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West Highland White Terrier - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
West Highland White Terrier


The West Highland White Terrier is a compact dog with an all-white coat and a button black nose. The skull is wide and round, the muzzle blunt and a slightly shorter than the skull. There is a defined stop. The eyes are dark with a keen, intelligent expression. The teeth should ideally meet in a scissors or level bite. The ears are wide-set and sit erect on the side of the skull. The topline is level and the Westie is slightly longer than he is tall. The tail is 5 to 6 inches in length and carried gaily over the back. The white coat is two inches long and should never be soft or silky to the touch.

Size and Weight

The ideal size for mature male West Highland White Terriers is 11 inches at the shoulder and for females, 10 inches. Males average 18 pound and females average 15 pounds.

Coat and Color

The weatherproof double coat of the West Highland White Terrier is made up of a dense, short undercoat and a two-inch long topcoat. Westies should, as their name suggests, only be white, especially if the dog is to be shown.

Grooming Needs

Westies require regular brushing and trimming to keep the coat healthy and neat. Show dogs should be stripped twice per year, but non-show dogs don't need to undergo this time-consuming ritual. Trimming should be done to the feet, around the ears and eyes. The round shape of the hair on the head that is typical of show dogs is achieved through plucking.

The low shedding coat only requires bathing when needed. Regular wipe-downs with a damp cloth or bathing wipe can help keep the coat looking white between baths.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.

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