West Highland White Terrier — The Westie

Trademark: Westies are said to be the clowns of the dog world because they love to put on a show and are very playful. You may recognize this breed from popular logos, including that of Cesar’s Dog Food.

Personality:  The Westie is spirited, determined and loyal. They are happy little dogs, who make great traveling companions. 

Preferences:  Westies love companionship but are not always snugglers. They like to dig and tend to be barkers. They’re also hunters, with a strong drive to chase squirrels and other small animals, and therefore should be kept leashed or fenced when outdoors. Most of all, a Westie will prefer to spend time with you and will enjoy active things you can do together, like agility.

Size:  13-20 lbs.        Life expectancy:  12-16 years

Common Health Problems:  Skin problems are the leading reason Westies are abandoned to rescues and shelters. They are usually hereditary, often require long-term attention, and are often caused by food allergies or yeast infections.

Best Match:  The Westie is fairly high energy and will do well in a home or an apartment, so long as there are daily walks. A really nice feature of this breed is that they have hair, so they shed less than dogs with fur, which is great for allergy sufferers. But their coats do need to be maintained with regular brushing and a clip or stripping about every six weeks. Westies are great family dogs, but some challenge their owner’s authority and often do not get along with other pets. If raised with other pets such as cats, though, they will likely do very well.  Match

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Featured Rescue:Indigo Dog Rescue has an adoptable two-year-old Westie mix named Benny ready to find his family! Bennie was hit by a car and suffered abrasions on his head and legs, but luckily avoided any fractures. (This is why his hair was clipped so short; it’s growing out now.)  Benny has a typical Terrier personality: sweet and energetic. He needs a family that is experienced with the energy and temperament of Terrier breeds and no young kids. Benny will benefit from continued training and will make a great new addition to the right family.  Visit www.petfinder.com/petdetail/15580968 to learn more, see additional photos, and arrange to meet him.

Westie Tip:  Make sure you can be a strong leader who can provide consistent, positive training and tons of attention and exercise for this exuberant little dog.


Megan Mahan lives with visiting foster animals, quite a few fish, and her boyfriend in Eugene, Oregon.  She has a 'day job' in an office, but devotes much of her free time to fostering pets and creative writing.  From her high school gig as Dog Bather to her more recent years working at the Santa Cruz SPCA, where she was contributing editor of the newsletter, Megan has always lived, loved and worked with animals.