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25 Things to Love About Westies

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 21, 2024

West Highland White Terriers, affectionately known as Westies, are a breed brimming with confidence, charm, and spirited personality. Originating from Scotland, these small but sturdy terriers were bred for hunting small rodents but have since become cherished companions in homes worldwide. Renowned for their distinctive white coats and bright, intelligent eyes, Westies are not only adorable but also incredibly versatile and resilient. Their compact size makes them ideal for both apartment living and homes with yards, while their robust nature suits active lifestyles. Despite their small stature, they are known for their courage and boldness, often exhibiting the heart of a much larger dog. Westies thrive on human interaction, and their lively demeanor and infectious playfulness make them excellent family pets. Here are 25 reasons why Westies continue to be one of the most popular and beloved dog breeds.

1. Compact and Manageable Size

Westies are small and compact, typically weighing between 15-20 pounds, making them easy to handle and ideal for various living situations. Their size is perfect for city dwellers with limited space but also suitable for those with larger homes. Despite their small frame, they carry a robust and sturdy build, which reflects their terrier heritage and working background.

2. Distinctive Appearance

With their bright white coats and piercing dark eyes, Westies are instantly recognizable and strikingly attractive. Their fur, which is a double coat with a soft undercoat and a rough outer coat, not only serves the practical purpose of weather resistance but also gives them a unique “cuddly” appearance that is highly photogenic and endearing.

3. Friendly and Sociable

Westies are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They generally get along well with people and other dogs, especially when socialized from a young age. Their cheerful demeanor makes them excellent companions at social gatherings and family events, often becoming the center of attention and affection.

4. Loyal Companions

Loyalty is a standout trait in Westies. They form strong bonds with their families and are known to be particularly attached to their primary caregivers. This loyalty makes them not only devoted pets but also protective of their home and family, always alert and ready to sound the alarm if strangers approach.

5. High Energy and Playfulness

Westies possess a high energy level and love to play. Whether it’s chasing a ball, exploring new environments, or engaging in interactive games with their owners, they display an enthusiastic zest for life. This playfulness endears them to everyone, especially children, making them excellent family pets.

6. Strong Prey Drive

Bred originally for hunting small rodents, Westies still retain a strong prey drive. This instinct makes them excellent at games that involve chasing or searching, such as fetch or hide-and-seek with toys. Their natural curiosity and eagerness to hunt can provide endless entertainment and also stimulate their mental and physical abilities.

7. Easy to Train

Despite their sometimes stubborn streak, Westies are intelligent and generally responsive to training. They excel in obedience when consistent methods are used, and their eagerness to please makes them capable of learning a wide range of commands and tricks. This trainability, combined with their alert nature, also makes them good candidates for agility and other dog sports.

8. Adaptable to Various Climates

Westies are adaptable to various climates, thanks to their double coat which provides insulation against both cold and moderate heat. However, they should always be monitored in extreme conditions to ensure their comfort and health. Their adaptability makes them suitable companions for families in different geographical locations.

9. Minimal Shedding

Westies are considered one of the breeds that shed minimally. Their hard, wiry coat does not shed hair as freely as other breeds, which makes them a good option for people who prefer a relatively hair-free home. Regular grooming helps to keep their coat in good condition and minimizes shedding even further.

10. Excellent Watchdogs

Despite their small size, Westies make excellent watchdogs. They are naturally cautious and will bark to alert their owners about anything unusual. This vigilant nature can be comforting to families looking for a small dog that contributes to the household’s security.

11. Long Lifespan

Westies typically enjoy a long lifespan, often living up to 15 years or more with proper care. Their longevity allows families to enjoy many years of companionship, making the long-term commitment to a Westie both rewarding and fulfilling.

12. Good Health Overall

While they have a few breed-specific health issues, such as skin allergies and patellar luxation, Westies are generally healthy dogs. With regular veterinary care, a proper diet, and adequate exercise, they can lead a healthy, active life.

13. Independent Spirit

Westies are known for their independent spirit. This quality, while sometimes challenging during training, also means they can entertain themselves when needed. Their independence combined with loyalty strikes a good balance for owners who appreciate a dog with personality and self-sufficiency.

14. Effective Vermin Control

Their historical role as rodent hunters means Westies are still effective at controlling vermin. For those living in rural areas or places where small pests are common, a Westie can be a practical addition to the household, keeping the environment free from unwanted critters.

15. Travel-Friendly

Due to their small size and adaptable nature, Westies are travel-friendly dogs. They are easy to transport and generally adjust well to new settings, making them great companions for families that enjoy traveling or often need to take their pet on trips.

16. Charming Personality

Westies have a charming personality that wins hearts. Their bold and confident nature, combined with a touch of terrier mischief, makes them delightful companions. They are known to have a sense of humor, often displaying behaviors that can lighten up any atmosphere.

17. Courageous and Brave

Despite their diminutive size, Westies are surprisingly courageous and brave. They do not shy away from a challenge and will stand their ground if necessary. This courage makes them seem larger than life, often described as “big dogs in small bodies.”

18. Non-aggressive

While they are brave and can be protective, Westies are not inherently aggressive. They tend to have a balanced temperament which, when combined with proper training and socialization, makes them well-behaved pets suitable for a variety of social situations.

19. Thrives on Human Interaction

Westies thrive on human interaction and are happiest when part of family activities. They are affectionate without being overly clingy, making them ideal pets for families who want a dog that is involved but not demanding.

20. Suitable for Novice Owners

Thanks to their adaptable nature and manageable size, Westies are suitable for novice dog owners. They provide a good balance between independence and trainability, which can be encouraging for first-time owners.

21. Popular in Media

Westies have a distinctive look that has made them popular in media and advertising. Their attractive appearance and charismatic personality have made them the face of various marketing campaigns, increasing their popularity and endearment to the public.

22. Good Companions for the Elderly

Their moderate energy level and affectionate nature make Westies good companions for the elderly. They provide loving companionship and are capable of adapting to a more sedentary lifestyle, while still being alert and engaging.

23. Does Well in Multi-Pet Households

When properly introduced and socialized, Westies can do well in multi-pet households. They generally get along with other dogs and can learn to coexist peacefully with cats, especially if raised with them from puppyhood.

24. Engaging and Entertaining

Westies are engaging and entertaining pets. They love to be at the center of attention and are always ready to engage in play or activities that involve their human family. Their antics and lively personality can keep everyone entertained and engaged.

25. Unwavering Devotion

Above all, Westies offer unwavering devotion to their families. Their loyalty and affectionate nature make them more than just pets; they become integral members of the family, offering emotional support and companionship through all of life’s ups and downs.

West Highland White Terriers, with their blend of bravery, charm, and loyalty, are more than just a pretty face. Their adaptability and friendly nature make them suitable for a variety of owners, from singles and families to the elderly. Whether you’re looking for a lively companion, a family pet, or a spirited adventurer, Westies offer all these qualities and more, making them a perennial favorite among dog lovers around the world.

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