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What is a Westie?

West Highland White Terriers called, more familiarly, Westies are adorable, white, little balls of fluff, however this cute little dog can be misleading. These dogs were bred for hunting and protection. They show no lack of courage. Nothing stops a Westie in pursuit of prey (that means fence, owner, car, or leash). A Westie hunting prey can dig you a hole big enough for that backyard pool that your family has been wanting and can dig out from under a fence in a matter of minutes. They are known as great “escape artists” and “great white hunters”. For these reasons, Oklahoma Westie Rescue will NOT adopt to homes with invisible or electronic fencing. Preference is always given to homes with traditional fences versus homes without.

Westies have long been promoted as wonderful lap dogs and great with children. That is not always the case, usually a Westie has no desire to be a lap dog until they are at least 2 to 3 years old. They are high-energy and don’'t always want to be held or “sit still”. Being hunters Westies also have a tendency to stalk the family cat, small children, or other pets.  Many Westies have been released to rescue organizations due to them “nipping”, “growling” or acting aggressive toward small children. Due to these traits, Oklahoma Westie Rescue does not recommend adoption to a home with children under 10 years of age, but each situation will be considered individually. 

Westies have few health problems if they receive proper nutrition and care from the family vet. They can be prone to skin problems, which is usually an allergic reaction to certain food, pollens, or fleabites. A balanced diet,  flea prevention, and simple antihistamines can usually relieve most skin problems that affect WestiesA Westie, whose owner has taken care of them and provided them with adequate medical attention and proper diet, can live up to 15 years or longer.

At the 2004 Westminster Dog Show, the West Highland White Terrier was announced as a small dog that says “I will not be ignored!”  This short statement provides a brief but totally correct description of the Westie’s personality. They are intelligent, good natured and eager to please, they are very people oriented however and can get into trouble if left alone too long. Barking and chewing are a result of a bored dog that has not received adequate attention. They are high energy and demand the attention of their owners when they feel the need to play or run. They will also let you know if you are not providing enough love and affection. Click for  more about Westies!