West Highland White Terrier Dog Breed Expert Advice

Digging is natural for Westies and provides pleasure and exercise. However, it does nothing to beautify your lawn, so guide your Westie to dig in only one area. Designate one spot in your yard as an approved digging area, then start a hole there or build a dig-pit bordered by railroad ties or logs, and fill it with sand or earth. -- September B. Morn, professional dog trainer (from Popular Dogs: West Highland White Terriers)

“Westies can have skin problems, so the best way to keep them in the proper coat is to handstrip [instead of brushing their coat]. Stripping helps toughen the skin and alleviate the skin problems. Westies tend to get clogged hair follicles and getting rid of dead hair allows the follicles to clean themselves out. If you clip the coat, the dead hair remains – you are just cutting over it, not removing it.” – Scott Wasserman, a groomer at the Hickory Plaza Veterinary Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee (from Popular Dogs: West Highland White Terriers)

“[Westies] are a bit more happy-go-lucky than other terrier breeds. They were bred to work outside in the highlands of Scotland, so they are tough and sturdy with a lot of personality.” – Dawn Martin, West Highland White Terrier breeder and AKC judge (from Popular Dogs: West Highland White Terriers)

Allergic skin disease represents the No. 1 health problem for Westies. Skin allergies may result when a dog becomes allergic to his food, or from reacting to airborn allergens, a condition called atopy. Inherited factors play a role in allergies, too. – Susan Bertram, D.V.M. (from Popular Dogs: West Highland White Terriers)


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Cierra   Entiat, WA

2/7/2011 5:15:14 PM

How do you hand-strip??? Would i do it or would a groomer do it for me???

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Sandra   Oviedo, FL

6/17/2010 2:59:40 PM

What will be the best food for my westie.. or best goodies..I have a 15 month male westie. Tks

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debra   pasadena, TX

5/28/2010 7:19:35 PM

my westie has black skin, is this normal

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Toni   Aiken, SC

2/17/2010 8:45:46 AM

My Westie developed skin problems at 6 yrs of age. Patches of hair loss, red raw spots -- started with black pore areas, smelling bad, etc., my wonderful vet gave me blood allergy test for about 300.00 showing allergies to a lot of things but I believe the main villain was grains in food so I used a final round of antibiotics and cortisone to get rid of the problem and changed food to no food with Flax (a common ingredient unfortunately) and use a shampoo with a fungicide like Ketoconozole or anything ending in ...conazole. This may sound like a lot of trouble and expense -- but it has been well worth it after fighting this skin problem for a few months and having my Westie look like he had mange and smell worse. He is now back to his beautiful self. I attacked the problem with all resources at once to cover everything and got rid of the problem and now I am continuing the special food and shampoo as insurance-- well worth the small additional cost/effort. Saves in vet bills and medications. I think a lot of times the vet and owner are not dilligent enough (think stubborn terrier) and let the skin problem win-- SHAME --Ha!

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