Friday, February 24, 2017

All About the Breed: West Highland White Terrier

Also known as the Roseneath Terrier, and simply as the Westie, the West Highland White Terrier is an intelligent and happy breed. But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you? This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.

History


The origin of the West Highland White Terrier can be traced back to 17th century Scotland. Enthusiasts believe the West Highland White Terrier to have contributed in creating such breeds as the Skye Terrier, Silky Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.


Throughout its history, the West Highland White Terrier has been most commonly used for hunting small game, killing vermin such as rats, as a show dog, and companion, proving its superior abilities to work while providing friendship.


The West Highland White Terrier was introduced to the United States in the late 1800’s, and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908.


Today, while the West Highland White Terrier has attained an underground popularity as a show and companion dog, the breed remains somewhat rare world wide.


Personality Traits


Best known for its happy and outgoing nature, the West Highland White Terrier thrives on strong and dependable relationships with humans. This breed is very intelligent and generally responds well to training. As a pet, the West Highland White Terrier is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate. These dogs can be somewhat stubborn and independent at times, usually when their curious and adventurous nature gets the best of them. This breed is very active and enjoys spending time outdoors, digging, and playing games such as fetch.


Train-ability


Due to its need for human attention and eagerness to please and impress its owner, the West Highland White Terrier generally responds well to basic training and commands. These dogs are highly intelligent and have the ability to learn to perform most any task their trainer is willing to take the time to teach.


Establishing immediate dominance, trust, and respect is key to successfully training the West Highland White Terrier. This breed responds best to a stern yet gentle approach and positive reinforcement.


Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed


There are many benefits to owning a West Highland White Terrier. This active breed is often quite amusing and entertaining to watch while at play. These dogs are very bright and capable of learning to perform many impressive tricks and tasks. When properly socialized from a young age, the West Highland White Terrier gets along well with small children and other pets. The West Highland White Terrier is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate, making an excellent family pet and companion alike.


Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a West Highland White Terrier. These energetic and athletic dogs require large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A West Highland White Terrier not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out destroying property, digging, chewing, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.


The West Highland White Terrier has a strong instinct to hunt and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these tiny dogs are rather quick, and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. The West Highland White Terrier must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.


For reasons unknown, the West Highland White Terrier is known for loving to dig and being very vocal. It is not unusual for this breed to dig a hole under a fence within the matter of only a few minutes. The West Highland White Terrier must be supervised or properly secured at all times when outdoors.


This breed’s full and gorgeous coat requires almost constant attention, brushing, and grooming to prevent matting and maintain its attractive appearance.


As previously mentioned, the West Highland White Terrier remains somewhat rare world wide and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.


Common Health Concerns


While the West Highland White Terrier is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: patellar luxation – dislocation of the knee, hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes Disease – degeneration of the hip joint, Globoid Cell Leukodystophy – a disease causing the destruction of myelin, and bloat.


Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a West Highland White Terrier? Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.


Sources:


http://www.akc.org/breeds/west_high_white_terrier


http://www.terrificpets.com/dog_breeds/west_highland_white_terrier


Labels: All About the Breed: West Highland White Terrier

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