The ‘Scottish terrier' was unknown outside Scotland until the 1870s, when Captain W.W. Mackie brought them to England. The modern Scottish terrier was bred by the founder of the Scottish Terrier Club of England, J. H. Ludlow.
In Scotland, Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm, of Poltalloch in Argyllshire, is credited with breeding the first truly white Westies, originally called the Poltalloch terrier. The colour white was bred so that they could be easily seen when out in the countryside.
In 1909, they were officially classified as the ‘West Highland white terrier'.
Westies are strong, energetic and willful, so bedience training from a young age is important. They are intelligent and playful dogs and do well with active families. They are good with people. They don't often get along with other pets, especially those of comparable or smaller size. They can be vocal as they are very territorial but can adapt to a variety of habitats.
Westies have all-white double coats. The undercoat is soft, furry and dense; the outercoat is significantly tougher. Adult Westies usually stand 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 15 and 22 pounds. Their teeth are relatively large for their heads, and their muzzles are fairly blunt and taper to their black noses. They keep busy and can be fairly vocal. Westies are easy to train, but only when they're feeling so inclined. They are highly adaptable, and so can thrive in a variety of home environments.