that certain breeds such as huskies and poodles are virtually hypo allergenic and others such as West highland white terriers are pretty much low risk on the allergy front. Westies don't shed their fur very much which in a white dog is a useful trait.
As I knew I needed to find a dog that I could lift (for example to bathe) and one that wasn't too strong (if pulling on a lead) as I have a condition that couldn't cope with this, I felt a small breed would be best for our family. I also felt that it is very important before bringing a dog into the household that things such as veterinary bills and the cost of feeding should be taken into account. Of course any pet can fall ill and the costs can be high but certain breeds are more prone to health problems than others. I felt that a Westie might be hardier than some pedigree breeds. Also a smaller dog wouldn't cost as much to feed as a large breed would. This may all seem particularly fussy, as I like most breeds of dog, but I feel it is so important to research and try to get it right for both the pet's sake and that of its new family. Compatibility means a lot. Of course, with all the best will in the world and the most careful preparation things may not run smoothly but becoming a pet owner is an important matter for any one.
The male Westie stands at around ten to twelve inches (25-30cm) from the withers so this is the height not counting the head and neck! Bitches are slightly smaller being nine to eleven inches in height (23-28cm)
The male should weigh 15-22 pounds (7-10kg) and bitches 13-16 pounds (6-7kg)
In my opinion this is a nice size of dog to handle. If you aren't that strong, have health problems then this is a manageable size to lift for bathing.
And when Joey was lame recently he couldn't move without being carried and if he had been much bigger or heavier I couldn't have helped him.
JOEY AND HIS RELATIONS
Before getting Joey I read up on this breed and believe that the breed has been known since the seventeenth century at least. And Sir Edwin Landseer painted his, 'Dignity and Impudence' in 1839 showing a cute little Westie in the harmonious company of a large hound. But opinions seem to vary as to how long the breed has been recognised. This could be because the name has changed often, meaning reliable sources of the breed's history are not so easy to find. In fact the breed name of the Westie has been known by many names; Poltalloch Terrier, Roseneath Terrier and is now known as the West Highland white terrier, or Westie for short.
And I have read that the breed came from Cairn terriers when a breeder discovered some white pups had been born in a litter of cairns. He then bred from these resulting in the breed as we now know it first being 'shown' in the early twentieth century.
The Westie dog, as a terrier, was employed to hunt in Scotland's west coast; therefore it needed to be small to reach into small places whilst hunting badgers, foxes and other fairly small creatures. It needed to be brave and hardy as a hunting working dog.
The word 'Terrier' comes from the Latin 'Terra' and means 'earth'. When Joey digs in the garden and get dirty I have to remind myself that he is an earth dog and is only following his instincts!
Joey is fussy with food and has his likes and dislikes. I aim to feed him on high quality hypo allergenic foods. This may cost a little more than cheaper supermarket shelf options but after some time on good quality foods I feel that quality is everything; Joey is much more active and not sick as much as he used to be when he was fed on a popular brand of dog food which was not of great quality.
Joey is fed on a complete dry dog food. I often add a little chicken, fish or a high quality wet dog food to makes his meal times more interesting.
As he is a small dog, even though he has good quality food, he isn't too expensive to feed. The cost of feeding a dog must be one of the main factors in choosing a certain breed. I believe many dogs are not kept due to the owner really not realising until too late that certain breeds of dog will cost a great deal to feed.
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
Westies generally have a good life expectancy as far as pedigree dogs go. They tend to live for fifteen to sixteen years although I know of a one who lived to over seventeen. I have been told of a few living longer. However they are prone to some health conditions although, as far as small pedigree breeds go I feel that they are quite strong.
Some issues can be that they are prone to are:
Jaw bone calcification
I would recommend taking out insurance to help with vet's fees with Westies, or any breed. Failing this remember to put aside an amount each month to help with costs.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
West Highland Terriers need a haircut about three or four times a year. We use a mobile grooming service for Joey. This costs about thirty pounds each time and includes a good cut, bath, flea treatment and nail clipping. I sometimes trim Joey's coat in between the professional cuts but he behaves better for the groomer.
OUT AND ABOUT
Joey loves to go for a walk but he is a runner. I don't think this is a trait inherent with Westies but just with mine. I see many walking along in the park close to their owners, unleashed.
Joey loves a run and will 'ask' us to chase him in the garden. He decides when to play and when to stop. When Joey is out for a walk he is more interested in sniffing smells than running around.
Westies need, in common with all dogs, exercise and like to be out and about, but I find with Joey a couple of short walks will suffice and a run around indoors or in the garden helps to keep him well exercised.
As I have said, I like most breed of dog but if you are thinking of welcoming a dog into the home and want a small dog but not especially a lap dog then a West Highland White Terrier may be just what you are looking for. With their intelligence and cheekiness they make an endearing pet. In the case of Joey he has some naughty habits such as marking items indoors on occasion when he is scared, such as during a thunderstorm, or fireworks. Other than that, he is a fairly low maintenance dog who provides a friend for all the family. He seems happy enough to be left alone in the house. In the case of my dog he is okay to be left for a few hours per day, with a toy or two, a comfy bed and food and water. But of course, he is always happy to welcome his family back into the home.
Since i was born ('im 21), if not slightly before my mum has always had Westies so i have grown up around them and love there temperament, laziness and fluffiness.
They normally life to around 14-15 and are around a foot tall. They are originaly from Scotland and were used as hunting dogs. They were breed to be white so werent accidnetly shoot by their owners and camoflauge from their prey when hunting, being white they blended in with the snow.
At the moment we have two, Bertie who is about 6 and Jazz who's almost three. We have had them both since they were Puppies and they couldn't be more different.
Westies do suffer with allergies and in particular really sore skin, which is a mixture of sore little bumps to larger scabs if not treated. They do tend to develop a pink strip of skin down there spin which normally leads to this skin allergy. One of ours has suffered since he was very young so is constantly on a restricted diet (gluten free) and has to use extremely mild shampoo while our other has no effects of this at all. It doesn't seem to bother him as long as it is looked after properly.
There temperaments are slightly different too Bertie even though he's a little older doesn't bark half as much as the other but when he does he was really low bark. Jazz is quite a yappy little thing with a bit of a squeal and everything and anything will set her off. Neither of them can bear dogs on TV as soon as an advert or tv show shows a dog they bark and jump at the tv! They both can be a little grumpy if you wake them from a deep sleep...but cant anyone!! Bertie is a classic looking Westie with a rounded nose and slightly bent ears, Jazz has a slightly pointy nose and pointy ears but is extra fluffy!! Neither of them are leggy and both love hugs like all dogs. They always seem to be really lazy dogs but once you get them walking they could go for hours and hours. This may sound a little cliché but they love the snow and I find it awful trying to get them in even if it's a very light covering!!
