(West Highland White Terriers)
With their snowy coats and perky faces, Westies are favored by many. The breed originates from Scotland and is cousin to the Cairn terrier.
The Westie is a good all-around pet for most people. It can adapt to apartment living if given enough exercise through plenty of play and walks.
Although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, Westies are considered low-shed, low-dander and are generally better tolerated by people with allergies.
Natural hunters, Westies
have a strong prey-drive
(sometimes even with the
These dogs are not great with children under 7, as they will try to "boss" anyone not in control. We do not recommend adoption into a home with children under seven years old.
We always suggest an obedience course as not only as a way of training the Westie, but also to build a bond between you and your new dog.
Few Westies have needs besides love and attention. Thank you for caring about homeless animals!
8 years old and in good health is considered a Westie's prime
Westies are only considered seniors at age 13
They have been known to
live up to 20 years
Be watchful of your Westie's health. If you have any doubts, call a vet immediately.
It costs nothing to speak with them on the phone, and very little for a check-up.
Be safe, not sorry!
beats per minute
breaths per minute
• Until your pup is 4-5 months old, try to prevent
contact with stray or sick dogs.
• Avoid boarding your pup or taking her to places like
highway rest stops where lots of other dogs go to the
• At about 7 weeks, your puppy will get his first puppy shot.
We give Intervet PROGARD PUPPY-DPv (Distemper and
Parvovirus). Discuss with your vet the type of vaccines your
• At about 12 weeks your pup will need a rabies shot,
a booster a year later and then again 1-3 years after
based on your state of residence.
Be sure to discuss Westie health with your vet because over-vaccination is a real issue!
Between 6 and 16 weeks of age, puppies lose the disease protection they received
from their mothers and become able to form their own immunity to disease.
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to parasites.
Roundworms & Hookworms
Vet recommended treatment is best. Our Westies typically receive NeMex-2 at 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks.
Adult Westies should be wormed every 4-5 months.
Prescription treatments work better than non-prescription medications.
At three months, heartworm treatment should begin and continue monthly without fail.
Trim the hair between your Westie’s pads to keep from getting too thick and from catching too much debris as they walk. Trim the hair away with blunt nose scissors to about 1/8 inch or so. Take extra care not to cut too close and nip the skin. Always finish off with a treat and a big fuss.
Examine your Westie’s feet regularly.*
Look at the pads to ensure there are no sores or lumps. If you spot a foreign object, take care in trying to remove. Grass seed poses a problem as they have sharp barbs that penetrate deeply into the hair and eventually into the skin. Don’t tug hard on trapped grass seed as it designed to go in, but not come out.
*To avoid initial resistance, use treats to train “give me your paw,” then gently hold the paw and praise (with a treat, of course).
Westies lick their paws quite a bit, even to the point of their feet turning brown from saliva. However, there is a noticeable difference between a Westie’s fastidiousness and irritation. If your Westie is bothered by something you can’t see anything, take her/him to your vet.
Taking your Westie out for daily walks will help keep her/his nails in shape. If you do not walk your dog often, you will have to pay closer attention to nail care.
A vet or groomer can do a nail trim for a nominal fee, but you can also do it yourself. Most dogs tolerate the Dremel Tool much better than typical nail clippers. Since their paws are full of hair, first wet the feet so you can pull the hair back. Then, hold each individual nail and gently touch with the 1/2 inch sanding drum. Follow with a “fine” sanding drum.
The following is an excerpt from an article from an article on westiemed.org
If your Westie has been having skin problems, please read this to determine if Malassezia Dermatitis may be responsible. Information regarding this disease can be found here.
Over the last several years, an alarming number of Westie owners have been seeking assistance for their Westies that are suffering from the troublesome condition of Malassezia dermatitis.
Despite countless visits to their veterinarian and an assortment of medications, their Westie's condition just gets worse and worse. As a result, the owner becomes more and more frustrated and, all too often, the Westie ends up being abandoned at the vet's office, relinquished to a shelter or rescue group, or euthanized.
