West Highland White Terrier

FCI standard Nº 85

Origin
Great Britain
Group
Group 3 Terriers
Section
Section 2 Small-sized Terriers
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 29 October 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Last update
Wednesday 12 January 2011
En français, cette race se dit
West Highland White Terrier
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
West Highland White Terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
West Highland White Terrier
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
West Highland White Terrier

Usage

Terrier.

General appearance

Strongly built; deep in chest and back ribs; level back and powerful quarters on muscular legs and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination of strength and activity.

Behaviour / temperament

Small, active, game, hardly, possessed of no small amount of self-esteem with a varminty appearance. Alert, gay, courageous, self-reliant but friendly.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Distance from occiput to eyes slightly greater than length of foreface. Head thickly coated with hair and carried at right angle or less, to axis of neck. Head not to be carried in extended position.
Skull
Slightly domed; when handled across forehead presents a smooth contour. Tapering very slightly from skull at level of ears to eyes. 
Stop
Distinct stop, formed by heavy, bony ridges immediately above and slightly overhanging eye, and slight indentation between eyes.

Facial region

Nose
Black and fairly large, forming smooth contour with rest of muzzle. Nose not projecting forward.
Muzzle
Foreface gradually tapering from eye to muzzle; not dished nor falling away quickly below eyes, where it is well made up.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws strong and level. As broad between canine teeth as is consistent with varminty expression required. Teeth large for size of dog, with regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Eyes
Set wide apart, medium in size, not full, as dark as possible and set well under heavy eyebrows which gives the dog a sharp and intelligent piercing expression. Light coloured eyes highly undesirable.
Ears
Small, erect and carried firmly, terminating in sharp point, set neither too wide nor too close. Hair short and smooth (velvety), should not be cut. Free from any fringe at top. Round-pointed, broad, large or thick ears or too heavily coated with hair most undesirable.

Neck

Sufficiently long to allow proper set on of head required, muscular and gradually thickening towards base allowing neck to merge into nicely sloping shoulders.

Body

Body
Compact.
Back
Level.
Loin
Broad and strong.
Chest
Deep and ribs well arched in upper half presenting a flattish side appearance. Back ribs of considerable depth and distance from last rib of quarters as short as compatible with free movement of body.

Tail

13 -15 cms long, covered with harsh hair, no feathering, as straight as possible, carried jauntily, not gay or carried over back. A long tail undesirable, and on no account should tails be docked.

Limbs

Forequarters

Shoulders
Sloping backwards. Shoulder-blades broad and lying close to chest wall. Shoulder joint placed forward.
Elbows
Well in, allowing foreleg to move freely, parallel to axis of body.
Forearm
Forelegs short and muscular, straight and thickly covered with short, hard hair.
Forefeet
Larger than hind feet, round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded and covered with short harsh hair. Under surface of pads and all nails preferably black.

Hindquarters

Generality
Strong, muscular and wide across top. Legs short, muscular and sinewy.
Upper thigh
Very muscular and not too wide apart.
Stifle
Well bent.
Hock
Bent and well set in under body so as to be fairly close to each other when standing or moving. Straight or weak hocks most undesirable.
Hind feet
Smaller than forefeet and thickly padded, round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded and covered with short harsh hair. Under surface of pads and all nails preferably black.

Gait and movement

Free, straight and easy all round. In front, legs freely extended forward from shoulder. Hind movement free, strong and close. Stifle and hocks well flexed and hocks drawn under body giving drive. Stiff, stilted movement behind and cowhocks highly undesirable.

Skin

Free from obvious skin problems.

Coat

Hair
Double coated. Outer coat consists of harsh hair, about 5 cms long, free from any curl. Undercoat, which resembles fur, short, soft and close. Open coats most undesirable.
Colour
White.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Approximately 28 cms.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

Like all Scottish terriers, the ancient history of the West Highland White Terrier is rather obscure. Today adored by the publicity and object of a passionate fashion, yesterday secret race crowned in the exhibitions, this charming Terrier with the white dress nevertheless has a past more distant, that many seem to even forget: that of a rough hunter of Scottish vermin.

It should first be pointed out that Terriers have always been found in Scotland. Even before the Middle Ages, they were used to dislodge and kill harmful animals and other "stink", such as rats and mice, of course, as well as badgers, otters and polecats. The fox was also among their victims, which leaves one wondering about the determination and aggressiveness that these little dogs had to show. The first written records of the existence of Scottish Terriers are undoubtedly found in various 16th century authors (Johannes Caius, Turbeville, for example), who mention Northern Terriers and describe a type of short-legged, hard-haired dogs. chasing the fox and the badger underground. In 1774, Oliver Goldsmith spoke of a small burrow, of unswerving courage and a clear voice.