I know I'm biased but Westies are a perfect all round dog for families, couples well anyone who has the time to care for them properly and love them for life. Ok so they get filthy easily and can be a but yappy but as long as they know your boss you'll have an everlasting, loving relationship!!
As I sit here at my computer at my mums, Down by my feet lies a little white ball of now, rather aged, white fluff. My little ghostly shadow who sticks permanently by my side all the time I am visiting. If I speak honestly this little white ball of fluff is a main reason for me to visit here too. The lamp is on and the soft lighting, along with the way she is laying is reminiscent of an a-typical christmas card. You know the sort, dog curled up in front of blazing fire, stocking hanging expectantly at the side and my heart melts just looking at her.
This little white ball of fluff is Heidi, my mothers much loved "leaving a job you've been at for 17 years" present that myself, my sister and my dad presented to mum as a much tinier little white thing over 9 years ago now. Heidi was born about 20 years before she really was. My mother has always loved this white fluffy breed, more commonly by the name of "West Highland White" to the rest of the world. My mother often stated to anyone who asked, or even if you didn't to that matter that one day she would have a little girl westie, and that her name would be Heidi.
So let me introduce you to this wonderful breed. The West Highland White, or "westie" as it is affectionately known is a member of the terrier family. The breed originated in the Argylle region of Scotland some time in the 19th century although a specific time is not known. There is a gorgeous quaint story that goes with the colour of the breed, that being that Colonel Malcolm of Argylle's red terrier was out playing in a field one day. The luckless canine was mistaken for a fox and shot by a gameskeeper. Heartbroken, the order was given that every member of the breed must be white in colour so that the same mistake did not happen again. No detail is given on whether any further red members were culled or simply denied a leg over (sorry) but this colour was rapidly eradicated from the breed.
Bred originally as rabbit and rat catching animals, this instinct, although curled up at my feet is still deeply ingrained to my little fluffball. Any soon to be owners reading this need to be aware that, train as you might, try as you might, you will not get this trait out of your dog. And trust me they will run. Squirrels, foxes, rabbits, cats, even frogs will be fair target for this hunting breed, give an inch and they will be off for a mile or more across the park determined that "I will catch that bloody squirrel I will I will I will!!!!". Although with good training this trait can be curbed and diverted to more meaningful pursuits.
I have had contact with many westies and they always appear to be peaceful little characters that march about your house with an expression of eternal joviality. Their deep brown button eyes imparting an inherant air of mischief that always makes you wonder if the washing machine did indeed swallow the sock or if it was stolen while your back was turned. They are a breed that loves the company of humans and are amazingly affectionate. although mother also sites them as being very obsinate when things aren't going their way. As can I apparently, although i don't believe that for a second! ;o)
All terrier breeds have a reputation for being hard to train. Not so.. let me tell you that a terrier army marches off its stomach, heidi will sell her soul for a piece of cheese, hamish (down the road) would give you his last farthing for a lump of liver.. "sorry, do that for a toy?!? don't blimmin think so!" is the only translation i could put behind the look I was given when I decided Heidi would be a "toy orientated" dog. This in itself makes them very easy to train. Keep it short and sweet, tailor it to the dog you are working with, find their motivator and the results will very quickly appear. Training also provides the westie, who is rather active and exercise loving, to tire themselves mentally, meaning less walkies required for the hapless humans. Generally though, our cheeky fellas would thank you for 2 walks per day of a good couple of miles.
Grooming wise the Westie has 2 coats, a coarser longer "outer coat" and a warmer, waterproof tightly packed "under coat" shedding roughly twice a year the Westie is a breed that isnt going to rapidly turn your dark carpets white, or your best work trousers hairy. They do however grow their outer coat rapidly which can lead to a look of the littlest hobo if they are not groomed regularly. The Westie is supposed to sport a facial hair do that looks makes their face look like a chrysanthemum, and the tail a carrot. Honestly, its true. with short tidy back hair and a "skirt" that traces just off the ground. In practicality unless you are planning to show, it is easier to keep the "skirt" just a couple of inches long. else removing the mud from a wriggling fur ball becomes stressful for the dog and, well, rather damp actually for the handler!! the average dog (sorry heidi, using you as an example but your not average by any means!) requires clipping 4 times a year, with the cost varying between £12-£20. It is always adviseable to find a groomer that can do this by hand and not rely on electric clippers as the result tends to be much smoother and more even.
Budget wise heidi's family arent that expensive to keep. Heidi is fed on Ceasar dog food, admittedly not my food of choice but she seems to do fine on it, and has a carton of that and some biccys per day. in total about £3.20 per day to feed. Booster vaccinations per year are essential and should be budgeted at around £50 (depends on practice) per annum and insurance is a must also, around £15 per month depending on company/age/location/previous health issues etc.
I have 2 nieces, one of 5 and one of 2. I have to mention that when they were younger and fast moving heidi did take exception to their presence and expressed this vocally. keeping them out of touching distance soon allowed heidi to calm down and she is now fine with them. This is not indicative of the breed in anyway shape or form but illustrates the requirement to introduce any dog to children slowly and calmly and to allow the dog and the child to get used to each other. Aside from this I would have no hesitation introducing a westie into a family environment.
Our lovely little white bundle has certainly got slower with the advancement of years, she walks less far, sleeps more and enjoys cuddles more than she ever did. This in no small part is thanks to the dreaded hip dysplacia she was born with. yes big dog lovers it can blight our dinky friends too, so when buying a pup please please ensure to check for a history of this. It isnt routine to hip score smaller breeds although I really do wish that hip scoring for ANY canine that was going to be bred from be made mandatory. aside from this westies are relatively problem free, aside from being slightly prone to contact dermatitis due to their wee stature!
So as Heidi sits here beside me, and I look at her with a massive amount of affection, I do not rue the day at all that she entered our lives. Mums dedication to own a member of this lovely breed for some many years was well founded in its loyalty. You would not regret asking a member of the WHW to join your clan.
*NB as I ended this review, the massive amount of affection I was looking at her with turned into a cough and splutter due to the smelliest canine fart possible. Do I add this to their bad points??? and as I call her a volley of names I realise that she is old, and I love her. so I'll forgive her.... this time.
i write this review based on my girlfriends little white terror, ahem ...i mean terrier, twti.
westies, as they are affectionately known, are originally from scotland as the name would suggest and were traditionally used to find and dig out foxes and badgers. they are highly intelligent little dogs that usually weigh between 5 to 10 kg. they grow to around just under 1 foot tall. from what i understand they sleep around 10-15 hours a day although our little one probably does a bit more than that!
they are very fit and energetic dogs that have a very gentle temperament, ours spends a lot of time around children without issue (although i realise that this is a little over generalisation).
health can sometimes be an issue as they are naturally pink skinned therefore they can suffer from dermatitis which can sometimes lead as far as to their death if left untreated. this also limits the number of times they can be bathed.
all in all these are great little characters that make and amazing family pet. i would highly recommend them to anyone.
