The story goes that the West Highland White Terrier, or "Westie" as they are commonly known, came about from breeding the white puppies thrown from Scottish and Cairn Terriers. A sprinkle of other terriers added to the mix gave us the breed we have today.
The Westie has a BIG personality and character. This little dog seems to have no idea of its true size and in their minds they are equal to the Great Dane and twice as handsome! This attitude means that their temperament can vary greatly. These dogs need a loving but firm hand, but can be known to bite if they are roughly handled or bullied. For this reason they are not always the best choice if there are young children in the house.
Their independence and self-confidence can mean they are somewhat stubborn. This can obviously lead to problems with training as they may not always agree with how their owner sees things. Training needs to be started when they are very young and kept fun and positive or they can quickly become bored and unresponsive. They have a typical terrier prey-drive which means they love chasing balls - this can be a great source of exercise, however they also like to bark and dig holes. Digging under a fence to go on a great adventure is not unheard of.
Westies have a double-coat, of hard hair on top and soft thick fur underneath. Although they shed they tend to loose less around the house.
Health-wise they are prone to several problems, the most common being skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis is a very common heritable, chronic, allergic skin condition that tends to affect a higher proportion of males to females. This unfortunately is a problem that can only be managed and not cured. Affected dogs are often on special diets and medications throughout their lives. This issue on its own should be considered seriously before deciding to own this breed of dog.
This is not the dog for an inexperienced or sedentary owner. This is a buddle of energy with big ideas so you are going to need to be on the ball to keep up with them.