West highland white terrier kennel


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About Breed
West Highland White Terrier PDF Print E-mail


The West Highland White Terrier is most commonly referred to as the "Westie". This member of the Terrier Group has its origins in the highlands of Scotland. It also shares its genetic pool with some other classic Scottish breeds, for example, the Cairn, the Scottish, Skye, the Sealyham and the Dandy Dinmont Terriers. It should be noted that these breeds were developed by people who had special ideas about what they expected from their dogs. The dogs were never kept as pets alone. They were working dogs, in the case of the terriers, their job was to keep vermin under control in the villages, mills, coal mines, farms and homes of their owners. Another job they had was to be hunters of fox, rabbit, otters and badgers, as well as other ground dwelling animals. Hunting was a sport for the wealthy, and a necessity for the less well off. The terriers of Scotland derived their names from the areas, or the estates, where they had their origin. To test a terrier's "gameness", a young terrier would be dropped into a barrel with a badger, and if it killed the badger, the terrier would be bred. If it did not kill, but was killed by the badger instead, it didn't matter. This was probably one of the first examples of man's experimenting with selective breeding.

The terrier is a dog that loves to dig, that's how he gets the animal that is being hunted to come out of his hole. Sometimes the terrier would go right down the hole after the animal, barking loudly and persistently, to tell the hunter where he was. A Westie is a zestful digger, so if you have a beautiful flower, or vegetable, garden, you may want to fence it off from this ground terror.

The story of the development of the West Highland White Terrier, is said to be from the estate of Colonel E.D. Malcolm, of Poltallock, Argyllshire, Scotland. He was using one of his favorite Cairn Terriers in a fox, or rabbit, hunt. The Cairn Terrier is a wheaten, or brown, color, and this was effective as camouflage. Unfortunately, Colonel Malcolm accidentally shot and killed his Cairn Terrier instead of the fox. In his remorse for this accident, the Colonel vowed to breed only for the white color so that such an accident could not happen again. It is documented that up to this time, any all-white colored terriers were destroyed as being undesirable. The Colonel changed that outlook, and developed the Westie to become a distinct breed. 
The Westie was seen in competition for the first time, at the London Crufts show in 1907. In 1908 the American Kennel Club recognized the West Highland White Terrier as a distinct breed. The West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded in 1909.

Successful development of breed in the end of 60th brought over many new followers and connoisseurs. Many new kennels, well-known till now, appeared in 70th. And exactly these breeders influenced Westie`s modern type on the whole. Among them are ARNHOLME, BALLACOAR, BIRKFELL, BRIERLOW, CARILLION, CHECKBAR, CLANESTAR, DOMAROY, ERISORT, FAMECHECK, as well as the most popular kennel ASHGATE.

FCI Official Standard of West Highland White Terrier

FCI-Standard N°85 / 20. 01. 1998 / GB

ORIGIN : Great Britain.



CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 3 Terriers.

Section 2 Small sized Terriers.

Without working trial.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Strongly built ; deep in chest and back ribs ; level back and powerful quarters on muscular legs and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination of strength and activity.

BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT : Small, active, game, hardly, possessed of no small amount of self-esteem with a varminty appearance. Alert, gay, courageous, self-reliant but friendly.

HEAD : Distance from occiput to eyes slightly greater than length of foreface. Head thickly coated with hair and carried at right angle or less to axis of neck. Head not to be carried in extended position.


Skull : Slightly domed ; when handled across forehead presents a smooth contour. Tapering very slightly from skull at level of ears to eyes.

Stop : Distinct stop, formed by heavy, bony ridges immediately above and slightly overhanging eye, and slight indentation between eyes.


Nose : Black and fairly large, forming smooth contour with rest of muzzle. Nose not projecting forward.

Muzzle : Foreface gradually tapering from eye to muzzle. Not dished nor falling away quickly below eyes, where it is well made up.

Jaws/Teeth : Jaws strong and level. As broad between canine teeth as is consistent with varminty expression required. Teeth large for size of dog, with regular scissor bite, i. e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Eyes : Set wide apart, medium in size, not full, as dark as possible. Slightly sunk in head, sharp and intelligent, which, looking from under heavy eyebrows, imparts a piercing look. Light coloured eyes highly undesirable.

Ears : Small, erect and carried firmly, terminating in sharp point, set neither too wide nor too close. Hair short and smooth (velvety), should not be cut. Free from any fringe at top. Round-pointed, broad, large or thick ears or too heavily coated with hair most undesirable.

NECK : Sufficiently long to allow proper set on of head required, muscular and gradually thickening towards base allowing neck to merge into nicely sloping shoulders.

BODY : Compact.

Back : Level.

Loins : Broad and strong.

Chest : Deep and ribs well arched in upper half presenting a flattish side appearance. Back ribs of considerable depth and distance from last rib of quarters as short as compatible with free movement of body.

TAIL : 12,5-15 cm (5 to 6 inches) long, covered with harsh hair, no feathering, as straight as possible, carried jauntily, not gay or carried over back. A long tail undesirable, and on no account should tails be docked.


FOREQUARTERS : Forelegs short and muscular, straight and thickly covered with short, hard hair.

Shoulders : Sloping backwards. Shoulder-blades broad and lying close to chest wall. Shoulder joint placed forward.

Elbows : Well in, allowing foreleg to move freely, parallel to axis of body.

HINDQUARTERS : Strong, muscular and wide across top. Legs short, muscular and sinewy.

Thighs : Very muscular and not too wide apart.

Hocks : Bent and well set in under body so as to be fairly close to each other when standing or moving. Straight or weak hocks most undesirable.

FEET : Forefeet larger than hind, round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded and covered with short harsh hair. Hindfeet are smaller and thickly padded. Under surface of pads and all nails preferably black.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Free, straight and easy all round. In front, legs freely extended forward from shoulder. Hind movement free, strong and close. Stifle and hocks well flexed and hocks drawn under body giving drive. Stiff, stilted movement behind and cowhocks highly undesirable.


HAIR : Double coated. Outer coat consists of harsh hair, about 5 cm (2 ins) long, free from any curl. Undercoat, which resembles fur, short, soft and close. Open coats most undesirable.

COLOUR : White.


Height at withers approximately 28 cm (11 ins).

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.