I have had three westy's. To sum them up they are compact, loyal, funny, all dfferent, varied, few problems and all good friends. All my dogs tave thought there were bigger than they were Fergus now 13 thinks he is a polar bear and is not scared of anything Archie my puppy (now 1) thinks he can takeanything on including horse's cows the lion on the telly . you name he cn beat it. All three have been rattersthey will kill with out thinking the number of duckling that have died over the year Is too terrible to think of but IO know they did not mean it and they were not spokken to for days so they understood!!!! Archie and fergus both at like body guards with you all the time there to bark at any danger but fergus hates thunder so you need to protect him then, he has got worse as he has gotten older. Health wise Archie is fine (touch wood) only a bit of an itch when he was 4months but a heavu shamppo and conditioner sorted that out, fergus has epilepsy, COPD and know back problems (but he is old!!). The best thing is they don't shed hair!!! Icould not trade them fr the world. the biggest problem is that all three are wanders the first opertunity they are off they take them selves for walks.
This is a review on owning a West Highland terrier, I made the plunge 13 years ago & it may guide a prospective owner on how to avoid the pitfalls that we didn't know about despite doing research. Firstly some information on this breed of dog:
The white West Highland terriers for some reason are often confused with the black Scottish terriers which are about the same size & shape & nicknamed 'Scotties'. The West highland terriers are nicknamed 'Westies' and were originally bred to hunt rabbits, rodents & would you believe foxes. Apparently they make the best rat catchers & can out perform a cat.
They stand about 10"-11" in height, with strong muscular legs & shoulders; apparently they have the largest teeth for a small breed of dog with extremely powerful jaws. Their ears are normally upright & their white coats are usually quite wiry on top & softer below. Their tails are usually like an inverted carrot & stick up. They weigh around 9-10kgs.
They make great watch dogs; no they won't bring down your postie & maul him apart when he innocently walks to your front door one day with a collection of utilities bills. However there is little chance of someone dropping a cigarette butt outside your home without a Westie hearing it & reacting.
Their coats do not shed their fur like many other breeds so there are no problems of the house being covered in white fur. They adapt their exercise needs to suit their owners which is why they are just as popular with elderly people as they are with younger owners.
They are not chewers & once trained are unlikely to touch anything except for their own chewing toys or bones. They can be left on their own for 3-4 hours at home without any problems & make good travellers.
They can be good with children but if they haven't grown up with little children & then are put into the company of young children they need to be carefully monitored.
As with most dogs they are loyal, friendly although a bit excitable at times & loveable. They are full of character & cheek & are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
They live to an old age, 15+ years is nothing unusual, they are not toy dogs & they simply wouldn't allow you to treat them as such.
They are stubborn dogs, if they don't want to do something, they won't, if they are bored with training, then that's it, nothing that day will change their minds. Give up & go back to it the next day. They are intelligent but their stubbornness over rules any intelligent behaviour. Consequently, they can be difficult to train as a puppy, not because they can't do it, just that they won't or can't be bothered, but perseverance pays off.
They have attitude, loads of it & strut around the house as if they own it. They are quite fearless in some situations, they tend to think they are bigger than they really are & can be aggressive with larger dogs no matter how used to the company of other dogs they are. They can sometimes be a little snappy if they feel threatened & children need to be careful should they decide to innocently pull a Westies tail as a bit of fun.
The male Westies can be quite hyper active when young; I was informed by the vet that once a male is castrated it quietens them down. I have to say that if my dangly bits were chopped off I would probably quieten down too!!
They can bark quite excessively although most owners I speak to inform me that the male dog is much worse than the bitches.
Finally, their health, Westies often suffer from eczema of the skin which can be so bad that there have been instances where they have to be put down. Fortunately there are ample products out there which can help, more about that later. When old, their eye sight often suffers with cataracts which lead to blindness. Their stomachs can also be sensitive especially with a sudden change of diet, although this can easily be overcome. In general the breed is healthy and robust.
Other problems not unique to this breed include hernias, cranio mandibular osteopathy, deafness and congenital heart disease. They can also be susceptible to cataracts, copper toxicosis, enzyme deficiency, inguinal hernia, and Legg-Perthes disease.
In 1996 we decided we wanted a dog, my partner had dogs all her life & was well aware of the responsibilities involved. As we lived in a small flat a large dog wasn't an option. We had a large garden & a park at the top of the street so there was ample opportunities for the dog to run around. We decided on a West highland terrier based on experiences with my grandmother's dog when I was a small child. This Westie proved to be great with children, behaved very well & was only aggressive to large dogs.
At the time we were looking for information on Westies, this was pre internet days so we purchased a guide book on the breed & was informed they had no known health problems. If only we had asked a vet!!
We planned to have a Westie taking into account the cost of insurance, food, the exercise regime, time spent training, playing with the dog & the best place to buy one.
We tracked one down at a local breeder & went to visit them, they were happy to allow us to wander around even with a camera & choose any puppy they had. They were happy to let us meet the mother & the conditions they all lived in. That alone put us at ease as we warned about breeders who won't allow you to do just that. The breeder only bred Westies & Scotties & she had about 10 puppies available.
My partner chose a small Westie puppy about seven weeks old & not ready yet to be separated from his mother. As you can well imagine at seven weeks old he was just a small bundle of fur small enough to fit in a shoe box. As she picked him up he very quickly got attached to her & stared to nibble her ears. He then started to whimper when she put back into the pen with his siblings.
We decided to have him & come back when he was ready to taken home which was the following week.
We paid £200 for him & took him home, by then we were all prepared with the necessary equipment, a bed, food, bowls, collar, & loads of newspapers for the anticipated accidents.
We named him Spike, once home he very quickly settled in, his first test was going to be at bed time. We decided he would sleep in the kitchen where the floor is tiled; we put his little bed in there along with newspapers & went to bed. We did figure that he may react badly without his mum, so I put a ticking clock under the blanket in his bed which apparently cheats them into thinking they are laying next to their mother.
As soon as we closed the kitchen door he started to squeak & pine, this was his first time on his own & it takes a hard heart to ignore it but it must be done or he will never be able to settle on his own at night. The squealing stopped after about 20 minutes & he fell asleep, this happened again for a couple of nights until he got used to it & the clock was taken away.
