West Highland White Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

West Highland White Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a West Highland White Terrier?

Quick West Highland White Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Terrier (4/8)
Yes (1/2)

West Highland White Terrier Puppies and Buying Advice

Most dog owners are able to enjoy the benefits of a lasting companionship with their four-legged friends, but few breeds make as loving and loyal companions as the cute little West Highland White Terrier. This extroverted Terrier breed has a bright and lighthearted disposition that more than makes up for its small and diminutive stature. For those looking for a great puppy to have and to raise in their home, the West Highland White Terrier is amongst the best. Not only do they get along well with owners and families, but they also especially enjoy plenty of playtime with children as well. There are many great reasons to purchase a puppy West Highland White Terrier, but proper planning and research are necessary before making the decision to purchase one for your home.  

Why West Highland White Terriers are Great

Some highlights of West Highland White Terriers:

  1. Family-friendly: this breed is amongst the best-behaved with owners and their families.

  2. Companionship: West Highland White Terriers form a long-lasting bond of companionship with their owners and can put a smile on just about any face.

  3. Apartment living: this breed is quite small and doesn’t require large gardens or yards, making it ideal for apartments and urban environments.

  4. Cost: all things considered, this breed tends to cost less than most other breeds, making it a great choice for puppy owners of all budgets.

  5. Training: this breed can be trained fairly easily and is able to learn commands and tricks without much repetition.


Things to Consider when Looking at West Highland White Terriers for Sale

Some downsides to the West Highland White Terrier:

  1. Grooming: This breed requires more regular grooming than average, so a little effort will be required to maintain their beautiful coats.

  2. Health problems: unfortunately, this breed is prone to many health issues.

  3. Attention: West Highland White Terriers don’t like being left alone and should never be neglected for long periods of time.

  4. Weight gain: this breed can easily put on weight if diet and exercise aren’t taken seriously.


History of the West Highland White Terrier

As the name implies, the West Highland White Terrier traces its ancestry back to the Scottish Highlands and the Cairn Terriers that were widely used by the Malcolms of Poltalloch in Argyllshire to hunt for rodents. During the reign of James VI of Scotland, a dozen West Highland White Terriers were procured from Argyll in order to be gifted to the King of France. Therefore, this breed dates back to at least as early as the 16th century. Owing to their wonderfully keen senses for hunting rodents as well as their ability to double as a reliable, loving companion, this breed soared in popularity in Scotland and later Britain in the succeeding centuries. In recent decades, the West Highland White Terrier dropped off significantly in numbers in the UK from an all-time high in 2001. They still remain one of the most popular breeds of Terrier, however.  


West Highland White Terriers are small and compact dogs with an alert and energetic stance. Despite their size, they’re muscular and robustly built with an excellent physique. As puppies, they frequently have pink markings on their nose and footpads which eventually turn black as they age. Their fur consists of a double coat, one short and harsh, the other soft and closer to the body. Colour is not an option since they are all white.  

How big is the West Highland White Terrier?

West Highland White Terriers are small-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 25-30 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 23-28 cm high.  

How heavy is a West Highland White Terrier?

Fully-grown adult male West Highland White Terriers weigh between 7-10 kg on average, whilst females weigh between 6-7 kg.  

What colour is the West Highland White Terrier?

The Kennel Club of Great Britain recognises the following colours for West Highland White Terriers:

  • White

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, since the name indicates that this breed is white.  


This breed has a well-rounded temperament to match its cute and cuddly appearance. They’re more of an extroverted breed and are thus highly social dogs. This can be seen in puppies as well, with most West Highland White Terriers being playful, active, and excitable. Unfortunately, they can also exhibit some naughtiness and should be given proper attention as puppies until they’ve socialised and learned their boundaries. One of the greatest characteristics of this breed’s temperament is its ability to form a long-lasting companionship with owners and family alike. It doesn’t take much to make them happy, and they’ll reciprocate their happiness by providing owners with loyalty and obedience.  

Do West Highland White Terriers make good guard dogs?

