The westie is a small “package” of a dog with a giant's personality, with an equally big global following worldwide. People want the dog as a pet, a show dog, an obedient competitor, or sometimes all of the above! Are you a westie owner with the aim of helping your westie achieve his very best? Well, prepare to be barraged with a wall of “mommy/daddy” concerns up to your neck!
All west highland terriers greet each day knowing that somewhere out there is a target for their carefree energy. Otherwise, they can always just accompany any family member and be part of something that looks exciting. The dog's ram-rod straight ears are the perfect aid to the dog's perpetual urge to check on things. His handy, compact tail is the result of years and years of planning the best solution to a dog that is stuck in some critter hole (the answer: grab the tail and haul him out!).
The dog's double coat also deserves mention. It is actually a good defense against the elements, and even from the claws and teeth of some retaliating furry he is after. Proper hand stripping can uncover the hard coat, and give the dog a neater appearance without having to pay to some expensive groomer. The adult's coat still sheds somewhat. One positive note to the adult coat is that it does not have the usual oils, which means it is free from the usual “doggy” odor, and can be more easily cleaned of dirt.
The west highland white terrier can actually afford to postpone a bath for a few months, The reason behind this is that he will only need frequent brushing and the odd dry cleaning in order to be completely clean. This last procedure involves applying some corn starch into the coat. When the powder is brushed out, the soil is discarded too. The minimum grooming needed for a non-show westie is once every eight to twelve weeks. Otherwise, once a week or twice is needed for a show ring dog.
With all this adorable characteristics, the westie is, alas, far from being a cuddly lap dog! The breed is simply too independent minded to allow himself to stay long on an owner's lap. He does like to keep a tab on all the family members, but he prefers to do so lying down on some corner of the room, or on top of some furniture, his head resting whimsically on the arm rest.
Is there a serious gardener at home? Keep in mind that for many westies or most of the other terrier breeds, the best “recreation” is to go digging and getting lost in the burrows and holes of some “quarry”.
In closing, westies may not make good pets for you if you are out of the home most of the time, or if you prefer a dog indifferent to your coming and going. Westies are not actually in need of a great deal of exercise, but they easily get restless without west highland white terrier training, and without attention and the companionship of their humans.