Spike grew up fast, very fast & life was exciting for him. His first walk with a lead was a pain as he constantly tried to pull it away but we won the battle of wills. The noise of passing traffic was his next challenge, you can just imagine what a double Decker bus passing by feels like for a little dog not much bigger than a rabbit!! As each day passed we would walk him into the city centre & the noise of buses & people didn't bother him very much, in fact he liked all the fuss being made by passers by.
Toilet training seemed to take ages but we got there in the end. He was hyper active & would constantly play until he was just keel over with tiredness, like his worn out owners.
We were advised to take him to the local vets once a month at night for a puppy party. This would give him experience sharing a room with other dogs of his age. A puppy party was one hell of a chaotic night but it sure got him used to other dogs which we were grateful of when he got older.
He was only three months old when we noticed two brown stains from the corner of his eyes. The vet diagnosed blocked tear ducts so at this early age he had his first minor operation to unblock the ducts. He appeared to take it all in his stride.
No sooner had he got over that when one night a wine glass fell off the kitchen top thanks to the vibration of the washing machine & smashed next to him. He picked up & swallowed a little piece of glass, so that was another unscheduled trip to the vet.
We took him for his first grooming & the lady groomer suspected he had the early signs of eczema. All was fine for a while until months later he started to lick his paws & scratch his hind quarters until they were bleeding. We took him to the vet who diagnosed eczema; he stated that he may have an allergy to something & that they needed to do a skin graph & blood tests.
Allergy to something? More like an allergy to everything, the tests confirmed he had an allergy to grass, leaves, pollen, turkey, chicken, duck, meat, wheat & dust mites!!! How on earth do I avoid him coming in contact with these?
The vet recommended steroids, strong ones, this he said would shorten his life considerably but would ease the scratching & give him a more comfortable life. Easy way out for a vet I suppose.
We thought differently, I didn't mind putting him on steroids for a short time but our aim was to try other more natural but time consuming measures.
His food diet was limited to lamb & rice or fish & rice, no problem there except these delicacies were difficult to find at the time although they are now generally available from vets & pet shops at premium prices.
Since one year old he has eaten lamb & rice every morning & fish & rice every evening, the vet told me that dogs never get sick of one type of food!! Just a well, although I have to say that the smell of lamb & rice even at 7am in the morning is actually quite tasty!!
Dust mites encouraged us to purchase a Dyson vacuum cleaner which helped this problem but grass & pollen is almost impossible. We were advised to rub his paws with Aloe Vera but no sooner had you applied it & he would lick it off.
We fitted the 'lampshade' around his neck to prevent that but there is a limit on how often this could be done. It didn't do his street credibility much good!!
We had to watch his weight, on steroids; any weight gain can cause heart problems along with a host of other organ failures.
We bathed him every two weeks in special lotion (Malaseb £17.00 a bottle) & within six months his skin had improved, he was put on weaker steroids & we kept up the strict regime. Now at 12 years old he is on the weakest steroids available but only every other day, we still keep up the regular bathing & he at least enjoys a decent life.
One problem with the eczema is that it often spreads to inside the dog's ears which means regular cleaning out, if its ignored it can lead to deafness.
Apparently eczema is common in Westies & found on many other breeds. It's bad enough on a human who understands the situation but it must have been difficult for a dog. During the worst periods he never became aggressive or grumpy, this appeared to be a happy dog despite his problems.
Thankfully, I had brought out pet insurance one month after getting him, the company (Pet Plan) stated that he would be covered for life. At first they covered most of the claims & even contributed to the cost of the special food. Thankfully the vets practice submitted the claims & everything was paid promptly. However the day he turned seven years old the company took a different attitude. From paying £100-£125 a year for insurance cover they increased it overnight to £750. They were certainly true to their word & were going to insurance him for life, but at what cost?
I spoke to their call centre in Ireland & it was a case of take it or leave it, I left it. I got cover from Marks & Spencer for £150 buy they wouldn't cover his skin complaints or any heart problems. For two years they insured him but with an excess of £50.00 for each claim & most of his vet bills around the £35.00 mark I ended up paying for everything. Two years later M&S increased their premium to £700 & I cancelled it. I was almost in a self insuring situation.
I opened up a separate bank account & put away £25.00 a month for future vet bills & ironically his health has improved dramatically since & so has that bank balance!!
In old age he appears to have quite a collection of warts under his fur, apparently it's quite common in old dogs & they often come off over time.
Also in old age arthritis has set in on his front leg which means shorter walks, a long walk leaves him hobbling for ages. My partner gives him a teaspoonful of cod liver oil in his food & this has improved things.
Old age has brought on cataracts & his eyesight started to fail. Dogs don't have good eye sight at the best of times & adapt to blindness better than you think, I am informed. If they do go blind we are advised not to move house or move the furniture around as any changes will lead to them bumping into things.
You'll be reading this thinking that's a right faulty dog you got there! Despite the vet bills & the health issues he has been a great dog, even in his old age he still ran about the house or garden like a puppy chasing his ball or bone. After a lousy day at work & not matter how much of a bad mood you may be in, you always get a warm welcome with a wagging tail as soon as the front door opens.
How much would owning a Westie cost? Probably less than it has cost us. I did track all the bills for a year which came to £1200. This covered vet bills (£30.00 for a basic inspection), food (£2.50 a day), grooming (£28.00 a time) & dog minders when we are on holiday (£7-£10 a day). The Daily Mail recently calculated a small terrier would cost their owner £18.000 - £24.000 over its lifetime; bigger breeds can rise to as much as £32.000!! That's enough to buy a small sports car, however it's debatable if you get the same satisfaction of ownership.
I would recommend a Westie to anyone but would advise choosing the breeder very carefully. There is plenty of information about them on the internet it's just a pity this wasn't available at the time when we were looking for one.
When Spike was nearly 13 years old he died just before Christmas with internal bleeding of the spleen. The house was a pretty empty place just after he died & it's then when you realise the impact animals have on your life. We'd had him since he was a puppy & we certainly missed our loyal friend with a big attitude running around the house.
We always said that when he goes we would get another West Highland Terrier but not from a puppy, our circumstances have changed & it wouldn't be fair on the dog or on us for that matter. If we were to replace him it would be with another dog & that meant from a rehoming centre, essentially a rescue dog.
I've always cringed at the thought of getting a rescue dog & from experience from my close friends & grand parents you would understand why. Over the years they have taken on dogs that have chewed them out of house & home, aggressive dogs, neurotic dogs & dogs that have been badly abused. They all needed an understanding owner that was willing to persevere to get the problems sorted out. In some cases it never materialised, but it didn't stop them from keeping the dogs & giving them a loving home.
Every now & then the right dog turns up that only require a limited amount of work to get its problems sorted out & that was what I was hoping for.