In the wilderness of the Highlands, as well as on the coast and in the Hebrides, Terriers were reared by nobles and peasants. Some differences appeared in the types and colors, according to the preferences of each breeder, in every most remote corner, but it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that the descriptions began to note these variations and that the types were more clearly drawn; without it being possible today to precisely locate the origins of each current race, if they are not the same, moreover. Rather, to the east (in the Aberdeen area, in particular), dogs with strong bodies, short legs, large heads, long noses and hard teeth developed. Their ears were small and erect, their hair was hard from sand to black. They would be the ancestors of the Scottish Terrier. In the western counties, the dogs, also leggy, had the body more collected, nervous, the hair longer; they were apparently the ancestors of Cairn and West Highland. In the Northwest Islands, there was a third type with a longer back, stronger structure, long hair, from which would descend the Skye Terrier.

Often white puppies that were born in a litter were drowned because they were thought to be less hard-working than colored subjects. Otherwise, until that time, there was little physical care of a dog as long as he was strong enough and clever enough to do the job. The peasants and gamekeepers were not tender with their dogs, and it is said, for example, that young Terriers had to face an otter to death in a creek as proof of their courage. Who has already seen the jaw, agility and strength of an otter will understand the difficulty of this test. In the hunt, dogs were dealing with ferocious game and determined to sell his skin dearly. It is therefore that of the brave dogs who often suffered from it. And the medicine of the moment was rather expeditious: when a dog was torn, his master sewed it with the big wire and alive. As for hunting in the cairns, the rocky mounds where the vermin hides (which gave their name to one of these Terriers), it was also perilous. The dogs often got stuck in it, in their ardor to pursue the beast, and only a fast of several days allowed them to leave, emaciated but alive.

But the reputation of the brave Highland Terriers had long since overflowed their native moors. As evidenced by the precautions taken by James I of England (James VI of Scotland) when he wanted to send in royal gift six White Terriers of Argyll. The dogs were embarked on several boats (in case one would sink). The lucky recipient was none other than Henry IV. In 1839, it will no longer be a king but an artist (Sir Edwin Landseer) who will pay tribute to the West Highland White Terrier by making it appear on two of his paintings, Highlands Dogs and Dignity and Impudence: any confusion as to the race of these animals is impossible, so close are they to the Westie type, even today.

The history of the West Highland then narrows around a region, Argyll County, and a man, Colonel ED Malcolm of Poltalloch. Argyll, located to the southwest of the Grampian Mountains, had the curious peculiarity of sheltering several entirely white wild species. Foxes, hares and immaculate heather cocks had to cohabit with the little white Terriers, also perfectly pigmented and totally free of albinism. Malcolm de Poltalloch, who became a prominent breed specialist, was the first, not to tolerate, but to look for the white color in his litters. In fact, this great hunter accidentally killed one of his favorite Terriers, whom he could not distinguish in the red bushes; here is the Colonel, who is determined to have only white dogs. White is not exactly the appropriate qualifier, since, as T. Bell notes in 1837, a common tint of Scottish terriers was linty white, with cream and even light yellow. Such were the Colonel's Terriers around 1870, after he had succeeded in creating his distinct variety of Highland Terriers. Again, these dogs had to work first, and their color, like their morphology, could afford to be approximate. The character, he was king, which explains our hard, turbulent, stubborn and well-tempered Westies. Note the semi-erect ears that sometimes appeared at the time.

But Colonel Poltalloch was not only a hunter, he also hid an initiated dog-dog, and he went off to present his Terriers in exhibitions. This was in 1890, and the various Scottish races were not yet very well defined. All these little devils of working dogs coexisted in the same categories, which explains the confusion and controversy over the names that were long given to the breed, such as "Highland Terrier", "Poltalloch Terrier", "Pittenweem Terrier" , "Roseneath Terrier" and even "White Scottish Terrier" or "Skye White Terrier". It must be admitted that there was something to lose. These famous "Roseneath Terriers" were presented at the Crystal Palace in 1899, the same dogs being called West Highland White Terriers in Edinburgh in 1904. The breed was launched.

Two years later, the first English Race Club was founded and the standard developed. That year, the Kennel Club officially recognized Westie, which, however, was still far from current dogs. It was not until November 18, 1924, that couplings between Cairn and Westie were forbidden, and in 1928 the standard of the second was changed, especially with regard to size. Between the wars would see the first steps of grooming Terriers, except for the Cairn, which kept its aspect of shaggy little devil. The success was soon, and the Westie was soon appreciated in the south of England, then exported in the seventies.

A story of brave and hardworking dogs, who today seduce by their qualities of heart and their little rascal look. A beautiful story, in short. This dog is a big man in a mini format. This is, quickly summarized, the portrait of the West Highland White Terrier. Small, he is, but without concessions. And, if his size does not allow him to impose himself physically (and again), he fills this lack by a character of fire and frightens the strongest by his determination and his courage. Of course, it's his looks, but he has so much more to offer. To buy it without knowing it could be a disaster, because this devil must have a master at the height.

