West Highland White Terriers aka “Westies” were developed in the highlands of Scotland beginning in the early 1900’s. They were developed as a “working terrier” and were bred to hunt and kill vermin. They are small and sturdy with large, strong teeth and a double weather-proof coat designed to keep them warm and protect them from the elements. They have a very strong prey drive, are active, bold, and courageous. They will chase anything they perceive as prey which includes cats, squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, etc. and therefore must always be kept on a leash or exercised in a safe, enclosed yard or area.
They are playful, curious and intelligent but can also be stubborn and self-determined. Westies are not lap dogs but rather hardy, devoted, happy-go-lucky dogs. They are a confident little dog who isn’t, as a rule, looking for a fight but who will surely stand their ground, when pushed. They can be fearless and not seem to know they are small. They are busy little dogs, on their toes, and ready for action. Westies have a very steady disposition and fit in well with a family who has the time and energy for them.
They are also independent little dogs and believe they rule everything and everyone in their environment so they need owners who will let them know the boundaries and that they are not the leader of the pack. They need daily exercise and stimulating activity to keep them in top form mentally and physically. They are generally very good with people but are especially faithful and loving with their own family members.