SEARCHING FOR A DOG
Where I live there is two small rehoming centres with thankfully a small number of dogs 'in stock'. I was prepared to travel to get the right dog but as I searched through the established rescue sites such as the RSPCA, SPCA, DAWGS on the internet it was becoming apparent that it's always the same type of dogs that turn up at these places. Dogs such as Pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, cross breeds / mongrels & the odd Jack Russell terrier, but very seldom a Westie.
Some of sites were up front & honest about what you are likely to get, e.g. a dog that wouldn't suit a family with children or other animals, a dog that won't travel well & disturbingly a dog that doesn't like men as its probably been badly treated by a male owner. During this credit crunch more dogs are being left at rehoming centres then ever before, one was even returned because it no longer suited the colour scheme of the owner's house!!!
When I did eventually stumble upon a Westie they fell into the category of being badly treated by a male owner & had become very aggressive. I was prepared to take on a problem dog with possible health problems but I lack the experience with behaviour problems.
I did find a rehoming centre dedicated to West Highland Terriers in the south of England of all places, in Swindon. I made contact & they sent me a four page adoption form. It may sound over the top but the young couple who run this place on a voluntary basis want their dogs to go to a good home.
The form asked questions such as the ages of the family members, the height of my garden fence, how far away I was from a park & how long the would the dog be left on its own.
I spoke to the owner of the site who agreed I would be suitable for adoption but because we lived 500 miles apart a home visit would be out of the question. I agreed to take a dog with reasonable health problems such as the common eczema in Westies as our old dog had it & we know how to handle it. I even agreed to take two dogs if they couldn't be separated but stated that I would prefer a younger dog with five years as the maximum age group.
I also stated that I was prepared to travel anywhere in the UK for the right dog & left my details with them.
MEANWHILE ON THE INTERNET
I then come across a website called pets4homes who specialise in finding owners for dogs. I don't how well these types of sites are regulated but I did find over 65 entries under West Highland Terrier. Most were puppies for sale with some dubious owners with probably dubious practices but the odd older dog was listed.
I was particularly interested in a 4 year old Westie that the elderly owner could no longer look after; her son advertised it on the site but left no photo.
I was a little concerned about this type of arrangement as elderly people sometimes don't give the dog the exercise they need & often spoil them with 'tit bits' which ruin the dogs health. For three days I tried to contact the owner's son & when I eventually managed to get him to respond to my messages he had by then decided to keep the dog for himself.
Next up was another Westie closer to home, the photo placed on the website was of a rather handsome dog but he looked a little tired. When I spoke to the owner he had changed his mind about selling him & decided to rent him out for stud, no wonder he looked so tired!
We planned to travel to Cambridgeshire over the New Year period & just before we left I found another dog on the same website. A rather good looking 18 month old male Westie who is KC registered & apparently is very good with children & other animals. The excuse for getting rid of him was they were moving to another property & wouldn't be able to take him.
Unfortunately they didn't leave any contact details but they lived in South Yorkshire which is where I would be passing on my way to Cambridgeshire. I tried in vain to get a message to them sending emails to the web provider & eventually after a few days they responded.
Over the phone they informed me he was well behaved, with no skin problems but needed his annual booster. They agreed to hold on to him until I was passing South Yorkshire on my way back to Scotland later in the week.
So with a nine hour car journey back to Scotland ahead we decided to stop off & see the dog & if he was want we wanted we would complete the remainder of the seven hour journey with him.
It was a gamble, there is no comeback if you take the dog & find out later on he has some incurable disease that would cost a fortune to maintain, but it was gamble we prepared to take. The last thing you want for the sake of the dog is taking him & finding you can't cope & having to pass him on to a rehoming centre............perish the thought.
MEETING THE DOG FOR THE FIRST TIME
We arrived at the owner's home & met Murphy the Westie for the first time & what a greeting we got. Considering my wife & I were both strangers to him (and they don't come much stranger looking than me!!) he took to us both right away.
My wife quickly noticed he had eczema & pointed this out to the owner who had told me over the phone that he had no skin problems. That annoyed me as he told me a blatant lie; however it wasn't as bad as our last dog's skin & we weren't going to be put off by it. The owner did say he had been feeding the dog everything & anything & as beef & poultry are the biggest contributors to eczema I reckoned this was the possibly part of the problem.
Everything else appeared to be okay & the dog was certainly very friendly so we decided we would take him & we paid the owner & collected his belongings. We were offered his bed (that is the dogs bed not the owners!) but we turned it down as we already have a dogs bed, but I was a little concerned that the dog only had a small lead, brush & a half bag of kibble to his name. I asked the owner for his toys but was told he didn't have any! 'What, no bone or ball?' Apparently not!!
I really suspect that they got rid of him because they couldn't afford to keep him which is nothing to be ashamed of but I would prefer if they had been more honest with me. They certainly weren't sad to see him go which is a little strange for such an adorable little dog.
We put him & his belongings in the car & headed straight for a park to allow him to carry out his toilet duties before the long journey home. My wife remarked about his coat shedding his fur & that her black trousers were covered in white fur. That is unusual for a Westie as they hardly shed their fur at all. We also noticed when we took him for his first walk that he had diarrhoea; it wasn't until later in the week when we took him to the vet that those concerns were linked to stress. The vet reckoned the dog had been suffering stress prior to us picking him up; the diarrhoea stopped the following day & his fur stop shedding after a week. He also had a bald patch on top of his nose & within weeks that started to grow fur, could this have been caused by stress too?
On the way home we noticed a funny smell coming from him & closer examination revealed his ears were 'bunged up'. Westie's ears need to be cleaned out on a regular basis as it can lead to deafness later in life. Maybe the owners were unaware of this but after a couple of days of putting ear cleaner through his ears that situation soon improved.
THE NEW DOG AT HOME
It very quickly became apparent that this dog was very friendly & adorable for a terrier. Once home we did expect problems, he took to our old dog's toys very quickly & went daft playing with a simple tennis ball. Had anyone ever taken the time to play with this dog I thought?
He didn't know what to do with rubber bone I placed in his mouth & it took another few days for him to enjoy playing with it. Now he's like any other terrier that won't let go of his prized rubber bone & just loves playing & running around the house & garden.
He was reluctant to walk very far which gives me the impression he was never walked that often, with a little coaxing he now walks for miles & judging by his reaction to be told he going out for a walk, he enjoys it.
His first night in our home as you would expect he was very restless but at least he settled down to give us a good night's sleep. By the second night he was sleeping well & has done since. Because I am up first in the mornings & it's me who walks him & feeds him he became very 'clingy' to me for days after. I even had to lock the bathroom door to stop him entering & keeping me company during my ablutions & toilet duties!
I told my wife that she needed to be associated with the 'good things' so that the dog doesn't just focus on me. So she started to feed him, walk him & bath him & over time he now splits his time between us both.
