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With a height of 11 inches (28 cm) and a weight of about 17 to 22 pounds (8-10 kg), the West Highland Terrier should be classed as a small dog. Yet he doesnít exhibit the character traits so common to other small dogs. Westies are not delicate or prone to disease; on the contrary they are robust little creatures that like stimulation and exercise. Friendly, even-tempered without being boring, self-confident, courageous, plucky and quick to learn. They greet people with serene geniality, do not bark without cause but report unusual noises, and are always ready to protect their people.
Despite their size Westies donít like to be carried or lugged about. They want to keep all four feet on the ground- and in motion. The Westie is not a lap dog.
Westies are easy to train, they catch on quickly. Like all terriers, they are stubborn. They quickly find out who is boss and if you donít start as you intend to continue, your Westie will do whatever he likes. They have a passionate love of hunting. Caution is necessary or the hunting instinct can be triggered and your Westie will go dashing off.
Westies are not aggressive . They are not inclined to let themselves be intimidated, but react fearlessly and boldly, even where large dogs are concerned.
The Westiesís coat needs little grooming. The Westie has a double coat, consisting of a soft undercoat and a more wiry top coat that is extremely resistant to dirt. Westies donít shed hair.
Obviously Westies found their start in Scotland. It was their job to hunt the smaller predators such as foxes, otters and badgers.
English sources tell us that the men who used the dark-coated ancestors of the present-day Westie, the cairn terrier, for hunting in the nineteenth century had an aversion to white dogs and killed the light-coloured newborns in each letter. Allegedly they were not equal to the hunt. Then one day, legend says that a hunter killed one of his dark-coated dogs by mistake. Deeply grieved he vowed to raise only light coloured dogs.
General Appearance : The Westie is a small, robust terrier. It is strongly built, deep in chest and back ribs, with straight back, powerful hindquarters and muscular legs.
Temperament : Happy, alert, courageous , self-reliant, friendly .
Movement : Free, straight with strong drive from the powerful muscles of the hindquarters.
Skull : The skull should be slightly domed, the head densely covered with fur. The length of the head from the occipital bone to the eyes should only slightly exceed the distance from the eyes to the nose.
Nose : Black and fairly large. It must not protrude and give the face a pointed look.
Eyes : Medium in size, widely set apart, and as dark in colour as possible. They look out sharply and intelligently from under heavy eyebrows.
Ears : Small, erect, terminating in a sharp point, and carried self-confidently. They are set neither too far apart nor too closely together.
Front Legs : Short, straight, muscular, thickly covered with short hard hair.
Body : Compact , level back, loins broad and strong.
Hindquarters : Powerful, muscular, and broad in the upper part. The legs are short, muscular and sinewy. The thighs should be very muscular and not set wide apart. The hocks are well bent and drawn close under the body .
Feet : The forefeet are larger than the hind ones, they are covered with short bristly hair, and they are round, strong and thickly padded. The bottom of the pads and all the nails should be black.
Tail : Never docked. 5 to 6 inches (13-15 cm) long, covered with wiry hair, and as straight as possible. It should not be curled over at the back.
Coat : The outer coat consists of straight firm hair about 2 inches in length. The undercoat is furlike, short, soft and thick.
Colour : Pure white.
Height at withers : about 11 inches (28 cm)
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Last Update: 13 September, 1998
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