Thank you for visiting our Web site dedicated to our love for West Highland White Terriers (Westies).
History of the Westie
Westies are descended from Cairn Terriers, who occasionally whelped white puppies naturally, and Scottish Terriers; who also occasionally produced white offspring. White offspring from other terriers such as the Bedlington Terrier and Dandie Dinmont Terrier were occasionally introduced to the bloodline for desired characteristics, but this practice generally stopped in the 1850s.
Some sources credit Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm and his kin of Poltalloch, in the Argyll region of western Scotland as an originator of this breed in the 1800s. Other sources credit the 8th Duke of Argyll (Chieftain of Clan Campbell) as an originator of the breed. However, there may have been some cooperation between the two gentlemen. It may have taken as long as a hundred years of selective breeding to produce all the desired qualities. Their white coat made them highly visible when hunting on the Scottish moors and easily distinguished them from their game (this was an extremely important factor because hunters sometimes mistook brown dogs for foxes, and shot them). They also possess a sturdy frame.
Originally the breed was known as the Poltalloch Terrier (after the name of Malcolm's home); they were also known as the Roseneath Terrier (after the name of Argyll's home), White Roseneath Terrier, and at the end of the 19th century, briefly as a white variety of the Scottish Terrier.
Westies are bred for hunting. Their prey is usually small animals such as rabbits, squirrels and mice, but they were also used to hunt foxes and badgers.
Most Westie Rescues will tell you that one of the most common reasons for Westies coming into Rescue is children. Either they are not doing well with existing children or a new baby has come into the home and the humans no longer have the time or patience to deal with the new doggie issues that came along with baby. Westies are not recommended for families with kids under the age of ten, people who contemplate having children during the lifespan of their Westie or Grandparents who anticipate frequently visiting grandchildren.
Westies were bred to hunt and kill small critters that screech, squeal, scurry and run. Many times, the normal activities of children can bring out these instincts. Sometimes families find ways to deal with them; often times, they do not.