West Highland White Terriers (“Westies”) are not dogs that you could mistake for any other breed. They have some unmistakable — and lovable — traits. Besides being the cutest breed (totally objective, unbiased opinion), they come with a lot of quirks. Here are 10 that you’ll probably recognize.

1. Westies are a lot of dog in one compact pup.

These cuties are lap dogs and feisty little warriors all in one 20-pound bundle of white fur. If you are looking for a calm, easy-going dog, then a Westie is not your ideal breed.

westie on beach

Source: Randy Robertson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

2. Their other name could be the “Verminator.”

Don’t let that sweet face fool you. Bred in Northwestern Scotland as a working dog, the Westie is an expert “ratter.” If you have any type of vermin, your Westie will become its worst nightmare. (Pro tip: be prepared to receive “gifts” from their hunting exploits.)

westie laying down

Source: Rob Butler via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

3. Look who’s talking!

If you like to talk to your dog, you’ll be pleased to know the Westie will answer. This can also lead to some sassy backtalk! ‘Talking” is not barking; you’ll believe they are truly carrying on a conversation.

Related: 10 Things Only Basset Hound Lovers Know
westie running

Source: Bruno Ahlgrimm via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

4. They have an attitude of Westitude.

The Westie is blessed with an over-abundance of confidence. No task or threat is too big for these tenacious terriers. (But, this trait can get them into trouble if they meet a larger adversary.)

westie sitting pretty

Source: Randy Robertson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

5. Can they dig it? Yes, they can!

West Highland White Terriers love to dig and make quick work of a hole. They will tunnel underground after vermin and can become stuck. Their tails are designed to withstand being pulled to safety. (But, never pull your Westie by the tail unless it is to save them from danger.)

westie in the fall

Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

6. They can crank up the volume.

Westies come with one volume: LOUD! They are bred to have a very loud voice so they can be heard from underground tunnels. You will have no trouble hearing your Westie above ground. Teaching your pup to use their “inside” voice can provide relief for your ears.

Related: Quiz: Can You Identify That Dog Nose?
westie on alert

Source: Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

7. They’re one dog — with two coats.

Westies have a double coat, which is twice as nice. Their wiry top coat helps them shed the dirt that they love to dig through, and their soft undercoat keeps them warm.

However, they are prone to sunburn, so use a dog-friendly sunscreen when they are outdoors.

westie laying in the grass

Source: Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

8. They’re a teacher’s pet.

Westies are very strong-willed, so early training is a must. This is a very intelligent breed, capable of excelling in agility trials, and Westies love performing tricks.

westie on a walk

Source: Jordan Chong via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

9. They’re Doppelgängers.

It is said that if you’ve seen one Westie, then you’ve seen them all. While many breeds have a variety of colors and patterns that make spotting your pup a breeze, in a room full of Westies, it can be a challenge to recognize your best friend. (Pro tip: Make sure that your dog has a microchip with your current information in the database.)

two cute westies

Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

10. They’re relentlessly curious.

There is not much that can be slipped by a Westie. They are nosy by nature and feel the need be in the middle of the action. You will never walk or work alone when there is a West Highland White Terrier in your life.

Have a favorite Westie trait? Tell us about it in the comments below!


Header image via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

M. K. Clinton is the author of The Returns book series and creator of Barking from the Bayou dog blog. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, a lovable Basset Hound, and a hilarious West Highland White Terrier.

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