Most often, the inquiry is a desperate plea similar to the following:
“I own a Westie with severe skin allergies. We have been to the vet on numerous occasions and tried all sorts of medications, but nothing is working. My Westie is constantly itching and losing its hair. I feel so bad for him/her. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do to help him/her?”
Does this sound familiar? Is your Westie suffering from itching, hair loss, black oily skin and/or crusty skin, a musty/yeasty odor, and usually accompanied by an ear infection?
If your response is “yes,” than it is quite possible that your Westie has Malassezia. Consult the entire article for more information.
If you are unsure of your Westie’s condition, consult a veterinarian.
Ear infections in dogs are an on-going problem and about 10% of Westies are susceptible to ear infections. Since a Westies’ ears are upright they don’t get infections as easily as dogs with hanging ears, but once they get infected, it is very hard to get rid of it permanently. A sign of an ear infection is your Westie digging at the ear and/or shaking its head. The ear canal will appear dirty with red or black ear wax. Normally there should be no ear wax in the dogs ear.
The trick to keeping your Westie's ear infection under control is to continue the medication for a week to 10 days after the ear appears to be clean. The bacteria may still be in the ear canal and the additional medicine provided by your is needed vet to kill the remaining germs.
Use an ear cleanser and apply it with a cotton swab. Clean out the ear as far down the ear canal as possible. Use several swabs until they come out clean. Once the ear is clean, wait
a couple hours for the ear to dry thoroughly before applying the antibacterial agent. Do this twice each day.
Once the infection is gone, if the ear is excessively moist, use a drying cream every few days to keep the infection from starting up again. The ear is now more susceptible to becoming infected, so frequently check the ears to see if they appear clean. If the problem continues, go back to the vet because you may need a different antibacterial agent.
It is imperative that you keep after ear infections. If it is chronic, the ear canal can swell shut, sealing in the bacteria and causing the dog to go deaf.
It is equally important that you keep their ears free from ear mites. It is hard to distinguish whether your Westie has ear mites or an ear infection. Consult your vet.
Helpful Links & Education
Dog Food Advisor provides information and reviews of dog food to help you determine which one is best for your dog.
The Westie Foundation is a non-profit organization providing help for medical research that benefits Westies.
Westie Med Inc. is an excellent resource for medical information for Westies. Westie Med also aims to provide financial assistance to help Westies who are injured or ill.
Borash Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to providing compassionate and professional health care for your pet.
Landau Veterinary Services, LLC The Pioneer Valley's Only All-Alternative Veterinary Practice Utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture.
Chase Farm Veterinary Hospital Providing high quality care for both our clients and patients in a friendly and informative atmosphere.
Acoaxet Veterinary Clinic Inc Quality pet care in a friendly caring atmosphere.
MSPCA The mission of the MSPCA-Angell is to protect animals, relieve their suffering, advance their health
and welfare, prevent cruelty, and work for a just and compassionate society.
The Humane Society of the United States among other causes, The Humane Society seeks to end "Puppy Mills," or inhumane treatment of breeding dogs.
The Animal Rescue Site sells merchandise of all kinds to help raise money to feed and care for animals in need.
Pet Finder provides resources to help you find and care for a new pet. Please adopt, don't shop!
The Grey Muzzle Organization provides resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other
non-profit groups nationwide, with the aim of improving the lives of elderly dogs who have been abandoned.
Caring Canines Visiting Therapy Dogs, Inc. is an all volunteer, non-profit canine pet therapy program serving the Greater Boston Area.
Good Dog Jack professional artwork depicting adorable Westies.
Sweaterpups is a collective of crafters dedicating their time, talent, fabric + yarn stash to Southern dogs being adopted in the Colder North.
Rescue. Adopt. Love
Westie Rescue of New England, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation formed to address the rescue needs of shelter, owner surrender and puppy mill dogs.
In 2010, Westie Rescue of New England received its 501(c)3 tax exempt status.
Westie in crisis? Call our emergency line 617.901.9905