Breed Standard

General Appearance

The West Highland White Terrier is a small, game, well-balanced hardy looking terrier, exhibiting good showmanship, possessed with no small amount of self-esteem, strongly built, deep in chest and back ribs, with a straight back and powerful hindquarters on muscular legs, and exhibiting in marked degree a great combination of strength and activity. The coat is about two inches long, white in color, hard, with plenty of soft undercoat. The dog should be neatly presented, the longer coat on the back and sides, trimmed to blend into the shorter neck and shoulder coat. Considerable hair is left around the head to act as a frame for the face to yield a typical Westie expression.

Size, Proportion, Substance

The ideal size is eleven inches at the withers for dogs and ten inches for bitches. The Westie is a compact dog, with good balance and substance. The body between the withers and the root of the tail is slightly shorter than the height at the withers. Short-coupled and well boned.


Shaped to present a round appearance from the front. Should be in proportion to the body. Expression--Piercing, inquisitive, pert. Eyes--Widely set apart, medium in size, almond shaped, dark brown in color, deep set, sharp and intelligent. Looking from under heavy eyebrows, they give a piercing look. Eye rims are black. Ears Small, carried tightly erect, set wide apart, on the top outer edge of the skull. They terminate in a sharp point, and must never be cropped. The hair on the ears is trimmed short and is smooth and velvety, free of fringe at the tips. Skull-- Broad, slightly longer than the muzzle. not flat on top but slightly domed between the ears. It gradually tapers to the eyes. There is a defined stop, eyebrows are heavy. Muzzle Blunt, slightly shorter than the skull, powerful and gradually tapering to the nose, which is large and black. Lip pigment is black. Bite... The teeth are large for the size of the dog. There must be six incisor teeth between the canines of both lower and upper jaws.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck--Muscular and well set on sloping shoulders. The length of neck should be in proportion to the remainder of the dog. Chest very deep and extending to the elbows. Tail--Relatively short, with good substance, and shaped like a carrot.

Forequarter-Angulation, Shoulders

Shoulder blades are well laid back and well knit at the backbone. Legs--Forelegs are muscular and well boned. relatively short, but with sufficient length to set the dog up so as not to be too close to the ground. The legs are reasonably straight, and thickly covered with short hard hair. Feet--Forefeet are larger than the hind ones, are round.


Thighs are very muscular, well angulated, not set wide apart. Legs--Rear legs are muscular and relatively short and sinewy. Feet--Hind feet are smaller than front feet, and are thickly padded.


Must be double-coated. The outer coat consists of straight hard white hair, about two inches long, with shorter coat on neck and shoulders, properly blended and trimmed to blend shorter areas on stomach and legs. The ideal coat is hard, straight and white.


The color is white, as defined by the breed's name. Faults--Any coat color other than white. Heavy wheaten color.


Alert, gay, courageous and self-reliant, but friendly. Faults--Excess timidity or excess pugnacity.

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