West Highland White Terrier

Terrier Group

West Highland White Terrier sitting against white background

Height at Shoulders

Females ~10 in, Males ~11 in

Weight

15-20 lbs

Life Expectancy

13-15 yrs

History

The West Highland White Terrier originated in Scotland during the 1700's. The Malcolm Clan bred small white terriers on their estate to exterminate rats. It is believed that the West Highland White Terrier's ancestors were non-white terriers from Argyll, bought by King James VI sometime in the late 1500's or early 1600's. It was Edward Malcolm,16th Laird of Poltalloch, who bred the dogs to be white because of a story he heard about a red-colored terrier being mistaken for a fox and shot while on a hunt.

Breed Characteristics

While not all West Highland White Terriers will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★☆

★★★★★

★★★☆☆

★★★★★

★★★☆☆

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆

★☆

★☆

★☆

★☆☆

Intelligence

★★★★


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★★


Exercise Needs

★★★


Energy Level

★☆


Sensitivity

★★★★☆


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive

★☆


Shedding

☆☆

Common Traits

Lively, fun, and happy

Typical terriers that are a bit stubborn and love to dig, chase animals, and bark

Social and love spending time with people

Adaptable and don't mind being home all day as long as they're exercised and have a way to entertain themselves

Very intelligent and respond best to fun (non-repetitive), firm, and consistent training