West Highland White Terriers, or "Westies" are, essentially white Cairn Terriers. They were bred from taking the white Cairn Terriers out of litters and breeding them together.
They are a small, sturdy dog with a shaggy face and erect ears. Their coat, which is always white, is thick and double with a soft inner layer and harder outer.
They originate from Scotland and, like the Cairn Terrier, were originally bred for controlling the population of rats, fox, badger, otter and other vermin.
They are a hardy little dog that is confident, friendly, intelligent, easily trainable and game for anything. Westies love human company and the sound of their own bark. They also like to dig. They are child-friendly and usually fine towards strangers. They are ok with other dogs but won't be bossed by them and they may be inclined to chase other animals. They are an active little dog indoors but enjoy the opportunity for a daily walk outside too.
They shed little but need to be brushed and combed regularly, trimmed on occasion and have their coat stripped about twice a year. They are prone to chronic hernias, liver disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, jawbone calcification, cherry eye and skin problems.