West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier picture


The West Highland White Terrier, is said to be from the estate of Colonel E.D. Malcolm, of Poltallock, Argyllshire, Scotland. It is believed that he used Cairns to hunt Fox, Badger & rabbits but unfortunately because of their colour they were sometimes mistaken for a fox & shot. He then decided to breed white terriers that could easily be identified when out hunting. It is believed that until this time white terriers were destroyed at birth as undesirable. The Colonel changed this outlook and developed the West Highland White Terrier to become a distinct breed.

In 1905 the West Highland White Terrier was registered with the Kennel club & was first seen in competition at Crufts in 1907.


The West Highland White Terrier is described as Small, active, game, hardy, possessed of no small amount of self-esteem with a varminty appearance. This breed is by no way a lap dog & loves nothing more than to be outside exploring. They should be confident but not aggressive. This breed makes a great family pet and is very popular in the UK, and because of this has unfortunately inviting the interest of puppy farmers.


Below are the 3 most common health issues seen in the West Highland White Terrier. No testing is available for breeders for any of these conditions. Through careful selection and knowledge on breeding stock most good breeders do breed quality healthy puppies. The key is to always buy from a reputable breeder with good knowledge of the breed.

CMO (Craniomandibular Osteopathy) or sometimes called Lion Jaw. This condition is diagnosed in puppies normally between 12 weeks 6 months and causes severe pain. In most cases it is treated with Pain relief and once the dog is fully grown no further treatment is no longer needed and most dogs will live a normal life.

Leg Perth Although this is commonly found in the West highland White Terrier the heredity mode is unknown. It is normally seen in puppies around 9 months old. Leg Perth is caused when the femur or thighbone weakens in the hip joint. Most cases need surgery but the dog does recover well.

Skin Conditions - The West Highland like a lot of dogs these days can suffer with skin conditions. Dogs that show signs of skin problems should never be bred from, even when the condition has cleared. Housing & diet can play a big part in the health of the dogs skin.