West Highland Terriers or “Westies’” are lovely little white dogs. Originally bred for hunting, they are characterized by their short, white fur, stick-up ears, short tails, and fantastic energy levels.
Thanks to their adaptability, Westies make excellent pets, show dogs, and even working dogs, so there’s little wonder why you might want to make a companion out of these awesome animals.
Finding West Highland Terriers breeders you can trust for happy and healthy puppies is essential not just for avoiding expensive vet bills, but in general, doing the best for the breed.
So, before you commit to a new dog, be sure to research any breeders and be wary of puppy mills.
West Highland Terriers Breeders: The Types
Naturally, when getting a happy, healthy pup, knowing the conditions when they’ve been bred in is important.
Finding a breeder you can trust not only ensures the parents don’t have health conditions they might pass down, but some breeders treat their animals with cruelty, breeding unhealthy, aggressive, or frightened animals.
Excluding puppy mills, most new pet owners will find the newest addition to their family in one of the following three ways:
1. Pet Shops
Although the nursery song might ask “How much is that puppy in the window?”, the practices undertaken by pet shops and dealers are often far darker.
Intended to appeal to the impulse shopper, this is not an ideal way to make a 15-year commitment.
Also, with a focus on profit and not puppies, animals bred for sale in a pet shop or dealer can often be sickly, poorly looked after, and full of hereditary issues as little to no thought has gone into the selection of the parents.
2. Backyard Breeders or “Casual Breeders“
Usually, backyard breeders are families who own a pet Westie and decide it would be “fun” to have puppies and breed them before they get neutered, or have a “cute” dog they think they can profit from.
Casual breeders are problematic since they have little to no experience or knowledge on how to raise puppies properly, don’t understand Breed Standards, and do not maintain proper care such as annual eye examinations.
They might also be ignorant of common health problems the breed can suffer from, so they are unprepared to cater for or explain them to a new owner.
3. Serious Hobby Breeders
The best type of dog breeder is a serious hobby breeder.
The litters are usually the offspring of show animals, and lots of time and attention has gone into selecting the parents.
Serious hobby breeders usually view their dogs as far more than a hobby and will want to ensure their puppies will have a loving home.
They should also be able to produce documentation for their puppies and belong to a respected Westie or all-breed dog club.
Choosing the Right Westie
Once you’ve found a breeder you trust, the next step is visiting the puppies to be sure you get the right dog.
A good breeder should be able to help you ascertain which puppy will be right for you, and you should always try to meet the parents if possible.
Although all Westie puppies, and puppies in general, are adorable, when you’re looking for your prized pup, there are some things you should check:
Firstly, check the build of your potential puppy. Good West Highland Terriers breeders should breed pups that have a sturdy build and straight legs even when young.
Puppy Westies that have the usual Westie temperament should wiggle when first picked up before settling for a short cuddle.
They should also feel firm and muscular, not pot-bellied.
Next, try and isolate your puppy to see how they interact away from their littermates. At seven weeks, a Westie should be willing to explore, even if cautious at first, so if they’re distressed, you should be asking why.
3. Pup’s Mother
Most Westie bitches should be watchful, but happy to show puppies off.
Any aggressiveness or shyness on her part is likely to be poor temperament, which could be passed on.
How About Older Westies?
When people think of dog breeders, they’re usually considering a puppy, but sometimes older dogs are more suitable since they have been trained already, and the destructive puppy qualities might have calmed down.
Breeders might have older dogs and puppies for several reasons, such as a family has experienced a change in circumstances, a brood bitch retired, or a potential show dog hasn’t lived up to its potential.
A good breeder will accept any puppies they whelped back in these instances, as the care of the dog is important to them.
Westies are certainly not one-person dogs and, as long as they’ve been shown love and care, they will attach to a new family just as happy as a puppy.
When getting a puppy, you want to find out as much about the dog, breeders, and family history as possible before committing to the animal.
You’ll also have the added benefits of finding out what commands it already knows, its daily routine, likes and dislikes, compatibility with other animals or children, and other traits that might be important.
If you’re willing to get an older puppy or dog, you should also check out your local animal rescue since Westies aren’t immune from ending up in shelters, and there are so many dogs that need loving forever homes.
Once your Westie’s settled, you can guarantee a lifetime of love, affection, and energy in a small dog with a huge personality.
Like us, you’ll never regret bringing your Westie home; just be sure to get it from a trustworthy place.