Are West Highland White Terriers Good Guard Dogs?

The West Highland White Terrier is a game and hardy little terrier that is easy to train. It is fairly friendly toward strangers and gets along well with children. Easy dog to travel with. These dogs are lively and extremely self-assured toward other dogs, but will not pick fights if their owners know how to display proper leadership. They may chase a cat for fun, and need to be corrected if they do attempt this. Robust, friendly and spirited, Westies just love companionship. Despite their size, they make a very good watchdog. The Westie likes to dig and bark. If a Westie is allowed to become the pack leader, it may snap when irritated and be combative with other dogs. A lack of leadership on the owner’s part can cause many behavior problems, such as biting, guarding food and furniture. A Westie that has an owner who knows how to display firm, confident, consistent, leadership will not experience these behavioral problems. These problems can be corrected once the owner becomes the dog’s true pack leader. Do not allow the Westie to develop Small Dog Syndrome.

West Highland White Terriers as Watch Dogs?

Very much unlike most other members of the Terrier group, most West Highland White Terriers are quite tolerant of strangers.   When properly socialized, the vast majority of breed members are friendly and polite, and many of these dogs are very excited to meet any potential new friend.   This breed is very likely to become an inappropriate greeter who jumps up and licks faces, so some training is ideal.   Although usually friendly, many West Highland White Terriers take a little bit of time to form close bonds with a new person in their lives such as a spouse or roommate, though most will eventually.   When not properly socialized, West Highland White Terriers may be somewhat nervous or suspicious of new people, which may lead to aggression.   Untrained Westies can be quite nippy, although well-trained ones very rarely are.   This breed is highly alert and very vocal, making it an excellent watch dog.   A Westie would make a very poor guard dog, though, as they are neither intimidating nor aggressive enough.

Are West Highland White Terriers Aggressive?

Knowing the characteristics of a dog breed is quite important, while you are planning to make them a part of your family. When it comes to the West Highland white terriers, they are affectionate dogs, who also have an independent side. They are playful dogs who crave a lot of attention, and you should give them that. The Westie also loves to play with squeaky toys and chew toys. Even though they were once bred as ratters, these dogs aren't aggressive. Also, as we have said earlier, training Westies requires a lot of patience.

West Highland White Terriers Background

Taking into account their background, West Highland White Terriers aren’t going to behave like lap dogs because they’ll bark at everything.

Family and Bonding

You believe that every experience is ripe for bonding with anyone, and guess what? You’re not wrong. Especially when it comes to training your West Highland White Terrier. Training is an excellent way to bond with your Westie and provide them with both mental and physical stimulation and help reign in some of their more impulsive tendencies. It does, however, require patience and persistence.


The hardy West Highland White Terrier, more commonly known as the “Westie,” is known for its friendly, strong-willed personality and a remarkably bright white coat. Said to be “all terrier,” this breed possesses a large amount of spunk, determination and devotion stuffed into a compact little body. The confident Westie excels in a variety of AKC events, from conformation to agility to obedience.

West Highland White Terrier Nature

The White Highland Terrier temperament is affable by nature, and simply doesn’t fall victim to little dog syndrome (as many Terrier’s do). Their affinities and desires are simple, often completely satisfied in the home of those they love or with a toy they can toss around. With impressive intelligence for a smaller dog, the West Highland White Terrier behavior is dignified (not too a fault, however), confident, and have a lust for mischievousness.


Care should be taken when introducing Westies to other pets. The West Highland White Terrier puppy can learn to adjust, especially if socialized from puppyhood. If you’re bringing an older Westie into a multi-pet home, it’s best to consult with a certified dog trainer with experience of West Highland White Terrier types to help with the transition. Westies also have a strong prey drive that could send them chasing after smaller pets. These behaviors can be tempered through training, but it does take time and commitment.


West Highland White Terriers as a Pack Animal

Possessed with no small amount of self-esteem, the West Highland White Terrier is an all-white, compact, sturdy package of frolicsome energy. His ears stand up naturally and his tail is short by nature’s design. The breed was developed in the Highlands of Scotland for the hard and dangerous work of destroying vermin. Though independent in nature, they enjoy participating in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Tracking, but their favorite activity is Earthdog Tests — designed to test his natural instincts. Life with one of the ‘little white dogs’ is never dull and can be a challenge to the unsuspecting first-time owner.

Physical Traits

This breed is self-assured and independent. They are- loving, loyal family members that will take it upon themselves to keep watch, and sound the alarm if needed. West Highland White Terriers are also quite energetic and nearly always on the move. They need a time and space to sniff, explore, and discover new things, so they do best with a decently sized, securely fenced in back yard. It’s important to keep Westies leashed when you walk them. The prey drive in these small dogs is vey high, and they are likely to dash after small animals with surprising speed and a complete lack of consideration for whatever you happen to be saying at the time.

Excercising your West Highland White Terrier

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