Westie Temperament: What All New Owners Should Know First!

West Highland White Terriers, also known as Westies, are a fantastic breed to bring into your family, but it’s important to know more about this breed than how adorable they are.

Trust us, Sami the Westie has been part of our family for almost two years!

Sami never fails to impress us with how he takes on the world when we travel, how he acts when we play at home, and his every other demeanor.

If you’re thinking about bringing a Westie into your life, too, it’s important to learn more about Westie temperament.

Expectations are important when you are considering whether or not a dog will suit your life, so you should understand what you will be signing up for when you get your own Westie.

Disclaimer: All Dogs Are Unique!

Before we get into our opinions and the research that exists about Westie temperaments, we want to put an important disclaimer out there.

All dogs are unique!

While we can talk about Sami’s temperament and the experiences that many Westie owners encounter, every dog is different.

Their behavior is affected not only by their genetics and breed history but also by the environment they were raised in, how they are trained, and much more.

Westie Temperament

We’ll cover general traits that tend to match up with a Westie, but it is important to remember that not every Westie is going to act the same.

Keep that in mind, and you’d be able to get to know your Westie for who they are, not just who you want them to be!

1. Affectionate

We want to start here because our little Sami is just so darn lovable that we can’t get over it!

Thankfully, he isn’t the only Westie that’s got a lot of love to share with the world.

Westies tend to be a highly affectionate breed, so they work great for families and those who are looking to add a cuddle pup to their family tree.

Westies are personable, affectionate, and playful.

They bring a lot of joy to their owners’ lives; we know just how much Sami has brought into ours!

2. Adaptability

Some dog breeds are very stubborn, and they’ll throw a fit if you change up their living situation, or they don’t have the exact type of grass to run on.

Seriously, those dogs exist!

Westies tend to be very adaptable thanks to their small size and their curious personalities.

They can thrive in many different living situations, from homes to apartments.

They can adapt to most situations so long as you provide them with the fun, exercise, and stimulation that they need to live a healthy, happy life.

We recently moved to a new location where Sami has a yard to run around in, and it’s clear that he loves to do this!

He zooms around as much as he can, and we can see just how much he loves this space.

Still, he was happy living in our apartment before, too!

Sure, our activities have changed, but he has adapted beautifully.

3. Intelligent

We don’t want to knock down any other dog breeds, but we have to say that Westies are very smart.

Sami certainly loves to be given stimulating challenges, and it’s clear in his actions that he is very smart.

Many people stay away from highly intelligent dogs because they are afraid that they will require too much motivation and attention to remain happy, but that doesn’t have to be a true statement.

It’s true that you do need to provide mental stimulation to your dog to keep them happy, but that can be said about any dog!

Part of being an owner is giving your dog toys and activities that will make them happy.

The intelligence that Westies like Sami have is a much bigger benefit than it is a concern.

He learns tricks well, is eager to please, and can be taught good behavior with the right types of reinforcement.

Even as a new dog owner, you’ll find that the self-motivation Westies have comes from their intelligence, and that can be a great tool for creating good behaviors.

4. Playfulness

Westies love to play!

If Sami had his way, we would spend every single day at his beck and call, ready to run around the yard or play in the living room.

Seriously, he never seems to get tired of playing!

Playfulness is a common trait for Westies.

They’re active and like to play; if you have kids, this could be a great combination for both parties.

That playfulness can, at times, cross the line into too much playfulness, so you will need to be mindful of teaching a Westie proper boundaries for playtime when you are training them.

5. Independence

Despite his affection and loving nature, Sami is also a bit of an independent boy.

He likes to do things his way when allowed, so we have to remember to keep a firm hand with him when training and teaching good behavior.

People that are getting a small dog for the first time often fall into what we call the “small dog trap.”

Because their dog is so small, they don’t think it is a big deal if the dog jumps around or steps out of line.

The dog’s behavior ends up being totally out of control and hard to reign in!

If not trained properly, the independence of a Westie can definitely play into this small dog problem.

Still, we don’t find it difficult to make sure that Sami behaves.

With the right training, this shouldn’t be a problem for Westies.

Final Thoughts: Are You Ready For A Westie?

Have you found that these Westie traits sound like a perfect fit for what you are looking for in a pup?

We hope so!

We’ve found so much joy and love by bringing Sami into our lives, and we know that there are lots of Westies out there waiting to do the same for their future owners.

The key to owning any breed of dog is to have realistic expectations of the breed, get to know the specific dog, and then train with some level of strictness so that they are always on good behavior.

Any dog can be a good dog provided that they are trained and treated properly.

Take the time to care for your dog properly, and you’ll have a loving, fun companion for life!

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