He was a bit nervous at first but after a couple of weeks he formed the typical feisty Westie character & staring to chase cats & wild rabbits. He did suffer separation anxiety with me at first but we think we are on top of that.
Being left on his own has proved more of a challenge. Our old dog could be left on his own without touching anything in the house; he even spent a couple of hours one day within two feet of an open packet of biscuits & never touched them; however things are different for Murphy.
Some days you can leave him without problems, the next he chews various things like show laces, slippers, tissue boxes & cushions. We bought a spray that dogs find offensive & it stops him chewing the items that we spray but after a couple of months he is no problem when left alone.
Two other problems have now come to light; one is that he snores like a human!! I often get a kicking during the night from my wife accusing me for snoring, after I rub my bruises I explain to her it's not me but the dog!
Apparently we just have to live with it as there is no cure. Its worse when he lies on his back with all four legs in the air so to get some peace during the night I have to roll him on his side to stop the snoring!!
His other problem is he steals the bird's seed from the bird table, the seeds go through his system like a Ferrari but I guess it must be upsetting the local bird community as I have noticed an increase in bird droppings on my car in recent weeks as a bit of revenge!!
FIRST VISIT TO THE VET
The vet confirmed he had eczema & suggested putting him on lamb & rice diet along with baths every two days using special shampoo, within two weeks there has been a significant improvement & she expected he would be in great condition within three months & he was.
His previous owners must have fed him sugary human foods as his teeth for an 18 month old dog were very brown; our last dog had better teeth after 13 years.
As we were going to get him neutered she suggested that when he is under anaesthetic that they will chip off the brown film on his teeth & return them to their original condition. We had him neutered for the sake of his health & to prevent him gyrating on strangers legs in the street.
He got his annual booster, got him chipped, gave him his flea treatment & had him wormed. After his first month we have seen a significant improvement in the dog & we genuinely think he his enjoying life.
As for my bank balance.....................
I feel if no one had taken this dog he would have ended up in a rehoming centre. All in all we have spent a lot of time, effort & money on Murphy since we got him but he is settling in rather well. We feel blessed that we have another Westie who has put his trust in us & in return we have given a good loving home.
However, would I recommend rehoming a dog? It's still a gamble which appears for us to have paid off but I would seek advice on a particular breed before you take the plunge.
As for Murphy..................well if only I could do something for the snoring!
The westie - cute, lovable and totally adorable!
I have been petrified of dogs ever since I was attacked by an alsation when I was a toddler but now I'm grown up I decided it was time to face my fears. I thought what better way than to get a puppy and live with it while growing up, at first I was scared but when I look into my westies eyes I just melt and laugh and wonder what I was ever frightened of.
Westies are very lively dogs, mine is hyperactive like he's on speed which can be rather amusing as he uses my living room like a race track, although I have to say this does have me in fits of giggles. One thing I will say is dont treat them with cheese - they go mad!
I've found that westies can be somewhat reliant on you and dont like too much of their own company so I wouldn't suggest leaving them on their own too long otherwise they get up to mischieve and cause havock, my little one sometimes cries or scraps at the door to try and get to me which is heart-breaking even if you are only leaving them a few minutes.
They love exercise but they can live on very little if this doesn't fit in with your lifestyle. They love food especially the meaty things like ceasars rather than kibble or biscuits however this isn't good for their teeth so try to limit this if possible unless you know of a good dog dentist?!
Westies have an adorable character and all have their own little personality however they can bark alot, mine is quite sensitive to noise so anything he hears that he is not used to he will bark at until he knows its safe, makes him a very good guard dog but can be annoying for you and the neighbours.
All in all I find that my westie a huge asset to my family and I now couldn't be without him or his cuddles!
Before even thinking about getting one of these gorgeous little dogs, you need to bear in mind like every dog that they are very demanding and take up so much of your time, with the walking, attention and making sure they're well kept they are also pretty expensive and I don't just mean the initial price tag of the dog, there's the feeding the vet bills the general care etc, there's a lot of hidden things people don't think about, when being dazzled by the excitement of getting a dog.
However when all said and done Westie's are the most beautiful little dogs they have such character, I got my Westie, Archie about four years ago and he's such a little character, its almost like having a child he knows his routine and if you take him out of it he's all mixed up. He listens when you talk to him, and knows what he wants and will let you know. Lucky for Archie we go camping so he can come with us and avoid being put in a kennel for 2 or so weeks which is another thing (your holidays) that need to be considered before getting any dog. Archie has brought such amusement and happiness to our family he has his own personality and is spoilt absolutely rotten. Westie's are very loveable friendly dogs if like any dog you bring them up in the right way, they can be loveable dogs, for an active family like us a Westie is perfect, he does basically everything with us and is fine alone in the house for a few hours if we need to pop out anywhere without him. (However, we don't like to leave him too long.)
Getting Archie was a great decision, but I would recommend that before getting a dog people really seriously consider all the pro's and con's, also its worth considering getting a rescue dog (with the hundreds that need home) they can offer such love and are very grateful and loveable pets.
We got our Westie Millie just over two months ago, the runt of the litter we were concerned she was so small but after an hour at home in our place, we should never have worried!
Westies are great and LOVE attention. Millie loves walks and we tend to do long walks every other day and shorter walks in between - she doesn't care, just so as she is out! She has an amazing amount of energy and constantly needs to be doing something.
We have been to puppy classes and she behaves perfectly well as long as she is doing something. However as soon as we stop and have to wait for the other dogs then she is a yapping nightmare and desperate to get in and play with the others.
They are very intelligent and probably train YOU instead of you training them. As people know, you don't train a dog, you train the owner and that is certainly the case with Westies. They have a very over-excitable personality and a tendency to get into the zone when they see or hear something and we have to take back that attention. But with a lot of work and consistent effort, like all dogs, they will soon understand they get treats for good and nothing for bad.
Overall, they are fairly easy to look after and provide them with the basics and they are more than happy. Their fur however does need care through regular grooming or using wet wipes around the bottom area when they have a little accident - just say things sometimes stick! Millie is too small and young to get clipped and her fur has been a bit patchy due to her being the runt. Although you can do this yourself, my recommendation would be to either get a professional to conduct the first clipping and learn from them or not do it all. Their skin is very sensitive and pink and especially around the back area, I would dread accidentally nicking her. They don't shed their hair hence the need to brush them regularly as the long top fur coat will matt. However a brush everyday seems to keep on top of this and prevent the matting.
Millie has been a quick learner and loves my mum's Cavalier. Overall she is fine and loves to play with all of the dogs she sees however she barks at them - which we trying to train out - and sometimes by the time they get to her and she has been so "barked up" they panic and don't want to play with her. However as we work through this - she is only just over 4 months old - and she does retreat she is a very efficient player and interacts well with other dogs.
