When I was reading about temperament traits found in West Highland White Terriers, I discovered that Sami didn’t have all the traits mentioned, which means that every Westie is different.
Sami is possessive about his food and toys, and that may be because I don’t have any other dogs, but your Westie may be the complete opposite. Today, I want to give you a general idea of the most common temperament traits your Westie may or may not have. Here are the most common temperament characteristics found in Westies:
1. Curious Creatures
Because they’re alert, they’re lively. Notice how your Westie’s ears perk up if he hears a sound, such as a knock on the door, a cat meowing, a dog barking, or a child laughing. When I take out Sami, his ears are always perked up because he’s busy taking in all the unique sounds he hears in his surroundings. It’s extremely cute. And don’t let them out of your sight because they’re chasers!
Even though Westies like to bring the house down — chasing and barking — they’re super-friendly. If your Westie isn’t, it’s not something that you can’t work on. For my Sami, this is true. He loves animals and people. Actually, he loves it when I take pictures of him. He’s a cute little poser.
Moreover, it’s their super-friendly nature that makes them so loyal. As compared to the Scottish Terrier breeds, Westies are jollier and friendlier. The same rings true for the Skye Terrier and Cairn Terrier.
3. Bold and Daring
Westies have a sense of confidence about them that makes them courageous. Sami is half the size of the dogs he plays with, but when he’s with them, he’s the big dog. Since he’s so bold and daring, he’ll be more inclined to pick fights, left to right, but you’ve to train him not to fight.
4. Alert Watchdogs
What are two things Westies like to do the most? — Digging and barking. Out of the two, you’ll find yourself barking up a storm more. Don’t restrict him from barking completely because that’s what makes them such good watchdogs. Instead, train him to bark less. If he barks, tell him to “Stop.”
5. Always on the Go
Why do you think I take Sami everywhere with me? Whether I am going to the grocery store, beach, or another country, Sami will be my stowaway. He’s a highly energetic dog and will always be ever ready for a vacation.
When I go outdoors, Sami is either on his leash or in my hands. When I go to another country, he’s in his carrying case. He easily fits in there. Energy is literally their middle name! His curious and energetic nature also gets him into trouble, such as finding himself stuck and then barking for help. Whenever I take Sami out, it’s always an adventure. In short, there will never be a dull and boring day with your Westie.
6. Fiercely Independent
Westies are fiercely independent dogs. However, their independent nature can create a problem during obedience training. Have you heard of Small Dog Syndrome (SDS)? A small dog like Sami is at risk of developing SDS if their owner (me) is softer on them during obedience training.
Once your Westie develops it, he will take the lead role in your house, such as jumping on you or your guests, not listening to your commands, barking continuously, chewing on things, marking their territory both inside and outside of your home, and displaying any bad behavior they can easily get away with.
When you’re training your Westie, be a little firm. Don’t let him get away with bad behavior. If you allow it to happen once, he will do it again. I advise you to be confident, firm, and consistent with him because if you aren’t, he’ll be more likely to display bad behavior, such as snapping or biting.
He could also develop guarding disorders where he displays super possessive behavior, guarding his food and furniture with his life. Worse, he could even go out looking for fights with other dogs.
7. Stubborn Like Anything
Most of the time, Sami isn’t stubborn, but yes, he has his days where his stubborn personality takes over. He can also give into his instincts to hunt and when Sami does that, you got to reel him back. I don’t want him to go into the street, chasing after a ball or run after a prey instead of staying with me.
He will always bark and dig and become stubborn, meaning he’ll continue to do it unless you train him to stop. You got to tell your Westie as it is, telling him that barking at the delivery man or guests or digging up the flower bed is not acceptable behavior. So, how have I avoided this problem? According to Sami’s trainer, you need to refresh his training occasionally.
On the topic of training, I always try to keep it new and exciting for Sami, so I can keep him interested and you should do the same. You don’t have to have long training sessions at the start, but have like 5 to 10-minute ones, and then gradually, make them longer.
If you have a Westie, or you plan to get one, you’ll have fun identifying the temperament traits your dog has. He might have them all or only a few like Sami does. Do let me know because Sami and I would love to know what temperament traits your Westie has. Hey, we can compare notes!