West Highland White Terriers are much loved for their high energy, their strong work ethic, their devotion to their families and their dazzling white coats. First introduced into competition at the beginning of the 20th century, fanciers of the breed maintain that they were bred and worked for a hundred years before. Extremely versatile, Westies have found success in events such as Agility, Obedience, Earthdog, Rally, Tracking and Flyball.
Here are some more interesting facts about the West Highland White Terrier:
As its name suggests, the West Highland White Terrier is a member of the Terrier group.
The first show for West Highland White Terriers was held in 1907 at Crufts in London, England. Originally registered under the name of Roseneath Terrier, whose name was taken from the Duke of Argyll's ancestral home in Dumbartonshire, England, the name was officially changed to West Highland White Terrier on May 31, 1909.
Westies were also traditionally called Poltalloch Terriers. This name honors the place where they were bred and worked for a hundred years before they appeared in dog shows. Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch is generally considered the originator of the breed, although he never personally took credit for it in his lifetime.
The first American Kennel Club registration of West Highland White Terriers was in 1908.
According to legend, Colonel Malcolm's terriers were not all white, but mostly lighter colors. After Malcolm accidentally shot a red terrier, thinking it was a fox, he vowed to only breed white terriers from then on.
West Highland White Terriers were not only used in fox hunting, but in working around the farm to help keep fox and badgers from destroying crops.
It is speculated that all terriers that hail from Scotland come from the same roots, meaning that Scotties, Cairns, Dandie Dinmonts and Westies can be considered cousins.
Westies have a double coat - a cottony undercoat and a hard, straight overcoat. This probably developed to help protect the dog when fighting small animals such as fox or badger.
Westies love to dig and today that has translated in success in the event of Earthdog trials. According to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America, Westies earned 19 Junior Earthdog titles and six Senior Earthdog titles in the first year alone.
Westies also excel in the popular event of Obedience trials. According to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America, over 900 Westies have earned Champion Dog titles over the years.
There are dozens of famous Westies all over the world - from being poster dogs for dog food (Cesar in the US, Maggie in Canada and Imelda in Australia), characters in books (Hamish Macbeth, Jeeves and Wooster, McDuff), television (7th Heaven, House, King of the Hill) and even the silver screen (the Asterix movies, The Adventures of Greyfriar Bobby).