Millie has a big heart, no concept of how small she is compared to other dogs and just generally loves life. She is not fussy about their food - she is with treats though therefore training has been an interesting . You need to watch their skin as they get eczema quite easily however a good diet and brushing rather than washing can prevent this. Overall, a superb pet HOWEVER they can be boisterous and as a terrier are keen diggers! Millie's instinct has shown her the need to dig and bury things so we are often wondering around looking for a chewy stick, squeaky toy and such only to see them appear later very grubby and Millie's beard suitably blackened.
Despite the difficulties of managing a terrier, the Westie is a fabulous breed and fantastic with children and other dogs. Yes they do require a lot of exercise however the fabulously vibrant personality and her appreciation at being taken out more than makes up for their tenaciousness. They are incredibly affectionate animals and really do take some beating as a family pet that can cope with the rough and tumbles of children and other pets. The care of them is fairly simple and just means little and often especially regards their fur and skin. Food wise they are fairly amenable to anything and do especially love a bit of cheese! If in any doubt about getting one of these, please don't be put off by anything - they are simply an amazingly fabulous little animal and will be a fabulous addition to any family.
Ahh Westie's we have had one since puppy now for about 7 months. When you first bring her/him home you look at the little bundle of fluff and wonder how they will ever look like a Westy with it's fluffed up head. This was our first dog and house training went quite well however we did have laminate flooring so that was a bonus, we used paper near the back door and she picked it up after about 2 months and was able to hold it in during the night after 6months.
Our westy is great with people she gets excited when ever she sees someone jumping up and down, wagging her tail, to get this suggest she sees lots of people when a puppy in order to get the attention.
We were worried our Westy would bark but she never barks when she starts growling a simple correction and she stops, we were able to get this without any puppy training. With other dogs she loves to play with them even if they are like a horse compared to her. She loves walks and seems content at a minimum of one walk a day at 20minutes so great for busy people.
She did however get a skin disorder which Westies are prone to but moving her on to James Wellbeloved puppy now junior food has worked a treat and washing her once a week with dog shampoo keeps it away. Grooming is easy as well maybe comb once or twice a week to keep her coat looking clean. If you are getting a Westy I suggest you get her this hypo-allergenic food straight away to stop her getting a stomach upset or skin disorder
Westies are also good at entertaining themselves as long as there is toys for them to play with, only downside is she thinks every plant in the garden is hers to dig up and play with. The cost of a Westie is quite cheap if you look around, we have pet insurance for £10 a month, the food is £40 which lasts us 2-3months and worming is a couple of quid every couple of months.
OUr dog eats very little maybe 100g a dya and half a wet pouch so food costs are kept to a minimum
I would defiantly recommend a Westy to any new dog owner as easy to look after and well behaved if you keep on top of it from a pup.
I have a West Highland Terrier 'Westie' called Jack. He is currently 4 years old and we have had him since he was a puppy.
= As A Puppy =
We brought Jack home at around 12-13 weeks old. He was really small and we nick named him 'Little Bear' because he looked like a baby polar bear!
He was a very cheeky but a good puppy. He didn't eat any of the furniture and didn't destroy anything! The only thing he would try to do is steal the slippers and shoes, which didn't work out for him as he was just too small.
But now when he gets excited he will go and get any type of shoe and run around the house with it in his mouth, he doesn't chew on them he just likes to run with them. Bit of a shoe fetish going on there I think.
At night he slept in his basket which is downstairs and we put newspaper down so if he needed a wee or poo he could go there. After about 1 week he got the idea of going to the toilet on the newspaper at night, but in the day he would go anywhere! Luckily he trained really well, I can't remember how long it took but I know it was fairly quick.
He was very playful and he had quite a few toys, especially hard ones so he could nibble on them. Although out of the toys he had, he would much rather have a shoe to play with! So in the end thats what he got and he loved it. Being a small puppy he got tired quickly and fell asleep anywhere, his favourite place would be in the sitting room bin. He'd tip it over and curl up in there!
After he got the jabs he needed we took him out for walks which he loved!
= After The Puppy Stage & Other Info =
Jack hasn't changed much, mainly just growth and he has calmed down alot, he isn't so hyper-active. He is happy enough to stay home on his own for a few hours and he just sleeps, otherwise he loves being out in the garden and going on walks. Although he tends to think he is bigger than what he actually is, he is more than happy to play with dogs three times his size and he rolls around with them.
= Grooming =
Westies are prone to dry skin and other skin issues/ allergies, thankfully Jack doesn't seem to suffer from anything. We bath him probably every 2 months or when he has rolled in something yucky as lots of bathing can bring the skin problems out. We use baby shampoo to clean him as it helps to keep his skin hydrated and it's gentle on him, it also cleans him and makes his coat soft.
His coat tends to get very scruffy looking so we brush him often, this helps to clean him a bit and also distribute oils throughout his coat. Jack goes to a 'beauty parlor' to get his coat cut, they are really good and it costs £22. Apparently Westies need to be groomed every 2 months then bathed and brushed in between, but at £22 a time this soon adds up! We take good care of his coat which helps to reduce the visits to the beauty parlor and he only goes about 2 times a year.
Another thing you need to do with Westies is to take good care of their ears inside. They get a bit waxy and you just have to clean them with cotton wall balls every week. Our vet told us to pull some of the hairs out of Jacks' ears too, not sure why but he doesn't like it very much, don't blame him though.
With children Jack is great, he will let them stroke him then after a while will go and sleep. Although we would never leave Jack on his own with a child just because you never know what could happen, even though he is a very kind dog.
Westies are good around children and a good family dog.
Westies are known to be a bit stubborn, Jack is! I took him on a walk one day and we were coming home, as we got to the road he refused to cross. He sat down and would not move, in the end I had to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way home as he wouldn't walk! He has done this more than once too.
= Height & Weight =
Height: Both Genders 25-28cms (9-11 Inches)
Weight: 15-20lbs Male & 13-16lbs for female.
They live to approx 9-13 years.
= Cost Of Owning A Westie =
Buying A Westie- This will cost you from around £400 upwards, we paid £450 for Jack and I have seen them advertised at £550.
Grooming- At about £22 a time this will cost around £44 + a year.
Food- Jack only needs a small portion and a 6KG bag of Tesco's own dog food lasts a good 3 months, priced at £5.03.
Then you have all the vets bills and general dog stuff like shampoo, toys, treats, grooming equipment etc..
They are expensive and remember a dog is for life!!!
= Small Bit Of History =
West Highland Terriers originate from Scotland and are well known for their white coat, being on the packaging of Cesar dog food and being a mascot for Black & White a Scotch whisky.
