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When looking for a puppy to purchase it is highly recommended to contact the Breed Clubs' Puppy Co-ordinators,
where they have contact details of reputable breeders with good quality puppies.

West Highland White Terrier Breed Standard

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.


General Appearance: Strongly built; deep in chest and back ribs; level back and powerful quarters on muscular legs and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination of strength and activity.

Characteristics: Small, active, game, hardy, possessed of no small amount of self-esteem with a varminty appearance.

Temperament: Alert, gay, courageous, self-reliant but friendly.

Head and Skull: Skull slightly domed; when handled across forehead presents a smooth contour. Tapering very slightly from skull at level of ears to eyes. Distance from occiput to eyes slightly greater than length of foreface. Head thickly coated with hair, and carried at right angle or less, to axis of neck. Head not to be carried in extended position. Foreface gradually tapering from eye to muzzle. Distinct stop formed by heavy, bony ridges immediately above and slightly overhanging eye, and slight indentation between eyes. Foreface not dished nor falling away quickly below eyes, where it is well made up. Jaws strong and level. Nose black and fairly large, forming smooth contour with rest of muzzle. Nose not projecting forward.

Eyes: Set wide apart, medium in size, not full, as dark as possible and set well under heavy eyebrows which gives the dog a sharp and intelligent piercing expression. Light coloured eyes highly undesirable.

Ears: Small, erect and carried firmly, terminating in sharp point, set neither too wide nor too close. Hair short and smooth (velvety), should not be cut. Free from any fringe at top. Round-pointed, broad, large or thick ears or too heavily coated with hair most undesirable.

Mouth: As broad between canine teeth as is consistent with varminty expression required. Teeth large for size of dog, with regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Neck: Sufficiently long to allow proper set on of head required, muscular and gradually thickening towards base allowing neck to merge into nicely sloping shoulders.

Forequarters: Shoulders sloping backwards. Shoulder blades broad and lying close to chest wall. Shoulder joint placed forward, elbows well in, allowing foreleg to move freely, parallel to axis of body. Forelegs short and muscular, straight and thickly covered with short, hard hair.

Body: Compact. Back level, loins broad and strong. Chest deep and ribs well arched in upper half presenting a flattish side appearance. Back ribs of considerable depth and distance from last rib of quarters as short as compatible with free movement of body.

Hindquarters: Strong, muscular and wide across top. Legs short, muscular and sinewy. Thighs very muscular and not too wide apart. Hocks bent and well set in under body so as to be fairly close to each other when standing or moving. Straight or weak hocks most undesirable.

Feet: Forefeet larger than hind, round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded and covered with short harsh hair. Hindfeet are smaller and thickly padded. Under surface of pads and all nails preferably black.

Tail: 13-15 cms (5-6 ins) long, covered with harsh hair, no feathering, as straight as possible, carried jauntily, not gay or carried over back. A long tail undesirable, and on no account should tails be docked.

Gait/Movement: Free, straight and easy all round. In front, legs freely extended forward from shoulder. Hind movement free, strong and close. Stifle and hocks well flexed and hocks drawn under body giving drive. Stiff, stilted movement behind and cowhocks highly undesirable.

Coat: Double coated. Outer coat consists of harsh hair, about 5 cms (2 ins) long, free from any curl. Undercoat, which resembles fur, short, soft and close. Open coats most undesirable. Free from obvious skin problems.

Colour: White.

Size: Height at withers approximately 28 cms (11 ins).

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Extracts from Miss S.Cleland's popular book

Pet Owners Guide to the West Highland White Terrier
ISBN 1-86054-015-5 Ringpress Books

When you consider buying a dog , your first decision must be what size and temperament you want. There are many pictures of pretty, white, small dogs looking like Westies which are depicted in advertisements, in books and on television, but these do not convey the character of the breed.

The Westie is foremost a terrier, bred to chase and hunt, to work underground out of sight and hearing of its owner, and therefore, dependent on its own brain and ingenuity . This produces a dog with an independent spirit, and inquisitive nature and an active body .
Some people think that terriers are yappy and snappy. This is not true of a well-brought up Westie. Although they can be very determined, they do like to please their owners, and so much depends on early training forming a good relationship with your dog.

The owner must be prepared to take on the role of ?boss? and as soon as a Westie realises who is ?top of the pack? , he will happily do as told-though not the speed and docility of a gundog !

Westie do get on well with children, but I would always be wary of selling a puppy to a family with very small children- unless the parents are experienced dog owners. Puppies and small children are both very demanding and it is difficult to give both the attention they require. A Westie puppy, aged 8 to 10 weeks , ready to go to his new home, is very small and vulnerable and could easily be hurt if mishandled- or worse still- dropped. So think carefully before choosing a Westie Puppy if you have small children to care for.

Physically , Westies are active and need plenty of exercise. As small dogs, with comparatively short legs,they need the opportunity to run and play. Their intelligent minds mean that they cannot be left alone for long periods of time.
Indeed no dog should be left on its own for hours.