Finding a Westie can take some time, depending on where you live and how long you are willing to be on a waiting list. Reputable breeders and rescue organisations want to be sure that people who adopt Westies will be able to provide appropriate and loving homes for each individual dog. Expect breeders to ask lots of personal questions about your lifestyle! One of the first concerns that comes up is whether a Westie is really the right breed to fit into the lifestyle of potential adoptive family or individual. If you will be a first time Westie owner, spend as much time learning about Westies as you do looking for one.
For someone who wants to add a Westie to their family, one of the important things to be sure of is that they are getting a healthy and affectionate puppy or adult dog. There are puppy mills that breed dogs without worrying about socializing puppies, or whether the parents are genetically healthy. And it is too late to change your mind after the family falls in love with the dog, just to find that she or he has a debilitating health problems or significant behavior issues.
Finding a Reputable Breeder
The CWHWTC provides a listing of member breeders here. All are members of the Club and are bound by our Code Of Ethics. The Code of Ethics sets the expectation that all breedings are planned to improve the breed. This is not restricted to the dogs appearance. Good health and tempermant are significant factors.
Reputable breeders will also encourage you to keep in touch. They will be interested in how the dog is doing and want you to contact them if you have any questions or concerns. They will likely want you to return the dog to them if you find you are no longer able to keep it. You will not get this level of support from a pet store, puppy mill, online broker, or backyard breeder.
What about Rescue?
Rescue is another option for families that want to help a dog that is in need. You can expect a reputable rescue to have a vigorous application process that will include a written application form, home visit, and detailed questions about you and your family. Some have policies regarding placing dogs in families with young children.
If you are interested in adding a Westie to your family and the idea of getting a dog from Rescue appeals to you, look for Rescue organizations in your area. There are Westie specific rescues in Canada. Other options include small breed rescues and your local SPCA or humane society. Keep in mind, dogs do not need to have significant health or behavior issues to end up in Rescue. Many are wonderful dogs who have simply lost their families due to a change in circumstance and need a new home.
Puppy or Adult?
Do you want a puppy or adult? Many people start thinking about a puppy, but an adult dog is also a choice. Both make wonderful companions, and a puppy will eventually grow up. Think about your lifestyle and your expectations. Puppies are basically young children, and will generally need more training and attention when you bring them home.
Keep in mind, puppy does not necessarily mean 8 weeks old and adult does not mean a senior dog. You may find a puppy that is 9 months. Or you may find a dog that is 2 years old. Discuss this with the breeder or Rescue group. They can provide some insight about what option will work for you.
Both puppies and adults will become close members of the family. An adult dog will not love you less because you were not there when they were a puppy.
Learn all you can
If you are thinking about adding a Westie to your family, do your research. Learn as much as you can about the breed. Westies generally live between 12 and 16 years so it is long term commitment. Think about the costs of food and veterinary care. Talk to other Westie owners. Ask lots of questions when you talk to a breeder. If you have not owned a dog before, expect to learn a lot. Having a Westie in your family can bring a great deal of joy. Our club members are members because they love the breed. But Westies are not a good fit for everyone, so be sure you make an informed decision.