Are Westies Good Family Dogs?

Are Westies good family dogs? A lot of small dog breeds get a bad reputation, especially because a lot of them are yappy and not likely to back down from a fight. Westies, however, don’t share many traits with their small breed counterparts.

With a personality that everyone in the family is sure to love, these loyal and charismatic puppies are sure to change your lives forever. If there’s one thing to be said about West Highland terriers, it’s that they surely are fantastic family dogs.

Are Westies Good Family Dogs?

It is important to note that every dog is different, especially when it comes to adoption. If you’re buying from a breeder, you are likely to experience only the innate personalities of the breed you’ve selected. Adopting, however, may come with natural and learned behaviors.

Even though Westies are known to be great to have around families, if they have been previously mistreated, they can be challenging to introduce. As a risk that every adoptive pet parent needs to consider, your Westie may require a little extra care around small children. This point is particularly true if you have infants in the house.

Overall, you can guarantee that your Westie will come around and learn to love your family if they don’t right away. The main thing to consider is that they have a strong prey drive, so they may be a little rougher with family members that are smaller than them.

As with any breed, be sure to have supervised playtime with your puppy and infants. The more time you put into researching Westies and their personalities, favorite toys, and ideal living situations, the easier it will be to assimilate them into the family.

What Are the Benefits of Owning a Westie?

There’s a reason as to why Westies are such a popular breed; they’re loyal companions, can adapt to plenty of different living situations, and can help to keep you active. Knowing all of the benefits of the breed can help you choose the perfect newest addition to your family.

Highly Adaptable

With some dog breeds, you’ll have to take special care to ensure that they have plenty of space. Westies, on the other hand, are quite adaptable to all types of living situations. They can flourish in homes but are also fantastic companions to have in apartments.

They are highly active individuals, but they can find more than enough things to do inside of a smaller area. As long as they have access to mentally stimulating toys and are taken for walks, they will love homes with less square footage.

Tolerant to Temperatures

You would be surprised to know that Westies are highly adaptable to cold temperatures more than they are with hot temperatures. As a breed that was originally developed in the Scottish Highlands, West Highland terriers are accustomed to colder winters and cooler summers.

In the warmer months, they must have plenty of hydration as well as air conditioning to stay comfortable. If you live in an area that is prone to below freezing temperatures, it’s recommended you invest in outerwear for your Westie.

Buying them outerwear is very important, especially if they will be spending a lot of time outdoors, as you’ll want to make sure they are insulated from the elements. Overall, they are quite tolerant of varying seasons and changing temperatures.

Great for Novice Owners

Some dog breeds require far more attention than others, while Westies are a fantastic companion for first-time dog owners. With the appropriate training, you’ll have an extension of your family that loves to spend time with you and your children.

They’re generally low maintenance, as long as you regularly brush their coats. In fact, one of the most exciting traits of a Westie is that they are hypoallergenic. Their coats certainly don’t shed as much as other breeds, which means that you won’t have to worry about too much upkeep.

Taking them to the groomer is one of the easiest ways to make sure your pet is maintained with as little effort as possible.

Highly Affectionate

One of the most important traits for your dog to have, especially if you have kids, is affection. Dogs that are very independent and territorial are a poor match for children who typically don’t have an understanding of boundaries.

Your Westie will always be interested in impressing you and your family, encouraging themselves to be in on their best behavior. The affectionate nature of the dogs is why they are the focal point of many Westie gifts for family members. There’s something about their iconic personable expressions and playfulness that warms the hearts of any pet parent.

If your family is sitting in a room together, you can guarantee your Westie will want to be a part of the action as well. They are likely to follow you around the house and frequently inquire as to what you’re doing. They’re the ideal dog breed for a family that wants a pet that is included in every activity.


As mentioned, children may not always have an understanding of your dog’s boundaries. With some breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, this can be an issue, as they can get nippy when provoked.

Westies are a little more patient with their space and will be a fantastic buddy for your children. With that said, as your Westie is developing and training, it’s a good idea to allow supervised playtime.

As this breed was made to hunt foxes and vermin, they have a solid prey drive, which can quickly turn playtime into a stressful experience for your kids. By teaching both the children and the dog how to play safely with one another, you’ll see the most authentic traits of your Westie begin to shine.


If your family has another dog, you’ll be glad to know that Westies are particularly friendly to others, especially if they’re within the same household. They will love to have a friend to play with. You likely won’t have to rear both of the puppies together for them to be friends, which is even more convenient.

This characteristic is also what makes Westies phenomenal partners for playdates. When you take them to the dog park, they are likely to be the most social dog there. They will quickly make friends and will always look forward to meeting new dogs with every trip.

Highly Intelligent

Some families stray away from dogs that have above-average intelligence. If you don’t have the time to stimulate your dog during the day mentally, a Westie may not be the best choice for you. They always love to have new and exciting activities that they can do on their own or with a family member.

The most significant advantage of the brilliance of Westies is that it enables them to be easy to train. This point also helps to make them one of the best breeds for beginners, as preparing your West Highland terrier will be a breeze.

Because they are so eager to please, with positive reinforcement, you will be able to teach your dog a ton of tricks and obedience measures. Many pet parents find that they don’t even need to invest in outside training while owning a Westie.

Incredible Energy and Playfulness

You can guarantee that as a Westie owner, you’ll always be active, which is another trait that makes them phenomenal as a family pet. They love playing, similar to your children, and with kids around, they will always have something active to do.

Their potential for playfulness is also remarkable, which can help to keep your children entertained.

The only thing to watch out for is their prey drive, as they can get intensely playful, which can be overwhelming for smaller children. Again, the best thing to do is to teach each party to respect each other’s boundaries.

Final Thoughts

Are Westies good family dogs? Overall, you can see how West Highland terriers are a fantastic match for most families. Thanks to their eagerness to please and their naturally friendly characteristics, Westies will be a perfect addition to your family.

Everyone will fall in love with their adorable and charismatic traits that are sure to change your family dynamics for the better.

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