West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie, is a breed of dog from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. It is a medium-sized terrier, although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terrier. It has a white double coat of fur which fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance.
The breed is intelligent, quick to learn, and can be good with children, but does not always tolerate rough handling. The Westie is an active breed, and is social with a high prey drive, as they were once used to hunt rodents.
The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programmes of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century. Cousin to the Cairn Terrier, the Westie was bred to hunt small rodents at places such as farms. Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, is credited with the creation of the modern breed from his Poltalloch Terrier, but did not want to be known as such.
Other related breeds included George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll’s Roseneath Terrier and Dr Americ Edwin Flaxman’s Pittenweem Terriers. This breed of small white Scottish terriers was given its modern name for the first time in 1908, with recognition by major kennel clubs occurring around the same time.
The breed remains very popular in the UK, with multiple wins at Cruft’s. It has been in the top third of all breeds in the US since the 1960s. It has been featured in television and film, including in Hamish Macbeth, and in advertising by companies such as Cesar dog food and the Scotch whisky Black & White.
Several breed-specific and non-specific health problems appear in the breed, including a condition in young dogs nicknamed “westie jaw” which causes an overgrowth of bone in the jaw of the dog. It can also be prone to skin disorders, with a breed-specific condition called hyperplastic dermatosis occurring. They are a very energetic and boisterous breed, needing regular exercise of around one hour per day.
The short answer to the question do Westies shed is no or they shed so little that they are associated with the group of small dogs that don’t shed.If you’re looking at small dogs that don’t shed as a companion or as a family pet, west highland terriers would fill the position very well.
Westies are robust little white dogs with big personality for their size. They are always white with a double coat that shed less dander than many other small dog breeds and considered more hypoallergenic that than dogs that shed their whole coat.
Westies Are Small Dogs That Don’t Shed
Yearning for Pet Dogs That Don’t Shed
The presence of pet dander, that fine dusting of dead skin cells from shedding dog hair travels through the air and settling on furniture and floors. This can be a real issue for some people because of the allergies it triggers and non shedding dog breeds like Westies reduce that risk.
Find A Hypoallergenic Small Dog
In spite of the sinus and asthma problems that dander can cause, many people find themselves yearning for a non shedding and hypoallergenic dog like the Westie, also known as West Highland Terriers as their companion. This small white dog’s unflagging devotion, character and intelligence is attractive for many owners.
If you’re looking for small dogs that don’t shed, you may have found your dream dog in the Westie. In fact, the West Highland Terriers may just be the incredible small non-shedding dog you’re looking for.
Your Westie should be completely white in colour. It’s the dog’s white coat that made him a prized hunting dog, and breeders today have remained true to the breed standard established by Colonel Edward Donald Malcom.
West Highland Terriers have wiry white coats that are insulated; they are perfectly suited for being outdoors in the elements, although you’re going to want your cutie-pie by your side rather than out on the moors, on even running around your backyard in the damp.
When you run your hands through your dog’s coat, you should immediately notice two distinctly different types of fur. The outer coat has a rough and wiry feeling. These guard hairs protect the dog’s undercoat skin, helping to keep him clean. The undercoat feels soft and fleece-like, and it’s this coat that serves as an insulator. This undercoat is an important characteristic of small dogs that do not shed.
How Much Do Westies Shed?
Westies are a low shedding dog breed.
In fact, they are among the lowest shedding breeds in the world, along with dogs like the Poodle, Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu for example.
Some say this is because they have hair instead of fur, but this is simply not the case. For the most part, hair and fur are the same thing. The main difference is just that the word “fur” is used more commonly to describe animals, whereas “hair” is used for humans.
In any case, one of the main determining factors as to how much a dog sheds, is the individual breed and their hair growth cycle. Simply put, the longer the hair stays in the growth cycle (anagen) the longer it tends to grow and the less often it falls out.
In other words, the amount of time it takes for the hair to grow, stop growing, and fall out, is not as rapid in low shedding dogs as it is with higher shedding breeds.
There are other factors that contribute to shedding, though.
Such as the time of year, how healthy the dog is, and other factors like fleas, stress and pregnancy. So it can sometimes be cause for concern, and something you should contact your vet about.
But for most healthy dogs with no underlying issues, how much they shed depends on what breed they are, and time of year. As for the latter reason, some dogs shed seasonally (like in spring and fall) as their body anticipates the change of season.
So you may notice a slightly higher amount of shedding during these times, but nothing close to a heavy shedding dog, like the Chow Chow or Corgi. And overall Westies are suitable for anyone looking for a low shedder.
Short History of Westies
Westies come from a long line of Scottish terriers that are thought to have all originated from the same family tree with different breeds coming from different branches.
These smaller terriers were bred originally to be the solution to infestations for farmers and landowners alike.
The exact origins of the West Highland White Terrier are somewhat shrouded in mystery but the modern breed we know and love today came from an estate in Scotland called Poltalloch in the 1700’s.
It is on this estate, the Malcolm clan, like many of their Scottish forefathers, needed a small, hardy dog to help keep pest infestations down.
Hence, the westie was born and bred for over a hundred years on the estate for this very purpose.
It wasn’t until later in 1800s that the westie breed made its debut into dog shows in Scotland and became known as the West Highland White Terrier.
Named after the area in Scotland the breed originated from and their distinctive white coat.
When Do Westies Shed the Most?
Many dogs have inherited the trait for their ancestors to shed their coats once or twice a year but with breeding, over a long period of time, this trait has disappeared from most westie dogs and they shed very little, no matter what the season is.
So, you may not suffer the spring hair storm that many dog owners struggle with as their dogs rid themselves of their winter coats but you will need to consider this when choosing a westie as your next companion.
They do require regular trips to the doggy groomers for help to shed old hair and encourage regrowth of new healthy hair.
If your westie is shedding or if their shedding habits have changed then it could be a sign that something is wrong. Then it’s time for a trip to the vets to see if there is an underlying problem that needs addressing.
If your pooch is perfectly healthy then the next step is the dog groomers for advice and a haircut. Any experienced groomer will be able to advise you on how to care for a shedding dog.
Importance of Grooming Your Westie
If you want your Westie to remain presentable at all times, you need to put some extra energy into grooming. As these dogs do not tend to shed too much on their own, they need to be brushed with added vigor in order to keep the coat bright and shiny.
Putting some energy into brushing the Westie’s coat will help in getting rid of all the dead fur that the dog cannot get rid of on its own. This keeps the coat clean and prevents it from getting thin and hollow.
Thank you for staying with this post “do westies have hair or fur” until the end.