When Cesar's marketing department went looking for a dog to represent the company and sell its products, they chose a West Highland white terrier. It's not hard to figure out why. The Westie, as his friends call him, is more than adorable -- he's smart as a whip.
If you're thinking of bringing a Westie into your life, you'll have a small but active companion. At maturity, Westies weigh between 15 and 21 pounds, standing 10 to 11 inches high at the shoulder. As his name states, his coat is snow white, but his dark, "shoe-button" eyes equally add to his appeal.
This Scottish native terrier started out hunting rodents, including badgers and foxes. Historical references to this type of terrier date back to at least the 1600s. Originally called the Poltalloch terrier, the breed made its initial appearances at dog shows in the early 20th century. The American Kennel Club first registered the breed as the Roseneath terrier in 1908, although the name changed to the West Highland white terrier the following year.
Happy, friendly and curious, Westies make good dogs for individuals or families. He's adaptable, so as long as you spend time with him it doesn't matter whether you live in the city, suburbs or out in the sticks. He's a good little watchdog, but might overdo the barking. Westies generally gets along well with other dogs -- it could take a while longer with cats. With patience and training, they should learn to cohabit. Although he's small, don't mistake him for a lap dog. He needs regular exercise or all that Westie energy might be channeled into less-than-desirable behavior. As a terrier, digging is second nature. Taking your Westie to obedience classes is a wise investment.
Keeping his coat pristine with regular bathing is just one aspect of Westie grooming. He's double-coated, with a soft undercoat and dense, rougher outer coat. Brush your Westie every day and take him to the groomer regularly for clipping. If he's a show dog, he'll need his coat hand-stripped by the groomer.
Westies suffer from several genetic health issues. Allergies often afflict the breed, especially atopic dermatitis, resulting in hair loss and serious skin disorders. If your Westie comes down with skin problems, you might want to visit a veterinary dermatologist rather than your general practice vet. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, nicknamed "Westie lung disease," causes severe breathing difficulties. A genetic level defect allows excess copper to build up in the liver.
- Popisms: Cesar Commercial (2012)
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the West Highland White Terrier
- American Kennel Club: West Highland White Terrier History
- VetStreet: West Highland White Terrier
- VetStreet: What You Need to Know About West Highland White Terrier Health
- Petfinder: Adopt a West Highland West Highland White Terrier
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.