Westies used to seek out foxes and badgers. They share ancestry with the Scottie and some other dogs.
West Highland Terriers, or Westies as they are also known, are dogs with loads of personality. Although they were originally bred for hunting rodents, they make the perfect family pet.
Westies are often known as the dog with "Napoleon Syndrome," they forget that they are small and quite often think they are 10 feet tall and can take on the world. They are very curious and courageous dogs. They will be the first one to examine and sniff out something new. I can't say enough about the loving temperament and disposition of these dogs. They are friendly to everyone, and enjoy the company of both adults and children.
I have had Westies all my life. My dad suffers from asthma and allergies to fur and pet dander, therefore for a long time I thought it was impossible for me to get a dog. However, after speaking to some friends who also suffered with allergies, they told us that a Westie's topcoat contains thick hair rather than fur, which does not affect allergies and reduces shedding.
The last Westie I had had was when I was 11 years old and his name was Tucker. I came up with the name because when he was puppy he used to tuck into a little ball to fall asleep. From the moment we brought him home, my parents and I could tell that he was a little spitfire. He was smart as a whip as well. These dogs are very easy to train, and within no time he was trained to walk on a leash, go to the bathroom outside, and perform basic commands. The most interesting thing with Tucker was the fact that I believe he thought he was human rather than an animal.
A couple of months after we got Tucker he seemed to develop his own style of "talking." It was by no means a bark, that he would do at cats and such, but it was a series of as we a called it in my family "woo-woos." For example, Tucker would come into the kitchen if it was time for his dinner, walk right up to my mom, put his cold nose on her leg to get her attention and as she would turn and look down at him he would say "Woo-woo-woo," as if to say "Where's my dinner?" Being an only child it was almost like having a little brother rather than a dog. If Tucker and I were playing and I would tease him with one of his toys, do you think he would try in vain to get it back? No! I'm telling you this dog was smarter than most humans, he would run into the kitchen and tell my mom on me! Two seconds later after he went into the kitchen I would hear my mom saying, "You stop teasing that dog!" Can you believe a little Westie had tattled on me? After he heard that, he would strut out of the kitchen triumphantly and wait for me to say, "Cheeky dog!" and we would start playing all over again. Tucker even slept as though he was human. When he slept at the foot of my bed he would always sleep upside down with his paws high in the air.
These dogs love going on walks and require regular exercise. Once they have a routine in place as far as walks, eating, and so on their internal clocks set and they will always know what time of day each activity should take place and will not think twice about reminding you.
Westies are generally low maintenance and are not susceptible to many health conditions. Most commonly West Highland Terriers need special attention when it comes to bathing and grooming. These dogs are prone to skin allergies, so it is vital that they are bathed once a month with a gentle shampoo. Whenever I washed Tucker I made sure to use shampoo such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo because it contains no harsh cleansers. Regular brushing of the dog's coat will keep it clean in between bathing. Grooming at least once a month is also essential. I tended to keep Tucker's hair very short because I was living at Florida at the time, and it's not best idea to have long hair in 90-degree heat. With short hair Tucker kept cleaner for a lot longer. Westie's ears also need special attention, use a cotton ball to clean them out to prevent ear infections and waxy build-ups.
Although sadly in 2006 when Tucker was 14 he developed cancer and unfortunately the cancer had spread so rapidly he had to be put to sleep. He was a dog that had been with me until I was 25 and brought many happy memories to all members of my family. After moving away to Scotland I no longer had the restriction of my dad's allergies and could consider purchasing any breed I desired, but at the end of the day in my opinion West Highland Terriers are the best dogs around and are my one and only choice of dog.
Westies were originally used as rat catchers but have since come a long way and are now a very popular choice for potential dog owners. They are both intelligent and athletic, always eager to get out and have a run, and can actually pick up some good speed considering their size.
I recently lost my Westie to old age, her name was Kimble. I still remember the first day we got her, I was 7 years old and had recently lost our cairn terrier Duffy. We went to a breeder who had 2 cute 10 week old Westie's to purchase. One was hopping around like mad whilst the other sat quietly in the corner.
My mum decided to go with the quiet one which at the time cost £400. She was slightly more expensive because her Grandad was a crufts winner and so she was a pedigree... For the first few weeks she was very timid, didn't dare go near anyone or anything and was still finding her way around the house. Within a few weeks however she was following my mum around everywhere, even into the bathroom while she had a bath and wouldn't leave until my mum had got out!
She loved the beach and although she pretended she was brave, she wouldn't dare go into the water without someone else. She also loved to bark at the cats in our garden, but as soon as you opened the door so she could go and get them she would turn around as if to say 'Aren't you coming?'
At around 9 Years old she was diagnosed with Diabetes which meant she had to receive 2 injections a day and regular blood samples every month (£90), which cost quite a lot (£0.50 each). However she had become part of the family, probably above me and my brother in the hierarchy, at the end of the day what is a little bit of money for 15 years of enjoyment and companionship.
She was a very intelligent dog, barking at the cupboard her lead was in if she wanted a walk or scratching the TV to pieces if a dog dared appear on it, very amusing. She was very well behaved and if you said bed time she went into her bed, waited for a little bit of ham and then would sit quietly until you shook her bed in the morning to wake her up, or occasionally you would be awoken by a little yap.
They are very easy to look after, as long as they are fed two times a day, washed once every two weeks to keep their soft white coats in good condition, and occasionally trim their little skirts they are quite happy, o and the odd walk every day...
She later turned blind which she lived with for around 2 years, but soon the diabetes became too much and stopped eating. I still remember the day me and my dad took her to be put down. Although he claimed he didn't care for her much he had to leave the room when the injection went in...I took one last picture of her and then her head lulled onto my arm. I don't mind admitting I had a cry.
If you get one you wont regret it, they are always happy and will cheer you up when you are sad. We loved Kimble and you will love yours.
the west highland white terrier is a very popular small dog which is in the top 10 of most popular dog in britian.
Originally it is said that the west highland terrier commonly known as the westie was a throw back from the cairn terrier which originally came from the highlands of scotland.
even though this is a little dog do not think that they are easy to keep.
They are a highly energetic and allways on the go in their younger years. they also tend to be very vocal ( barking ) in showing their moods excitment, aggression etc.
The westie life expectancy is an average of 12 years, the main health problems with the breed... are hip displacia, knee joint problems and the most comman one of all is skin problems, which can vary in serverity from being alergic to flea bits which causes a rash and irritation to a very severe skin complaint which they call elephant skin. the dog loses their hair the skin is very swalllen, and the skin is black with a flaking of the black skin. there is no known cure, and is eased with steroids and various shampoos which is obtained from the vet.
temprement.. they are very energetic and can be snappy.
but on the whole do make good family pets.