Italian Version

We do not breed very often, and puppies, home-reared, are placed only to suitably approved loving homes.

Is The Westie The Right Dog For You?

So, you are interested in a West Highland White Terrier... just as a companion or a show dog, or maybe for a combination of these things. Whatever your objective you, the dog's owner, will be responsible for the care and training that will enable your Westie to fulfill its potential.
A Westie is an all white, compact, sturdy package of frolicsome energy, looking for some fun. As adults, males measure about 29 cm in height with bitches being about 1 cm less. The breed was developed for the hard and dangerous work of destroying vermin. The physical characteristics of the Westie are well describe in the breed standard. The westie's coat is double to protect him from the elements and from the teeth and claws of his quarry in the hunt. The outer coat is hard with softer undercoat for insulation. Puppies may have more of the softer undercoat, but with proper hand stripping, the hard coat will come out. The adult coat sheds lightly, so he must be brushed weekly to remove the dead hair.
A Westie needs very few baths. The hard outer coat is easily kept clean with a brush and occasional dry cleaning. This is done by brushing white powdered chalk or corn starch into the coat. When the powder is brushed out, the soil comes with it. A Westie kept as a pet requires grooming every eight to twelve weeks for a tidy appearance. A weekly or bi-weekly schedule is necessary for a show dog.
If you want a cuddly lapdog, a Westie may not be the right breed for you. Many are too independent to be held for long periods. While they like to be in close proximity, most find a corner of the room or near a heater vent to be ideal. However, there are some exceptions and it is independent of the sex of the dog.
If someone in your household is an avid gardener, you may want to avoid a Westie or any one of the other terrier breeds. They are "earth dogs" and do like to dig. If your heart is otherwise set on the Westie, there are ways to accommodate the family gardener and his enthusiastic Westie "helper." A designated restricted area should be designed into your garden plans.
If you want a one-man dog, prefer cats to dogs, or aren't home much, you shouldn't get a Westie. Westies are very people-oriented and like being with you whenever possible. While they do not require a huge amount of exercise, they can get bored and look for trouble when they do not get enough attention and human companionship.
Westies also work as hearing dogs, as therapy dogs, as tracking dogs, appear in commercials and advertisements, and are preferred by people who want a large dog in a small package. Westies are fun loving and spirited, and have a sense of humor. They have "no small amount of self esteem," which is 90% endearing and 10% maddening. His hard, "dry" coat sheds only a little, is easy to clean, and has no "doggy" odor. There is no question that the West Highland White Terrier is a versatile and remarkable breed.
Before you even start looking at litters of puppies, take time to learn about the breed. Attend dog shows, meet serious westie breeders, and talk with and question westie owners. Look around. It is much easier to find a "puppy mill" or "backyard breeder" that knows and cares little about the welfare of the breed than it is to find a reputable breeder. Have patience and never buy impulsively ... all puppies are cute. The worst choice is a pet-shop dog.
The Italian Terrier Club (www.societaitalianaterriers.it) can supply you with a list of conscientious breeders who will help you in your search even though they might not have anything for sale themselves.
You want a sound, healthy puppy who will grow up to be a sound, healthy representative of the breed. Careful selection now will save heartache and money later. Poor quality puppies are produced by people who breed their pets just to have a litter, or by profit seekers who give little thought to quality, looks or temperament in the puppies they produce. Many of these indiscriminately-bred puppies have health problems, poor temperaments, and/or breed disqualifications. Remember, you are choosing a companion for the next ten to fifteen years..