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Why Westies Are The Worst ~ and Best Dogs

Why Westies are the Worst

The Scottish Highlands are home to the Westie, a medium-sized dog breed that is well-known in the canine world. They are unquestionably popular among Westie owners, but they may not be appropriate for all pet owners.

There are positive and negative aspects to this breed, as with any other. Though remember that not all dogs are the same just because they are of a certain type of breed.

The best approach to train and bond with your Westie, whether you already own one or are considering getting one, is to get to know their quirks and unique traits.

Westies used to be common hunting dogs; they have great stamina and high energy levels, and they still like being outside. Having been working dogs they possess a good amount of energy as natural ratters but are not as hyper as other terriers like Jack Russells. Westies are also frequently seen competing at dog shows.

Are you contemplating having a Westie? Read on to discover this dog’s finest and worst characteristics.

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Why Westies Are The Worst Dogs

All of their good points, however, are not without their drawbacks, and owning a Westie can be a real challenge for some people. Westie dogs are not suitable for everyone because being terriers their training can be extensive.

Full of energy and love to dig

Westies were bred to hunt, as previously stated. Because of this, they need a good amount of daily exercise and are also prone to digging. This could be one of the most undesirable features in a dog for some people. 

Due to these inherited characteristics, Westies are always looking for a job to do, and if they are not given adequate exercise, they will entertain themselves. The outcome of which is not always to the Westie owner’s liking. 

When their owners are away, Westies have been known to wreak havoc in the house, whether they’re pups or senior dogs. A Westie’s energy needs to be channeled into regular walks and exercise, even if they can be trained to minimize these habits. 

They can live in smaller apartments, but because of their boisterousness, they aren’t exactly lapdogs and require a significant effort and time to make sure they’re kept busy. 

Possibility of aggression

Westies, on the one hand, may not be as aggressive as some of their terrier relatives. However, this does not rule out the possibility that they can become hostile dogs.

Because of their origins and history, they have a lot of additional energy that can occasionally turn into aggression, especially toward other dogs and other animals. Having a Westie in a household with multiple other pets is not recommended. They will certainly not tolerate small rodents in the house.

They can be protective of their territory and aggressive toward other breeds. Westies are known to be quite vocal, and this could be one of the causes. In some cases, they will nip at certain breeds of dogs while out on a walk. Our Westie, for example, does not like large yellow dogs, so we have to be extremely vigilant around them.

Prone to barking

Westies are rather noisy dogs in general, so anticipate them to bark, whimper, and whine.

Some people love this about them, and they can be terrific watchdogs. But those in search of a dog that is quiet, calm, and even-tempered may want to steer clear of this one. For starters, apartment residents who want to avoid disturbing the neighbors should think twice about getting a Westie.

You can read more about barking issues in our Westie Barking Guide.


Even though Westies are intelligent, they are also stubborn and headstrong, two traits that might be detrimental to a successful relationship. If you can get a Westie puppy trained, you will have a wonderful relationship, but it might be a long road to get there.

Because of their high levels of energy, a tendency toward aggression, and strong-willed spirit, Westies have specific training requirements designed for terriers. Generally speaking, Westies are not suggested for first-time dog owners who lack experience. The Westie needs someone to look up to and follow in order to thrive in a relationship.

On the bright side, most Westies are eager to please their owners, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

Needs grooming

Non-shedding dogs have many advantages, but their fur requires more upkeep than a standard dog’s. Every 3-4 months, Westies need to be groomed professionally to prevent their beautiful white double coats from becoming tangled and matted. They also benefit from daily brushing and the occasional bath.

Westies are a breed to avoid if you want an easy-to-care-for breed without having to devote a lot of time, money, or energy to grooming.

Why Westies Are The Best Dogs

The Westie is a dog breed that can be found all over the world, not just in the United Kingdom. Although their popularity has fallen in recent years, Westies remain an iconic breed and are still much sought after (they are number 46 on the most popular dogs list of the American Kennel Club). With their intelligence and tenacity, these dogs can serve as excellent watchdogs for your family home.

Friendly temperament

The West Highland White Terrier is one of the least aggressive terrier breeds, notwithstanding what we said earlier about their tendency to become aggressive. They, like any other dogs, have a wild side, but usually, they are cheerful, outgoing, and enjoy spending time with people.

Generally, they are a good fit for families with children (although not advisable to have around very small children). 

Friendly dogs are less likely to get fearful or anxious; they will follow your lead and respond well to calm energy.

Low shedding

An added benefit of these Scottish canines is that they are considered hypoallergenic. 

Although no dog ever is completely hypoallergenic there are ones that shed less often and produce less dander and saliva which causes allergies in humans. 

The Westie’s top coat is coarse which in general acts as a second protectant, stopping dirt and dust from sticking to them. So Westies can be ideal for owners who want a pet but have a dog hair allergy.

Affectionate and loyal

Westies are devoted to their human family. They are incredibly loyal, and it is not unknown for them to build an extremely close bond with a particular family member. This might be a concern if your Westie grows overly attached, as this can lead to separation anxiety.

As a result, it’s critical to socialize and introduce Westies to a variety of environments, people, and other dogs so that they can adjust to all sorts of situations.

Playful and fun

West Highland Terriers are not only spirited and enthusiastic dogs, but they love being involved in all aspects of daily life. They will accompany you as you get ready for work in the morning, during dinner preparations, and will cuddle up with you while watching TV.

When it comes to playtime and exercise, they seem absolutely tireless and will happily try new games with you, go for a little dip in the river or just run around a vast field with other canine friends to release their energy. 

Agility training and participation in Earthdog events are particularly beneficial for Westies since they can truly test their abilities.

Westies have a long lifespan

If you want a dog that will be your companion for a long time, Westies are definitely a breed to consider. They have an average life expectancy of 12-16 years, and some can live for over 20 years. 

West Highland White Terriers generally live longer than the larger dog breeds because their growth and aging processes are slower. And even though they are prone to some breed-specific diseases, Westies are considered to be a fairly hardy and healthy breed. 

If they are raised in a caring and loving environment, Westies can be by their owners’ side for a couple of decades. 

Great family dog

Many Westie owners describe their dogs as protective, kind, and even a little bit like a sibling to the kids. It might surprise some people how good they are with children. Their terrier personality comes with a protector role that extends to children. 

Some owners claim that their Westies only become hostile when they are provoked or feel threatened. It’s not uncommon for dogs to snap out of defense if a child gets too close to their food bowl while they’re eating. This is understandable since it’s their personal space being invaded. 

It’s not necessarily always about aggression. As previously said, Westies are devoted companions who can also be quite expressive when they need to be. When someone comes to the front door or if there is an emergency, they will undoubtedly inform you.

Is a Westie the Right Dog for Me?

Adopting a Westie is a big commitment and after finding out all you can about the breed you may be wondering if it’s worth the effort. Like any other breed, Westies have their advantages and disadvantages.

It’s critical to consider your Westie’s future home and the kind of canine lifestyle you can support before getting one. Bringing a Westie into a home where you know it will not be able to sustain his energetic nature is unfair.

Some Westie owners give up on their dogs when they develop behavioral problems, but the truth is that both your surroundings and your dog’s temperament play a role. A Westie may be the ideal companion for you if you have a decent yard and want a family-friendly watchdog. But if you’re after a placid, city apartment dog, this breed would be wise to avoid.

Thanks for reading this article. Keep up to date with Westie Wisdom for more great posts about our wonderful canine companions.

Check out our Resources page where we put together a collection of products and links to organizations for Westie owners. We only recommend products that we believe will enhance your Westie’s quality of life.