First, it's an asset. No wonder for a Terrier, certainly, but the Westie seems to have some genius to create the event where there is nothing to see. A little cabotin, let's face it, it does nothing like the others, and the mere fact of watching it live is already a spectacle. In the house, he knows every nook, every little household detail that can make an exciting game, he walks his field with pride and confidence. No way to spend the afternoon to be cuddled. The Westie is a dog, not a toy, and he was quick to call him back. He also cultivates a certain independence and stays on his own. Even if his curiosity pushes him towards his master as soon as he works at his height (close to the ground) his presence in the house is enough for him, and he will know how to wait for him patiently if he is absent. Nor is he the working dog eternally fixed on his mission, and to make him obey is already a great feat. Because the Westie seems to enjoy not falling into any category. Or else, it should be created for him: large volunteer dog disguised as innocent little doggie. Everyone does what he likes; he agrees, especially if he decides.

The stubborn and somewhat stubborn side of the West Highland should not overshadow his great abilities of affection and attachment to his master, provided that he is respected. Because, by seeming not to take care of him, the Westie does not really leave him from a sole. Moreover, even if he tries to be as discreet as possible at these times, no one is fooled when he gets closer on the tip of the legs and settles to beg for a caress, a small friendly gesture. We may be Terrier, we still need love. In his racing style, the Westie hides a big heart. This affectivity, he unfolds it to the place of the children, that he will love to the madness if they are well brought up and do not pull him the hair (otherwise, it will make them understand quickly that he is not dog with let yourself be martyred). He will always be up for real games (not to report the "baballe") and for walks. The forest excursions are what he prefers, and he will not be the first tired. Nothing stops him, neither the trunks of trees lying across the road, nor the holes, nor the brambles. As a true Terrier, he remained sensitive to any game-like smell, and is able to run through the thickets in pursuit of an animal to reappear an hour later, muddy, exhausted, but delighted.

His obstinacy may also be felt by cats and other domestic animals. It must therefore forbid any aggression towards them from infancy. This does not prevent him from being perfectly able to fraternize with the feline of the house, if he has been used to it young; thus, the charming sight of Toutou et Minet sharing, asleep, a single basket will not be rare. Do his fellow creatures find favor in the eyes of this prince? Generally speaking, yes, the West Highland has a good sociability, but it can not hide its strong personality, and some friction can occur if it falls on a big dog velléitaire. He who thinks he is big, he does not hesitate to attack his opponent with an astonishing assurance. Dominant enough by nature, he willingly submits dogs larger than himself by his sole authority. It can happen that a "beefy" puts it in its place, which, far from calming Sir Westie, rather excite. In short, he is charming as long as one does not try to annoy him.

This voluntary and intrepid attitude, the West also has a little in its reaction to any training attempt. This is why it is essential to take care of his education while he is still a puppy not too sure of him. Not to teach him good manners would soon turn him into a little despot, cute, but sometimes hard to bear. This dog is a strong, and any weakness in his regard would be a serious mistake, as would any attempt to take in force, which he would reject en bloc. However, the person who will slip the iron hand in the velvet glove and insist without seeking to dominate openly will have a great chance to make a small companion charming, mischievous indeed, but also an active partner.

For the Westie is a clever man who, if he does not like to submit in public, quickly understands where his interest is with a decided master. An open vexation would make him sulk for days, that's why the cases will be settled in family, with an absolute constancy in prohibitions and orders. Such an act authorized today will not be defended tomorrow (and vice versa), otherwise the Westie will lose all faith in the solidity of his master and will no longer recognize him as his protector and friend. It must be asked little, but demand to be listened to. The West is not a dog who delights in a permanent order - execution relationship, but it is essential to obtain his obedience the few times he is asked: no question of remaining on a request without answer. Then, we congratulate him warmly; he will soon prefer caresses to the big voice. Very intelligent, the Westie can, if he has decided, surprise by being very cooperative and even enjoy sports such as agility. In this discipline, where dog and master follow together a course of obstacles, in harmony and without peremptory orders, the West is likely to find its balance by becoming half of a team and not a mere subordinate. Whatever the activity that his teachers will choose to share with him, the important thing is to establish a voluntary collaboration that will make him as happy as they are.

Formerly a country dog exclusively, the West now becomes one of the favorite breeds of city dwellers because of its small size and its rustic character as much as it plays. It is therefore essential that his rhythm of life be in harmony with his temperament and preserve his balance. Of course, there is no question of confining him to cramped rooms by giving him for every exercise his three daily hygienic walks. However, with regular outings in a green space, long enough for him to really be physically busy, he will be very happy, when the time comes, to return to the apartment. After the effort, the comfort, and the carpet it likes surely as much as the straw, if it is well adapted to the city. Nevertheless, sessions of real campaign will do him the greatest good, and it would be contrary to his nature to want to preserve his immaculate whiteness by forbidding him to run in the mud and play in puddles.

A word about the value of the West Highland White Terrier as an alarm bell. Let a stranger appear at the gate or at the door, and there is no doubt that the clear, high-pitched voice of the Westie will be heard. Of course, he is not a real watchdog, because (fortunately) he is relatively sociable with strangers, but he will not fail to bark to signal an unexpected presence. This West Highland is a real character.

Irresistible with its mischievous look, endearing by its independent but affectionate character, practical thanks to its pocket size, it's really the dog of the eighties. Wish him to keep this huge public favor and be one of the favorites of the twenty-twenties decade. He deserves it.

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