Westie vs Yorkie: Which Is Better for New Pet Owners?

As a lot of dog owners would tell you: if you want to be happy, get a dog. And they’re absolutely right—that is, for as long as you choose the right one. Beginner pet owners can greatly benefit from choosing dog breeds that ease them into the experience.

There’s little to choose between a Westie vs Yorkie when it comes to this matter. If you’re looking to become a first-time dog parent, any of these breeds would be an excellent candidate. They are both great for inexperienced owners, relatively child-friendly, not too difficult to groom, and aren’t frequent barkers.

Since it’s your first time adopting a dog, you’re not gonna settle for second best. Instead, you want to be sure that the breed you end up choosing is your best match. So, what’s it going to be: a Westie or its dear old cousin the Yorkie?

Important Considerations for First-Time Owners

While the list of considerations for adopting or purchasing a dog is typically a mile long, since you’re still an aspiring pet parent as of this moment, we thought we’d start with the following criteria:

  • Size
  • Temperament
  • Maintenance Requirements
  • Personality

All of these are major factors for choosing a furry companion at home for the first time. This is what we would be focusing on when deciding which is better: Westie vs Yorkie?

Westie vs Yorkie

A pet can introduce a bevy of positives into your life, turning what used to be dull and boring days to ones packed with color and excitement.

From coming home to an empty house to being greeted at the door by a restless furry companion, from lonely mornings of jogging alone to beautiful sunrises with an energetic exercise buddy by your side—a dog can do you so much good. And that’s not even close to being half of it.

Then again, choosing just one dog breed is not easy. Here are some considerations we suggest you keep in mind:

1. Size

Larger dog breeds are normally difficult to handle for pet parents who are fresh off the blocks. They’ll likely be strong-willed and harder to train. Their huge build can also add to the scare factor.

Being the new pet owner that you are, you’ll be hesitant to impose yourself on these sizeable creatures, even if it’s in a non-threatening way. Both the Westie and Yorkie are just the right size for new parents, but which one will triumph in this category?


A West Highland white terrier is a relatively small dog that is not to be confused with a delicate lapdog. It may be a tiny breed, but it has a strong and sturdy build.

A Westie isn’t something you would categorize as being too small, which makes it perfect for an owner who is just starting to get to know dogs. Micro-sized pooches may be too fragile for a beginner.


A Yorkshire terrier is definitely one of the miniature classes. It’s relatively smaller than a Westie and is far more dainty.

You want to take extra care handling this dog breed due to its extremely small size. Despite this, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with this one compared to, let’s say, a teacup chihuahua.

2. Temperament

Neither the Westie nor the Yorkie is a hothead, which makes them both awesome for first-timers. As a new parent, you’ll want a dog breed that’s great around children and, at the very least, tolerant with other dogs. It’s safe to say that both pass the test in this department.


While the Westie scores quite well temperament-wise, it’s not necessarily friendly towards other dogs. It can display aggressive behavior towards other animals, particularly those it only just came across recently. Having said that, it also doesn’t take too kindly to strangers.

If it has established you as the leader of the pack, then it will love and be loyal to you until the end of time. It will treat your kids just the same, so there’s really nothing to worry about regarding this matter.


Friendliness towards others isn’t a Yorkie’s strong suit, but it is incredibly loyal to and protective of its owners. It’s not a frequent barker but will do so when it feels threatened.

In terms of aggressiveness towards other people and animals, this breed takes the cake over its close relative.

3. Maintenance Requirements

Shedding levels, grooming, and other elements concerning hygiene are going to factor into your pet’s maintenance requirements. As a first-time owner, you’ll much prefer a low-maintenance breed to a high-maintenance one.


You’ll find that a Westie will require considerable grooming if you want them to look their best. Their white coats can easily catch dirt and mud and, more than that, whatever gets caught in their fur can be seen as plain as day.

Overall, the maintenance requirements of a Westie are relatively low, especially considering its below-average shedding level.


Like its distant cousin, a Yorkie doesn’t shed much, but its coat maintenance is fairly high. Thankfully, drool isn’t something you need to be too concerned about with this breed either.

4. Personality

You are going to love how both of these breeds are with their owners. What makes them the ideal house dogs for beginners is their friendliness, loyalty, and protectiveness.

What’s more, they also possess just the right amount of aggressiveness to make them excellent and reliable watchdogs.


While known to exhibit aggressive behavior towards strangers and other pets, a Westie doesn’t pose any problems with your kids. They’re above-average on the friendliness scale and make great playmates for children.


Yorkshire terriers are more or less the same as their Westie cousins in terms of friendliness, except that they are slightly less tolerant toward child behavior.


A Westie and a Yorkie are both awesome breeds for first-time owners. Each has a set of traits and characteristics perfectly suited to the needs and ownership skills of new pet parents.

While the Yorkie definitely gave the Westie a run for its money in all four categories, including personality, maintenance requirements, temperament, and size, the latter still ended up edging the former in every single one.

A Westie particularly shines in the way it is with children, which is extremely important for families who are looking to adopt or purchase a dog for the first time.

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