This breed is not well-suited to being a guard dog, but it will make an excellent watchdog because it’s a Terrier and will, therefore, bark to alert owners of any suspicious activity.  

Do West Highland White Terriers bark a lot?

Do not purchase a West Highland White Terrier if you are looking for a quiet pet that doesn’t bark. They bark more than most other breeds and can bark compulsively when overly excited, afraid, or are feeling lonely.  

Are West Highland White Terriers easy to train?

This breed can be trained easily and will associate actions with commands without much need for repetition.  

Are West Highland White Terriers playful?

Playfulness is one of the defining characteristics of a West Highland White Terrier’s temperament. They love to play, especially as puppies, and will greatly benefit from the physical and mental stimulation that comes with a good bout of play.  

Are West Highland White Terriers good with children?

This breed is a great choice for families with children. Young children should be supervised whilst playing with puppies, however, as they may nip and chew.  

Are West Highland White Terriers good with other pets?

Other dogs won’t normally bother a West Highland White Terrier much, but cats may cause them to chase and perhaps play a little more aggressively than the cat may like. Smaller pets such as rodents likely won’t get along well with this breed since it was originally bred to catch vermin.  

Can I leave a West Highland White Terrier alone?

As a social breed, West Highland White Terriers shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods of time. They may tolerate some time alone, but frequent neglect from owners and family will likely lead to destructive behaviour.  

Do West Highland White Terriers like water?

West Highland White Terriers may or may not enjoy swimming. The choice should be left to them to decide, and owners should allow them to acclimate to water before deciding to swim. They don’t like being on boats.  


How long do West Highland White Terriers live? 

Generally, West Highland White Terriers are expected to live anywhere from 12-16 years.  

How much exercise does a West Highland White Terrier need?

At least an hour a day should be devoted to taking your West Highland White Terrier for a walk. Balance this with supervised playing in parks or the garden to keep them fit and healthy, but most importantly, stimulated.  

What are West Highland White Terriers’ common health issues?

Unfortunately, the West Highland White Terrier is prone to several common health issues such as:

  • Abdominal hernias

  • ‘Lion jaw’ (craniomandibular osteopathy)

  • Allergies

  • Atopic dermatitis

  • Globoid cell leukodystrophy

They are also able to gain weight with ease, so keep them fit and active and avoid overfeeding.


How much space do I need for a West Highland White Terrier? 

Little space is required to keep a West Highland White Terrier happy. They can adapt quite well to urban apartments just as easily as they can to larger rural houses.  

What should I feed my West Highland White Terrier?

West Highland White Terriers should eat ½ to 1.5 cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. Choose high-quality dog food to promote healthy development and adjust as necessary depending on his metabolism and activity levels.  

How much grooming do West Highland White Terriers need?

As with many breeds with double coats of fur, West Highland White Terriers are a grooming-intensive breed. They require significantly more grooming on a regular basis than most other breeds, although hand stripping isn’t necessarily required for this specific breed.  

Do West Highland White Terriers shed?

This breed sheds a moderate amount of fur. Dead hair should be removed with daily brushing and regular grooming.  

Average Costs

How much does it cost to keep a West Highland White Terrier?

As a rough guide in pricing:  Cost to buy: roughly £300-900 for a well-bred West Highland White Terrier puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50-80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your West Highland White Terrier puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.  More specifically, here is some West Highland White Terrier puppy buying advice:

  1. Request to see the lineage of any prospective West Highland White Terrier puppy. Poor quality breeding that doesn’t conform to Kennel Club standards has resulted in many puppies being bred with faults in their coats, which may be a signal to look elsewhere.

  2. Due to their popularity as well as their declining numbers in the UK, many ‘puppy mills’ engage in shady business by breeding puppies and selling them for what appears to be a discount. Often, they aren’t bred in accordance with any standards at all and this could cause many headaches in the future.


Other Reading, Adopting West Highland White Terrier Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=3082  https://westierescuescheme.org.uk/ Dogell: https://dogell.com/en/dog-breed/west-highland-white-terrier  https://www.westierescueuk.org.uk/

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