West Highland White Terrier FCI Standard
The Terriers of Scotland were extremely robust and relentless in their hunting assignment. They passed through serious selecting process of both Mother Nature and human being so the dog acquired prime capabilities of surviving in the ruthless terrains of Scotland. These dogs were generally kept by rural peasants, who used them as superb exterminators of various kinds of vermin (rats, mice, foxes, rabbits) that presented a great threat to their crops and cattle.
During the XVIII century the breeding practises were quite unorganised which led to creation a number of terrier’s varieties in different parts of Scotland. The next century was marked with appearance of several breeds with distinctive characteristics and the breeders began to keep stud books for more precise fixation of breeding results. Prior to the end of the XIX century the white coloration in terrier was highly disfavoured since these dogs were considered to be less hardy as well as poorly disguised in the greenery. White dogs were usually destined to die and were drowned.
It’s known that at least three separate lines of pure white Terrier were established in the Highlands of Scotland in the last decade of the XIX century. The major contributor to the invention of the West Highland White Terrier was Edward Donald Malcolm, the 16th Laird (Lord) of Poltalloch who was an avid hunter. The legend states that he has mistaken for a fox and shot his favourite little brown Terrier while it was getting out of the burrow. He deeply grieved at the loss of its beloved dog and decided to breed a line of a pure white Terrier in order to exclude the possibility of this mistake in the future.
The West Highland White Terrier reached the United States and England in the beginning of the XX century. There the breed was quickly re-qualified into a popular show and family dog.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) fully approved the West Highland White Terrier in 1908. In 1919 the dog was given a complete recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC).
The West Highland White Terrier makes friends with strange people almost instantaneously and it’s always happy to set up a new acquaintance. Naturally the dog has to be correctly socialised otherwise it can become timid and highly distrustful when meeting unfamiliar people. Its vigilance manifests itself in warning bark if the dog senses some threat. That’s why it can be turned into a wonderful watch dog. However it’s deprived of compulsory aggression to make a good guard dog.
Majority of the West Highland White Terrier exhibits very low level of aggressiveness towards other canine animals and will gladly share the same roof with one or more other dogs. Some animals do show aggressive attitude towards other canines of the same sex or can develop possessive issue but it’s quite fixable with proper up-bringing. This breed is able to accept a home cat if it got used to its presence since the puppyhood. Nevertheless the West Highland White Terrier retains much of its hunting drive so it can’t resist the urge to chase small species of animals especially hamsters, rabbits or stray cats. So the owner should never neglect the use of a leash during walking with the dog.
• atopic dermatitis;
• patellar luxation;
• inflammatory bowel disease;
• legg-calve-perthes disease;
• eye problems;
• Addison’s disease;
• shaker dog syndrome;
• pulmonary fibrosis;
• Lion’s jaw;
• pancreatic enzyme deficiency.
Moreover the breed requires its hair to be plucked minimum twice a year. This procedure can be done at home but it’s more convenient to use professional help in this case. The West Highland White Terrier has a tendency to shed and the amount of shedding varies from dog to dog.
It’s absolutely crucial to have a superior position in the dog’s mind since it will most likely ignore the command of the trainer, who is perceived to be lower in the pack order. The trainer should apply firm but somewhat gentle approach to learning process and base it on plentiful of tasty treats.
The master should also allow the dog to run and roam on the securely enclosed territory. Generally speaking it won’t become a big challenge for an averagely active family to satisfy the dog’s need in exercise so it’s a perfect choice for those who want to have a playful, funny and cute dog.
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